September 2015 - July 2016 Program at Tsegyalgar East and via Podcast (MP3's)

The teachings of the Base of Santi Maha Sangha are indispensable for students pursuing Santi Maha Sangha Training as well as those pursuing other methods taught by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu. Studying these core principles helps establish a foundation for any Dzogchen practice.

"Demystifying Santi Maha Sangha" was a course which ran at Tsegyalgar East (and was recorded as MP3's) in five sessions over 11 months. The reference materials for these sessions are still available for Community members' use. (Email admin@tsegyalgar.org for the Login code and password to access these.)


The Buddhist tradition of Tibet incorporates and unifies all of Buddha's teachings into a nine-yana approach, with Dzogchen, or Ati, at its peak. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu systematically summarizes this vast knowledge in The Precious Vase: Instructions of the Base of Santi Maha Sangha. The text explains the core views of each yana from a Dzogchen perspective, and provides meditation techniques for direct experience.

Demystifying Santi Maha Sangha was an 8-month (approx.) program exploring The Precious Vase in detail. Its aim was to both simplify and to delve into this wealth of knowledge. For new students, it provided a clear perspective. For experienced practitioners, it went more deeply into the material by offering background information and reading of root texts. For all, it was an opportunity to study and practice together.

Beginning on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 at Tsegyalgar East, the program had five Sessions of six Monday classes and a Sunday mini-retreat. Each session has a webpage of supplementary resources and had MP3s of talks. Classes were led by SMS instructor Lynn Newdome, a student of Namkhai Norbu who has followed Tibetan Buddhist teachings for over 40 years.

Demystifying Santi Maha Sangha was open to anyone who had received basic transmission from Rinpoche. It was taken in-person at Tsegyalgar East, via podcasts, or a combination of these. Students taking the course remotely were encouraged to meet at their local centers to discuss these teachings together.


Course Outline

Session I - Sept. 13 - Oct. 26, 2015

"Entering the Dharma"
(based on chapters 1 & 2)

Related Practices*
*not all are "required" base practices

  • Worldly and Dharmic Views
  • Calming Body, Voice & Mind; Re-educating Oneself
  • (4 Awarenesses)
  • 7 Lojongs (#1-6)

Session II - Nov. 16 - Dec. 14, 2015

"Refuge and Bodhicitta" (based on chapters 3 & 4)

It's highly recommended that course participants, especially those who are new to studying "The Precious Vase," begin with Session I, which provides the foundation for subsequent material.

  • Taking Refuge
  • Cultivating Bodhicitta
  • The 6 Paramitas, part 1: Generosity, Morality, Patience, Perserverance
  • The 6 Paramitas, part 2: Meditation
  • The 6 Paramitas, part 3: Prajna
  • (Refuge)
  • 4 Immeasurables
  • (6 Paramitas)
  • Practices for Meditative Stability
  • Lack of Self Nature
  • Lack of Nature of Phenomena: 4 Applications of Presence

Session III - (approx. Jan. 11 - Mar. 8, 2016)

"The Views of the Nine Yanas" (based on chapter 5)

  • Views & Yanas - general
  • Sutra Views:
    (1) Shravaka (including the Five Skandhas)
    (2) Pratyekabuddha (including the 12 Nidanas)
    (3) Bodhisattva (including the 10 Bhumis)
  • Tantra Views:
    • Definition and subdivisions
    • Outer Tantras:
      (4) Kriyatantra
      (5) Ubhaya/Charyatantra
      (6) Yogatantra
    • Classifications
      A. Sarma/New Translation Tradition
      B. Nyingma/Old Translation Tradition
    • Inner Tantras
      (7) Mahayoga
      (8) Anuyoga
      (9) Atiyoga

Session IV - (April 25 - June 5, 2016)

"The Practice of Meditation" (based on chapter 6)

  • Hinayana, Mahayana; Outer Tantras
  • Mahayoga
  • Anuyoga
  • Atiyoga
  • (Arya Tara)
  • Guruyoga
  • Simhamukha & Guru Dragphur
  • Khorde Rushen: Separation of Samsara & Nirvana
  • 7 Semdzins

Session V - 3 Mondays June 20, 27 & July 4 plus Sunday July 24, 2016

"Conduct and Fruition" (based on chapters 7, 8 & 9)

  • Asceticism; Ati Behavior
  • Conclusion
  • (Chod, Yantra Yoga)
  • 7th Lojong