In this course, we will explore the view of what has been called the “Mind-Only School” as presented in late Indian Mādhyamika doxographies and the standard Tibetan doxographies, versus the view of the Indian Yogācāra School. In addition to discussing their differences and commonalities, students will also learn about their relationships with what has been called the “Shentong Madhyamaka,” which originated in Tibet.

This course fulfills the BUD 601 course requirement for the Intermediate Certificate of Completion.

Prerequisite: Mind and Its World I and II (BUD 501 and BUD 510) plus Madhyamaka (BUD 610) are required, and it is recommended to have also taken Mind and Its World III and IV (BUD 520 and BUD 530).

Required texts:

  • The Treasury of Knowledge, Book Six, Parts One and Two: Indo-Tibetan Classical Learning and Buddhist Phenomenology

  • The Treasury of Knowledge: Book Six, Part Three: Frameworks Of Buddhist Philosophy

  • A Compendium of the Mahāyāna, vol. 1 and 3

Optional texts:

  • Luminous Heart

  • Mining for Wisdom Within Delusion


This course is an exposition of the Middle Way philosophical tradition. Students will explore the ground, path, and fruition of Madhyamaka, the classification of knowable objects into the two realities, and cultivate certainty in twofold identitylessness, namely, 1) the emptiness of all phenomena through engaging in the five great Madhyamaka reasonings, and (2) the emptiness of a self of persons using the sevenfold analysis of the chariot. This course is based on the Middle Way section of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Taye’s The Treasury of Knowledge, with the transcript of the oral commentary on this section by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen. The course will also use selections from Karl Brunnhölzl’s The Center of the Sunlit Sky.

Prerequisite: BUD501 is required, and it is recommended that all four Mind and Its World courses be taken before taking level 2.

Required texts:  

  • TOK: Root Text: Selections from The Presentation of Madhyamaka in The Treasury of Knowledge, Nitartha Institute Publications 

  • ALTG: Sourcebook: Commentary on The Presentation of Madhyamaka In the Treasury of Knowledge, by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, 2009, Nitartha Institute Publications 

  • CSS: The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyü Tradition, by Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl, 2004, Snow Lion Publications

This course is an exposition of the Tathāgatagarbha philosophical tradition, based on The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra: Fourth Vajra Point root text. Students cultivate certainty in the view of Buddha nature —the essence of awakening present in all beings. The Fourth Vajra Point of the Uttaratantra establishes Buddha nature through three reasonings, its ten aspects, nine analogies, and five reasons why it is necessary to teach it.

Prerequisite: None

Required texts:  

  • Root Text: The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra: Fourth Vajra Point, by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye, Nitartha Institute Publications
  • Commentary on the Fourth Vajra Point in the Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen and Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl, Nitartha Institute Publications

This course is an exposition of the Middle Way philosophical tradition based on Part One of The Center of the Sunlit Sky, expressed as the ground, path and fruition of Madhyamaka. Students explore the classification of knowable objects into the two realities and cultivate certainty in the view of emptiness of all phenomena, formulating the five great Madhyamaka reasonings. The course includes the presentation of personal identitylessness with the sevenfold analysis of the chariot.

Prerequisites: BUD 501, BUD 510, BUD 520, BUD 530, BUD 601

Required text:

    • The Center of the Sunlit Sky: Madhyamaka in the Kagyü Tradition, by Karl Brunnhölzl, 2004, Snow Lion Publications
    • Not Even a Middle  (Nalandabodhi Publications)


This course is an exposition of the Cittamātra philosophical tradition, based on The Mind Only  Tenet System root text. Students engage in the philosophical reformulation of experience arising from meditation practice, declaring reasonings that establish objects as not separate from mind.  This is followed by the presentation of the true and false aspectarians and the classification of knowable objects into the three natures, as well as the theory of the eight-fold collection of consciousness.

This course is an exposition of the Middle Way philosophical tradition based on Part One of The  Center of the Sunlit Sky, expressed as the ground, path and fruition of Madhyamaka. Students explore the classification of knowable objects into the two realities and cultivate certainty in the view of emptiness of all phenomena, formulating the five great Madhyamaka reasonings. The course includes the presentation of personal identitylessness with the sevenfold analysis of the chariot.

This course is an exposition of the Tathāgatagarbha philosophical tradition, based on The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra: Fourth Vajra Point root text. Students cultivate certainty in the view of Buddha nature —the essence of awakening present in all beings. The Fourth Vajra Point of the Uttaratantra establishes Buddha nature through three reasonings, its ten aspects, nine analogies, and five reasons why it is necessary to teach it. 

This course is a presentation of the five paths on the voyage to awakening, the ten bodhisattvas' bhūmis, or levels of realization, and the result: the enlightenment, buddha's kāyas and wisdoms as well as enlightened activity. We will study what is required to embark and progress on the path and what the goal of such spiritual journey is.

Prerequisites: Taking BUD 610 (Madhyamaka) is recommended before this course.

Required Texts: 

    • Root text: The Presentation of Bhumis, Paths & Results in the Treasury of Knowledge (Salam), by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye, Nitartha Institute Publications 
    • Sourcebook: Commentary on The Presentation of Paths Bhumis, & Results in the Causal Vehicle of Characteristics from the Treasury of Knowledge by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye, by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen and Karl Brunnhölzl, Nitartha Institute Publications

This course is a systematic presentation of Chittamātra, or Mind Only meditative view of Mahāyāna Buddhism. We will engage in the philosophical reformulation of experiences arising from meditation practice – declaring reasonings establishing objects as not separate from mind, as well as the three natures theory and the eight-fold collection of consciousness.

Prerequisite: BUD 530

Required texts:

    • Root text: The Mind Only Tenet System (Semtsam), by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications 
    • Mind Only Tenet System Sourcebook, by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications 

Recommended text:

    • Commentary on the Chittamatra Philosophical Tradition, by Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications

This course is an overview of the Tathāgatagarbha, or Buddha Nature tradition, the view of the luminous essence of awakening, the heart of goodness shared by all beings. Our exploration will rely on the key section of Uttaratantra of Maitreya (ca. 4th century) which establishes Buddha nature through three reasonings, its ten facets, nine analogies and five reasons why it is necessary to teach it.

Prerequisite: BUD 620

Required texts: 

    • Buddha Nature: The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra with Commentary, by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Thaye, translated by Rosemarie Fuchs, 2000, Snow Lion Publications
    • Commentary on the Fourth Vajra Point in the Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Nitartha Institute Publications