Building a Stable Foundation of Dharma Practice
A pioneering online Dharma curriculum, the Palpung Thubten Choling Dharma Path program was created in 2006 under the direct guidance of Lama Norlha Rinpoche to meet the needs of serious meditation practitioners who do not have the circumstances to participate in the traditional three-year retreat. Designed to provide an opportunity for significant personal development in the basic meditation practices and contemplation techniques of the Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dharma Path program serves as an in-depth curriculum for lay practitioners as well as an excellent preparation for dharma students who aspire to do a three-year retreat.
Participation in the program consists of listening to assigned teachings by Lama Norlha Rinpoche and other teachers, reading assigned texts, and applying the teachings through contemplation and meditation on a daily basis. For those with a typical work week, the recommended daily commitment is one hour a day of practice on workdays and two hours a day on two days off, totaling nine hours of practice per week. By following this recommendation, each full level can be completed in approximately a year (this will vary somewhat depending on the level). The time commitment can be structured according to individual needs. Those with more time can complete each level more quickly, while those with less time will take longer. The most important commitment in order to progress on the path is to practice consistently every day, however much time you are able to allocate.
Working with a Mentor
Each participant is assigned a mentor who is a three-year retreat graduate of Palpung Thubten Choling. Students meet with their mentor at designated points in the program to demonstrate their mastery of the material. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed to answer questions or provide guidance. Mentors and students meet via a combination of email, telephone, and Zoom, depending on the student’s location and the individual mentor’s availability. When there’s no pandemic, in-person meetings may also be scheduled if feasible.
Participants are required to keep an accurate record of their practice hours. Each level includes a time sheet to be filled out as you accumulate practice hours, and shared with your mentor when you complete the level.
Dharma Path FAQs
How do I start?
Complete and submit the registration form on the right.
How do I arrange for my meeting with my mentor?
After you send in your registration and fee, you will be contacted by our Dharma Path administrator. The program’s contact email once you have registered is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have a choice of mentors?
If you know a particular mentor that you would like to work with, it’s fine to request that mentor when you register, and they will be assigned to you if they are available to take new students. Otherwise, you will be assigned one of the available mentors, all of whom have completed the traditional three-year retreat at the monastery and are experienced meditators and dharma teachers. It is also possible to change mentors at any point during the program if circumstances change or you feel a different mentor would better serve your needs.
What if I have already started other dharma practices such as Ngondro?
You can speak to your mentor about how to integrate Dharma Path practice with your existing practice.
What if I can’t keep the daily commitment?
Consistency is key to progress in dharma practice. The amount of time you spend practicing each day can be tailored to your individual needs, but however much time you allocate to your practice, if you find you are not able to maintain it consistently at least on most days, benefit will be limited.
After I register for the program, what if circumstances arise that prevent me from participating?
Requests for refunds for purposes of exiting the program will be honored under the following circumstances:
- 100% (less $10 handling charge + credit card/Paypal fees) within 30 days of enrollment IF the course content has not been accessed.
- 75% within 2 months of enrollment
- 50% within 3 months of enrollment
If you have any other questions about the Dharma Path program, please contact our administrator at email@example.com.