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In just three decades, Lama Tsultrim Allione’s vision of Tara Mandala has evolved into a thriving Dharma community and residential practice center with a diverse Sangha accessible to practitioners around the world. This timeline celebrates the incredible journey of Lama Tsultrim and many others to preserve and spread the sacred teachings and practices of Machig Labdrön’s lineage.

The Origins: A Practitioner’s Journey




Lama Tsultrim Allione was born in Bangor, Maine, on October 3, 1947, as Joan Rousmanière Ewing. Her father, James D. Ewing, published a small-town New England newspaper, and her mother, Ruth D. Ewing, formerly a labor mediator, was active in the League of Women Voters and community mental health.





Lama Tsultrim moves to Keene, New Hampshire with her family where her father becomes publisher of the Keene Evening Sentinel, a daily newspaper.





At 15, Lama Tsultrim is introduced to Buddhism. Her grandmother, Frances Roumanière Dewing, gives her a book of Buddhist poetry and paintings called Zen Telegrams by Paul Reps that triggers her first meditation experience. Frances was the fifth woman to receive a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard-Radcliffe in 1906. She was deeply interested in philosophy and advanced mathematics. Her main professor Josiah Royce was interested in Buddhism and learned Sanskrit. She also studied with William James at Harvard and in Heidelberg, Germany. As a woman, she was not allowed to get books from the Harvard library and had to request male students to get the books she needed for her PhD.




While visiting her grandparents in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she came upon Dr. Carl Jung’s book, Man and His Symbols, which had a Tibetan mandala on the cover. The book initiates a lifelong interest in the mandala.



Lama Tsultrim begins college at Colorado University, Boulder where she found her first book on yoga in the university library and meets Vicki Hitchcock who becomes her best friend.





Having read every book available about Tibet at the time, Lama Tsultrim travels to Nepal and India with Vicki Hitchcock in hopes of learning to paint mandalas. In Nepal, she meets many Tibetan refugees and experiences a deep sense of ‘arriving home.’



Lama Tsultrim begins each morning sitting in the Kagyu monastery next to Swayambhu stupa in Kathmandu observing the rituals.



Lama Tsultrim lives with the American yogi Bhagavan Das at this time. Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer, arrives in Kathmandu. Alpert and Bhagavan Das embark on their famous journey to see Neem Keroli Baba.

She leaves on an arduous journey, hitch-hiking across Northern India to see His Holiness (H.H.) the 14th Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, where she begins a life-long study of Tibetan Buddhism.



After six months in India and Nepal, Lama Tsultrim returns to America and goes back to college. Feeling the wisdom she longs to learn is not being taught in American universities, she makes her way to Samye Ling, the first Tibetan monastery established in the West in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and meets Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.


Returning to India and Taking Monastic Vows




On the full moon in January, at the age of 22, in Bodhgaya, India, Lama Tsultrim is ordained as Karma Tsultrim Chödron by the 16th Karmapa, Rigpai Dorje. His Excellence (H.E.) Tai Situ, H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul, H.E. Gyaltsap Rinpoche, and H.E. Sharmar Rinpoche, the four main reincarnate tulkus, attend the ordination as her witnesses. Lama Tsultrim is the first American to be ordained by H.H. the 16th Karmapa.


After her ordination, Lama Tsultrim returns to Nepal and studies with Kagyu Lama Sapchu Rinpoche. She stays at Kopan Monastery with Lama Thupten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche near Lama Zopa’s cave which is near Mt. Everest at 16,000ft.



Lama Tsultrim has a vision, the first of many, of creating a Western retreat center where meditation could be practiced as it had been in Tibet. The center would be a place where visitors could explore the interface between Western psychology and Buddhism. She shares the vision with her mother during her visit to Nepal and writes a letter to her aunt explaining the vision.




Lama Tsultrim travels to Darjeeling and receives teachings on Ngöndro (Preliminary Practices) and Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) with Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche. She meets Dudjom Rinpoche and Chatral Rinpoche



She travels to see His Holiness the Karmapa in Sikkim at Rumtek Monastery. Because she is a foreigner, she is allowed to stay for only one week.



That winter, Lama Tsultrim returns to Bodhgaya, reconnecting with Baba Ram Dass and meeting his followers, who are practicing the first Goenka Vipassana courses.



She travels to Manali and goes into a six-month retreat doing the Kagyu Ngöndro under the guidance of Apho Rinpoche and Gegen Khyentse.





Lama Tsultrim, now 25, returns to America going directly to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s center in Vermont called Tail of the Tiger (now Karmê Chöling). She goes into a three-month retreat to finish Ngöndro.


After coming out of retreat, she meets Allen Ginsberg in Boulder at Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s center, Karma Dzong. They travel around Wyoming and Montana and, along with Ram Dass, go to Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.




Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche sends Lama Tsultrim back to India as his emissary to invite His Holiness the 16th Karmapa to the United States. Because India and Sikkim were at war, she could not personally deliver the invitation to the Karmapa and entrusted it to his close disciples. She went to Himachal Pradesh.



During a three-month visit to Tashi Jong hosted by H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche, she receives the Dam Ngag Dzöd Empowerments from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a series of empowerments including the lineage of Machig Labdrön. Lama Tsultrim immediately feels a deep connection to Machig Labdrön.



Lama Tsultrim returns to Manali to be with Apho Rinpoche and learns her first Chöd practice of Naro Sang Chöd from Gegyen Khyentse.



At this time she makes the difficult decision to return her monastic vows. She and Paul Kloppenburg, a Buddhist practitioner she had met in Holland in 1969, get together. Shortly afterward while in New Delhi, they marry and return to the West.


Beginning to Teach and Starting a Family




Lama Tsultrim and Paul return to America, settling on Maury Island on Puget Sound in Washington. They begin to study with the great, all-knowing, Dezhung Rinpoche.



Their daughter, Sherab, is born. 



Aloka, Lama Tsultrim’s and Paul Kloppenburg’s second daughter, is born and the family moves to Boulder, Colorado where she and her husband begin to study with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She separates from her husband.



Lama Tsultrim becomes one of the first meditation instructors trained by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Allen Ginsberg requests her as his meditation instructor under the guidance of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.



She begins teaching at Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) and works for Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s organization, which was then called Vajradhatu and is now known as Shambhala International.




Lama Tsultrim attends the fourth Vajradhatu Seminary, a twelve-week period of intensive meditation and study held at Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche teaching the Three Yanas. She is in the first group to receive the Vajrayogini (Vajra Varahi) Empowerment from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and is asked to become a Vajrayana Meditation instructor for those starting Ngöndro.



Lama Tsultrim begins teaching at Naropa Institute as a meditation instructor under Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.




In Boulder, Lama Tsultrim meets Costanzo Allione, an Italian documentary filmmaker. 




Lama Tsultrim marries Costanzo Allione and moves to Rome, Italy with her two daughters.



She meets Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, with whom she studies and practices Dzogchen teachings for many years.


Loss and Connections




On March 18, 1980, Lama Tsultrim gives birth to twins: a boy, Costanzo, and a girl, Chiara, in Rome. When they are two-and-a-half months old, Chiara dies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also called Crib Death.





Lama Tsultrim has a dream of Machig Labdrön while practicing Chöd with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche.



She enrolls in a master’s program in Buddhist Studies and Women’s Studies at Antioch University.



Lama Tsultrim travels to Kathmandu to begin research and collect biographies of great Tibetan women teachers for her master’s thesis. Her old friend Gyalwa finds the biography of Machig Labdrön, and the lama of the Kagyu monastery agrees to begin translating it. For the next three days, Lama Tsewang Gyurme, Phontsog Tobjhor, and Lama Tsultrim translate the biography.





Lama Tsultrim earns her master’s degree in Buddhist Studies and Women’s Studies from Antioch University.




Lama Tsultrim’s master’s thesis is published as her first book, Women of Wisdom, a groundbreaking book on the lives of great Tibetan women practitioners (published by Routledge and Keegan Paul in London, now with Shambhala). The book includes a chapter on Machig Labdrön.



Lama Tsultrim leaves Costanzo Allione, returning to the United States with her children. They move to an old farm in Valley Cottage, NY. 


Under the guidance of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, she begins teaching widely.





Lama Tsultrim begins a five-year process of traveling around the world holding two-week residential retreats for the first time and introducing the important Dakini teachings. Using an ancient yet accessible path, she guides participants in how to transform their emotions into wisdom. Over the next five years, Lama Tsultrim continues to develop these teachings into Wisdom Rising: A Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine.



During the retreats, she also transmits the practice of Simhamukha, the Lion-headed Dakini. Wrathful and blue-black in color, she is one of the most important wisdom Dakinis, very powerful in subduing obstacles. Lama Tsultrim has a strong connection with this yidam practice. Learn more about Simhamukha from Lama Tsultrim Allione.

Deep Partnership




Lama Tsultrim meets David Petit. David teaches dance and theater at the Spring Valley Waldorf School that her children attend.




Lama Tsultrim and David, with the help of Lama Nawang Tsultrim Rinpoche from Nepal, build a 20’ Chang Chub Stupa at her house in Valley Cottage.





Lama Tsultrim holds the last two-week residential Dakini Retreat near Merigar, in Tuscany, Italy, concluding five years of global travel introducing the Dakini teachings.


Tulku Ösel  Dorje receives pointing out instructions from Tulku Orgyen in Kathmandu at Ka-Nying Gompa with Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and Lama Tsultrim.

The Sacred Land of Tara Mandala




Lama Tsultrim and David find 700 acres of beautiful rolling hills, flowering meadows, and forests in Pagosa Springs, Colorado that bring to life the dreams and visions for a retreat location. This will become Tara Mandala.





In June, Lama Tsultrim and David move to the Tara Mandala land with a group of supporters and begin holding retreats, building retreat cabins, and hosting visiting teachers.



The first group retreat is held with an outdoor kitchen and a 30’ yurt. Tsoknyi Rinpoche taught in the secret grove.





Construction begins on Nyala Pema Duddul Stupa after Lama Tsultrim has three dreams in one night of him appearing to her and telling her to build a stupa. She had little knowledge of the great Dzogchen master who took the rainbow body in 1872, before the dreams. Tulku Sang-ngag helped with all the stages and rituals connected to building it over the next four years.



The first Retreat Cabin, Dragon’s Nest, is built on Lama Tsultrim and David’s land adjoining Tara Mandala, assembled in a parking lot, and helicoptered into its permanent location.





Lama Tsultrim and David Petit get married on May 11.




The Nyala Pema Duddul Stupa, the first stupa on the Tara Mandala land, is dedicated. Chogyal Namkhai Norbu consecrates the stupa.



A.dzom Paylo Rinpoche makes his first visit to Tara Mandala and returns annually for the next eight years.





Lama Tsultrim and David’s Family House is finished and her retreat cabin, Dragon’s Nest, is built.



Lama Tsultrim begins a year-long retreat on the land of Tara Mandala.




In a dream on the night of the Buddha’s birthday, Lama Tsultrim is revealed a vision of the main temple at Tara Mandala. The great 8th-century Dzogchen master Vimalamitra reveals the temple’s three levels and mandala formation. 



While visiting his mother during her retreat, Tulku Ösel  Dorje meets A.dzom Paylo Rinpoche at Tara Mandala and takes refuge.





On the December full moon, A.dzom Paylo Rinpoche discovers the Troma Terma, initiating the revelation of the Ösel  Nyingtig Cycle.



Tulku Ösel  Dorje begins a series of long retreats.



Lama Gyurme Rabgye comes to Tara Mandala for the first time to consecrate the small Tara statues in the old Yurt Gompa.



Luminous Peak Retreat Cabin is constructed by volunteer Jeff Tipp.



Tulku Ösel  Dorje is recognized by A.dzom Paylo Rinpoche as a reincarnation of Yudra Nyingpo who was present in Tibet at the time of Guru Padmasambhava, King Tritsen Detsen, and Vairocana in the eighth century. To avoid obstacles, his recognition is kept secret for many years.



Lama Tsultrim begins annual teachings in Europe.






Community Building, a 6,000 sq. ft. double-walled, adobe structure is completed. It houses the kitchen, dining hall, store, full bathroom facilities, and offices.



Lama Gyurme Rabgye and his brother Palden carve the columns and paint the lintels on the Tara Shrine. The shrine is built on the ridge called the ‘Charnel Grounds,’ just below Ekajati Peak. where A’dzom Rinpoche saw Tara’s right knee in his vision two years earlier. The work is completed by Palden.



Charlotte and Pieter Oosthuizen are named Tara Mandala’s first executive directors working as co-directors. 



Ellen Booth Church (Yeshe Choepel) becomes an authorized teacher by Lama Tsultrim after the Prajnaparamita retreat at Spirit Rock. Ellen has vivid dreams of the dakinis and seed syllables while at the retreat. Lama Tsultrim introduces the Mandala of the Five Wisdom Dakinis sadhana to the participants and announces that Ellen will teach the new Mandala of the Five Wisdom Dakinis sadhana.



The Ratna Retreat Cabin is built.

Reestablishing Machig Labdrön’s Lineage



Lama Tsultrim receives the first visitation from Machig Labdrön telling her to find and reestablish Machig’s lineage. Machig transmits the first of three termas called “Machig’s Transmission of the Ultimate Meaning” to Lama Tsultrim.



Charlotte Rotterdam becomes an authorized teacher by Lama Tsultrim. 


Since the mid-1990s she has studied Tibetan Buddhism. Charlotte received the title of Magyu Lopön, lead teacher of Magyu: The Mother Lineage at Tara Mandala from Lama Tsultrim in 2016, and Dorje Lopön Vajra Teacher in 2023. She is an Instructor and Director of the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education at Naropa University.




Pieter Oosthuizen becomes an authorized teacher by Lama Tsultrim. He has been teaching various practices and retreats in Lama Tsultrim’s lineage in the U.S. and abroad for close to two decades, offering a blend of incisive insight and genuine compassion. In addition to Lama Tsultrim, Pieter studied with Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Lama Tharchin Rinpoche, Adzom Paylo Rinpoche, and others. He is a member of the Tara Mandala Board.


Charlotte and Pieter are co-leaders of the Boulder Tara Mandala Sangha.





Lama Tsultrim makes a pilgrimage to Tibet. While there, she is recognized as an emanation of Machig Labdrön by the resident Lama of Zangri Khangmar (Machig’s monastery in Tibet). Before Lama Tsultrim’s arrival, he dreamed of a white Dakini coming from the West loudly sounding a damaru (drum used in Chöd). Additional indicative signs during the visit included rainbows lasting for hours and rain after a long drought.



After these signs manifested, Lama Karma Dorje Rinpoche, tulku of the brother of the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, announced the recognition of Lama Tsultrim as an emanation of Machig Labdrön and gave her Machig’s relics to bring back to Tara Mandala, professing that the future of Machig’s lineage would be in the West.



Returning to Nepal from Tibet, Lama Tsultrim went to see Lama Wangdu Rinpoche who also had a dream and a vision. He also recognized Lama Tsultrim as an emanation of Machig Labdrön and wrote a recognition letter.



The foundation of the Trikaya Tara Temple is completed.



Prajna Residence Hall is completed. It offers 16 rooms on two floors with views of the San Juan Mountains to the east and Ekajati Peak to the West.



With the Tara Mandala community growing and members around the world looking for ways to connect and practice with others, Lama Tsultrim launches the Global Sanghas during the Three Yanas Retreat, opening the opportunity for community members to facilitate local sanghas.



Previously, many Authorized Tara Mandala Teachers started sanghas in their local areas, including Ithaca, New York; New York City; the Florida Keys; Truckee, California; and the San Francisco Bay Area. There are now 42 Global Sanghas, reaching across the United States, and Europe, beginning with the German-speaking Sangha in 2009, South Africa in 2020, and Australia in 2023.



Barbara Staemmler receives permission from Lama Tsultrim to teach Feeding Your Demons in Germany. Barbara has studied medicine and specialized in psychotherapy. For more than 30 years she has worked as a Gestalt therapist and supervisor in private practice; she also conducts Gestalt therapy training programs. She is also trained in psychoanalytic and musical therapy and bodywork.



Chandra Easton becomes a Tara Mandala authorized teacher by Lama Tsultrim and begins teaching the San Francisco Bay Area Sangha of which she later became one of the main leaders of this budding community. She studied Buddhism and Tibetan language in Dharamsala, India, and at UCSB’s religious studies department. During her studies, she co-translated Sublime Dharma: A Compilation of Two Texts on the Great Perfection (Vimala Publishing, 2012) with B. Alan Wallace.



While teaching Choygal Namkai Norbu Rinpoche’s Chöd, Lama Tsultrim develops the five steps of Feeding Your Demons.



Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche begins establishing the lineage of Dzinpa Rangdröl, a terma from Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, at Tara Mandala. This cycle combines the lineage of Machig Labdrön, Phadampa Sangye, and the practice of Chöd with Dzogchen teachings. It is a complete cycle, beginning with Ngöndro (preparatory practices), and extending through the most advanced Dzogchen teachings. With the establishment of the Dzinpa Rangdröl cycle through the Gateway Program, Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche guides Tara Mandala’s three-year retreatants, Beth Lee-Herbert and poet Jampa Dorje (Richard Denner). 



The (Tsogyel Karmo) White Dakini Drubchen is held for the first time and becomes a regular event.



Bhutanese wood carvers arrive at Tara Mandala and Lama Gyurme becomes the resident artist for Prajna Hall and the Temple.


Feeding Your Demons & Kapala Training




In 2008, Lama Tsultrim authors her second book, Feeding Your Demons®: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict (Little Brown & Co., New York), subsequently published in 28 languages. This book connects the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism with the Western concept of the psyche, addressing major cultural issues and the roots of our suffering. This national bestseller is based on Lama Tsultrim’s pioneering technique that uses five steps to nurture the parts of ourselves that we usually fight against. The book offers a personal and collective new paradigm for “feeding; not fighting” inner and outer demons. She develops a training program that combines the demon work with Machig Labdrön’s lineage practices, called Kapala Training. This training has become an international program.



Lama Tsultrim meets Orgyen Trinley, the 17th Karmapa, in Boulder, Colorado, and a rainbow appears over her offerings to him.



Khenpo Ugyen arrives at Tara Mandala as the resident Khenpo (teacher) of ritual arts.



The Trikaya Tara Temple is completed. The first of the breathtaking  21 Tara statues arrives for installation in the main shrine on the first floor. Trikaya Tara is the only temple in the West dedicated to Tara, the Buddhist goddess, the female Buddha of compassion, and the wisdom Dakini – khandroma in Tibetan. The temple is home to 21 statues depicting her 21 manifestations.




The 21 Taras embody essential attributes that are innately within each of us, including wisdom, compassion, strength, and the potential for liberation. Tara is commonly known as Arya Tara or Noble Tara in Sanskrit and Jetsun Drölma in Tibetan. She is seated on a full moon disc, her right leg extended – ready to liberate beings from suffering and protect them from fear. Tara increases the awakened heart of Bodhicitta and removes obstacles. The emanations are depicted as peaceful, semi-wrathful, and fierce. Her right leg is extended slightly, ready to step down to help beings in samara; the left leg is close to her body, symbolizing resting in nirvana. Her left hand is in the mudra of the Three Jewels at her heart and holds the stem of the Utpala flower, a blue lotus, resting above her left shoulder holding her symbol, such as a conch shell, golden fish, parasol, and wheel of dharma. Her right hand is resting on her right knee with an open, upward-facing palm – the mudra of Supreme Generosity. Each Tara has her own mantra.



The White Dakini Drubchen (Tsogyel Karmo) from Dzinpa Rangdröl translated as The Great Accomplishment,  is a ceremony of extensive practice usually lasting ten days. It involves a powerful combination of the elements of Vajrayana practice, including chanting, and music and daily ritual feasts (tsog). It is said that the meritof participating in a Drubchen are equivalent to three years of solitary retreat. The practice concludes with the participants accepting the spiritual accomplishments, known as siddhis.



Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche writes a song ‘in praise of Tara Mandala’. He has kindly overseen many ceremonies and necessary rituals at Tara Mandala and teaches extensively on many topics.



A devoted student of Lama Tsultrim since 1992, Polly Ryan becomes an authorized Tara Mandala teacher. Dharma is at the core of all she does and teaching is a natural outgrowth of her life work and Bodhichitta. At that time, Polly was married and raising three children while working full-time as a therapist in private practice and a consultant with several organizations. She is the founder of the Northern Sierra Tara Mandala Sangha.



A longtime Buddhist practitioner following the Theravadan path, Debra Quayle starts studying and practicing Vajrayana Buddhism two decades later after spending a year living in Asia, where she meets her Tibetan teachers. She then meets Lama Tsultrim, who becomes her main teacher. In 2009, Debra becomes an authorized Tara Mandala teacher. She also co-leads the Truckee Sangha with Polly Ryan, for a year before moving to Tara Mandala where she worked in various roles and as Assistant Teacher to Lama Tsultrim.


Loss & Return



On July 22, 2010, Lama Tsultrim’s husband, David Petit, dies suddenly of a heart attack. He is cremated in front of the stupa that he built on the land. At the time of his death, he is proclaimed a great yogi by many lamas who knew his practice and the signs at the time of his death. In the days following his death, there are numerous rainbows as well as one of the rarest atmospheric phenomena, a moonbow, which, on the third day, extends from Ekajati Peak in the center of the land to the house where David died. Extensive traditional rituals are performed for him at Tara Mandala and at A.dzom Rinpoche’s monastery in Tibet for 49 days. David’s tögal teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, performs the 49th-day ceremony at Tara Mandala.



David’s ashes are blended with clay and made into tsatsas (clay stupas with mantra roles inside). They are then placed in a tsakang (a memorial stone house) on Prayer Flag Ridge, where he had practiced in the early mornings.



Lama Tsultrim makes an extended pilgrimage to Asia, starting with a six-week stay in Kangding (Dartsedo) where she receives the entrustment ceremony (katey) and oral transmission (lung) of Dzinpa Rangdröl from Do Dasel Wangmo, the great-granddaughter of the tertön Do Khyentse.



Lama Tsultrim goes to central Tibet to Machig Labdrön’s cave and birthplace where she receives the second terma from Machig Labdrön and the Chakra Dakinis.


She then travels to Nepal and India, where she is re-acquainted with the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley, and Sey Rinpoche, the son and lineage holder of Apho Rinpoche. She visits Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in Australia and makes a short visit to New Zealand.


Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche writes a long-life prayer for Lama Tsultrim Allione.




At the end of the year, Lama Tsultrim starts teaching again, giving the Chöd Empowerment and Prajña Paramita teachings in California at Orgyen Dorje Den and teachings in Switzerland and Italy.



Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche writes a beautiful Tsog song about Dzinpa Rangdröl.



Robin Gayle becomes an Authorized Teacher for Tara Mandala. 

She meets Lama Tsultrim Allione in 1991 and subsequently goes on pilgrimage with her to several power places around the world learning Dakini and Chöd practices. Robin assists Lama Tsultrim in numerous retreats over the last 33 years. She recently completes the 10-year Gateway Program: Dzinpa Rangdröl (Self Liberation of Clinging). Robin also helped found the Bay Area Tara Mandala Sangha in 1992.




Lama Tsultrim embarks on a Nyensa Pilgrimage in India, Sikkim, and Nepal. In the Chöd lineage, the practitioner goes to places that are frightening, lonely, or sacred. Traveling to the mouth of Khandro Sang Phug in South Sikkim, known as the ‘Secret Cave of the Dakini’, a sacred location to Guru Rinpoche. It is the southernmost cave of the four sacred caves that surround Tashi Ding, the center of the Sikkimese mandala. 


While deep in the cave, memories of Chiara, Lama Tsultrim’s daughter who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and grief from the recent death of her beloved husband David, flood her mind. ‘I took out my drum, bell, and kangling (thighbone trumpet) and began the Pharchangma Chöd from Dzinpa Rangdröl working with all the emotions that were arising intensely.’ Read the full article published in the Melong newsletter written by Lama Tsultrim here.



Karla Jackson-Brewer begins co-teaching Chöd with Lama Tsultrim and Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton. Karla has practiced Chöd for over three decades and received the Chöd empowerment from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. Karla teaches and leads Chöd practices for the New York City Tara Mandala Sangha and BBIAPOC Sangha. Karla is co-Chair of the EDI Council and is an adjunct professor in the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and the Africana Studies Department at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.





Magyu: The Mother Lineage is launched as a long-term study pathway program.



During the final day of the White Dakini Drubchen, Lopön Chandra Easton is given the title of Dorje Lopön (Vajra Teacher) of Tara Mandala under Lama Tsultrim, and the name Lopön Yeshe Dawa Zangmo by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche who presided over the ceremony with Lama Tsultrim.



Tara Mandala establishes the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council to address the underrepresentation of people from different cultural, racial, sexual orientation, and social backgrounds in the Dharma and at Tara Mandala. The council supports the expression and experience of cultural literacy and offers training to the staff, teachers, Living Dharma Apprentice Program (LDAP) participants, and the broader sangha with resources that strengthen the cultural literacy of our community at large.





Lama Tsultrim meets Drüpon Lama Karma at a Drubchen presided over by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche in Siliguri, India, and invites him to Tara Mandala. Drüpon Lama Karma is the Dharma heir of Pegyal Lingpa (1924 -1988), a great tertön of modern times, largely due to his direct service for many years as Pegyal Lingpa’s scribe.



On July 19, Lama Tsultrim, assisted by Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton, enthrones Charlotte Rotterdam as the Magyu Lopön, leader of Magyu: The Mother Lineage. This is a very auspicious date—the Full Moon of the Monkey Year, in the Monkey Month, the most auspicious month in Guru Rinpoche’s year, which occurs only once every 60 years. Magyu is one of the two main practice paths offered through Tara Mandala and following the teachings of Machig Labdrön and the methods developed by Lama Tsultrim in conjunction with Machig’s teachings.



The Tara Mandala Library opens thanks to Marco Spinner’s generosity and the hard work of Jampa Dhadak, the Tara Mandala librarian. A library and translation center was part of Lama Tsultrim’s vision for the three-level Trikaya Tara Temple. The library currently holds 798 Tibetan titles and 1,712 English books, totaling 2,510 books and texts.

Reconnecting with Machig Labdrön’s Lineage Holders



Lama Tsultrim and 62 other participants depart for Bhutan on the first pilgrimage to Druk Zangri Khamar. They visit the seat of Machig Labdrön.



On November 6, Lama Tsultrim receives the Longevity Sadhana of Machig Labdrön Terma in Machig’s cave in Paro, Bhutan.



Drübpon Lama Karma and his consort Khandro Drolkar move to Tara Mandala as resident lamas to teach Rinchen Trengwa. Drüpon Lama Karma is a renowned retreat master (drüpon) throughout Bhutan. He was the heart student of Pedgyal Lingpa, serving as the scribe for the entirety of Pedgyal Lingpa’s Kusum Gongdü treasure cycle. Lama Karma is an accomplished Dzogchen yogi and Chöd practitioner (chödpa). 

He learned Chöd from his first teacher Lama Naljhorpa and is master of many Chöd practices. Having spent over 16​ years in strict meditation retreats and presiding over drubchens and drubchos, he guides others in long-term retreat.




Khandro Drolkar, the consort of Lama Naljhorpa until he passed away in 1994, received many different Chöd lineages from him. She also assisted him in instructing practitioners in the Chöd melodies and rhythms.





Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine, Lama Tsultrim’s third book, is published by Simon and Schuster.



Tulku Ösel  Dorje receives a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from Kathmandu University through Rangjung Yeshe Institute.



Tulku Ösel  Dorje is formally enthroned as Dorje Gyalstab (Varja Regent) of Tara Mandala and receives the decree to teach and spread his guru’s, A.dzom Rinpoche’s, precious Termas and other teachings in the West.



Lama Tsultrim and Tulku Ösel receive the instruction to teach the Ösel Nyingtig cycle.


The last White Dakini Drubchen is held before the COVID-19 pandemic.



Drubpön Lama Karma and Khandro Drolkar complete their teachings and depart Tara Mandala.



After living at Tara Mandala for more than 25 years, Lama Tsultrim moves to her new home in California.






With an unwavering devotion to A.dzom Paylo Rinpoche, Lama Tsultrim and Dorje Gyaltsab Tulku Ösel  Dorje begin teaching the profound dharma treasures of the Ösel  Nyingtig. The terma cycle on The Luminous Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, the Ösel  Dzogpa Chenpo Nyingtig, is the very enlightened intent of the Buddhas of the three times. This treasure carries incredible blessings for swiftly traversing the path to enlightenment. This extraordinary cycle connects practitioners to the luminous presence of Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal.



Tara Mandala holds its first virtual symposium, Voices of Wisdom in Time of Crisis.



A small group of dedicated practitioners continue to live on the land, caring for the buildings and systems, and maintaining a strong spirit of daily practice during the COVID-19 forced closure. 


The San Diego Tara Mandala Sangha meets for Chöd practice on the beach during the COVID-19 pandemic.



In response to the global pandemic, the Tara Mandala Network launches. The online network provides a unique space for people to come together for collective engagement, support, and community building among global sangha members. The network provides in-depth information regarding ongoing practice offerings, upcoming teachings, calls to practice, lunar celebrations, what is happening on the Tara Mandala land, upcoming teachings and gatherings with Lama Tsultrim, and much more. 



Lama Tsultrim and the Tara Mandala Board form the Prajna Council, the wisdom body guiding the practice and programmatic vision. Council members include Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton, Tulku Ösel Dorje, and Magyu Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam.


Lama Tsultrim begins traveling and giving teachings and she holds the first Sahja Spontaneous Wisdom Retreat in Costa Rica.




Lama Tsultrim holds a virtual retreat with Anam Thubten on the teachings and practice of Prajñaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom. These profound teachings are at the heart of discovering our true nature. They are the root of the teachings of the great 11th-century female teacher Machig Labdrön to whom both Lamas are deeply connected. 



Lama Tsultrim and Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel discuss what it means to call upon the protectors of the world, the dark mothers, in these times. This is the first dialogue in a new series called In Conversation, talks between Lama Tsultrim and other esteemed wisdom teachers.



Karla Jackson-Brewer gives the first Martin Luther King, Jr. online Dharma talk. Are you With Me? centers on social justice and racial equity in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday celebration. Karla presents the voices of revolutionary activists from African diasporic communities who challenged the limitations of structural oppression and challenges us to push through our fear, anger, and difficult emotions in order to bring about true transformation within ourselves and commit to making change in the outside world.



A’dzom Gyalse Tulku Rinpoche gives the first in a series of teachings on Longchenpa’s text known as Chöying Dzöd. The Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena is a masterpiece that synthesizes more than six hundred years of the Nyingma (“Ancients”) spiritual tradition. Chöying Dzöd focuses on the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) practice of trekchö, (break-through), in which delusion is cut through, and the primordially pure nature of mind is revealed, bringing the practitioner to effortless liberation.





On Saga Dawa Düchen, Tuesday, June 14, the new Machig Labdrön statue is unveiled in Trikaya Tara Temple. The five-foot standing statue was created in Nepal by Bijaya Shakya, the sculptor who created all the statues in the Tara Mandala temple, including the exquisite 21 Tara statues. The Machig statue took three years to complete.



Tulku Ösel  Dorje becomes resident Lama. He and his family return to live in Family House at Tara Mandala.



Three years after the COVID-19 lockdown began, the first onsite retreat is held on the land at Tara Mandala.



Lama Tsultrim transmits the Longevity Sadhana of Machig Labdrön for the first time at Tara Mandala during the Magyu Gathering.



Lama Live! With Lama Tsultrim launches on Facebook and YouTube. The weekly events provide an opportunity for community members to come together in real time for meditation and teachings from Lama Tsultrim and other guest teachers.



Lama Tsultrim gives the Troma Empowerment at Orgen Dorje Den in Alameda, CA. It is the first time the empowerment is given.



Lama Tsultrim holds the first Teacher Investiture Ceremony for 15 Tara Mandala teachers. Some have been in their role for several years and others are newly certified: Tulku Ösel  Dorje, as Dorje Gyaltsab (Sanskrit Yuvarajā) “Adamantine Regent”


Charlotte Rotterdam and Chandra Easton as Dorje Lopön (Sanskrit Vajra Acharya) “Adamantine Distinguished Teacher.” 



Ellen Booth Church, Pieter Oosthuizen, Barbara Staemmler, Karla Jackson-Brewer, Polly Ryan, Debra Quayle, and Robin Gayle are authorized as Lopöns. Susan Glumac, Bridget Bailey, Jenny Terbell, Susan Lorraine, and  Lisa Erickson are authorized as Chogés. Thirty more teachers are named Apprentice Teachers.



Anna Raithel is appointed the first head Chopön, holding the ceremonial knowledge of all the ritual aspects of the traditions for Tara Mandala.



The San Diego Sangha establishes the Tiny Tara Temple in Encinitas, California, and the Ushnishavijya statue is consecrated and installed.



Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton’s book Embodying Tara: Twenty-One Manifestations to Awaken Your Innate Wisdom is published by Shamala Publications.



The Wisdom Rising with Lama Tsultrim Allione podcast launches. Each episode is filled with thoughtful insights, wisdom teachings, personal stories, captivating guests, guided meditations, and practical guidance. The gatherings provide a welcoming and supportive space to deepen one’s understanding of Buddhism and practical advice on the path of awakening.



A second group travels to Druk Zangri Khamar, Bhutan with Lopöns Karla Jackson-Brewer and Polly Ryan to receive training in the Rinchen Chema practices and Chöd dance. 





Tara Mandala holds a live-stream event to celebrate the 100th Episode of Lama Live! 



At the request of students, Lama Tsultrim offers the Dzinpa Rangdröl Ngöndro (foundational practices) of the Yangsang Khandro Tug Tig (Exceedingly Secret Heart Essence of the Dakini) cycle. The Ngöndro, part of the Gateway Program, is offered for the second time at Tara Mandala. During the two-day retreat, Lama Tsultrim offers the oral transmission (Tib. lung) and guides students through the practices of the Dzinpa Rangdröl Ngöndro.



Tara Mandala celebrates 30 years of honoring the sacred feminine, cultivating wisdom and compassion, and growing a thriving Buddhist community.