Opening the Heart of Compassion
Mahāyāna Wisdom for Everyday Life
with Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton
August 8 to October 3
Early bird ends July 29
Embark on a powerful inner journey to learn and embody the way of the Bodhisattva.
A Bodhisattva is one who awakens, not only for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. The Mahāyāna (Great Vehicle) teachings emphasize the cultivation of compassion and wisdom as a way to walk the path with intelligence and care. We will explore the key historical developments that took place during this great period of development in Buddhist thought, such as the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras, Madhyamaka and Yogācāra philosophies, the concept of Buddha Nature, and the greater emphasis on compassionate motivation. Meditations on the Four Immeasurables, including Tonglen, and Prajñāpāramitā (Transcendent Wisdom) will also be taught.
This 8-week online course will consist of a balance of lectures, discussion, study and practice so that the teachings can become integrated into your body, mind and spirit.
The weekly program will consist of a two-hour lecture by Lopӧn Chandra and a two-hour meditation practice. There are two options for the meditation practice and you can choose to attend either one each week: one practice will be led by Lopӧn Chandra and the other by an assistant teacher, Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo. An optional oral exam will be given at the end of the retreat to those who wish to take it (see notes below about requirements for Tara Mandala long-term program participants).
This course is open to everyone. No prior meditation experience is required.
Note: This program was formerly known as the Mahāyāna Retreat at Tara Mandala and fulfills the same requirement. It is required for the Magyu Mother Lineage Program, the Gateway Program, and as recommended on a case by case basis for Osel Nyingthig. If you want credit for attending this course you must attend all teaching sessions and one 2-hour meditation session per week in addition to passing the exam.
What Will I Learn?
- Gain a thorough understanding of the key principles of the Mahāyāna path, including:
- The Four Immeasurables
- The Six Perfections
- The Heart Essence of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, more widely known as The Heart Sūtra
- Prajñāpāramitā meditation, a nature of mind practice as taught by Lama Tsultrim Allione
- Tonglen (sending & receiving) compassion meditation
- Two-fold emptiness of self and phenomena
- The power of intention
Who Is This Course For?
New practitioners interested in learning about the ‘2nd turning’ of the wheel of Buddhadharma and the practice of the Bodhisattva pathway. Seasoned practitioners who would like to refresh or relaunch their practice will also benefit. Completion of this program fulfills the requirement of ‘Mahāyāna’ for Magyu, Gateway, and Osel Nyingtig practitioners.
If you’re new to Buddhism and want to begin a structured pathway to learn the entire Buddhist philosophy, see the page on our Maygu program.
- 8 two-hour live webcast teaching sessions.
- 8 two-hour live webcast guided meditation sessions (option of 2 alternate times).
- Audio and video recordings of all teaching and meditation sessions (lifetime access).
- Summary overview of each teaching session’s topics.
- Completion certificate – available as a ‘testing’ option (an oral exam with questions given ahead of time, and the requirement to attend all sessions).
- Opportunity to take Bodhisattva vows with Lama Tsultrim Allione through a live online ceremony on September 26.
We are pleased to offer a special discount for participants of this online program to join The Heart Sutra Virtual Teachings with H.E. Chung Tulku Rinpoche from July 22 to August 26. These precious teachings will compliment and deepen your understanding and practice of the content in ‘Opening the Heart of Compassion’.
Once you register for this program, you will receive a 20% discount code for the teachings with H.E. Chung Tulku Rinpoche.
Deferred Payment Plans and Scholarships:
Please see this page for further information.
If you are currently a member of our Sustaining Sangha, you may apply your Online Course discount to the Regular (not the early bird) price.
Each week has approximately 2 hours of teachings/discussion and 2 hours of meditation (including meditation instruction) with 2 options for the meditation session times (see below in webcast schedule). Topics each week may change or shift weeks.
- Introduction to Māhāyana and the Bodhisattva Ideal
- Emptiness (Śūnyatā) & Compassion (Karuṇā)
- Buddha Nature
- History & philosophy of Prajñāpāramitā teachings
- Prajñāpāramitā meditation teaching and transmission
- Nāgārjuna, the Second Buddha
- Two Schools of Mahāyāna: Madhyamaka and Yogācāra
- Prajñāpāramitā teachings continued
- The Heart Sūtra, teachings and commentary
- The Heart Sūtra commentary continued:
- The Two Truths
- Three Natures
- Three Doors to Liberation
- Ground, Path, and Fruit
- The Prajñāpāramitā mantra
- Bodhicitta (Relative & Ultimate)
- Four Immeasurables
- Six Perfections
- Four Limitations
- Madhyamaka: Prāsaṅgika and Svātantrika interpretations
- Five Paths
- 10 Bhumis
- Bodhisattva Vow teachings
Optional Exam: TBA
Teachings: Saturdays, 10 am – 12 pm Pacific Time (California):
- August 8
- August 15
- August 22
- August 29
- Break week
- September 12
- September 19
- September 26
- October 3
Meditation Sessions (choose one):
- Thursdays 10 am to 12 pm Pacific Time with Lopӧn Chandra
- Wednesdays 5 pm to 7 pm Pacific Time with Assistant Teacher Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo
If you are in the Magyu or Gateway programs, you should have completed the Sutrayana course first (either an onsite retreat at Tara Mandala or the ‘Walking the Buddha’s Path to Genuine Happiness’ online program).
Venerable Dr. Myodo Jabo
Venerable Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) first encountered the Dharma in 1998. She is a Priest and Bodhisattva Monastic in the Five Mountain Zen Order. The first woman Zen Master in that Order, she is the Guiding Teacher for three Zen sanghas in southern California. She has studied in multiple Buddhist traditions, taking precepts in Zen, Vajrayana, and Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) Buddhism. She has been fortunate to study with Lama Tsultrim Allione, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, James Baraz, Brad Warner, Shinzen Young, Ven. Dr. Wonji Dharma, Ven. Thich An Giao, and Ven. Ji Bong, among others. When she first met Lama Tsultrim Allione in 2008, she felt a karmic connection with her and immediately asked to become her student. She is now an Apprentice Teacher in Lama Tsultrim’s lineage. Ven. Myodo has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at the Permian Basin and a doctorate in Law from Western State University College of Law. She has completed coursework in Buddhist Studies at the master’s level at the University of Sunderland. She lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Claremont with her husband and an ever-changing number of rescued dogs. She is the owner of Open Door Yoga in Pomona, CA, where she teaches meditation classes.