Walking the Buddha’s Path to Genuine Happiness

Walking the Buddha’s Path to Genuine Happiness

A Foundational Online Course with Senior Teacher Polly Ryan
January 9 to March 4, 2021

Webcast Schedule

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Key Features

Apply Buddhist Teachings and Meditation to Your Everyday Life

Join us on the ‘Buddha’s Path’ to enhanced wisdom, inner peace and joy in this online retreat with one of our Authorized Teachers, Polly Ryan, MA.

Siddhartha, the historical Buddha, chose to leave his life of royalty in pursuit of understanding life’s deeper truths. The Buddha eventually ‘awakened’ to his own enlightened state through the wisdom gained on his journey, the development of his mind through meditation, and the fruition of past karmic influences. It was a very human journey of trial and error, of choice and consequence, which brought him into uncharted spiritual and philosophical territory.

More than just a biography, the details of his life are key metaphors for seeing clearly the underlying causes of our human pain, as well as uncovering our innate ability to sustain true contentment and joy.

Over the course of 8 weeks, Polly will lead you through the Buddha’s life story while teaching Buddhism’s principles as they unfolded in his life. You will learn and practice meditation, and establish a conscious practice of Buddhist ethics, awareness and wisdom into your daily habits.

The weekly program will consist of a two-hour lecture by Polly Ryan 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 Polly and the other by an assistant teacher.

Note: This program was formerly known as the Sutrayana 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 Buddhist philosophy including:
    • Twelve Nidanas (12 links of dependent origination)
      Four Noble Truths
    • The Three-Fold Training: Ethics (shila), Meditation (samadi), Transcendent Wisdom (prajna)
    • Eight-Fold Noble Path
    • The Four Seals
  • You will learn and practice mindfulness meditation (shamatha). Research has shown that regular daily meditation (at least 5 minutes per day) begins to create positive changes to your brain and body in only 8 weeks time.
  • Incorporate powerful Buddhist principles into your life through discussion and reflection.

Who Is This Course For?

New practitioners interested in learning the foundational roots of Buddhism and the practice of mindfulness meditation. Seasoned practitioners who would like to refresh or relaunch their practice will also benefit. Completion of this program fulfills the requirement of ‘Sutrayana’ 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.


  • Eight (8) live Zoom teaching and discussion sessions with TM senior teacher Polly Ryan (2 hrs each)
  • Two (2) live Zoom weekly practice sessions, led by either Polly Ryan or a Tara Mandala assistant teacher (2 hrs each – attendance at one session per week is required)
  • Downloadable audio of guided walking and sitting mindfulness meditation with Polly
  • Practice log to record daily practice sessions (required)
  • Friendly weekly quizzes to assess progress
  • Audio and video recordings of each teaching session (access for one year)
  • 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).


Tara Mandala offers tiered pricing for all online courses to allow participants the opportunity to offer additional financial support. Additional support helps Tara Mandala expand access to transformational and inspiring teachings even in difficult times. We encourage you to select at the highest level within your capacity, be a part of this vision, and help cover the costs of offering these wonderful teachings. We thank you in advance for your support and your practice!

In gratitude for your consideration, upon registration you will receive automatically a 20% special discount code for select items from our Dakini Store that have been recommended by Polly Ryan to assist in support of your practice and learning during this course.

Tier 1: $495

Registration at this level covers the basic costs of holding this online course, including compensating our teachers and staff. 

Tier 2: $544.50 

Registration at this level covers basic costs of this online course, compensates teachers and staff, generates funds for scholarships, and ensures yearlong sustainability for Tara Mandala.

Tier 3: $594.00

Registration at this level covers basic costs for this online course, compensates teachers and staff, generates funds for scholarships, and  also supports the development of new course content to be offered in the future.

Deferred Payment Plans and Scholarships

Please see this page for further information.

Sustaining Sangha

If you are currently a member of our Sustaining Sangha, you may apply your Online Course discount to the regular price.


  • Mindfulness / Walking meditation 
  • Teachings 
    • Leaving home
    • Three aspects of prajna (wisdom) – listening, contemplating and meditating
    • 4 kinds of cups
    • Comparison between Buddhist and non-Buddhist system
    • The Buddha’s previous life
    • Important people in the life of the Buddha


  • Teachings:
    • Maya, Mother of the Buddha
    • Mahaprajapati, Goddesses and the Harem life
    • Yashodara
    • The Great Departure
    • Enroute to the Bodhi Tree


  • Teachings:
    • Twelve Nidanas (12 links of dependent origination)
    • Buddha’s awakening
    • Waiting to teach
    • The Four Noble Truths
    • Prajna (transcendent wisdom), Ethis (Shila), Meditation (samadi)


  • Teachings:
    • Eight-Fold Noble Path
    • The life of the Buddha after Enlightenment
    • Important People: King Bimbisara, Sariputra, Maudgalayana & Pippali
    • The Four Seals


  • Teachings:
    • Important People: Devadatta
    • The Buddha’s return to Kapilavastu
    • Taking Ordination: Mahaprajapati, Yashodara, and the 500 women
    • Other important woman during the Buddha’s Ministry


  • Teachings:
    • The life of the Buddha after Enlightenment
    • Growth of the Sangha
    • The Buddha’s Daily Routine
    • Important People: King Shuddhodana, Yasodhara, Jetvana, Mahaprajapati


  • Teachings:
    • Buddha’s Paranirvana (death)
    • After Paranirvana
    • The 3 Councils
    • The Tripitaka


  • The development of the various schools of Buddhism
  • Practice Developments in Hinayana
  • Review

Optional Exam: TBA

Teaching Sessions – Saturdays, 12pm-2pm MT (Colorado Time – Click here to see how this converts to your time zone.)

  • January 9
  • January 16
  • January 23
  • January 30
  • February 6
  • February 13
  • February 20
  • February 27


Practice Sessions – Thursdays, 10am-12pm MT & Sundays, 6pm-8pm MT (Live attendance at one session per week is required.)

  • January 10
  • January 14
  • January 17
  • January 21
  • January 24
  • January 28
  • January 31
  • February 4
  • February 7
  • February 11
  • February 14
  • February 18
  • February 21
  • February 25
  • February 28
  • March 4

There are no prerequisites for this course.