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Requirements

Magyu Path Requirements

The Magyu (Mother Lineage) Program is a life path, not something you do for a certificate like in a training program of some sort. It is meant to bring you to awakening and that takes a long time, much more time than is in the Magyu Program listed here. The Magyu Program is a container and a path on which you progress toward your own awakening.

Before applying to the Magyu Program we ask that you attend at least one in-person retreat (a weekend program or longer, at Tara Mandala or elsewhere) or an online program taught by Lama Tsultrim Allione or one of Tara Mandala’s Authorized Teachers.

Requirements

Photo credit: Josh Brownlee
  • Completion of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd Retreat or CNNR Chod Online Course, and 108 Chod sessions.  (This is a prerequisite for KT3)
  • Completion of Zhitro (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat. (This is a prerequisite for KT4)
  • Completion of P’howa Retreat at Tara Mandala or through Tara Mandala associated Lamas. (This is a prerequisite for KT4)
  • Completion of The Lion-Headed Dakini (Simhamukha) Retreat (Formerly called Dakini Retreat)
    • A Mind Terma of Ayu Khandro. (You must complete 170 hours of mantra recitation after attending the retreat and before KT4).
    • Knowledge of the Five Buddha/Dakini Mandala families is suggested but not a required prerequisite for this retreat. This suggestion can be fulfilled by attending the Wisdom Rising Mandala Training retreats, Wisdom Rising Online Course or reading Wisdom Rising.
  • Completion of Green Tara Retreat or Green Tara Online Program. This Green Tara practice is from the Luminous Secret Vajra Treasury, a treasure cycle of Adzom Drukpa. (It may be taken anytime while in Magyu)
  • Completion of Three-week Solo Green Tara Retreat (170 hours of mantra recitation).
    • Preferably without break (in a single period of time). Retreat may be broken up in 1, 2, or 3 week sections under special circumstances, i.e. parent of a young child. (It may be done anytime while in Magyu)
  • Completion of the White Tara Retreat. 
    • This White Tara practice is from Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo as taught by Lama Pema Dorje.You must complete 170 hours of mantra recitation after attending the retreat. (This retreat can be taken anytime while in Magyu)
  • Completion of Dentog Chigma Chöd Retreat from Machig Labdrön. This is a prerequisite for KT4. Prerequisites for Dentog Chigma Chöd retreat:
    • Completion of all Three Yana Retreats and associated practice requirements.
    • Completion of all the 225 hours of the Dakini Mandala Practice with the transformational work. You must do at least 30 days of daily practice of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis to prepare you for the Dentog Chigma practice. See Mandala and Other Required Practices for complete details on practice requirements.
    • Completion of the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd retreat or CNNR Chöd Online Course. And, you must do at least 30 days of daily CNNR Chöd practice and be able to play the bell and drum well before attending Dentog Chigma Chöd retreat.
  • Completion of One-month long Solo Dentog Chigma Chöd Retreat at Tara Mandala (or another retreat center, not at home) ending with a fire puja (we will help you do fire puja) (This is a prerequisite for KT4)
    • Preferably without break (in a single period of time). Retreat may be broken up in 2 or 4 (one week) sections under special circumstances, i.e. parent of a young child, or have a job that cannot be left for so long.
    • Fire puja can be completed during Kapala IV Training or before if you have learned how to do it.
  • Completion of Chöd Dulzhug Pigrimage: 
    • Go for 108 days to different charnel grounds (including battle ground sites, concentration camps, prisoner or war camps, cemeteries, places like Ground Zero, springs or lakes), 4 sessions of Chöd a day. Any one of these following Chöds may be practiced on this pilgrimage:
      • Magyu required Chöds: CNNR Chöd, Parchangma Chöd.
      • Or non-Magyu required Chöds: Dudjom Tesar Chöd, Tsog Ley Rinchen Trengwa Chöd, or Jigme Lingpa’s Khandro Kejang Chöd.

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Photo credit: Josh Brownlee

The Order

  • It is recommended to do the Three Yana Retreats as early on in the program as possible because it will give you a good foundation for all the Magyu practices you will learn throughout the course of the program.
  • Mandala practices must be done in order and each one must be done completely, i.e., first you would do all the Dakini Mandala practices, then the Five Buddha Mandala, and then Yab Yum Mandala, in that order.  
  • Other retreats can be done at any time in the program unless otherwise stated, as some are prerequisites for specific Kapala Trainings. Similarly, Magyu practices can be done as you like except when there is a prescribed order like in the Kapala Trainings and Mandala work. For example, you could do Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2, and then start the Mandala practices as taught in the Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreats. You could then return to Kapala Training Level 3 or do another practice such as Green Tara, White Tara, The Lion-Headed Dakini (Simhamukha), or the CNNR Chöd. Once you’ve done Kapala Training Level 3 and all required practices, you could then do Kapala Training Level 4 and then go on to Kapala Training Level 5.

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Keeping Records of Practices & Retreats Completed

Please keep a record of the practices you have done for your own records. Check in regularly with your Kalyanamitra and if you need help being consistent with your practices, ask them for guidance and support in setting realistic and clear goals for yourself. Also, keep track of all the retreats you do online through Tara Mandala or elsewhere with a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher. Tara Mandala only keeps track of retreats you do in person at Tara Mandala.

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Photo credit: Josh Brownlee

Mandala and Other Required Practices

The Mandala practices may be done once the Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreats connected to each Mandala practice have been completed or if you receive transmission of these practices in another setting or during a Vajrayana Retreat prior to 2020. There are 150 practice sessions per Mandala practice; 30 sessions with each of the five families. Mandala practices must be done in order and each one must be done completely, i.e., first you would do all the Dakini Mandala practices, then the Five Buddha Mandala, and then Yab Yum Mandala, in that order.

Beginning with Mandala of the Five Dakinis: 

Approximately 1.5 hours practice – one hour of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis practice followed sequentially by thirty minutes (or more) of transformational personal work related to each family of the five dakinis.

This transformational personal work consists of working with Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma, and Karma families and their encumbered patterns either with 

  1. Feeding Your Demons®, 
  2. Feeding Your Demons® with Art (drawing, painting, or clay), 
  3. Guided Journey with the Dakini (formerly “Meeting the Dakini”), or 
  4. Mandala Work with Your Hands.

Please note: practice duration times are meant to be approximations, not hard and fast rules. 

Mandala Practice Requirements in Summary:

  •   225 hours of Mandala of the Five Dakinis
    • 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This should be done prior to attending KT3), can be done in the order or as you need. 
  •   225 hours of Five Buddha Mandala
    • 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done any time), can be done in the order or as you need. 
  •   225 hours of Yab Yum Mandala
    • 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done anytime)

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Kapala Training

Kapala Training Level 1

Prerequisites: None
Kapala Training Level 1 includes:

  •  Feeding Your Demons® – solo and partner work
  •  Feeding Your Demons® with drawing and clay
  •  Extended Ally Process – solo and partner work
  •  Prajna Paramita practice

Kapala Training Level 2

Prerequisites

  • Completion of Kapala Training Level I
  • 65 Feeding Your Demons® processes: 50 solo and 15 with a partner
    • For partner work, you need tracking forms from both partners equal one partner work process. This should not be done with clients if you are a psychotherapist or a counselor. It is acceptable to work with gods instead of demons for some of these sessions.
  • 20 Extended Ally Processes: 10 solo and 10 with a partner
  • 108 hours of Prajna Paramita practice
    • A practice session is a minimum of 30 minutes. One hour is recommended. 30 minutes is just for those with very limited time. This 30 minutes includes the beginning and ending parts of the practice. 
  • Plant a tree or sponsor a tree to be planted.
    • This requirement came to Lama Tsultrim in a dream in which she was flying over Europe and saw that it was dry, parched and very hot. She heard a voice that said: “For Climate Change everyone should plant a tree before Kapala Training Level 2.” Planting a tree connects your practice to healing the earth and to Machig’s experience in the Serlag tree, overseen by the king of the Nagas, during her initiation from Sonam Lama. The tree is also considered a metaphor for individuation.

Kapala Training Level 2 includes:

  •   Making a full-sized body map
    • This entails sketching where the 65 demons/gods you did between Kapala Training Level 1 and 2 appeared in your body and reflecting on what you see in the body map.
  • Male and female family lineage demon and ally maps
  • A hydra map looking at a core constellation of demons/gods
  • “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother,” practice
  • “Supplication to Machig Labdrön Nature of Mind,” practice
  • “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space” practice
  • Teachings on excerpts from the “Grand Poem of Aryadeva the Brahmin” and “Machig’s Last Instructions”
  • Taking and Waking practice

If you intend to apply for Feeding Your Demons®  certification, you will need to do the following:

  1. Complete Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2.
  2. Provide documentation (Tracking Forms) showing that you have completed 54 solo and 54 partner sessions (both yours and partner’s Tracking form makes one partner session), totaling 108 sessions.
  3. Provide documentation (Tracking Forms) showing that you have completed 20 Extended Ally Processes: 10 solo and 10 with a partner,
  4. Pass a test with Lama Tsultrim or with a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher showing that you can guide someone through the process by memory, without using the text.
  5. Be approved by Lama Tsultrim or by a Tara Mandala Authorized Teacher.

Kapala Training Level 3

Kapala Training Level 3 goes more deeply into meditation practices from the Mother Lineage and introduces approaches to Feeding Your Demons® that are more trans-personal and altruistic.

Prerequisites: 

  • Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2
  • Completion of a total of 54 solo and 54 partner Feeding Your Demons® processes begun after Kapala Training Level 1
  • 108 hours of  “Supplication to the Great Mother Machig Labdrön”
  • 108 hours of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” with “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space”
    • You may choose how much time to spend with each (Transmitting the Meaning and Cutting the Four Demons) in one practice session.
  • 200 thirty-minute sessions of Taking and Waking
    • Or 100 hours total – You can do as much time as you like in one practice session, but 30 minutes is the minimum per session.
  • Completion of the Three Yana Retreats in sequential order:
  • Completion of the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd Retreat or Online Course, and 108 Chöd practice sessions.
  • Completion of Wisdom Rising: Meeting the Mandala of the Five Wisdom Dakinis or Wisdom Rising Online Course  (If you completed the Vajrayana Retreat prior to 2020, that retreat counts in place of this retreat and the entire Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreat series)
  • 225 hours of Mandala of the Five Dakinis
    • 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total), can be done in order or as you need. 

In Kapala Training 3 you will receive:

  •   The Empowerment of Machig Labdrön
  •   The practice of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
  •   Feeding Your Demons® with dreams figures
  •   Collective Societal, Cultural, and Historical Demons
  •   Organizational and Group-dynamic Demons
  •   The Fourth Demon: Ego-clinging
  •   Your processes of Journey with the Ally

Kapala Training Level 4

Prerequisites: 

  • Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 and 3
  •  200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”
  • Completion of Dentog Chigma Chöd retreat (please see also the prerequisites for this retreat).
  • Completion of One-month long Solo Dentog Chigma Chöd Retreat at Tara Mandala (or another retreat center, not at home) ending with a fire puja (we will help you do fire puja)
    • Preferably without break (in a single period of time). Retreat may be broken up in 2 or 4 sections under special circumstances i.e. parent of a young child, or have a job that cannot be left so long.
    • Fire puja can be completed during Kapala 4 Training or before if you have learned how to do it.
  • Completion of The Lion-Headed Dakini group retreat (Simhamukha) (Formerly called Dakini Retreat) (please see also the prerequisites for this retreat).
  • 10 Feeding Your Demons® with dream figures with tracking forms
  • 10 Feeding Your Demons® with demon of ego-clinging with tracking forms
  • 10 Feeding Your Demons® with collective societal/cultural/historical demon with tracking forms
  • 10 Journey with the Ally processes
  • 200 thirty-minute sessions of the Four Immeasurables practice (as learned in the Three Yana Retreats)

In Kapala Training Level 4 you will receive:

  •   “Machig’s Direct Transmission” from Lama Tsultrim
  •   “Movement practice”
  •   “5 Elements Practice”

Kapala Training Level 5

Prerequisites: 

  • Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • 200 hours of “Machig’s Direct Transmission”
  • 200 hours of “5 Elements Practice,” 40 hours each element
  • 100 hours of “The Crystal and Its Rays” movement practice
  • Completion of the Zhitro (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat
  • Completion of the P’howa Retreat

In Kapala Training Level 5 you will receive:

  • “Machig Labdrön and the Five Chakra Dakinis” a dagnang terma from Lama Tsultrim received at Zangri Khamar in Tibet on December 13, 2010.
  • Machig Labdrön’s Longevity terma received by Dagnang at Machig Labdrön’s cave in Bhutan in November 6, 2017 — Teachings at Tara Mandala.

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Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreats

Overview

The Mandala Training Program is situated within the Magyu Lineage as a focused training to deepen and develop the mandala work; however it may also be practiced independently. For those in Magyu, these trainings can be taken anytime as an enhancement to your practice of the Mandala work, at least one must be taken before Kapala Training Level 5.

The Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Program offers an exploration into the ancient Buddhist template of the mandala as it applies to our inner path of transformation and our outer experience in the world. As a sacred geography, the mandala creates the framework to move from fragmentation to wholeness.

In the Mandala Trainings, you will learn a contemporary application of the mandala practice and principles, including how to transform encumbered emotional patterns, such as ignorance, anger, and craving, into wisdom through meditation, sound, art, movement, and the five elements. You will learn about the Five Buddha Families–Vajra, Ratna, Padma, Buddha, and Karma–and will also have an opportunity to focus on each of these Families in-depth during each retreat. This is an experiential program exploring the divine feminine, masculine, and union of both feminine and masculine aspects of our psyche.

Although the practices shared in these trainings are based in Tibetan Buddhism, they are accessible to people of any faith or gender identity. For those interested in mindfulness, this work offers a path to a deeper and more embodied spiritual practice. For those long immersed in Buddhism, it provides rich, new insights into familiar concepts. The practices in the Mandala Training Program can be practiced independently.

The Three Wisdom Rising Mandala Training Retreats

  • Wisdom Rising: Meeting the Mandala of the Five Wisdom Dakinis or Wisdom Rising ‘Live’ Online Course
  • Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Sacred Masculine
  • Wisdom Rising: Meeting the Yab Yum Mandala

Requirements Between Retreats:

Integrating Personal Work Into the Mandala Practices:

There are three main ways to integrate personal work into the Mandala practices. These three modalities are to be added after the main meditation on either the Mandala of the Five Dakinis, the Mandala of the Five Buddhas, or the Yab-Yum Mandala:

  1. Feeding Your Demons® (approx. 30 min): Add the five-step practice of Feeding Your Demons® (FYD) after the Mandala Practice (approx. 60 min). Keep records with FYD tracking forms. Approximately 90 minutes per session.
  2. Journey with the Dakini, Buddha, Yab-Yum: (approx. 30 min): Add the Journey with the Dakini after the Mandala practice (approx. 60 min), following the process as described in “Journey with the Dakini” document. Keep records with the Journey with the Dakini tracking form. Approximately 90 minutes per session.
  3. Mandala Work with Your Hands (approx. 30 min): Add Mandala Work with your Hands after the Mandala Practice (approx. 60 min). Keep records in your journal tracking forms. Approximately 90 minutes per session.

In order to take the next level Mandala Training, you must complete 10 of each of the above (FYD, Journey with the Dakini, Buddha, or Yab-Yum, and Mandala Work with Your Hands) to make 30 sessions in total. If you were to do one session per day, you could complete this in one month.