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.


  • Completion of All Kapala Training Levels (KT1 – KT5)
  • Three Yana Retreat
  • Required Mandala Practices
  • Chöd* (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche) Retreat.
  • Zhitro* (Namchö Mingyur Dorje)
  • P’howa* Retreat
  • The Lion-Headed Dakini (Simhamukha) Retreat
    • The Lion Headed Dakini Sadhana: Simhamukha Mind Terma of Ayu Khandro* Retreat. (You must complete 170 hours of mantra recitation after attending the retreat).
  • Green Tara* Retreat. This Green Tara practice is from the Luminous Secret Vajra Treasury, a treasure cycle of Adzom Drukpa. Lama Tsultrim teaches this practice. (The Green Tara Live Program also qualifies)
  • Three-week Solo Green Tara* Retreat (170 hours of mantra recitation).
  • 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).
  • The practice of Dentog Chigma Chöd* from Machig Labdrön. Prerequisites for Dentog Chigma Chöd* retreat:
    • Complete Three Yana Retreat and associated practice requirements.
      • Ideally you will have completed all of the Mandala and Other Required Practices before learning Dentog Chigma. However, if you are not able to complete all the 225 hours of the Dakini Mandala Practice with the transformational work before learning the Dentog Chigma practice, 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 below for complete details on practice requirements.
    • Completion of the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd retreat
  • Chöd  ODulzhug Pigrimage: Practice either CNNR Chöd,* Parchangma Chöd,* Dudjom Tesar Chöd,* Tsog Ley Rinchen Trengwa Chöd,* Jigme Lingpa’s Khandro Kejyang Chöd,* or Dentog Chigma Chöd* at 108 different charnel grounds (including battle ground sites and concentration camps and prisoner or war camps, cemeteries, places like Ground Zero, springs or lakes). Further instructions will be given when you decide to do it.

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Photo credit: Josh Brownlee
Photo credit: Josh Brownlee

The Order

  • It is recommended to do the Three Yana Retreat 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.
  • Other retreats can be done at any time in the program unless otherwise stated, as some are pre-requisites 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 Vajrayana section of the Three Yana retreat. You could then return to Kapala Training Level 3 or do another practice such as Green Tara, White Tara, Simhamukha (Lion Headed Dakini), 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

Required Mandala Practices

The Mandala practices may be done once the Three Yana Retreat has been completed and transmission has been received for the practices. 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:

1.5 hours practice – one hour of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis practice followed sequentially by thirty minutes 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 Feeding Your Demons®, Feeding Your Demons® with Art (drawing, painting, or clay), Guided Meeting with the Dakini, or Mandala Work with Your Hands.

Mandala Practice Requirements:

  •  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)
  •  225 hours of Five Buddha Mandala
    • 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done any time)
  •  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


  •  Completion of Kapala Training Level I
  •  65 Feeding Your Demons® processes: 50 solo and 15 with a partner
    • For partner work, tracking forms from both partners equal one partner work process. This should not be done with clients. 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 prayers.
  • 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 tree experience during her initiation from Sonam Lama.

Kapala Training Level 2 includes:

  •  Making a full-sized body map
    • This entails tracking 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 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. Pass a test with Lama Tsultrim or an Authorized Tara Mandala Teacher showing that you can guide someone through the process by memory, without using the text.

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.


  • 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 Retreat
  • Completion of the Chöd* Retreat (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)

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
  •  Extended Ally processes with the journey

Kapala Training Level 4


  • Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 and 3
  •  200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
  •  Completion of Dentog Chigma* group retreat (please see also the prerequisites for this retreat).
  •  One-month long solo Dentog Chigma* 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.
    • Only for 2019 Kapala Training Level 4 retreat: You may just do 1-2 weeks before this retreat, then do the remainder after the retreat ends.
    • Fire puja can be completed during Kapala 4 Training
  • 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 Extended Ally processes with the journey
  • 200 thirty-minute sessions of the Four Immeasurables* practice (as learned in the Three Yana Retreat)

In Kapala Training Level 4 you will receive:

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

Kapala Training Level 5


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

In Kapala Training 5 you will receive:

  •  “Machig Labdrön and the Five Chakra Dakinis” practice from Lama Tsultrim.


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