Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche
Drikung Kagyu retreat master

Drupon Thinley Ningpo is a teacher of Buddhist philosophy and was well- respected as the monastery disciplinarian for several years at JangChub Ling, the Drikung Monastery in Dehra Dun, India which is the seat of His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and the Drikung Kagyu lineage. This is also the site of the Samtenling Nunnery, the Drikung Kagyu Institute and the Songtsen Library. He also accomplished the traditional three-year retreat, during which he studied and practiced the Five-fold Path of Mahamudra and the Six Yogas of Naropa. He was awarded the title ‘Drupon,' or retreat master based on these accomplishments. Thus, he is accomplished in the philosophy of sutra and tantra. Drupon is the retreat master of the PDL Retreat Center in Frederick Maryland.

Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche brought him to the US in 2001 to be one of the two resident lamas at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick Maryland. He has continued Khenchen's schedule of retreats and teachings there as has taught at other Drikung centers throughout the country. He is a wonderful teacher with that familiar engaging sense of humor and emanating kindness that is so engaging

FRIDAY, JAN 30, 2004 7 TO 9 PM
PUBLIC TALK - Introduction to Buddhist philosophy suggested donation $5
8801 NW 39TH AVE

SATURDAY, JAN 31, 2004        9 AM TO 12 & 2 TO 5 PM
TEACHING ON REFUGE – we go for refuge to the Three Jewels: Buddha, the teacher; Dharma, his teachings; and Sangha, the spiritual community.
SUNDAY, FEB 1, 2004           9 AM TO 12 & 2 TO 5 PM
TEACHING ON MANDALA PRACTICE - a way of developing and sustaining wisdom (the realization of mahamudra) and compassion (the profound bodhicitta).

(352) 316-3457 - suggested donation for 1 or both weekend days $30


Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche
Drikung Kagyu retreat master

As is tradition in Tibet, all donations collected will go directly to the teacher.
It is customary to offer a white Khata with your offerings sealed in an envelope if you wish to give him an additional donation or gift directly.
If you would like to bring your cushion, feel free. Chairs and some cushions are available. Anyone needing any special assitance, please let us know so that we can accomodate you in your needs.

Private interviews may be scheduled for by calling 352-316-3457


Further information on the preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism and the Drikung Kagyu lineage can be found below.

Typical preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism are known as  the Ngondro practices which consists of four subjects, Refuge, Vajrasattva, Mandala and Guru Yoga. These practices are often completed during a 3 year retreat with concentrated effort. Khenchen Gyaltshen Rinpoche has designed a Ngondro program for western practitioners who cannot remove themselves from their daily lives for 3 years at one time that consists of these four parts plus a fifth section focusing on Bodhicitta (the enlightened mind for the benefit of others). These five sections are being taught one per year for five years in two week retreats with a full year of practice on each one. Khenchen taught the first two years of this new program in Frederick Maryland which started in 1999 and then directed Drupon Thinley Ningpo to teach the next two. This spring the first generation of western practitioners will reach the fifth year of this unique program in retreat at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick Maryland.


The following descriptions of the complete Ngondro program can be found on the website for the Ratnashi Meditation Center, Sweden, a sister Drikung Kagyu study center. Thanks to them for posting such a great explanation! This is included here for informational purposes only.. the teaching being offerd this month in Gainesville are NOT a complete Ngondro program , but rather a short introduction to the first and third practices. Drupon Rinpoche has also suggested that those needing empowerments for the Vajrasattva practice will be able to receive this during the teaching as well. The Tibetan Meditation Center of Gainesville does the Vajrasattva practice once a month as part of our rotating practice schedule...so those wanting the empowerment for this practice will have the opportunity to receive it.

Importance of Ngöndro Practice TOP

For the benefit of all sentient beings, the most gracious Buddha Shakyamuni spoke the Dharma through the Sutras and Tantras. The five profound paths of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa are the essence of the Buddha’s teachings which enable one to attain Enlightenment even in one lifetime. However, to practice the path of Mahamudra and the six yogas of Naropa, one must be fully convinced of the "four ways of turning the mind" or the four ordinary foundations – reflection on the rarity and preciousness of human life; the impermanence of all composite phenomena; the unceasing nature of the suffering of samsara; and the inexorable causality of all existence. The four ways of turning the mind are the basis for the successful practice of any of the Yanas. Then one practices the four extraordinary foundations, or the Vajrayana Ngöndro, to purify the negative karma and obscurations of the mind, speech and body and to develop virtues. Ngöndro consists of five extraordinary preliminary practices of Vajrayana: Refuge, Vajrasattva, Mandala Offering, Guru Yoga, and Bodhicitta. This year the focus is on Vajrasattva (purification) practice. The great twelfth century Tibetan saint, Lord Jigten Sumgon said, "Ngöndro is even more important than the higher practices. One must truly understand and practice the simple and yet profound foundational teachings before one begins the higher teachings."

Ngöndro Program TOP

Traditionally, one would complete the Ngöndro practices during a three-year retreat. This has not proven to be feasible for many people in the West. Venerable Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche led the first Ngöndro program 2001 and the Center will continue to invite highly qualified masters every year to provide successive instructions on one of the Ngöndro practices. This will allow those who wish to do so to complete one practice each year, and finish the entire Ngöndro in five years. The program includes other supplementary Buddhist teachings each year. All newcomers are wholeheartedly welcome. This year, we are extremely fortunate to have such a rare and auspicious opportunity to study the precious and extraordinary Ngöndro under the supreme guidance of such an inspiring and achieved master, His Eminence Garchen Rinpoch


Who should attend? TOP

The teachings are open to anyone who is interested in studying and practicing the precious Dharma teachings. Those who do not wish to engage in the Ngöndro practices are also welcome to receive the teachings. This program is particularly designed to enable the serious practitioners to focus on meditation practice. This way, one can observe one’s mindfulness in the study and practice of the precious Dharma teachings. Those who have already completed all or some of the Ngöndro may also find the retreat a valuable reminder since these practices contain the essence of Buddhism and it is common for people to do them repeatedly. Although it would be best, it is not required to attend all years of the program. All newcomers are wholeheartedly welcome.

Description on the five Ngöndro practices TOP

Refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha)

Taking refuge in the three Jewels –Buddha, Dharma and Sangha -- orients us firmly on the path to Buddhahood and turns us away from cyclic existence. All sentient beings are permeated by Buddha-nature yet, failing to recognize that, they remain bewildered in samsara on the wheel of cause and suffering. The sufferings that an individual experiences are like the ocean waves, endlessly washing up one after another. As long as we remain in samsara, there is no complete peace and happiness. Even though we want to be free from samsara, we do not know how.  We have to rely on instructions and example from the one who has done it, who has already traveled the path to enlightenment.  Thus we go for refuge to the Three Jewels:  Buddha, the teacher; Dharma, his teachings; and Sangha, the spiritual community.  Refuge is based on the four "ordinary foundations": meditation on impermanence, on cause and effect, on the suffering of samsara, and on the preciousness and rarity of human life.  These foundations are called the four ways of turning the mind, turning it away from samsara.   Without these meditations, one's refuge is incomplete.  One needs to clearly understand the nature of samsara and then firmly orient oneself toward Enlightenment; in this way one draws near the path.   By taking refuge sincerely, we plant the seed of liberation within ourselves. We distance ourselves from all non-virtues that we have accumulated and develop more and more positive actions. Ultimately, it will lead us to the state of Buddhahood. 

Besides detailed teachings on the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and instructions to the refuge practice, Rinpoche gave teaching and practice instructions on Heart Sutra and Tonglen as well as the empowerment and teaching of Buddha Amitayus.

Vajrasattva Practice

Vajrasattva meditation is a special, powerful practice for the purification of the nonvirtuous causes we have created. With such a meditation, one can completely uproot all the negative karmas, just as Milarepa did. Generally speaking, virtuous and nonvirtuous acts depend on mind. Mind is the master, and the body and speech are the servants. Because of the degree of the power of afflictive emotions, controlled by desire, hatred and so forth, we create nonvirtuous acts. It is nonvirtuous if we do them ourselves, we ask others to do them for us, or we rejoice when these deeds are done by others. Not only that, when the mind is under the control of desire, hatred and so forth, even if we hear, study and practice the precious Dharma, we create nonvirtue. These nonvirtues created by evil deeds will bring suffering and undesirable conditions. These nonvirtues are created through conquering our enemies; protecting our own body and accumulating wealth. But we leave these things behind when we face death. However, nonvirtue will follow us like a shadow, life after life, and become a source of all sufferings. Therefore, it is very wise to purify all the nonvirtues we create before they bring the result. This purification, if we use the four powers, can be very effective. The four powers are remorse, antidote, resolve, and reliance. In the Vajrasattva path, Vajrasattva meditation is a special practice for the purification of nonvirtuous causes, so with confidence and without hesitation, enter into the Vajrasattva practice. Have sincere remorse for evil deeds, confess them and resolve not to create more negative karma even at the risk of one’s life. Then take refuge, cultivate the mind of Enlightenment, recite the mantra and meditate on emptiness as the antidote and reliance.

Mandala Offering Practice

Mandala offering is a way of developing and sustaining wisdom (the realization of mahamudra) and compassion (the profound bodhicitta).  Feeling deeply the wish that oneself and all sentient beings may attain Enlightenment, we offer the mandala -- which represents the entire universe -- to the enlightened ones who have always been full of compassion and wisdom.   We give it all away, ourselves and everything.  This offering helps us cut our clinging and attachment to this life.  In addition, the merit one acquires through mandala offering gives one the strength to nurture the mind of bodhicitta.

Guru Yoga

Guru Yoga bestows blessings. The teacher is the example, the model.  If we see the teacher as ordinary, our mind will remain in the ordinary state, but if we see him or her as Vajradhara, we will lift the state of our minds.  Viewing one's teacher as Vajradhara is a way of uniting one’s mind with the Enlightened Vajradhara state.   Through thinking of the teacher as Vajradhara, we receive the blessing empowering us to achieve that state ourselves.  When we view the teacher as compassionate and wise, the power of our devotion eliminates the hesitations in our minds; this we call the guru's blessing.  The teacher must indeed have good qualities and realizations; but the important energy in guru yoga is that of the practitioner- the student's admiration and gratitude.  When you really study and practice, some little bit of experience dawns in your mind, and with it an inexpressible confidence and joy.  When this occurs, you feel a true nonartificial devotion.  This is devotion not merely from faith in the teacher but from one's own experience, and it is the experience of true guru yoga.  Within this deep devotion one receives the four empowerments, which carry the special blessings enabling one to develop the four Buddha Bodies.


Bodhicitta practices are the cultivation of mind of Enlightenment, mind of universal loving kindness and compassion, mind wishing to achieve Enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. All peace and happiness of samsara and all the excellent qualities of the Shravakas, Pratyeka Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas are achieved through the practice of Bodhicitta.  Without this instrction, even if one practices the highest yoga tantras, one will not attain Buddhahood.  If one has this practice, one will achieve Buddhahood without choice.  since all constituent elements are mental formations, the hell realm is the result of the mental formation of hatred.  Boddhahood is the result of the mental formation of Bodhicitta.  So the study and practice of Bodhicitta is the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha.   This is the single most important path of Mahayana practice.  Therefore it is very important to understand and bring this practice into our mind.

Ngöndro Program 2001 with  Venerable Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche

Ngöndro Program 2003 with HE Garchen Rinpoche


Reading suggestions - all of these boods are available at Vajra Publications

Garland of Mahamudra Practices by Khenchen  Konchog Gyaltshen RinpocheIn Search of Stainless Ambrosia by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen RinpocheGreat Kagyu Masters by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen RinpocheThe Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa Bodhicaryavatara by Shantideva (e.g. The Way of the Bodhisattva)Bodhipathapradipa by Atisha (e.g. Atisha's Lamp for the Path of Enlightenment)Abhidharmakosa by VasubhanduUttaratantraby Maitreya   (e.g. The Changeless Nature, Buddha Nature)
The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path by Gampopa
The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa
The Transformation of Suffering by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche
The Jewel Treasury of Advice: A Hundred Teachings from the Heart by Drikung Bhande Dharmaradza
Prayer Flags by Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche
Ceaseless Echoes of The Great Silence, a commentary on The Heart Sutra Prajnaparamita by Khenpo Palden Sherab Rinpoche
The Life of Milarepa
37 Bodhisattva Practices by Togmay Sangpo (e.g. The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas)
Suhrllekha by Nagarjuna   (e.g. Nagarjuna's Letter to King Gautamiputra)