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About Our Courses


Students take our courses for a variety of reasons. One approach is simply to watch the videos, which can be highly instructive. A second is to watch the videos, read the text(s), and do the prescribed practices daily, which is far more helpful and meaningful. The best way is to watch the videos, read the texts, do the prescribed practices daily, and complete the homework and daily practice journal. This, of course requires more time with diligence and patience. It is also by far the most beneficial to your practice and level of realization. We accept all of these levels of students. May the classes be of benefit.


Course Availability


Online courses are now available on an open-entry basis, that is, students may begin at any time (subject to mentor availability). Please email us at EmailAwamTBI@gmail.com for specific availability. Tucson course availability is listed in our monthly newsletter.


Course catalog - click for a PDF with complete listing and description of all courses at Awam Tibetan Buddhist Institute.


Know which class you want? Click here.


Fall Classes - Tucson or Online

Starting Week of September 17th

Awam Tibetan Buddhist Institute, 3400 E Speedway, Suite 204, Tucson AZ

(Located just east of Whole Foods in the Rancho Center)


We are planning three classes in Tucson for this Fall, as well as many others online. Here is a brief description of the Tucson classes. Online class descriptions may be found on our website AwamInstitute.org, under "classes".


Basic General Courses


We offer a variety of general courses to supplement our Essentials of Tibetan Buddhism and Advanced Dzogchen curricula. These are divided into two categories - Basic and Advanced. They are open to all students, though they should have some general familiarity with Buddhism in general and Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) specifically. The two categories provide some guidance regarding the degree of background and practice that will be helpful to prospective students. Additional details are included in the individual course descriptions. Please contact us at EmailAwamTBI@gmail.com if you have questions about any particular course.


100-Day Ngondro - Sundays at 1 pm in Tucson: This class will be divided into two 7-week parts, completing the entire 100-day practice, and is a prerequisite for most advanced Vajrayana practices. The ngondro (preliminary practices) provide a very important foundation for the practices of tantra or Vajrayana, yet the high number of repetitions often required can become a serious barrier to lay practitioners. The great master Longchenpa shows us how to accomplish this in a more compact package. This course is also an excellent refresher for advanced practitioners who have completed the ngondro practices previously. They get even better through repetition.


This class is based on a book by HE Jigmed Lodro Rinpoche - one of Awam's Tibetan teachers - explaining the 100-Day Ngondro as described by Longchenpa.


Ngondro is essential to establishing our attitude and motivation through the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind. Then, our mental obscurations, afflictive emotions and other mental fixations are systematically addressed through refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva purification, mandala offerings, and Guru Yoga. In addition, these practices provide a solid understanding for advanced Vajrayana practices. Fee: $70 each part. (The text is currently being finalized for use in these classes.)


Study & Practice of the Essentials of Tibetan Buddhism


 Essentials of Tibetan Buddhism provides is a very thorough program for those who wish to learn, but have limited time to practice. To supplement these, we also invite master lamas to give empowerments and teach on specialized topics and texts in Tucson.

      The teachings by Khenpo Drimed Dawa are all on video, supplemented with printable handouts. This program is organized around a very concise series of practices given by Padmasambhava in a text translated as Natural Liberation and is supplemented by similar concise practices from other masters. These practices are particularly appropriate for householders as most take little time to learn or master and were taught specifically for such practitioners. Together they form a carefully crafted set of incremental steps leading to the deep inner peace of innate happiness or enlightenment.

      More specifically, the teachings are divided into an introduction and four main paths of practice that are sequential within Tibetan Buddhism: (1) the Path of Individual Liberation, (2) the Path of Altruism, (3) the Path of Tantra, and (4) the Path of Great Perfection. Within each path, the courses follow a teaching by the Buddha called the Three Trainings: (1) ethics, (2) meditation, and (3) wisdom. So within each path, the courses cover that view of ethics, its main meditation practices, and its view of wisdom. In the end, there is a review and focus on the realization of the deep inner peace of the innate happiness of enlightenment. The text for this course is Innate Happiness: Realizing Compassion-Emptiness by Khenpo Drimed Dawa, available as an eBook or paperback from Amazon.com and other outlets. This text was written specifically for this course, as well as to benefit others who might read it.


Essentials Part 1 - Sundays at 9 am in Tucson (also available online): A survey of Buddhism in India and Tibet, an overview and introduction to key Vajrayana principles and practices, and the first part of the Path of Individual Liberation: ethics and shamata meditation - single-pointed calm abiding. The text for this course is Innate Happiness: Realizing Compassion-Emptiness by Khenpo Drimed Dawa, available as an eBook or paperback from Amazon.com and other outlets. This text was written specifically for this course, as well as to benefit others who might read it. Fee: $60.


Essentials Part 2 - Sundays at 9 am, after Essentials Part 1 in Tucson (also available online): Continues the Path of Individual Liberation with vipassana meditation (special insight) regarding "self" and "other" and the early view of wisdom; followed by the Path of Altruism (Bodhisattva): ethics, practices of the Six Perfections, Tonglen (giving and taking) and Metta (lovingkindness) meditations, and the Bodhisattva view of wisdom, including the Perfection of Wisdom literature, Buddhanature, and the Middle Way. Fee: $60.


Essentials Part 5 - TBA


Advanced Study & Practice


Our advanced curriculum is focused on the Path of Great Perfection - Dzogchen. This includes five rigorous college-level courses with two 8-week parts each, which require watching videos, reading, study, homework, and practice. Each course also includes the study of at least one classic text from the Dzogchen tradition. We require that students attempting this curriculum complete the core curriculum or the equivalent prior to beginning this curriculum.


Introduction to Dzogchen (Parts 1 & 2) - TBA in Tucson (also available online): Dzogchen or the Great Perfection is the highest level of the Vajrayana teachings. It deals directly with self-liberation into our innate Buddha Nature, abiding in the state of rigpa. This overview describes the three branches of Dzogchen teachings-the mind series, the space series, and the special instructions (including trekcho and togal). Text: Quintessential Dzogchen: Confusion Dawns as Wisdom translated and compiled by Eric Pema Kunsang and Marcia Binder Schmidt and The Golden Letters translated introduction and commentaries by John Myrdhin Reynolds. Fee: $80 for each part.


Admission & Registration


There is no separate admission process for the Essentials courses. Although it is best to take the courses sequentially from the beginning (Part 1), a student may begin with any of the eight parts. Online courses are available on an open-entry basis, that is, students may begin at any time (subject to mentor availability). Please check our website to inquire about specific availability. Class registration is available through our website AwamInstitute.org under “Take Classes”.


The advanced curriculum courses require completion of the Essentials courses or other similar background, the latter of which must be approved by Khenpo Drimed Dawa in advance. The course schedule depends upon mentor availability. Contact Khenpo.Drimed.Dawa@gmail.com for course availability. Once you have been approved and assigned a mentor, you will be able to register for your course simply by going to our website at AwamInstitute.org to sign up under “Take Classes”, or you may register with the instructor in Tucson.


Payment for online classes is made via PayPal by credit or debit card. The cost is currently $60 per course for each part of Essentials and $80 per part for each of the advanced curriculum courses. Books are purchased by students separately either at local bookstores or online.


Courses and cost are subject to changes without notification. For any other questions or information, please contact Khenpo.Drimed.Dawa@gmail.com.


Thank you for your interest in Awam Tibetan Buddhist Institute’s programs of study in Tibetan Buddhism. We sincerely wish you great success in your path to innate happiness for the benefit of all sentient beings!

May all beings be happy!