Path of Study FAQ

What books should I read for a general introduction to Buddhism?

For the basic principles of Buddhism in a nutshell:
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s What Makes You Not a Buddhist

For an overview of the entire Buddhist path:
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom and Wild Awakening

For a detailed discussion of the Buddhist science of mind, including guided meditations:
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Mind Beyond Death

For an experiential approach to mindfulness and self-reflection in meditation:
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche’s It’s Up to You

For what a genuine spiritual path is:
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
and The Myth of Freedom

For an experiential presentation of Vajrayana Buddhism:
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Journey Without Goal

For a concise description of the practice and journey of meditation:
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

What should I study?

For an introduction to the Buddhist path without Buddhist jargon:
Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom  by Dzogchen Ponlop
Nalandabodhi Introduction to Buddhism (100 Series)

For a more detailed, progressive lay-out of the Buddhist path, including the different views, approaches, and schools within Buddhism:
Nalandabodhi Path of Study: Hinayana Courses and Mahayana Courses

For an in-depth study of the five major topics (Abhidharma, Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Pramāṇa, and Vinaya) of the Tibetan colleges for higher Buddhist studies and the eight great texts of the Karma Kagyu tradition: Nitartha Institute (Foundational, Intermediate, and Advanced Curricula)

Where do Nitartha Institute studies fit into my studies with Nalandabodhi?

Nitartha Institute studies are open to everyone interested, but about two years of prior Buddhist practice are recommended. The Institute offers Foundational, Intermediate, and Advanced Curricula based on the traditional curricula of Tibetan monastic colleges. There are annual four-week summer programs, several nine-day intensives throughout the year, semester programs (weekday evenings and some weekends), and weekend programs. For details, see the Nitartha Institute website.

As a non-member, which courses can I take in the Nalandabodhi Path of Study?

The Nalandabodhi 100-300 Series (which includes the Introduction to Buddhism, Hinayana Courses and Mahayana Courses) is open to anyone interested. It is recommended that you take a gradual approach to these materials, which you can also take through online courses. Many Nalandabodhi centers offer book discussion groups on Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s books as well, and these are usually open to the public.

Is there an overview of the Nalandabodhi Path of Study that will help me understand what is covered in each series of courses?

You’ll find lists of classes offered on the pages of this site that describe the Hinayana Courses , the Mahayana Courses, and the Vajrayana Courses.

How do the courses in the Nalandabodhi Path of Study build from one series to the next?

The Nalandbodhi Introduction to Buddhism (100 Series) begins with general explanations of a wide range of Buddhist topics (such as karma, the nature of conditioned existence, the four noble truths, the view of no-self, and different paths within Buddhism). The Nalandabodhi 200 (Hinayana Courses) Series presents the Buddhist views, meditations, and results, that are fundamental and shared throughout most Buddhist traditions, and then the Nalandabodhi 300 (Mahayana Courses) Series progresses to the specific view and path of the Mahayana. All of these materials are open to the public. For Nalandabodhi members who are personal students of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche there are further study materials related to the progressive Nalandabodhi Path of Meditation.