MSB Lineage Training
The Mangala Shri Bhuti (MSB) Lineage Training Program provides systematic and progressive training for those embarking on the path of the Longchen Nyingtik lineage under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. The program consists of sequential practice courses through which one progresses under the individual guidance of a senior MSB student called a Study and Practice Representative (SPR). Please contact us to be assigned an SPR. Since this training program is self-paced and accommodates distance learning, one need not wait for a scheduled class, or live near an MSB center, to get started. Listen to a 20 min. audio recording that gives an overview of the program.
MSB Lineage Training Courses
Course 1: Self-Reflection and Shamatha Meditation
Course 2: Four Immeasurables and Shamatha Meditation
Course 3: Refuge
Course 4: Bodhicitta
Course 5: Mangala Shri Bhuti Lineage Ceremony
Course 6: Pre-Sessions
Course 7: Post-Sessions
Course 8: Ngondro
Course 9: Sadhana
The first four courses focus on the Hinayana and Mahayana, and do not involve any commitment to MSB or Kongtrul Rinpoche. Those who feel inspired to make the teachings of Kongtrul Rinpoche -- and the lineage that he holds -- a focal point of their lives, may take the fifth course and ask to become formal members of the MSB lineage through participating in the Lineage Ceremony. We encourage anyone interested in taking part in the ceremony to complete all of the first five courses over the course of at least one year under the guidance of an SPR.
As a Rimé (nonsectarian) teacher, Kongtrul Rinpoche upholds and has the deepest reverence for all three yanas (vehicles) and the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Within these, Rinpoche’s focus is on fulfilling the vast aspiration of the Mahayana by using the skillful means of the Vajrayana. The path on which he guides MSB students is the Longchen Nyingtik lineage of the Nyingma school. Those who have gone through the Lineage Ceremony are then eligible to embark on the sequence of Vajrayana practices that Rinpoche offers.
Each course is made up of a series of classes, and each class has four components: study, contemplation, meditation, and interaction. In order to get the full benefit of a course, students are encouraged to move through the classes in sequence, fully engaging in each component before moving on to the next course. The materials required for each course are listed at the beginning of that course’s syllabus. At the end of each course, there is a required on-line survey which verifies whether students have completed all of the course assignments and met regularly with their SPR.
Each class includes a series of written teachings and audio recordings that pertain to a specific class theme. Materials include mp3 audio recordings, PDF documents, and published books. The audio recordings and PDF documents are available as free downloads.
Writing about what we study helps us to understand the teachings on a deeper level. As part of the overall program, students are required to keep a dharma journal (either on paper or electronically), making entries in response to their study assignments.
Dharma journal entries should be divided into two parts:
Part 1: Determining Importance
From your perspective, what are the most important ideas or themes that you gleaned from these teachings? Create a brief outline, web, or summary to reflect your ideas.
Part 2: Personal Reflection
Write a personal reflection on the important themes that you summarized in Part 1 of your entry. You may want to choose one or more of the following reflection techniques to frame your writing:
Make a personal connection with the teachings by relating them to your own experience, other teachings you've received or studied, or past and current world events.
Record questions about an idea (e.g., topic, detail, vocabulary term) that arose for you before, during, or after your studies. If you answered a question through your own contemplations, record your answer as well.
Make an inference by combining your understanding of the teachings with your own knowledge to form a unique interpretation, share an insight, draw a conclusion, and so forth.
Create an artistic representation (e.g., drawing, painting, collage) to represent a topic or idea from your studies.
Students are expected to practice formal meditation each day. When meeting with a student, SPRs are encouraged to begin by asking how the student’s meditation is going. This emphasizes the importance of daily practice and keeps the focus of the meeting on practice and studies. Each course syllabus lists specific meditation instructions related to the topic of the course. Students are highly encouraged to fill out Practice, Study, and Service records, which can be downloaded here. Before submitting these records to Rinpoche, students are encouraged to share them with their SPR.
Each class requires that students share some or all of their journal entries with their SPR. Interactions with SPRs can be meetings in person, over the phone, through e-mail or Skype, and so on. When students have questions about certain sections of the written or audio study material, it is helpful to the SPR to note the relevant page or audio track number.
Warmth and Life
The MSB Lineage Training Program provides straightforward access to resources and information. Following this structured and gradual path of practice enables us to bring the deepest meaning to our lives. It is the SPR, however, who gives warmth and life to our training program. Without the involvement of an SPR, the training program would become impersonal, and it would be very difficult for a student to make a full and genuine connection to our lineage. The SPR's service is thus particularly valuable.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the training program or any other aspect of MSB studies and practice.