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STUDENT HANDBOOK Master’s in Wisdom 2012/2013

© Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, 2011 All rights reserved.

The information contained herein is meant for students of the International Master’s in the Preservation and Development of Wisdom Culture and the Art of Liberation offered by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy in collaboration with Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (Pisa), Italy.


Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. The FPMT is an international, non-profit organization, founded in 1975, devoted to the worldwide transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values through teaching, meditation, and community service. It provides integrated education through which people’s minds and hearts can be transformed into their highest potential for the benefit of others, inspired by an attitude of universal responsibility. The FPMT is committed to creating harmonious environments and helping all beings develop their full potential of infinite wisdom and compassion. The organization is based on the Buddhist tradition of Lama Tzong Khapa of Tibet as taught by its founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe, and its spiritual director, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche.

The FPMT strives to follow the example and inspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his compassionate service to humanity. FPMT Education Services has developed Buddhist study programs of varying levels under the guidance of Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the FPMT resident teachers, and senior students. All these study programs are characterized by four important components: • accurate academic understanding of Buddhist philosophy, • regular meditation practice, • exemplary conduct, and • social service. In addition to Buddhist education, the FPMT is also active in developing related educational projects including the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program, a four-year interpreter training based in Dharamsala, India; and Essential Education, which brings Buddhist understanding and values into secular society, in particular schools, prisons, hospitals, hospices, etc.

EDUCATION Introductory level programs • Buddhism in a Nutshell • Meditation 101 • Advice for Death and Dying Intermediate level programs • Discovering Buddhism • The Foundation of Buddhist Thought • Living in the Path Advanced level programs • Basic Program • Masters Program While a range of programs are taught in many FPMT centers, the Masters Program is unique to Lama Tzong Khapa Institute.

SERVICE • Liberation Prison Project • Leprosy Clinics • Polio Clinics • Amdo Eye Clinic • Health and Nutrition Clinics • Hospices • Maitreya Project

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• Publishing Houses • Essential Education Schools


ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA International School of Buddhist Studies

MISSION STATEMENT  Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is an international school for the study and practice of Buddhism at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. The lineage stems from Nagarjuna and the other Nalanda pandits of ancient India, to Lama Tzong Khapa, founder of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, and our present-day teachers. The Institute is dedicated to fostering the development of the human qualities of kindness, compassion, and wisdom with an approach that integrates study, meditation, and service. To achieve this goal, the Institute offers a wide range of activities encompassed in the four fields of Education, Service, Research, and Preservation, each of which supports and enhances the other.


Lama Tzong Khapa Institute was established in 1977 by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, as a place for the study and practice of Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition of Lama Tzong Khapa. Since then it has grown to become an international school for Buddhist studies and practice, attracting students from around the world who are interested in deepening their understanding of the mind through intensive study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology accompanied by the introspective methodology of meditation and active service. • Education: The Institute offers high quality courses and study programs on subjects related to Tibetan Buddhism as well as on a wide variety of interdisciplinary fields. • Research: The Institute is involved in initiating and collaborating on research projects aimed at discovering the nature of the mind and the self, examining the body-mind

complex, determining the short and long-term effects of meditation, etc., using rigorous scientific methodology. • Service: The Institute promotes and supports initiatives that contribute to the general well-being of the larger community with particular emphasis on the young and their families, the terminally ill, and the imprisoned. • Preservation: The Institute is engaged in making an important contribution to the preservation of knowledge contained in ancient Buddhist scriptures through the translation from Tibetan into both English and Italian, as well as through the publication of scriptures and teachings. It also organizes courses and events that support the preservation of Tibetan culture and the freedom of Tibet. For more information


Introductory level programs Lama Tzong Khapa Institute offers four introductory programs to Tibetan Buddhism and meditation: Buddhism in a Nutshell is an FPMT program that consists of a single weekend of classes and meditation sessions that provide a broad overview of Buddhism in general, and the Buddhist tradition of Tibet in particular. The course focuses on the nature of the mind; 'the four noble truths,' the Buddha's renowned teaching explaining the causes of difficulties and problems and their solutions; and the two spiritual 'wings' of compassion and wisdom. It also provides a very brief introduction to meditation. Meditation 101 is an FPMT program that consists of a single weekend of classes and meditation sessions that provide a brief overview of the subject of meditation in the context of Buddhism. The course examines common misunderstandings regarding meditation and looks at how meditation is in reality a profound tool for transforming and developing the inner mental qualities that bring about peace and happiness. This course is suitable for those completely new to meditation.

The Foundations of Buddhism is an ILTK program consisting of four weekends of classes and meditation sessions loosely centered around 'the four noble truths' which describe the true nature of suffering, the true source of suffering, the true end to suffering, and the true way to cease suffering and achieve lasting happiness. It also provides an introduction to meditation as a tool for dealing with suffering and achieving genuine inner peace and happiness. Advice for Death and Dying is an FPMT program that consists of two weekend modules offered once a year at the Institute. In module 1, the subject of death and dying is examined in the context of Tibetan Buddhism with a view to helping oneself and others understand and prepare for this important and inevitable moment of life. In module 2, specific Tibetan Buddhist prayers, practices, and rituals are taught in order to help oneself and others die with a peaceful and virtuous mind and thereby take a good rebirth.

SPIRITUAL EDUCATION  The Institute offers a wide range of courses and retreats on Buddhism, especially on subjects related to Tibetan Buddhism in the tradition of Lama Tzong Khapa. These courses vary from short weekend courses with Tibetan masters and Western teachers to regular introductory, intermediate, and advanced level programs, as well as specialized tantric courses and retreats for advanced Buddhist practitioners. The Institute also hosts courses in other Buddhist and spiritual traditions.



INTER‐ DISCIPLINARY EDUCATION   In the field of Interdisciplinary Education, the Institute hosts courses, seminars, and conventions in collaboration with associations that cover a variety of topics, many of which are based on the knowledge of the human mind and ethical and empathic values contained in the Buddhist teachings.


Intermediate level programs The three intermediate level programs include regular meditation sessions and retreat: Discovering Buddhism is an FPMT program consisting of 13 teaching modules taught in 13 weekends over a two-year period, accompanied by a 14th practice module of specific individual spiritual practices that can be done wherever and whenever students wish. The set of 13 teaching modules offer a clear and structured presentation of the key elements of the spiritual path of Tibetan Buddhism with a view to providing participants with a basis for further study and enabling them to establish a personal meditation practice.

Wisdom & Compassion: The True Source of Genuine Happiness is an annual six-week course developed by the Institute that covers the key topics of Mahayana Buddhism, beginning with the four noble truths up to the development of wisdom and compassion. Classes are held Monday to Friday, accompanied by daily sessions of meditation and ample time for discussion and questions. On Saturdays, participants visit the historic cities of Tuscany.

Living in the Path is an FPMT program based on a commentary given over a period of several years by Lama Zopa Rinpoche on Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. It consists of video, audio, and text materials drawn from the teachings and supplemented by materials from the archive of Lama Yeshe's teachings. Lama Tzong Khapa Institute plans to offer this program in Italian in 2012.


Advanced level academic programs

Advanced level tantra programs

Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is renowned for the excellent quality of its advanced-level academic programs of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. These programs are taught by highly qualified Tibetan teachers supported by qualified Western teaching staff, many of whom are graduates of previous academic programs held at ILTK.

Lama Tzong Khapa Institute organizes tantric empowerments and commentaries with qualified Tibetan lamas throughout the year. An annual tantric retreat led by a qualified Western practitioner takes place between February and March.

The Master's in Wisdom is a two-year intensive program combining study, meditation, and service offered in collaboration with the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, a university located in Pisa. It consists of eight of the nine core subjects of the FPMT Basic Program. (A detailed description of this program can be found in this handbook, from page 7.) The Masters Program of Advanced Buddhist Philosophical Studies of Sutra and Tantra is offered exclusively at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. This seven-year program consists of four years of sutra studies, two years of tantric studies, and one year of solitary retreat. It is offered both as onsite and online courses. The main aim of the onsite course is to produce highly qualified Western teachers of Buddhist philosophy and psychology.

The study of the Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra included in the curriculum of the FPMT Basic Program will be offered as an intensive summer course in 2013. It is open to the students of the Master's in Wisdom ,as well as to Buddhist practitioners who are familiar with the lam-rim teachings and have previously received a Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment. The Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra (April to December 2012) and the Guhyasamaja Tantra (January to June 2013), which are included in the curriculum of the Masters Program, are advanced onsite and online programs that take place nine months a year. Applicants must be familiar with the lam-rim teachings and have received the appropriate Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment.

ONLINE COURSES  On-line courses offered by the Institute include: Buddhism in a Nutshell (in Italian) Meditation 101 (in Italian) Discovering Buddhism (in Italian) Basic Program (in Italian) Online course in parallel to the Master’s in Wisdom (in English) Masters Program (in English & Italian)


ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Service – Research – Preservation

SERVICE   Lama Tzong Khapa Institute offers service to the larger community in a variety of ways. Liberation Prison Project provides a Buddhistbased education to inmates in Italian prisons – supplying them with reading materials and courses; Essential Education offers educational camps for parents and their children; Giving Protection supports the right for people of diverse spiritual traditions facing the end of their life to receive appropriate spiritual assistance; and the Yeshe Norbu Association helps support the Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal through a long distance adoption project. The Institute also offers support to the sick, the troubled, the dying, and those who have died through performing regular prayer ceremonies for the alleviation of their suffering.




Recent years have seen a rising interest amongst scientists, philosophers, and psychologists in the Buddhist understanding of the human mind and the nature of the self, as well as the practical methods of meditation and mind training aimed at enhancing the human qualities of kindness, compassion, and wisdom. This interest has resulted in numerous research projects that range from functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of meditators, to studies of the efficacy of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress. As the findings of many of these research projects support and encourage Buddhist practitioners to persevere in their practice, the Institute is dedicated to both initiating and collaborating in research studies in this field. The Institute is collaborating with Prof. Massimo Bergamasco of the Sant’Anna School for Advanced Studies in founding The Gomo Tulku Center for Mind Research.

The Institute engages in various types of activities in support of preserving the Buddhist tradition: the translation from Tibetan into English and Italian of Buddhist scriptures and their publication; the recording and archiving of the numerous Buddhist teachings given by qualified teachers of the tradition in a period of more than 30 years; the construction of holy objects such as temples, stupas, and prayer wheels; the preservation of Buddhist art forms including the painting and sculpting of sacred images; and the hosting of important events such as the Maitreya Project Relic Tour. In addition the Institute’s community regularly participates in activities in support of the preservation of Tibetan culture through hosting Tibetan language courses, organizing courses on Tibetan traditional medicine and healing techniques, participating in inter-religious dialogues, and attending peace marches and conferences in favor of the freedom of Tibet.

The Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies is an autonomous, special-statute public institution for university level education in the field of applied sciences. It offers opportunities for research and advanced undergraduate and graduate training in the fields of social sciences (economics and management, law, and political science) and experimental sciences (engineering, medicine, and agricultural science). The School was established in 1987 as a “Scuola Superiore”, a special status almost unique in the Italian academic system. Through the autonomy and flexibility that characterize this special status, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies aims to establish new trends in research and education in response to society’s demands for modernization and innovation in these two areas. Created as a college of excellence for particularly deserving students enrolled in the University of Pisa,

the School has increased its educational range over the years with an increasing number of specialized degrees and Master’s courses. Over the past decade, in particular, the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies has oriented its educational and research activities in an international direction in order to enrich its wealth of relationships, knowledge, and skills, and to receive an ever-greater stimulus for improvement. The School’s main aims are: • to promote the development of culture, scientific and technological research, and innovation; • to offer and oversee quality undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education; • to ensure continuing interaction between research and education.

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WHERE All classes, tutorials, meditation sessions, and retreats of the International Master’s in the Preservation and Development of Wisdom Culture and the Art of Liberation (Master’s in Wisdom) are held at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, Pomaia (Pisa). The five annual threeday parallel seminars on topics related to Mind Science are held at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa. The Gomo Tulku Center for Mind Research is a project of Prof. Massimo Bergamasco, director of the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and the person who initially proposed the Master’s in Wisdom.


The collaboration between Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is born out of a mutual interest in the study of the human mind from scientific, philosophical, and psychological points of view, not merely for the acquisition of intellectual knowledge, but with the specific aim of furthering the development of positive qualities such as altruism, empathy, compassion, tolerance, and kindness. The collaboration is expected to include on-going initiatives in both education and research in the following areas: • Mind Science • Buddhist philosophical studies for the understanding of mind and the nature of reality • Meditation as an innovative method for introspective analysis • Compassion, empathy and altruism in diverse environments • Ethics for the new millennium

Initially the collaboration is to be based principally on three joint projects: • The International Master’s in the Preservation and Development of Wisdom Culture and the Art of Liberation (Master’s in Wisdom) and the parallel On-line Course • Five annual parallel seminars in the field of Mind Science • The Gomo Tulku Center for Mind Research

THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM: Committed to Excellence, Internationalization and Interdisciplinarity

The Master’s in Wisdom, in line with the objectives of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, is dedicated to:

Excellence The Master’s in Wisdom is directed exclusively at developing the human qualities of wisdom and compassion to their highest level. ‘Wisdom’ includes both an intellectual understanding of the mind (gained through study), as well as a direct experiential understanding of the nature of mind and the self (gained through meditation). Empathy and compassion, are developed through regular meditation sessions and selective projects, and sustained by a strong code of ethics in daily life. This integration of wisdom and compassion is aimed at producing individuals with a well-developed sense of responsibility for others as well as the planet.

Internationalization The scope of the Master’s is the preservation and diffusion of universally recognized values as formulated, studied, and practiced in a diverse cultural tradition. To accomplish this, the Master’s offers a concentrated and structured presentation, in an international context, of the foundational subjects and meditation practices traditionally taught in Buddhist monastic

universities. It is expected that graduates will implement this knowledge in a variety of environments such as schools, businesses, prisons, hospices, communities, and various types of educational and training projects, as well as in research projects under the auspices of the Gomo Tulku Center for Mind Research.

Interdisciplinarity The study of the mind is intrinsically interdisciplinary: both historically and culturally it derives from a variety of fields including philosophy, psychology, religion, experimental psychology, neurology, neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, biology, anthropology, physics, mathematics, artificial intelligence, etc. In line with modern scientific investigation, Master’s students are required to apply critical analysis and logical reasoning in order to gain a clear and unprejudiced understanding of the workings of their own mind as well as of external phenomena. They are encouraged to both learn from contemporary scientific findings and to share the empirical knowledge gained from their study of Buddhism with modern-day society, whereby both traditions can expect to be enriched.

MASTER’S OBJECTIVES  The Master’s in Wisdom is an advanced study program of Buddhist philosophy and psychology accompanied by a strong emphasis on meditation practice and altruistic service. In line with this scholarly and, at the same time, contemplative tradition, it combines a rigorous scientific and logical analysis with a direct experiential and introspective approach in order to gain profound insight into the mind, the nature of the self, and conventional and ultimate reality. In addition, it promotes the development of inner qualities such as empathy, compassion, and kindness with a view to overcoming destructive emotions, such as anger and selfishness, and cultivating the genuine wish to be of benefit to others.



THE FPMT  BASIC PROGRAM  The eight modules included in the Master’s in Wisdom comprise eight of the nine core subjects of the Basic Program curriculum. The ninth module of the Basic Program - the Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra - will be taught as a separate non-accredited intensive summer course in 2013. Students who: • successfully complete the 8 modules, • fulfill the requirements for the Grounds and Paths of Secret Mantra, • review all nine subjects and pass the final comprehensive exam, and • complete a total of three-months of retreat (either as a single three-month retreat or as three

WHAT IT IS: The ‘International Master’s in the Preservation and Development of Wisdom Culture and the Art of Liberation’ (Master’s in Wisdom) is an accredited FPMT Basic Program offered by Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, Pomaia (Pisa), Italy, in collaboration with Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies), Pisa, Italy. • The Master’s in Wisdom is structured around traditional inclass lectures Monday to Friday, complemented by daily meditation sessions, regular tutorials four times a week, and weekly project work aimed at benefiting others. • The on-line course, which parallels the Master’s in Wisdom, consists in lectures in video/audio format and guidelines for meditations in audio/text format, supplemented by reading materials, regular quizzes, a forum for discussion, and project work aimed at serving others.

one-month retreats) will – in addition to obtaining the Master’s in Wisdom and 90 university credits – also qualify for the FPMT Basic Program Completion Certificate.


(A detailed description can be found in the Online Course Student Handbook wisdomonline/handbook.)

FOR WHO: Applicants should have a sincere interest in and a strong motivation for the study of the mind, according to a Buddhist perspective, as well as the development of inner qualities such as wisdom and compassion. As this is an advanced academic program, applicants are recommended to have engaged in previous Buddhist studies and meditation practice in the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. They must also demonstrate an acceptable level of spoken and written English. Applicants are not required to possess a university degree. BY WHOM: The Master’s in Wisdom is taught by Geshe Tenzin Tenphel, a Tibetan lharam geshe (a holder of the highest degree conferred in the Tibetan monastic university system after 25 years of advanced philosophical study) who has been resident teacher at the Institute since 1998. He is assisted in the Master’s by a qualified Western tutor who is responsible for leading tutorials reviewing the material covered in class and for guiding the daily meditation sessions.


WHERE: Classes, tutorials, meditation sessions, and retreats take place at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. Five optional complementary three-day seminars on topics related to Mind Science are organized each year at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. LENGTH: 2 years. WHEN: Both the Master’s in Wisdom and the parallel on-line course begin in January 2012 and conclude in December 2013, with classes Monday to Friday, nine months a year – January to June and September to December. COURSE STRUCTURE: The curriculum for both the Master’s in Wisdom and the on-line course consists in the following eight modules:

OUTCOME: Students who complete the academic, meditation, and project work components of the Master’s in Wisdom, including passing the related exams and meeting the attendance requirements, will be granted an International Master’s diploma and 90 university credits by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

ON‐LINE REVIEW  AND FINAL EXAM  In order to qualify for the FPMT Basic Program Completion Certificate, students who have completed the Master’s, as well as the Grounds and Paths of Secret

LANGUAGE: The language of instruction is English. Classes with Geshe Tenzin Tenphel are translated from Tibetan into English.

Mantra, can participate

TUITION FEE: €1,800.00 for each of the two years.

months during the first

in an on-line review in preparation for the final exam. The on-line review will take place over a period of 3 to 6 half of 2014, and the final comprehensive

APPLICATIONS for the Master’s in Wisdom can be submitted: from 15th December 2010 to 31st August 2011.

exam will likely be scheduled for the summer of 2014.

THREE MONTHS  OF RETREAT  In order to qualify for the FPMT Basic Program Completion Certificate, on-line students must do a total of three months of retreat. This can be done either during Master’s holiday periods or at the end of the Master’s. Students can choose between doing a single threemonth retreat or a series of 3 one-month retreats.



The eight modules common to the Master’s in Wisdom and the FPMT Basic Program are: 1. Foundations of the Buddhist Path: An Overview of the Stages of the Path to Awakening 2. Transforming the Mind Through Recognizing the Faults of Self-Centeredness 3. Mind and Cognition: A Presentation of Buddhist Psychology 4. Philosophical Systems: The Buddhist Schools of Ancient India 5. Final Nature of Mind: A Study of the Limitless Potential of the Mind 6. Cultivating Altruistic Conduct Leading to Awakening 7. Nature of Reality: An Explanation of the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom 8. Application in Complete Aspects: Identifying the Topics of Meditation and the Minds that Meditate on Them


1. Foundations of the Buddhist Path: An Overview of the Stages of the Path to Awakening

This module is based on the text Middle Length Exposition of the Stages of the Path composed by the renowned Tibetan scholar of the Gelug tradition Lama Tzong Khapa (1357-1419), who wrote extensive commentaries on almost every aspect of Buddhist philosophy and practice. This particular genre of text (Tib. lam rim) draws upon the original teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni, which are included in numerous volumes of discourses (sutras), as well as upon the texts of other highly accomplished Indian scholars, such as Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti. This clearly structured text enables an individual to identify the steps that need to be contemplated and practiced in order to progress from an originally self-centered attitude that seeks to obtain immediate happiness for oneself, to an ever-increasing altruistic attitude that puts others’ happiness before one’s own. Students begin by examining how rare and fragile this human life is and discuss the inevitability of death so as to discern what makes life truly meaningful. They then proceed to contemplate the Buddha’s renowned teachings on the law of cause and effect, so as to correctly identify the respective

causes – wholesome and unwholesome actions – that lead to happiness and suffering. They then study the Four Noble Truths, which reveal the extent to which we are permeated by dissatisfaction and suffering as long as we continue to engage in actions that are harmful to ourselves and others, and as long as we continue to permit such destructive emotions as anger and pride to arise in our minds. The texts sets out in detail the means to attain lasting happiness through ethical and altruistic conduct, the cultivation of a deep state of introspective concentration, and the development of insight into the nature of the self, the mind, and the phenomenal world. 2. Transforming the Mind Through Recognizing the Faults of Self-Centeredness

The Mahayana path is characterized by the aspiration to become a buddha, a fully awakened being, so as to be of benefit to others. One of the main tools that is applied to develop and enhance this extraordinary attitude is revealed in a genre of teachings, at once practical and radical, known as ‘mind training,’ or ‘thought transformation’. Dharmarakshita’s Wheel of Sharp Weapons is one of the most esteemed mind training teachings, and a powerful tool to


cut through our true enemies – the grasping at a concrete independent self and the egoism that opposes our true empathic and altruistic nature. It reveals why, as long as we continue to think only of ourselves, we will never be able to find lasting peace and happiness, whereas the minute we eradicate all selfishness and open our hearts to others we will begin to cultivate lasting contentment. The exposition of the causes of happiness and suffering is based on the law of causality and the understanding that any action we do has long-lasting effects upon ourselves and the people around us. These teachings are meant to be put into practice whenever we encounter difficult life situations, so that gradually we are able to bring about a profound and lasting change in our present attitude. Other well-known texts in this genre include The Eight Verses of Mind Training by Langri Tangpa and The Seven-Point Mind Training by Geshe Chekawa. 3. Mind and Cognition: A Presentation of Buddhist Psychology

This module is based on the study of two texts. The first, Explanation of the Presentation of Objects and Subjects, and Mind and Cognition by Yongdzin Purbu Chog, sets out the main types of mind or cognition, including the

various types of direct perception and inferential cognition. In particular this text looks at the various types of mind that play a role in attaining an ever-deeper understanding of reality. These minds range from an initially mistaken conception, to a doubt leaning toward the factual, to a correct assumption based on an unproven belief, to a correct analytical deduction, and then, in some cases in which the mind is particularly trained, to a direct perception of reality, including subtle momentary change and the lack of independent or intrinsic existence, that cannot be perceived by a distracted and untrained mind. The second text, Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen’s Clear Exposition of the Modes of Minds and Mental Factors: A Necklace for Those of Clear Mind provides an excellent introduction to Buddhist psychology. In particular, it defines the positive and negative emotions and mental states that contribute respectively to states of contentment and dissatisfaction. 4. Philosophical Systems: The Buddhist Schools of Ancient India

Based on the idea that the Buddha taught different notions to different people according to their mental capacities and dispositions, Tibetan scholars 13


systemized the numerous trends in Indian Buddhist thought into four schools of tenets. Each system is seen as a stepping stone to the next, thus providing a gradual approach to the most profound philosophical teachings. The text that is the basis for study of this module, Presentation of Tenets by the Tibetan author Jetsun Chokyi Gyaltsen, gives an overview of each of the schools’ assertions on the different types of minds and their objects, the doctrine of no self, and the nature of spiritual attainments, culminating in the tenets of the most highly esteemed school, the Madhyamaka or Middle Way. This short text, which synthesizes a vast amount of literature on these subjects, provides the basis for much reflection and discussion about our own views of the mind, the self, and the external world. 5. Final Nature of Mind: A Study of the Limitless Potential of the Mind

In this course a fundamental question is raised: What is it that permits our mind to develop the limitless potential of a fully awakened being, a buddha? The first chapter of Maitreya’s Sublime Continuum (Sanskrit, Uttaratantra), The Tathagata Essence, or Buddha Nature, clarifies that an understanding of our ‘buddha potential’ is based on an understanding of the ultimate 14

nature of the mind – its emptiness of intrinsic existence. The commentary by Gyaltsab Je, Commentary on Maitreya’s ‘Sublime Continuum of the Mahayana’ further clarifies that it is this very nature of a mind presently obscured by a covering of mental afflictions that allows for its evolution to the state of complete awakening. The view that all mental afflictions – anger, attachment, ignorance, pride, jealousy, etc. – can be completely eradicated from the mind, an apparently radical and startling concept, is presented using reasoning based on analogies. 6. Cultivating Altruistic Conduct Leading to Awakening

The module is based on Shantideva’s inspirational verses on Mahayana aspiration and practice, Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds (Sanskrit, Bodhisattvacaryavatara). Although composed more than a thousand years ago, it is still widely regarded as the most authentic and complete guide for a person dedicated to achieving his own and others’ ultimate wellbeing. This highest of motivations – “For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I too abide to dispel the misery of the world” – lies at the heart of this guide. The text ranges in scope from practical techniques for


developing generosity, cultivating patience, and dealing with destructive emotions, up to an extremely refined debate between the different Buddhist philosophical systems on the definition of ultimate reality. The study of this text by Shantideva is based on commentaries by the Tibetan masters Dragpa Gyeltsen and Gyeltsab Je. 7. Nature of Reality: An Explanation of the Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom

Among the most famous of all the Buddhist scriptures, The Heart of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit, Prajñahrdayasutra) (commonly referred to as the ‘Heart Sutra’) reveals the doctrine of ‘no self’ through a short exchange between two of the Buddha’s most illustrious followers, Avalokiteshvara and Shariputra. The commentary by Tendar Lharampa, Jewel Light Illuminating the Meaning: A Commentary to the Heart of Wisdom, expands on the cryptic style of the sutra to clarify the exact nature of reality in relation to the five levels of spiritual attainment on the path to awakening. This short discourse touches upon many of the fundamental points of Buddhist philosophy, including the Four Noble Truths and the interplay between, on the one hand, the emptiness of intrinsic nature of

the self and all phenomena, and, on the other, the interdependent existence of the self and all phenomena. 8. Application in Complete Aspects: Identifying the Topics of Meditation and the Minds that Meditate on Them

This module begins with an overview of Jetsün Chökyi Gyaltsen’s Seventy Topics, a condensed guide to the seventy topics covered in Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realizations (Sanskrit, Abhisamayalamkara), an important scripture that reveals the levels of spiritual realization that are otherwise presented only in a hidden manner in the Buddha’s Perfection of Wisdom teachings. Once students have become familiar with the context, this course proceeds to analyze the eleven topics presented in the fourth chapter, entitled ‘Application in Complete Aspects,’ of Maitreya’s text. This chapter discusses the obstacles and practices that must be taken into account in order to progress on the five paths and the ten grounds of spiritual realization presented in Mahayana Buddhism. In particular, it identifies 173 objects of meditation and the corresponding minds that meditate on them according to the Svatantrika Madhyamaka school.

The extra ninth module that is included in the Basic Program, but not in the Master’s in Wisdom:

9. THE GROUNDS  AND PATHS OF  SECRET MANTRA  This text offers a concise overview of the structure of the tantric path, widely acclaimed in Tibet as the swiftest and most sublime means to realize buddhahood. Tantra distinguishes itself in particular through a unique combination of method and wisdom, achieved through meditation on the perfect form of a buddha as completely devoid of true existence. Kirti Lobsang Trinley’s commentary – A Brief Presentation of the Path of Vajrayana – presents the most important features of the four classes of tantra as well as the procedures related to empowerment and the particularities of the deity yoga related to each class.



Dates of the  Master’s   January 16th, 2011 to December 13th, 2013

Orientation Period  January 11th-13th, 2012

Student Arrival  January 9th-10th, 2012

Weekly Schedule  Classes Five 2-hour sessions Monday to Friday Meditations Five 1-hour sessions Monday to Friday Tutorials Four 1 ½ hour sessions Monday to Thursday Project Work 5 hours a week The weekly schedule found here should be considered as merely indicative.

The Master’s begins January 16th, 2011 and concludes December 13th, 2013. Classes take place nine months a year, from January to June and from September to December. The conferral of the Master’s diploma will take place in January 2014, the precise date yet to be decided. A three-day orientation is scheduled for January 11th-13th, 2012 at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. The orientation includes a series of presentations related to the Master’s itself, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, the FPMT, and Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. This period also offers Master’s staff and students the chance to start to get to know each other. Classes begin January 16th, 2012, and take place Monday to Friday, 2 hours a day. These consist in traditional teachings with Geshe Tenzin Tenphel, as well as occasional question-andanswer sessions.

8.00-9.00 9.00-10.00 10.00-10.30

Meditation sessions take place Monday to Friday, 1 hour a day. While meditations will initially be guided by the tutor, as students progress they will be expected to meditate independently on the topic. For the first six months of the Master’s, students are asked to contribute five hours a week of service involving various tasks that benefit the study program and the community of Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. From September 3rd, 2012 to November 15th, 2013 students are required to perform an average of 5 hours a week of project work.









































14.30-16.00 16.30


Tutorials take place four days a week, for 1 ½ hours each. The tutorials consist in lessons with the tutor to review and supplement the material covered in the classes, student presentations, discussion groups, and question-and-answer sessions. Obligatory in-class quizzes are taken during the tutorial approximately every 1-2 weeks.


THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Course Components

The Master’s consists of three accredited components: 1. Academic component – 8 modules consisting of 10 hours of classes a week from January 16th, 2012 to December 13th, 2013, for a total of 600 hours. These classes are supplemented by regular tutorials, 4 times a week. A final thesis must be submitted no later than September 1st, 2013. 2. Meditation component – 5 hours of meditation a week plus 3 one-week retreats from January 16th, 2012 to December 13th, 2013, for a total of 400 hours. 3. Project work component – 5 hours of project work a week between September 3rd, 2012 and November 15th, 2013, for a total of 200 hours. In order to be conferred the Master’s, students must: 1. complete the academic component through obtaining 58 credits by: • attending a minimum of 90% of the classes related to each of the 8 modules, • completing a minimum of 90% of the in-class quizzes related to each of the 8 modules, • achieving a minimum mark of 50% on each of the exams for the 8 modules, and

obtaining 2 credits by: • completing and successfully passing the final thesis; 2. complete the meditation component through obtaining 20 credits by: • attending a minimum of 90% of the meditation sessions related to each of the 8 modules and a minimum of 90% of the meditation sessions included in the 3 one-week retreats, • keeping a daily log of their meditation experience and insights, and

SUMMARY A student must successfully complete all four components in order to qualify for the Master’s. A student who fails to satisfy one or more of the requirements will not be conferred any credits and will not be conferred the Master’s. A student who withdraws or is expelled

• passing a written evaluation twice a year and an oral evaluation once a year in relation to their meditation practice;

from the Master’s will

3. complete the project work component through obtaining 10 credits by:

more modules.

not receive any credits, even though he/she may have successfully completed the requirements for one or

• successfully completing a minimum of 200 hours of project work from September 3rd, 2012 through November 15th, 2013 with a minimum score of 20/30 on a maximum of two projects. 4. meet the standards for attitude and behavior for students of the Master’s, as determined by the administrative and teaching staff (see page 21).


THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Conferral of Credits & the Diploma

OPTIONAL CREDITS  In parallel to the Master’s, every academic year five optional three-day seminars will be organized with the purpose of presenting research by internationally recognized scientists and researchers working in the field of Mind Science, as well as by well-known Buddhist scholars and contemplatives. These



Each module consists of an academic component, a meditation component, and a project component. All three components of all eight modules must be successfully completed, and a student must meet the attitude and behavior criteria in order to qualify for the Master’s diploma and 90 credits.

At the end of the Master’s, those students who have successfully completed the academic, meditation, and project work components in relation to each one of the 8 modules, including having passed all the required exams and having met the minimum attendance requirements as delineated by the Rules and Regulations of the Master’s, will receive an International Master’s diploma stating the acquired university credits (CFU/ECTS) in accordance with art. 3 of D.M. 207/2004, from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

Additional credits for attending the supplementary three-day seminars and summer intensives will be granted to those students who have successfully completed all other components of the Master’s.

seminars are worth one credit each. Modules The number of credits optional summer intensives will be communicated some

YEAR 1 2012

assigned for the

YEAR 2 2013

months in advance.


Academic component

Meditation component

Project component

Foundations of the Path 16 January-7 June 2012

15 credits

7 credits


Transforming the Mind 11-29 June 2012

2 credits

0.5 credit

Mind and Cognition 3 Sept.-25 October 2012

6 credits

2 credit

Philosophical Systems 29 Oct.-14 Dec. 2012

6 credits

1.5 credit

Final Nature of Mind 14 Jan.-14 Feb. 2013

4 credits

1 credit

Cultivating Altruistic Conduct 18 Feb.-28 June 2013

13 credits

5 credits

Nature of Reality 2-19 September 2013

2 credits

0.5 credit

Application in Complete Aspects 23 Sept.-13 Dec. 2013

10 credits

2.5 credits

Thesis (to be submitted no later than 1 September 2013)

2 credits




60 credits

20 credits

10 credits

10 credits

THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Evaluation Procedures

Academic component Quizzes

There is a written in-class quiz/test every 1-2 weeks during each module. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 90% of the in-class quizzes in order to qualify to pass an individual module. However, these quizzes will not be graded. Exams

Each module has one written exam at the end. Exams are graded on a total of 100 marks. True-false statements account for approximately 30% of the total grade, whereas a combination of essay questions, multiple choice questions, and other standard formats of questions account for the remaining approximately 70%. Students must obtain a grade of 50% and above on the exam in order to pass an individual module. Students are exempted from writing the exam on the scheduled date only if they have a valid reason such as illness, serious family problems, etc. In this case, a new date for the exam will be set by the academic staff, generally within 2-3 weeks of the original exam date.

Students who fail an exam will be given one opportunity to do another oral or written exam. Students who fail this oral or written exam will not qualify to pass the specific module and therefore will not be eligible for the Master’s.

ATTENDANCE Students must sign in upon entering a class/meditation. To be eligible to receive the Master’s, students

Only students who obtain a passing grade on all 8 exams related to the 8 modules and successfully complete all other components of the Master’s will be eligible for the Master’s diploma and 90 university credits.

must not be absent for



The final thesis must be submitted no later than September 1st, 2013. If the student’s thesis is considered inadequate by the academic staff, the student will not be eligible for the 2 credits related to this activity and will not qualify for the Master’s. Students whose thesis is considered inadequate can apply to the Academic Board within 30 days to submit a second thesis on a different subject. If the Academic Board accepts the request, the student must submit the new thesis no later than November 15th, 2013. If this thesis passes the evaluation by the academic staff, the student will be eligible for the 2 credits related to this activity.

more than •

10% of the classes,

10% of the in-class quizzes, and/or

10% of the meditation sessions

related to each of the 8

If a student does not meet the attendance requirements, he/she can submit a request for an exception for a justified reason that includes illness, serious family problems, etc. to the Academic Board, whose decision is final. If the Academic Board accepts the request, the student will be permitted to write the specific exam related to that module.


THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Evaluation Procedures

In the case of an  unsatisfactory  evaluation   Students who are judged ineligible for the meditation component by the academic staff of the Master’s can appeal to the Academic Board for a re-evaluation. Students who do not pass this re-evaluation will not be eligible for the Master’s. Likewise, a student whose project work is considered unsatisfactory by the Project Committee can appeal to the Academic Board for re-evaluation. If the Academic Board is not satisfied with the student’s project work, the Academic Board can propose an alternative project. If the student does not agree to this alternative project or does not carry it out satisfactorily, the student will not be conferred the Master’s.



Project Work

Students are expected to attend all weekly meditation sessions and all meditation sessions during the 3 one-week retreats, and to meditate on the specific topic of a meditation session. At the end of every meditation, students must write a very brief account of that meditation and record any insights gained while meditating on that topic. A random check will be performed from time to time in which students will be asked to submit a page from these records.

A student’s performance and the progress of his/her project work will be evaluated on a periodical basis by the assigned project supervisor. At the end of each project, a student must submit a log of the time dedicated to the project together with a report outlining the project and its outcome. A student’s performance will be evaluated by the Project Committee in terms of the final outcome of the project and its benefit to others. Such factors as communication skills, reliability, responsibility, organization, and creativity will also be taken into account.

Students’ progress in meditation will be monitored through two annual written evaluations that test a student’s understanding of and proficiency with respect to particular meditation topics. In addition, there will be an individual oral evaluation by a member of the academic staff once a year. In this evaluation, a student will be asked questions in order to evaluate his/her understanding of meditation in general, as well as his/her understanding of the particular topics of meditation examined in the Master’s. Beginning from September 2012, students may be asked to take turns guiding meditation sessions. In this case the tutor will evaluate a student’s performance and will provide feedback.

Students must receive a minimum score of 20/30 for each project work engaged in. Students who fail the Project Work component will not be eligible for the 10 credits related to this activity and will not be eligible for the Master’s. A student who does not complete the required minimum of 200 hours of project work or whose project work does not pass the evaluation of the Project Committee and/or the Academic Board is not eligible for the Master’s.

THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Evaluation Procedures

Attitude and Behavior The classes, tutorials, meditation sessions, and project work components of the Master’s are directed exclusively at fostering the development of wisdom and compassion to their highest level. These and other positive qualities are necessarily based upon a strong code of ethics that takes into consideration the effect of one’s actions on others. As students of the Master’s are expected to set an example for others, both as future teachers and as members of the larger community, they must be sincerely and seriously working to eliminate destructive emotions and to cultivate positive qualities. As this can only be evaluated externally by verbal and physical behavior, in addition to abiding by the Rules and Regulations of the Master’s and the General Rules and Regulations for Students of Istituto Lama Tzong, students of the Master’s are expected to refrain from: • any form of physical abuse of humans and animals, such as killing (including hunting and fishing), punching, striking, etc., • any form of stealing, including appropriating, misusing, and damaging the property of the Scuola or the Institute without making appropriate retribution,

• any form of sexual misconduct, such as adultery etc., • any form of lying and cheating, including misrepresentation of one’s background on one’s resume, plagiarism on exams or in the final thesis, feigning sickness to defer an exam, etc.,

SELF EVALUATION  Students who report 20 episodes of ill-will a month for more than five months of the year, and/or who regularly

• taking any form of mindaltering substances,

manifest strong anger

• drinking immoderate amounts of alcohol.

verbally, as well as

In addition, as violent emotions such as anger, hatred, and rage are completely antithetical to empathy and compassion, students are required to work on cultivating patience and tolerance toward other people and in the face of difficult situations. In order to help students become increasingly mindful of and skillful in detecting the presence of anger in their mind, they are required to perform a daily self-evaluation and record the number of instances in which they wished harm upon others. This includes both the wish to harm others themselves and the wish that harm befall others from other people or circumstances. This self-evaluation must be submitted on a regular basis to the administrative staff of the Master’s at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute.

physically and/or students whose attitude or behavior is deemed unethical and unacceptable by the academic and administrative staff of the Master’s, will be evaluated by the Ethical Committee of Lama Tzong Khapa Institute. The Ethical Committee is responsible for deciding what remedial action to take and for determining whether a student should be expelled from the Master’s. A student who is expelled from the Master’s will not receive any credits, even though he/she may have successfully completed the requirements for one or more modules.


THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Teaching and Administrative Staff

Teaching Staff Scuola Superiore  Sant’Anna 

Master’s Teacher


(to be decided)

Prof. Massimo Bergamasco


is full professor of

(to be decided)

Applied Mechanics at Sant’Anna where he teaches courses on the

Administrative Staff

Mechanics of Robots and Perception. He


founded the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory in 1991, and currently leads research projects in the fields of Virtual Environments and Cognitive Rehabilitation. In 2010, he initiated the collaboration between the School and the Institute that led to the Master’s in Wisdom. He plans to establish the Gomo Tulku Center for Mind Research in 2011.


Geshe Tenzin Tenphel graduated from Sera Jey Monastic University in India with a Lharam Geshe degree, the highest academic degree awarded by Tibetan monastic universities. Since 1998 Geshe Tenphel has been resident teacher at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute where he has taught in various Buddhist studies program including the seven-year Masters Program of Advanced Buddhist Philosophical Studies and the three-year Basic Program of Buddhist Studies. In addition he is regularly invited to give courses on Buddhist philosophy and practice throughout Italy, as well as to participate in seminars on topics related to Buddhism, Tibetan freedom, and world peace and to represent Buddhism in interreligious dialogues. Geshe Tenphel is the main teacher for the Master’s in Wisdom at Lama Tzong Khapa Institute.

Master’s in Wisdom Supervisor

Prof. Massimo Bergamasco Division of Higher Education The Director

Prof. Maria Chiara Carrozza Coordination of the Master’s and Training Programmes Division Process Manager

Roberta Chiordi Manager Institutional Courses and Master’s

Silvia Marcacci ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Study Program Coordinator

Joan Nicell - Assistant Study Program Coordinator

Federica Sagretti -

THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Application and Selection Process

Application Process Applicants for the Master’s in Wisdom should read the Call before completing the application form, both of which are available at Applicants are strongly advised to provide a detailed description of their motivation in the relevant compulsory section of the application form. Applicants must also submit the following documentation preferably in electronic format but, if not possible, in printed format: • a curriculum vitae covering education, cultural, and professional experiences, including previous experience in the fields of Mind Science and Buddhist studies; • copies of degree certificates and/or academic transcripts (if applicable); • a statement of interest (this should include a discussion of reasons for applying to this Master’s, how this Master’s relates to one’s personal and/or professional life, and how one intends to use this training after the Master’s); • two reference letters; • scan of valid passport or other ID; • a recent passport-size photo,

• any other useful documentation for the assessment (English knowledge certificates, Graduate Record Examinations GRE, etc.). Applications for admission to the residential Master’s in Wisdom must be submitted, as detailed above, no later than August 31st, 2011, 11.00 pm CET (Central European Time).

Selection process Applications will be examined by the Admissions Committee, a subset of the Academic Board, within one month of the submission deadline, August 31st, 2011. In the first evaluation phase the Admissions Committee will select applicants by awarding up to 100 points to their qualifications (curriculum and titles) according to the following criteria: • relevant related experience, including previous Buddhist studies and meditation practice – up to 50 points; • academic curriculum (consistency of the curriculum and dissertation with the contents of the Master’s, and average marks received on exams) – up to 20 points; • motivation and reference letters – up to 20 points; and • English language skills – up to 10 points.

The 60 applicants with the highest scores will be interviewed (using web conference tools such as Skype) by the Admissions Committee. The schedule of interviews will be published on the website of the Master’s ( in September 2011, and applicants will also be notified by email of their interview time. It is the applicants’ responsibility to check the date and time of their interviews. At the end of the selection process, the Admissions Committee will draw up a list of students who have been admitted which will then be published on the website of the Master’s. Applicants will also be notified by email of the result of the selection.



THE MASTER’S IN WISDOM Paper Work After Being Accepted

Student Visa

Registration for  EU Citizens  EU citizens must register within 90 days of their arrival in the local municipality (Comune) of Santa Luce, in which Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is located. The Institute will provide assistance in this matter.

Italian National  Healthcare  Service   The National Healthcare Service (Servizio sanitario nazionale) is based on the principle of “universal entitlement”: the state provides free and equal access to care (preventive care, medical care, and rehabilitation services) to all its residents.

After receiving notification of admission to the Master’s in Wisdom, students who are citizens of non-EU member states and residing outside Italy must contact the Italian Embassy/Consulate in their country of residence (see: e.htm) in order to apply for a student visa. Students who are planning to visit other European countries included in the Schengen Area should apply for a multiple entry Schengen Visa



• A photocopy of the receipt for the stay permit (permesso di soggiorno). • A letter from Sant’Anna stating details, including the name and duration of the enrolled course, the address of residence, medical insurance, etc. Sant’Anna will provide assistance to students in applying for the fiscal code. The date and time for the above assistance will be announced.

Stay Permit for non-EU Citizens

After entering Italy, non-EU citizens must initiate the process for obtaining a ‘stay permit’ (permesso di soggiorno) within 8 days of their arrival. Sant’Anna and the Institute will provide assistance in applying for and obtaining the Stay Permit. The date and time for the above assistance will be announced. The cost in 2010 for applying for a stay permit was €27.50 + €30.00 + €14.62 = €72.12. Fiscal Code


• A photocopy of passport and visa (all relevant pages).

In addition, all students are required to obtain a Fiscal Code (codice fiscale), a legal document issued by the Ministry of Finance. The documents required to apply for a fiscal code are:

Italian National Healthcare Service

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna will provide students with health and accident insurance for the entire period of the Master’s. This medical assistance entitles students to the same healthcare as Italian nationals. It covers visits to a family doctor (medico di base), free healthcare and hospitalization, and the possibility of seeing a specialist by paying a surcharge. Sant’Anna will provide assistance to students in applying for the National Healthcare Service. The date and time for the above assistance will be announced.


The annual tuition fee for the Master’s is €1,800.00 for each of the two years. This fee includes: • all classes, tutorials, meditation sessions, retreats included in the Master’s, • the supervision of project work, • access to study materials online, • various printed study materials including the main texts for the 8 modules, • the five annual three-day seminars organized at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, • attendance at weekend courses taught by the Institute’s resident teachers during the academic year and a discount on fees for other courses organized by the Institute.

Students who subsequently withdraw from the Master’s will not be eligible for any reimbursement of tuition fees, and must pay all tuition fees due at the time that he/she withdraws. Students who are expelled from the Master’s will also not be eligible for reimbursement of tuition fees, and must pay all tuition fees due at the time that he/she is expelled The full tuition fee for the second year (2013) is due October 31st, 2012. Students who withdraw or are expelled from the Master’s after this date will not be eligible for any reimbursement of tuition fees, and must pay all tuition fees due at the time that he/she withdraws or is expelled.

Payment of  Tuition Fees  Tuition fees are to be paid directly to Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna by bank transfer to: Bank: UNICREDIT BANCA DI ROMA Spa, Piazza Garibaldi 1, 56100 Pisa, Italy IBAN code: IT 32 O 02008 14006 000401272765 SWIFT code: UNCRITM1G12 Description of payment: “Installment 1 – On-campus Wisdom 2012/13 – ‘student’s full name’

The tuition fee does not include participation in summer intensives related to the Master’s. Upon receipt of notification of their admission to the Master’s, students must confirm their participation by paying the full tuition fee for the first year.



MAHAYANA MINDFULNESS  Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is a place for people to work on changing their normal attitude and behavior so as to become better human beings. This involves cultivating respect and care for other beings as well as for the environment. Therefore, please treat other people as you would treat your family and friends, the Institute’s buildings as you would your home, the Institute’s things as you would your own belongings, the Institute’s property as you would your own garden, and the Institute’s dogs and cats as you would your own pets.


Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is a very active center with courses ranging from one weekend to seven years in length! Every weekend two to four courses on various topics take place, bringing 30-90 people to the Institute. In addition, the seven-year Masters Program in Advanced Buddhist Studies, with classes Monday to Friday, has more than 50 full-time students, many of whom live at the Institute. These students have come from all over the world to participate in this unique program designed to train Western students of Buddhism to become qualified teachers. The two resident Tibetan teachers, Khensur Jampa Tegchok and Geshe Tenzin Tenphel, almost 30 monks and nuns, and numerous lay practitioners make the Institute into a true place upholding the teachings of the Buddha. In addition, the large number of staff, supported by a group of hard-working volunteers, keep all the various sectors of the Institute up and running including reception, the shop, coffee bar, Japanese tea garden, kitchen and house cleaning, maintenance, garden, library, publishing house, and translation office.


The Institute's main building houses a beautiful Tuscan-Tibetan meditation hall, a conference room, two dining halls, a library, several office areas, Shiné Jewelry, and rooms and dormitories for staff, volunteers, and guests. A small restored chapel dedicated to the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig, and set in a secluded wooded area on the property, is an ideal place for small courses and retreats.

Chenrezig Gompa outside

A small private house – the villetta – is home to the Institute's two resident teachers and also hosts visiting lamas. The grounds include four stupas (reliquary monuments for important teachers who have passed away), a prayer wheel containing 21 billion mantras of the Buddha of Compassion, several stone buddha statues, a statue of Lama Thubten Yeshe, the founder of the FPMT, an elaborately carved wooden statue of Padmasambhava, a Japanese tea garden, strings of colorful prayer flags, a small pond filled with gold fish, more than 200 olive trees, and fields of lavender, sage, and rosemary.

Chenrezig Gompa inside

Tara on the dome of the Chenrezig Gompa


ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation at the Institute

Angle of double room

Angle of double room

Washing area

A limited number of single and double rooms is available to the students of the Master’s in Wisdom. These room are in comfortable wooden cabins (casetta) set on terraces overlooking the hills on the other side of the valley and surrounded by olive and cypress trees. All rooms have pine walls, flooring, and ceiling, with beautiful windows and doors. Each person has a bed, side table, desk, chair, and closet. Both the single rooms and the double rooms share a bathroom in common with one adjoining room. A common washing area is reached through a door in each room, whereas the bathroom is through a separate door inbetween the two rooms. Each bathroom has a corner shower, toilet, and bidet.

Single casetta

Single casetta

The single and double rooms will be allocated on a first-come-first serve basis. Toilet and bidet (shower in right hand corner)

Angle of single room


Dormitory accommodation is also available but is not considered ideal for long-term stay and for study purposes, as it often has to be shared with participants of other courses. However, students are welcome to stay in a dormitory as long as they like.

Double casetta

ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Accommodation and Meals

For monks, there may be the possibility of accommodation in the area in the main building of the Institute allocated to the monks of Takden Shedrup Targye Ling Monastery (for enquiries contact the manager Ven. Olivier Rossi at ). For nuns, there may be the possibility of accommodation in a small dormitory in the main building that is allocated to the nuns of Shenphen Samten Ling Nunnery (for enquiries contact the manager Ven. Sangye Khadro at External Accommodation

Apartments are available in the nearby village of Pomaia (5-10 minutes by foot) and also in the other nearby villages of Pastina, Santa Luce, and Castellina Marittima (10-15 minutes by car). The Institute also plans to make arrangements with some of the nearby local residences (agriturismi) to house students in their rooms and apartments during the school year. For more information and help in finding accommodation, please contact the Assistant Study Program Coordinator, Federica Sagretti, at

Accommodation in the nearby villages runs from approximately €350 a month up to €500 for a one-room apartment (Pomaia being generally more expensive than villages that are further away), and from €500 to €750 for a two or three-bedroom apartment (2010-2011 prices).


Monthly rate for room and board in a single room: €620

Monthly rate for room and board in a double room: €520

Monthly rate for room and board in a dormitory: €490


The Institute has a full-time cook and kitchen staff who prepare a hot lunch (the main meal of the day) and a hot dinner all year round. Food is completely vegetarian, home-made, and mostly traditional Italian cuisine with lots of pasta dishes, soups, and fresh vegetables. Breakfast consists of muesli and freshly made yogurt, as well as brown and rye breads and jam, accompanied by a selection of teas and instant coffee. As the Institute is unable to cater to individual dietary needs, students who need to follow a particular diet should consider living outside the Institute.

It is to be noted that guests for other courses pay a daily rate of €55 in a single room, €44 in a double room, and €38 in a dormitory (prices effective 2011). ACCOMMODATIONMEAL PAYMENTS Accommodation and meal fees can either be paid in cash at the beginning of each month at the Institute, or by a monthly bank transfer to: Account name: Kurukulla Bank: : Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Branch: Rosignano Solvay (Livorno), Italy IBAN: IT 49 J 06160 25100000000562C00 SWIFT/BIC: CRFI I T3


ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Accommodation and Meals

Meal Fees for Students Living Outside the Institute Students who do not live at the Institute can book lunch by 10.00 of the same day, and/or dinner by 16.00 of the same day. The discounted daily cost for students is: •

Lunch - €6.00

dinner - €5.00

It is also possible to pay for lunch and/or dinner on a monthly basis: •

lunch - €180.00

dinner - €150.00

During meditation retreats, students who live outside the Institute can also eat breakfast at the Institute. At this time, the daily cost for breakfast is €2.00. For ordained sangha, the cost for breakfast is €2.00, lunch is €5.00 and dinner is €4.00. The monthly cost for breakfast is €60.00, lunch is €150, the monthly cost for dinner is €120.


Policies Regarding Student Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation at the Institute is allocated by the Admissions Board, a subset of the Academic Board. Students living in accommodation at the Institute must pay the monthly fee for accommodationmeal for a minimum of nine months a year (from midJanuary to the end of June, and from the beginning of September to mid-December, excluding the Christmas break from midDecember to mid-January) up to a maximum of 10 months a year (including the Christmas break), whether or not they are present at the Institute for the entire period. It is to be noted that there is NO daily rate for students. Students rates are not generally available for July and August, however special rates will be available during summer intensives. Students are permitted to arrive at the Institute no more than three days before a new semester begins in January and September, and must leave no later than two days after the exam in June or December.

Students are not permitted to sublet their room/bed during periods of their absence. Students who plan to be absent over the Christmas break from mid-December to mid-January are not required to pay the monthly fee for accommodation if they pack up their belongings, clean their room, and make it available to the Institute to use for other guests during that period. Monthly accommodation fees include three meals a day. There is no reduction in fees for students who do not eat some or all of their meals at the Institute. Students must pay the monthly fee for accommodation and meals at the beginning of each month. Students who do not pay on time will be asked to leave the accommodation. A student who is living at the Institute who withdraws or is expelled from the Master’s will not be reimbursed accommodationmeal fees already paid for that month, and must pay all accommodation-meal fees due at the time that he/she withdraws or is expelled.


What is there to do when it comes time to relax?

Go for walks in the countryside…

sip a tea in the Japanese Tea Garden…

stretch out on the veranda and listen to a Dharma teaching or your favorite music…

When not attending classes…

enjoy a delicious cappuccino or an ice cream at the coffee bar… meditating…

delight in the beautiful countryside…

and relax in the warm sunshine at the beach! attending pujas…



layered clothing for changeable weather

comfortable loose clothing for sitting and studying

a swimsuit for a swim at the beach

a warm coat or jacket for the winter months

a shawl or light blanket to wrap around your shoulders

a wind-breaker (Pomaia can be a windy place)

an umbrella

comfortable walking shoes for the graveled areas and rough paths and stairs on the Institute’s property

boots for the puddles and occasional snow

an FM radio (weekend courses with the resident Tibetan teachers are generally translated into English over FM radio)


an alarm clock to wake you up the morning

a flashlight for the not always well-lit paths and outside stairs around the Institute

Dharma books related to the subjects of the Master’s

a laptop computer (most of the study materials, including audio recordings of the daily classes, are available to the on-line learning site)

mosquito spray for spring and summer evenings in the garden

your own personal toiletries

your own special meditation cushion and yoga mat

your favorite videos to share with other students

an electric kettle and mug to make tea in your room

slippers (the floors can be cold in the winter)

anything else that will make you feel at home!


Administrative Offices

The reception office, located adjacent to the main entrance, is open every day from 9.00-12.30 and 14.00-17.00. The Institute’s receptionist is available for general information regarding the Institute’s weekend courses, and booking and paying rooms for guests. The main administrative offices are located in a separate wing on the ground floor. Other offices, including that of the Study Program Coordinator, are reached through a separate entrance at the back of the main building. Meditation and Conference Halls

Classes and tutorials take place either in the main meditation hall or the conference hall (commonly referred to as the “palestra”). Small courses also take place in the Chenrezig Gompa located in a shady wooded area on the Institute’s grounds. Library

The Institute has a well-stocked library containing a wide selection of books in English and Italian on topics not only related to Buddhism but also to psychology, philosophy, humanities, etc. The library is generally open at all times but is occasionally used for weekend courses.




Students are encouraged to bring their own personal laptop computer, as the desktop computers available are often in use by the volunteers who work at the Institute. The Institute has a wireless network that can be accessed at various points in the main building.

prayer book covers, and meditation cushions. Another small shop, run by Chiara Luce Edizioni, is located on the ground floor of the main building. It too sells a variety of books and Dharma items.

Coffee Bar and Shops

Tea Garden

The Institute has a small coffee bar that is open all day on weekends and for a couple of hours at lunch time during the week. It serves the usual range of Italian coffees together with tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate, and frozen ice creams as well as hot croissants on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The small adjoining shop contains many Dharma items including statues, tangkas, and ritual objects as well as Dharma books, booklets, audio and CDs, and videos, mainly in Italian. It also stocks a selection of clothing, 34

A Japanese Tea Garden, located in a pleasant corner of the grounds near the prayer wheel, is open in the late afternoon and evenings from spring through to late summer (opening times are written on the white board in the main corridor each week). It serves a selection of high quality teas from around the world in traditional Japanese style.




All meals are available as a selfservice buffet in the main kitchen. Breakfast is served daily at 8:009.00, lunch at 12.30-13.15, tea at 17.00. and dinner at 19.30-20.00. As there are courses most weekends, the lunch and dinner schedules may change slightly (check the white board for announcements). Eating areas include the main dining room on the ground floor, a small dining room on the first floor, and, during warm weather, the covered area at the front of the Institute.

The Institute’s van is at the disposition of students upon prior request for trips that do not extend beyond 50 kms and are not more than a few hours in duration. A limited number of students who possess a valid driver’s license for Italy are permitted to drive the van. The driver is responsible for any speeding or parking tickets, as well as for any damage that occurs to the van while it is in his/her care. There is a fixed cost for taking the van to Rosignano , Cecina, Livorno, and Pisa. Students who are picked up or dropped off by the Institute’s vehicle must pay the respective fee to the receptionist. Group shopping trips can be arranged if a driver with a valid driving license is available.


The annual library membership fee of €15.00 is included in the tuition fee. Overdue books are charged a daily penalty. Damaged and lost books must be replaced or refunded. Internet

There is a monthly charge, payable in reception, of €5.00 for internet access that goes toward the cost of maintaining the network and the wireless service. Printing and Photocopying

A printer and photocopy machine are available to students at a cost per page for a limited number of copies.

Book Orders

Every 3 to 4 months the Study Program Coordinator organizes a group book order from the Buddhist book distributor Wisdom Books, which is located in England. The advantage of the group order is a discount of up to 35% on most books. The cost of shipping is divided by the number of books. Students are expected to pay for their books punctually upon their arrival.

Laundry: Students living at or outside the Institute are permitted to use the Institute’s washing machines. There is a fixed charge per load; students must provide their own washing detergent. Accumulated laundry charges should be calculated by the student and paid in reception at the beginning of the following month. First Aid: The Institute has a small first aid cupboard on the ground floor that contains basic first aid items and medicines. Students are asked to replace whatever they use, or make a donation for it in reception. Tibetan medical practitioner: The Institute has a resident traditional Tibetan doctor who is available for check-ups, and who can prescribe Tibetan herbal medicines when needed.



Doctors: A family

Post Office

doctor – Dr. D’Altorio –

The post office in Pomaia is open Monday to Saturday from 8.3013.00 (the last Saturday of the month it closes a half hour earlier). Students can collect their mail in the box marked ‘posta in arrivo’ in the reception. Students must send out-going mail from the post office in Pomaia.

is available in Pomaia twice a week, on Tuesday afternoons from 16.00-18.00 and on Friday mornings from 9.00-11.00. Another family doctor – Dr. Silvano Giari – who is closely connected to the Institute and takes


care of resident and

There is a cash machine in Pomaia, as well as banks and cash machines in Castellina, Santa Luce, Rosignano, and Cecina. In general banks are open Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 13.00. The least costly and most efficient way to bank is to maintain a bank account in your home country, which can be accessed here in Italy with a debit card (teller card).

visiting teachers, has regular office hours in Castellina and Le Badie. He also makes home visits when necessary. Dentist : Available in Pastina (about 6 kilometers from Pomaia) once a week. Blood tests can be done, with a doctor’s prescription, once a

Local Stores

week in Castellina or

There is a small general store (tabacchio) in Pomaia where everyday necessities, including pens, notebooks, batteries, soap, etc., can be bought (open Monday to Saturday 8.30-12.30 and 16.30-19.30 except Wednesday afternoons). There are also two small grocery stores that are open Monday to Saturday 8.30-13.00 and 17.00-20.30, except Wednesday afternoons. Prices in these stores tend to be higher than in the towns, but not enough to make a trip into Rosignano or

Pastina. Hospitals: There is a large hospital with good facilities in Cecina that serves most needs, including emergencies, blood and urine exams, etc. There are also major hospitals in both Livorno and Pisa.


Cecina worthwhile for a small amount of shopping. Local Restaurants

There is a bar in Pomaia that serves simple hot dishes (bars in Italy sell coffee, sandwiches, and ice cream in addition to alcoholic drinks). There is a restaurant at the tourist village ‘Pieve di Pomaia’ a five-minute walk from the Institute, and a couple of restaurants in each of the nearby villages. Restaurants in the area are generally closed on Tuesdays. Pharmacies

There is a pharmacy in Pomaia with limited opening hours (see the notice in reception). There are also larger pharmacies in Castellina, Santa Luce, Rosignano, and Cecina that are generally open from 9.00-12.30 and 15.30-19.30. On holidays and Sundays the pharmacies take turns being open. (Be aware that most medicines in Italy require a prescription.) Hairdresser

There is a hairdresser in Pomaia as well as in nearby Castellina.


Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is located on the outskirts of the small village of Pomaia, in the province of Pisa. Pomaia is 45 kms south of Pisa and 360 kms north of Rome. Arriving by Plane

(see The closest airport to Pomaia is Pisa International Airport, which has international flights from New York (Delta Airlines) and many European cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Munich, as well as regular domestic connections from several Italian cities including Rome and Milan. From Pisa Airport take another ten-minute train to Pisa Centrale (or a taxi) and then the train to Rosignano (about 45 minutes), where we

can pick you up when you arrive for the first time in January 2012. If you fly into Rome, you will need to take a train to Cecina or Rosignano, where we can pick you up when you arrive in for the first time in January 2012. Arriving by Train

(see homepage_en.html)

For more information please contact: Study Program Coordinator Joan Nicell Assistant Study Program Coordinator Federica Sagretti

If you are arriving directly by train, the closest train stations to Pomaia are Cecina (45 km south of Livorno) and Rosignano (30 km south of Livorno) on the RomeFlorence and Rome-Genoa line.




Master's in Wisdom/Basic Program Student Handbook  

A detailed description of the Master's in Wisdom, a university-accredited Basic Program.

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