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Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa Pomaia (PI) - Italy

Study Buddhism, learn how to meditate, and enjoy the beautiful countryside and historic cities of Tuscany


Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (Pisa), Italy 5th September/14th October 2011

STUDENT HANDBOOK Wisdom and Compassion 2011

Š Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, 2011 All rights reserved.

The information contained herein is meant for students of Wisdom and Compassion: The True Source of Genuine Happiness offered by Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia (Pisa), Italy.

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)

The FPMT is an international, nonprofit organization, founded in 1975, devoted to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide 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 Tsongkhapa 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 standard 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 also offers the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program, a four-year interpreter training program consisting of two years of study of textual and spoken Tibetan in Dharamsala, India, and two years of interpreter training in an FPMT center. Another extremely important project of the FPMT, which is administered by The Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, is Essential Education, the aim of which it to bring Buddhist understanding and values into the secular world, including 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 the other programs are taught in many FPMT centers, the Masters Program, both residential and on-line, is unique to Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa

SERVICE Liberation Prison Project Leprosy Clinics Polio Clinics Amdo Eye Clinic Health and Nutrition Clinics Hospices Maitreya Project Publishing Houses Essential Education

For more information



Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa International School of Buddhist Studies

MISSION STATEMENT Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa is an international school for the study and practice of Buddhism at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. Our lineage stems from Nagarjuna and the other Nalanda pandits of ancient India, to Lama Tsongkhapa, 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.


The 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 is intent on offering an everhigher quality of 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 in 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 and so forth, 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 the knowledge contained in the ancient Buddhist scriptures through translating them from their original Tibetan into both English and Italian, as well as through publishing them. It also organizes courses and events that support the preservation of the Tibetan culture and the freedom of Tibetan. For more information


Introductory level programs Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa offers four standard introductory programs to Tibetan Buddhism and meditation: Buddhism in a Nutshell is an FPMT standard program that consists in 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 that sets out 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 standard program that consists in 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 people completely new to meditation.

The Foundations of Buddhism is an ILTK standard 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 of 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 standard program that consists in two weekend modules offered once a year at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. 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.

The Institute offers a wide range of courses and retreats on Buddhism, especially on subjects related to Tibetan Buddhism in the tradition of Lama Tsongkhapa. 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 traditions and in other spiritual traditions. In the field of Interdisciplinary Education, the Institute hosts courses, seminars, and conventions in collaboration with other 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 standard program that consists of 13 teaching modules taught in 13 weekends over a two-year period, accompanied by a 14th practice module that consists of specific individual spiritual practices that students can engage in wherever and whenever they wish. The 13 teaching modules provide 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 Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa that covers the key topics of Mahayana Buddhism, beginning with the four noble truths up to the development of the complementary wings of wisdom and compassion. (See the rest of this handbook for a detailed description.)

Living in the Path is an FPMT standard 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 in video, audio, and text materials drawn from these teachings and supplemented by materials from the archive of Lama Yeshe's teachings. Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa plans to offer this program in Italian in 2012.


Advanced level academic programs

Advanced level tantra programs

Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa 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 an experienced Western teaching staff, many of whom are graduates of previous academic programs held at ILTK.

Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa organizes tantric empowerments and commentaries with qualified Tibetan lamas at various times 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 an accredited two-year study program offered in collaboration with the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, an institute for university education located in Pisa. It consists in eight of the nine core subjects of the Basic Program and combines academic study with a balanced curriculum of meditation and service. The Masters Program of Advanced Buddhist Philosophical Studies of Sutra and Tantra is offered exclusively at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. 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 on-campus and on-line courses. The main aim of the on-campus 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 Basic Program is offered as a onemonth 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 oncampus and on-line 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.


ISTITUTO LAMA TZONG KHAPA Service - Research - Preservation

RESEARCH SERVICE Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa offers service to the larger community in a variety of ways. Liberation Prison Project provides a Buddhistbased education to inmates in Italian prisons through providing them with reading materials and courses, Essential Education offers educational camps for parents and their children, the Giving Protection Association 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

Recent years has 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 in 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. For this reason, 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.

project. The Institute also offers support to the sick, the troubled, the dying, and the dead through performing regular prayer ceremonies dedicated to the alleviation of their suffering.


PRESERVATION 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.

WISDOM AND COMPASSION The True Source of Genuine Happiness



WHAT: This six-week course covers the foundational topics of Tibetan Buddhism while investigating the actual underlying source of problems and suffering and teaching how to develop an effective, practical approach towards fully overcoming them and achieving genuine and lasting peace and happiness.

Week 1: The Foundation – The Four Noble Truths

FOR WHO: This course is suitable for anyone who has a sincere interest in gaining a clear understanding in the foundations of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Lama Tzong Khapa together with a hands-on approach to meditation, while at the same time enjoying a special kind of holiday in beautiful Tuscany.

OUTCOME: Participants will obtain a clear overview and understanding of the spiritual path presented in Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism accompanied by a hands-on experience of meditation and an introduction to the mind training practices that transform whatever happens into an opportunity for deep and lasting personal development.

BY WHOM: This course is taught by Glen Svensson, a graduate of the seven-year intensive Buddhist philosophical study program at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, the FPMT Masters Program. Glen lives in India where he teaches both introductory and intermediate level courses to students from all around the world. He is much appreciated for his clear and simple teaching style.

Weeks 2-4: The Practice – Cultivating Wisdom and Compassion

WHAT YOU WILL DO IN THIS SIXWEEK COURSE From Monday to Friday participate in daily classes on Buddhist

Week 5: The Integration – The Seven Points of Mind Training

philosophy, psychology,

Week 6: The Retreat – Bringing Theory into Experience

Learn how to meditate

and practice.

in daily sessions of guided meditation with

LANGUAGE: English COMPLEMENTARY COURSES: This course can either be preceded or followed by Discovering Buddhism. It is an excellent preparation for the Basic Program.

a final week retreat.

Take part twice weekly in late-afternoon sessions of physical exercises to relax the body and concentrate the mind.

Saturdays, visit the beautiful cities of Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa, and Lucca, and enjoy a local spa.

Sundays, picnic at the beach, taste the local cuisine, go for walks among the olive fields, relax in the warm


sunshine and enjoy a cappuccino…

LENGTH: 6 weeks. WHEN: 5 September-14 October 2011



We all wish for happiness and we all want to be free from problems and suffering. This is something all of us share in common. Quite often it seems as though the source of our happiness and the source of our problems and suffering lie outside ourselves, in external factors. As a result, one of the most common techniques we use to achieve happiness and avoid suffering is to try to manipulate those external factors. We try to attract the people and things that seem to be the source of our happiness and try to avoid or push away the people and things that seem to be the source of our problems and suffering. But no matter how hard we try to do this, we still seem to encounter problems and suffering and we still continue to struggle to find that elusive peace and happiness. Why is this? It’s because those external factors are not the real source of either our suffering or our happiness. We are simply looking in the wrong place. If instead we look within ourselves, we will discover the happiness that we have been searching for all our lives. In this six week course, we will not only investigate the actual underlying source of our problems and suffering but will also examine how to develop an effective and practical approach towards fully overcoming those 8

problems and suffering and achieving genuine and lasting peace and happiness. Week 1: The Foundation – The Four Noble Truths

We will begin in the first week by looking at the very foundation of all Buddhist traditions, the Four Noble Truths. Here Buddha Shakyamuni, the great physician, begins by clearly laying out his diagnosis of our current condition; that we find ourselves in a state of duhkha and that the underlying cause of this state of suffering can be traced back to the three mental poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion that lie within our own mind. Next comes the prognosis that we can indeed be completely cured, that we can transcend this suffering state of samsara and reach nirvana, the state of complete, irreversible freedom from suffering. And finally the cure, cultivating the three higher trainings of ethics, concentration, and wisdom in order to reach that state of personal liberation from suffering.


Topics include: Truth of Suffering (duhkha) •

the three types of suffering

Truth of the Origin (of suffering) •

the three mental poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion

karma – the law of cause and effect

dealing with disturbing emotions

death and rebirth

twelve links of dependentorigination

Truth of the Cessation (of suffering) •


Truth of the Path (leading to the cessation of suffering) •

the higher training in ethics

the higher training in concentration

the higher training in wisdom

the three marks of existence (impermanence, suffering, no-self)

the four close placements of mindfulness (body, feelings, mind, phenomena)

Weeks 2-4: The Practice – Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom

Building on the foundation of the Four Noble Truths, we now venture into the Mahayana. Here we are not only seeking our own personal liberation from suffering but are also striving towards full awakening in order to help liberate all other sentient beings from their suffering. If we are to progress on this spiritual path, we need to fully develop the two wings of wisdom and compassion. Fully developed compassion is the mind of bodhichitta, the aspiration to achieve enlightenment in order to help liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Fully developed wisdom is the wisdom of emptiness, the realization that all phenomena lack inherent existence. The core practices in the Mahayana are the six perfections of generosity, ethics, patience, joyous effort, concentration, and wisdom. We will begin by looking at the wing of compassion, how to develop the mind of bodhichitta and how to bring this compassionate mind into the world through the practice of the first five perfections.



Topics include: •

• • • • •

an overview of the Hinayana, Mahayana, ad Vajrayana the four immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity) the Seven Cause and Effect method for developing bodhichitta the Equalizing and Exchanging Oneself with Others method for developing bodhichitta o the disadvantages of self-cherishing o the advantages of cherishing others o the practice of tonglen (taking and giving) the perfection of generosity the perfection of ethics the perfection of patience the perfection of joyous effort the perfection of concentration o the 5 faults/8 antidotes o the 9 mental abidings

Then we will focus on developing the wing of wisdom; how to develop the wisdom understanding the nature of reality – the wisdom of emptiness. Without developing this wisdom there is no way to overcome the ignorance that is 10

the root cause of all our problems and suffering. Here we will begin by using a systematic analysis of the Heart Sutra as the basis for our discussion. Topics include: • •

• • • • • •

the three turnings of the wheel of Dharma the four philosophical schools (Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, Cittamatra, Madhyamaka) the four Buddhist seals the two truths selflessness (anatman) and emptiness (shunyata) the three levels of dependent-arising the four essential point emptiness meditation the five Mahayana paths

There are many approaches to developing the wisdom understanding emptiness, one of which is Mahamudra. The Mahamudra approach primarily focuses on the mind, and is very effective for the modern-day busy world of the 21st century. When we realize the nature of our own mind, we realize the nature of all phenomena. This approach also offers many immediate sidebenefits such as making it less likely to get caught up in our destructive habit patterns. Here we will use as the basis of our discussion a systematic analysis of the text The


Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra by Panchen Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen (the tutor of the 5th Dalai Lama). Topics include: • •

preliminary practices for Mahamudra shamatha practice – developing concentration o pre-requisites for practice o setting up a meditation session o conventional nature of the mind o settling the mind in its natural state o methods for dealing with discursive thoughts vipashyana practice – developing insight o introducing the ultimate nature of the mind o space-like emptiness o illusory-like emptiness o four yogas and five paths tantra level of practice o clear light mind o generation and completion stages

Week 5: The Integration – The Seven Points of Mind Training

How can we effectively turn ourselves towards a more meaningful way of life? How can we integrate all these various practices into our life in a very practical and cohesive way? What should we do when we meet with problems or obstacles? How do we know if we are progressing in our practice? And what about helpful advice for practice in general? The Seven Point Mind Training by Geshe Chekawa answers these questions in a very clear and concise way. The seven points are as follows: 1. the preliminaries (turning our mind towards the Dharma) 2. training in conventional and ultimate bodhichitta 3. transforming adverse conditions into the path to enlightenment 4. integrating the practices of an entire lifetime 5. the measure of having trained the mind 6. mind training commitments 7. mind training advice We will use a systematic analysis of this text to see how we can integrate these various practices into our daily life, and how we can transform our own mind into Dharma.



Week 6: The Retreat – Bringing Theory into Experience

All these concepts will only be useful to us if we integrate them into our life. One indispensible aspect of this is meditation, bringing these ideas from our heads to our hearts. This allows these concepts to blossom into personal experience, thereby reducing and eventually eliminating our disturbing emotions and harmful habits. In this way we can discover the genuine happiness that lies within ourselves, happiness that does not rely upon any external factors. And thus, when we venture out into the world and meet with various situations, we will respond to these situations with wisdom and an open heart rather than reacting with disturbing emotions and destructive habit patterns.

• • • •

feelings, mind, and phenomena the four immeasurables of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity the disadvantages of selfcherishing and advantages of cherishing others tong-len (taking and giving) dealing with anger and attachment settling the mind in its natural state emptiness of the person, body, mind, and phenomena

Meditation topics include: •


the four thoughts that turn the mind toward the Dharma o a precious human life of leisure and opportunity o death and impermanence o karma o the unsatisfactory nature of samsara the four close placements of mindfulness of body,

Classes, meditation sessions, and the retreat take place in a beautifully restored chapel dedicated to the Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig, located on the grounds of Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa.


The schedule for the five weeks of classes and the final retreat is as follows:

On Wednesday enjoy a Dharma video:

Week 1: The Foundation – The Four Noble Truths

Week 1 (4 noble truths):

Weeks 2-4: The Practice – Cultivating Wisdom and Compassion

Buddhist Science,

Week 5: The Integration – The Seven Points of Mind Training

Week 2

Philosophy, and Religion with the Dalai Lama

(bodhichitta): How to Develop Bodhichitta

Week 3 (emptiness): Wisdom of Emptiness

Week 4 (mahamudra): Nature of the Mind with Ven. Tenzin Palmo

Week 5 (lojong): Transforming Problems

Week 6 (retreat): How to Meditate with Ven. Sangye Khadro, and Establishing a Daily Practice

Daily sessions are a combination of teachings, discussion, questions and answers, with a little bit of meditation.

Have something private to discuss? Make an appointment with the teacher; Glen is available four days a week from 13.3014.00.

Morning meditations are optional, but highly recommended for training the mind and body for the week retreat.



Body hurting from all that sitting? Mind tired from all that thinking? Join the twice weekly exercise sessions and learn how to rejuvenate body and mind! After dinner, go for a walk or relax on the veranda and enjoy the sunset. Saturday, hop on the bus and off you go to see some of the most beautiful historic cities of Italy Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa, and Lucca - and enjoy a day at a local outdoor spa.


Sunday, enjoy an Italian breakfast of fresh coffee and a pastry in the Institute's very own coffee shop, a picnic at the beach (and maybe even a swim), lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant... and more. Week 6 - The Retreat – Bringing Theory into Experience

Don't worry, you won't be left wondering what to do! Meditation sessions are based on what you learned in the previous five weeks and you'll be gently guided step by step.


Glen Svensson Born in Australia in 1961, Glen completed his Bachelor of Science degree in IT at the University of Queensland. After working for several years in the IT field, he left Australia to explore the world. Having worked for 5 years in Germany and Switzerland, he then travelled extensively throughout Africa, Asia, and South America. It was during one of his trips to India in 1995 that he attended his first course in Buddhism in Dharamsala. After that, he attended two of the well-known month-long introductory courses to Buddhism and meditation, known as “the November Course,� at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. This was followed by seven years of intensive Buddhist philosophical studies in the FPMT Masters Program (a teacher-training course) at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. Upon completing the Masters Program in 2004, Glen spent one year in retreat consolidating his studies. Since 2007 Glen has been based in India, where he teaches both introductory and intermediate level courses in Dharamsala and Bodhgaya to students from all around the world. He is appreciated for his clear and simple teaching style. 15


Every Saturday morning, the bus will leave punctually at 8.00 AM to take you to see some of the most beautiful historic cities of Tuscany, all within an hour or two drive from Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. Spend the day walking around the city, visiting a museum or two, seeing some of the churches and other architectural wonders, and tasting the local cuisine. You will be accompanied on these trips by a member of our staff, who will take care of your needs and show you the main sites in the city. The bus will return to Pomaia in time for dinner at 19.30. Dates

10 September - Florence 17 September - Siena 24 September - Volterra and San Gimignano 1 October - Pisa and Lucca 8 October - A visit to a spa in the Tuscan hills 10 September 2011 - Florence

Florence (Italian: Firenze), the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany, lies on the River Arno and is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the 16

wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history included periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, religious and republican revolution. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. Florence is often known as the "Jewel of the Renaissance". The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Florence is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and its artistic, historic and cultural heritage and impact in the world remains to this day. The city boasts a wide range of collections of art, especially those held in the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi, (which receives about 1.6 million tourists a year). Florence is arguably the last preserved Renaissance city in the world and is regarded by many as the art capital of Italy.


17 September 2011 - Siena

The historic centre of Siena has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions and is known for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the palio. Siena's cathedral (Duomo), begun in the 12th century, is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its main façade was completed in 1380. After the completion of the transept and the building of the east wall (which still exists and may be climbed by the public via an internal staircase) the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned. The shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, the town square, which houses the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, is another architectural treasure, and is famous for hosting the Palio horse race. The Palazzo Pubblico, itself a great work of architecture, houses yet another important art museum. On the Piazza Salimbeni

is the Palazzo Salimbeni, a notable building and also the medieval headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, one of the oldest banks in existence and a major player in the Sienese economy. Housed in the notable Gothic Palazzo Chigi on Via di CittĂ is the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena's conservatory of music. 24 September 2011 - Volterra and Sam Gimignano

Volterra, known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri, to the Romans as Volaterrae, was a Neolithic settlement and an important Etruscan center (Velathri or Felathri) with an original civilization; it became a municipium in the Roman Age. The city was a bishop's residence in the 5th century and its episcopal power was affirmed during the 12th century. With the decline of the episcopate, Volterra became a place of interest of the Florentines, whose forces conquered Volterra. Florentine rule was not always popular, and opposition occasionally broke into 17


rebellion. These rebellions were defeated by Florence. When the Florentine Republic fell in 1530, Volterra came under the control of the Medici family and later followed the history of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Sights include the Roman Theatre (1st century BC), Palazzo dei Priori, Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) in Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. the Medicean Fortress (Maschio), now a penitentiary, the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, with thousands of funeral urns dating back to the Hellenistic and Archaic periods, and the Etruscan walls, including the well-preserved Porta dell'Arco (3rd-2nd centuries BC) and Porta Diana gates. San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which can be seen long before arriving in the town itself. While in other cities, such as Bologna or Florence, most or all of the ancient towers were destroyed by wars, catastrophes, or urban renewal, San Gimignano managed to conserve fourteen towers of varying height, which have become its international symbol.


The heart of the town contains the four squares, the Piazza della Cisterna, the Piazza Duomo where the Collegiata is located, the Piazza Pecori and the Piazza delle Erbe. The town has many churches: the two main ones being the Collegiata, formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino, which houses a wide representation of artworks from some of the main Italian renaissance artists. The Communal Palace, once seat of the podestĂ , is currently home to the town gallery, with works by Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino and others.


1 October 2011 - Pisa and Lucca

8 October 2010 A day at a local spa

Enjoy a relaxing day at the outdoor spa in nearby Casciana or Venturina. This treat is on us!

Pisa is located on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Ligurian Sea, and is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city's cathedral), the tower is in reality just one of many works of art and architecture in the city's Piazza del Duomo, also known, since the 20th century, as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles). The Piazza del Duomo also houses the Duomo (the Cathedral), the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (the monumental cemetery). In fact, the city of over 87,500 residents contains more than 20 historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. The city is also home to the University of Pisa, which goes back as far as the 12th century.

Lucca, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near (but not on) the Ligurian Sea, is the capital city of the Province of Lucca. Among other reasons, it is famous for its intact Renaissanceera city walls. In fact, the walls around the old town remained intact as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. As the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which encircles the old town, although they were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different species of tree, making for a beautiful walk along the walls.



(For more information about these cities, see Wikipedia, or just Google them!)



MAHAYANA MINDFULNESS Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa 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.


Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa is a very active center with courses ranging from one weekend to seven years in length! Every weekend two to three 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 and almost 30 monks and nuns teachers, staff, and students make the Institute into a true place for the upholding of 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, ShinĂŠ Jewelry (discounts available on fashionable silver 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, including Wisdom and Compassion.

Chenrezig Gompa outside

A small private house – the villetta - is home to the Institute's two resident teachers, Khensur Jampa Tegchok and Geshe Tenzin Tenphel, and also hosts visiting lamas. The garden is beautified with 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



Angle of double room

Angle of double room

Washing area

Toilet and bidet (shower

To give the participants of Wisdom and Compassion a taste of life in a Buddhist community and an opportunity to do a morning meditation session, 20 places (4 single rooms and 8 double rooms) have been reserved for your use. These rooms 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 room in a casetta

The front verandas are the perfect place to enjoy the sunset!

in right hand corner)

The single rooms will be allocated on a first-come-first serve basis, after which we will match you up with a suitable companion to share a double room.

Angle of double room


Couples are, of course, more than welcome!

Double room in a casetta


The Institute has a full-time cook and kitchen staff who serve a hot lunch and dinner all year round. The food is generally typical Italian cuisine, but entirely vegetarian. Food is served at our self-service counter and you are welcome to eat as much as you like! The main meal is a hot lunch with a pasta or rice dish accompanied by an abundant choice of freshcooked vegetables, a salad, and often a homemade desert. For breakfast there are is oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts, rye and brown bread, fresh yogurt, and a choice of teas. The evening meal generally consists of a homemade soup accompanied by a choice of side dishes. While in general we are unable to cater to special diets, our cook is always willing to help out. Let us know your special needs and we will see what we can do.



What will you do while staying at the Institute?

Go for walks in the countryside… Aside from attending classes…

relax on the veranda with your favorite music…

sip a tea in the Japanese Tea Garden…

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

delight in the beautiful countryside…

and relax in the warm sunshine at the beach!


attending pujas…


What more could you ask for?!


layered clothing for changeable weather

comfortable loose clothing for sitting and exercising

a swimsuit for the spa and maybe even a swim at the beach

a jacket for the evening

a shawl or light blanket to wrap around your shoulders during morning meditation sessions

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

an umbrella just in case

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

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 in time for the morning meditation

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

a pen and notebook

the books you always wanted to read


a laptop computer to access internet (but in case you prefer to leave your computer at home, a desktop computers is available for you to use)

September and early

mosquito spray for sitting in the tea garden or on the veranda in the evening

high of 20-25°C (70-

your personal toiletries including soap and shampoo

your own special meditation cushion

a good friend to enjoy the experience with

anything else that will make you feel at home!

October are generally a very pleasant time of the year with warm days and cool nights. Temperatures generally range from an average

78°F) to an average low of 12-15°C (53-57°F).



Administrative Offices

TEA GARDEN 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

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.

times are written on the white board in the main corridor). It serves a selection of high quality teas from around the world in traditional Japanese style.

It is an excellent place to relax and enjoy a pleasant moment in the company of friends and classmates.

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

Weekend courses and the Masters Program daily teachings and review classes take place in the main meditation hall and the conference hall (commonly referred to as the “palestra”), which are located in the main building. Wisdom and Compassion classes and meditation sessions, as well as weekend courses, take place in the Chenrezig Gompa, located in a shady wooded area on the Institute’s premises. 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 26

library is generally open at all times but is occasionally used for weekend courses. Internet

Course participants are highly 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. Coffee Bar and Shops

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 small selection of clothing, 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.


Meals: All meals are served as a self-service buffet in the main kitchen. Breakfast is served daily at 8:00-9.00, lunch at 12.3013.15, tea at 17.00. and dinner at 19.30-20.00. As there are courses most weekends, the lunch and dinner schedules may occasionally change slightly (this will be announced). 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. Library: Wisdom and Compassion participants need to ask the librarian for a membership card in order to borrow books. This membership card is free for the six-week period (the usual cost is €15.00 annually). Overdue books are charged a daily penalty of 25 cents. Damaged and lost books must be replaced or refunded.

Internet: Internet access is free for Wisdom and Compassion participants. Printing and photocopying: Wisdom and Compassion participants can access the printer in Internet Point either via their own laptop or one of the Institute’s desktop computers. The cost per printed side is 10 cents. Participants can use the Institute’s photocopy machine for a maximum of 20 photocopies at a cost off 10 cents per printed side. Transportation: The Institute’s van is available (for a small cost) upon prior request for trips that do not extend beyond 50 kms and do not last more than a couple of hours. The driver must have a license that is valid in Italy and is responsible for any speeding or parking tickets, as well as for any damage that occurs to the van while in his/her care.

Laundry: Course participants are permitted to use the Institute’s washing machines free of charge, however they need to provide their own washing detergent.

Drinking water: Although the tap water is safe to drink, it tends to be very high in lime. For this reason, some years ago the Institute installed a filtered water system. This filtered water is used for cooking and making tea, and is served on the tables at lunch and dinner. Course participants are welcome to refill their drinking containers with this water.

First Aid: The Institute has a small first aid cupboard on the ground floor that contains basic first aid items and medicines.



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 an automatic teller in Pomaia, as well as banks automatic tellers 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 do banking 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 will come to the Institute when necessary.

Hospitals: There is a large hospital with good facilities in Cecina that serves most needs, including emergencies, blood and urine exams,

Local Stores

etc. There are also

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 a bit higher than in the towns, but not enough to make a trip into

major hospitals in both Livorno and Pisa.


Rosignano or 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 small 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 9.0012.30 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.


Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa 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 flights from several Italian cities including Rome and Milan.

If you fly into Rome, you will need to take a train to Cecina (45 km south of Livorno) or Rosignano (30 km south of Livorno), where we can pick you up. But the easiest way to arrive is to fly directly from Rome to Pisa and it generally doesn't cost much more. Arriving by Train

(see homepage_en.html) 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-Genova lines. However, we can also pick you up in Pisa or Livorno.



The six-week course fee includes: • • •

• • • •

• • •


Daily classes Monday to Friday Daily meditation sessions Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Institute from 4th September to 14th October 2011 Morning and afternoon tea Personal consultation with the teacher Twice weekly guided exercise sessions Pickup and drop off at Pisa airport or railway station upon arrival and departure Bus transportation and a guide for the excursions to Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa, and Lucca A day at a local hot springs (includes transportation, and entry fee) For those who prefer to stay "at home" on Saturday, free access to any of the Dharma courses scheduled that weekend (Note: not all of them are translated into English) Use of the Institute's washing machines Bed linen and towels Accommodation (the course fee varies for single and double rooms) Help with making travel arrangements to and from Pomaia

• •

A Sunday lunch at an "agriturismo" to taste the local cuisine A Sunday picnic at the beach Some little extras here and there just to make your stay all the more enjoyable!

The course fee does not include: • • • • •

Travel costs to and from Pisa Medical and travel insurance Lunch during excursions on Saturdays Coffees and pastries at the Institute’s Coffee Shop Optional painting/cooking lessons

Please note that the Institute does not provide room service. Guests are responsible for keeping their rooms and adjoining bathrooms clean (brooms, mops, and detergents are provided) and for changing the linen on their beds.


Terms & Conditions

Six-week course fee

In a single room: 2,800.00 euro In a double room: 2,400.00 euro


The course begins Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 17.30 with an introductory meeting. Participants are welcome to arrive beginning on the afternoon of Saturday, 3rd September 2011. Please let us know when you will arrive so that we can arrange to pick up one or more people from Pisa airport/railway station at the same time.


The course ends Friday, 14 October 2011 at lunch. Extra days after that will be charged at the usual guest rate. If a sufficient number of people are interested, lessons in Italian cooking or water-color painting can be arranged for an extra charge.

A non-refundable deposit of €500.00 must be made prior to 30th April 2010 A second payment of €1,000.00 must be made by 31st July 2011, this is non-refundable The remaining amount is to be paid upon arrival at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in September Participants are responsible for their own personal property and at all times are solely at their own risk Participants are responsible for their own travel and health insurance Participants are required to report any medical conditions at the time of booking

For more information and to register for the course, please contact: Federica Sagretti Assistant Study Program Coordinator Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa via Poggiberna, 15 56040 Pomaia (Pisa), Italy email: tel: (+39) 050-685009

Payment Payment can be made by bank transfer to: Account name: Kurukulla Bank: : Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Branch: Rosignano Solvay (Livorno), Italy IBAN:

IT 49 J 06160 25100000000562 C00



We look forward to meeting you!


Wisdom and compassion  

Wisdom and compassion