Foundational Practices (Ngondro):

The Brilliant Basics 

“I love the pace. It’s perfect for me since I’m new to Tibetan Buddhism.”

                     -An enrolled student

Build or deepen your daily spiritual practice with the very foundation of all Buddhist traditions.


Foundational Practices (Ngondro): The Brilliant Basics of the Buddhist Path


Brilliant Basics is a course open to all interested persons. It serves as an in-depth introduction to Tibetan Buddhism.

These practices are the heart of the Heart Essence (Nyingthig) teachings. “The whole of the ancient transmission essentialized into a single stream” says Adzom Drukpa.

Come and meet this stream for the first time, or further your practice with a fresh immersion in the principles of awakening. This course is self-paced (although presented in weekly segments), with live online Lama and peer support, enriched by the writings of Adzom Drukpa for the first time in English.

Our goal is to support your understanding, practicing, and genuinely digesting and absorbing the famous foundational practices. Patrul Rinpoche called them even more profound than later practices. This is what we explore. We welcome everyone whatever your tradition.

For seasoned practitioners, this program is an opportunity for re-inspiration. For newer students it is an opportunity to carefully learn the details of foundational practices—how to recite and sing in English or Tibetan, how to deepen through establishing a daily practice, and how to go about maintaining the continuity needed to complete accumulations, if you so wish, while taking account of your own life situation. Finally, we see the entire spectrum of these teachings as furthering our relationship to all life, and to our own lives, for the benefit of the social and natural worlds in which we live.  

The course is a rare opportunity to experience a unified stream of practices under the consistent guidance of the same teachers, Lamas Rigzin Drolma and Namgyal Dorje, for the duration of the course. We will learn to explore for ourselves how tradition meets the issues of your everyday lives, preparing us to meet daily circumstances with an increasingly open, untroubled heart, while also being kind to ourselves and to others at the same time.

In brief, this multimedia program brings you a coordinated sequence of video/podcast teachings and guided meditation audios, with live or recorded monthly support from the teachers, as well as a monthly peer support meeting.

 Part 1 of this ongoing series is common to all Indian-based Buddhist traditions; Part 2 and 3 delve into with uniquely Mahayana material to provide trainings key to tantra and Dzogchen.  

Foundational Practices (Ngondro): The Brilliant Basics of the Buddhist Path, Part I

Self paced videos

Join us if you want to:

  • Develop a daily practice.
  • Break through reactive patterns.
  • Settle your mind.
  • Ease into confidence. 

This series includes:

  • The Four Thoughts That Turn Your Mind to Dharma: The Preciousness of Human Birth, Impermanence, Cause and Effect, and Defects of Samsara
  • Supplemental recorded teachings on sutras that anchor key points of practice, newly translated by the 84,000 project.
  • First time in the west, focus on Adzom Drukpa’s Ngondro text Lamp Lighting the Path, a companion to Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche. 


Tiered pricing $450/$400/$350  

Monthly payment plans available by contacting [email protected].

For questions related to technical issues, contact [email protected]

Testimonial from an Enrolled Student: 

“It feels like the best companion I could have for my Ngondro practice. I tried to practice and accumulate Ngondro on my own before this course but it was quite hard and felt like something was missing. I feel so grateful to the Lamas for having created this course. It honestly means a lot to me and I’m very happy that I have finally managed to find the way to keep up with it on a daily basis.”  

(More testimonials below)                 

Part 2: Foundational Practices (Ngondro): Mahayana’s Unique Practices

Registration open now!

Availability to the course begins on Sept. 16th with a LIVE Meeting with the Lamas. 

Part 1 required prior to registration to Part 2. If you have had previous training in any tradition and are unsure if that training is adequate, please send a short paragraph on your experience to [email protected] with Ngondro Query in the subject line.

  • Guided meditation audios.
  • Self-paced videos and audios with live online Lama and Peer Meetings
  • 30 weeks of short-videos and audios that gives you time to pace yourself and gain familiarity with each aspect of the teaching.

This series includes:

Part 2 focuses on practices unique to Mahayana that opens us to Dzogchen realization. We meet refuge and make it our own, then enhance it by cultivating the open heart of Bodhicitta. This is already a huge step forward. We purify obstacles with the Diamond Being, Vajrasattva, further our passionate generosity through mandala offering and the practice of severance.  

You will naturally become steeped in these practices, fully prepared to engage in the traditional accumulations if you wish. 

We draw extensively on Adzom Drupa’s vivid instructions in his Lamplight for your Path, which wrote to make all the profundity of these teachings easily accessible to us, and a powerful complement to Words of My Perfect Teacher. You will receive the pre-publication new English translation which Adzom Paylo Rinpoche requested of Anne C. Klein, Lama Rigzin Drolma.

LIVE Lama Meeting Dates in 2023: 

September 16th 11am-12:30pm CT

October 7th 11:30am-12:50pm CT

October 28th 11:30am-12:50pm CT

December 2nd 11:30am-12:50pm CT


Peer Group Meeting in 2023:

September 23rd 11am-12:30pm. 

October 21st 11:30am-12:50pm CT

November 18th 11:30am-12:50pm CT

December 9th 11:30am-12:50pm CT


(2024 dates forthcoming)


Tiered pricing $550/$500/$450

Monthly payment plans available by contacting [email protected].

For questions related to technical issues, contact [email protected]

Testimonial from an Enrolled Student:

“Aren’t we ever so lucky to hear Lama Rigzin’s distilled years of experience in a
supportive and intimate fireside chat format like this? A treat. A real gift!”

(More testimonials below)

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Course Instructors

Anne C. Klein, Lama Rigzin Drolma, M.A., Ph.D. Professor in Religion and former Chair, Rice University, author/ translator of seven books, including Heart Essence of the Vast Expanse and the forthcoming Lamp Lighting the Path. A Founding Teacher of Dawn Mountain.

Harvey B. Aronson, Lama Namgyal Dorje, Ph.D. LCSW Psychotherapist and a founding teacher of Dawn Mountain. Author of Love and Sympathy in Theravada Buddhism and Buddhist Practice on Western Ground.

Nathaniel Rich, M.A., Ph.D. 84,000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, Translation Team and Grants Committee member; Buddhist Texts Translation Initiative (Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara), Visiting Scholar and Executive Committee member.

Student Testimonials:

“Having all the support material is very helpful, really a dream come true. A few times I have felt
discouraged in my practice but now knowing that there are teachings to watch and listen to is
very inspiring and uplifting in my practice.”


“I enjoyed the self-paced format of the course the most. This was the deciding factor in me
registering for the course. I likely would not have taken the course had it not been offered in a
self-paced format. Secondly, I liked the pre-recorded videos and audios as they did an excellent
job of explaining the basic concepts and practices and I could revisit them at my leisure.”


“I like that there is so much material to help me go deeper into these practices and learn
them on an even more personal level. The audio and videos make me relate all of this to
my own circumstance and living in a way that is new and refreshing for me.”

“I love the pace. It’s perfect for me since I’m new to Tibetan Buddhism.”