Yuthok Nyingthig Ngöndro

Line by Line with Dr. Ben Joffe (self-paced)

Course consists of ten 90min. video classes with Dr. Ben Joffe and additional resources to support you in your practice.


In this ten week study group course students will explore the various Ngöndro or preliminary prayers and practices of the Yuthok Nyingthig, studying each prayer syllable-by-syllable. Drawing on his skills as a cultural anthropologist, translator and scholar-practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Dr Joffe will assist students in gaining a deeper appreciation of the rich layers of meaning in each word of Yuthok’s ngöndro prayers. Enrollees in the study group will be provided with new and improved annotated English translations for each Ngöndro practice as well as additional audio-visual resources and simple homework exercises which will help them to enrich their understanding of the profound significance and power of these foundational practices, which are at once the beginning, middle, and end of Buddhadharma. 

This course will be of interest and benefit to both experienced and beginner practitioners of the Yuthok Nyingthig as well as to practitioners of other lineages and will be especially useful for students wishing to improve their understanding of the Tibetan language. By studying the words of each prayer syllable-by-syllable, students will gain a fuller sense of both the immediate meanings and wider implications and associations behind each word. Through exploring the broader contexts and world-views for Buddhist terminology and vocabulary, they will be able to recite the prayers in Tibetan with increased confidence and understanding. 

All classes will be taught in English. There will be no live translation into other languages since this goes against the aim of starting from the Tibetan source material itself. Nonetheless, for students with a good grasp of English as a second language, this course will prove helpful for developing new translations into students’ primary languages.


Week 1: Ali Kali Mantra, Refuge and Bodhicitta

Week 2: Gangku Sangchenma/‘Whose Highest, Most Secret Form’

Week 3: Four Immeasurables

Week 4: Prostration Prayer

Week 5: Mandala Offering

Week 6: Circumambulation/Medicine Buddha Mantras

Week 7: Vajrasattva Practice

Week 8: Kusali Chöd Practice

Week 9: Shanglön and Short Tsok practice

Week 10: Dedication of Merit and Mantra of Interdependence

5 star rating

Highly recommended

Pascal Machado

Excellent course to better understand the meaning of each ngöndro practice. Goes into a lot of details, and also put things into context. The notes provided ...

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Excellent course to better understand the meaning of each ngöndro practice. Goes into a lot of details, and also put things into context. The notes provided with each class makes it easy to follow (and review later). I am quite sure anyone doing the ngöndro practice will benefit from this course (and even if you are not doing the practice, the course will help you to better understand Tibetan Buddhism in general).

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5 star rating

Invaluable Class!

Dominic Ng

Really appreciate how in-depth Dr. Ben Joffe went into each of the practices while providing historical-cultural context. Looking forward to what they go int...

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Really appreciate how in-depth Dr. Ben Joffe went into each of the practices while providing historical-cultural context. Looking forward to what they go into next!

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5 star rating

A Most Insightful Presentation

Steven Hollifield

The Teacher presented aspects of the practice of Buddhism in general and of Yutok Ngondro that I have never heard explained before. I have been a practitione...

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The Teacher presented aspects of the practice of Buddhism in general and of Yutok Ngondro that I have never heard explained before. I have been a practitioner for 35 years and only now thanks to Ben, I have a new understanding of the practice that will last me through the rest of my years as a Buddhist. Highly recommended class and Teacher!!

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5 star rating

Excellent!

Grace Eugenie Livingston

Excellent!!

Excellent!!

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Course curriculum

  • 1

    WELCOME

    • Welcome & Course Basics

    • Classroom Etiquette & Technical Requirements

    • How to Use this Learning Platform (Video)

    • How to Use this Learning Platform (PDF)

    • A Welcome Message to Students from Course Instructor Dr. Ben Joffe

  • 2

    LIBRARY

    • Texts & Supplementary Files

    • View-only Lecture Slides

    • Links for some additional resources mentioned during lectures

  • 3

    LIVE ONLINE PROGRAM

    • Class One | May 11th

    • Class Two | May 18th

    • Class Three | May 25th

    • Class Four | June 1st

    • Class Five | June 8th

    • Class Six | June 15th

    • Class Seven | June 22nd

    • Class Eight | June 29th

    • Class Nine | July 6th

    • Class Ten | July 13th

Dr. Ben Joffe

Dr Ben Joffe holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Born and raised in South Africa, he has spent several years studying Tibetan language, tantric Buddhism, and the history and cultural life of Tibet and the Himalayas. His research interests include the study of contemporary Tibet, Tibetan life in exile, and esoteric religions and magical traditions around the world. His doctoral dissertation research focused on Tibetan Buddhist non-celibate, non-monastic tantric householders, or ngakpa/ma, living outside of Tibet, and the globalization of Tibetan Buddhism. Dr. Ben Joffe is Chief editor and translator at Sky Press and his translations of Tibetan materials into English bring a rare and welcome clarity to often esoteric material.