The Ten Year Gateway Program
Gateway is a program for dedicated practitioners who wish to live a life imbued with intense practice. The curriculum consists of all practices done in the traditional Tibetan Buddhist three-year solitary retreat, but in a format adapted for the modern practitioner living “in the world” spanning a ten-year period.
The focus of this program is the Dzinpa Rangdröl (Self Liberation of Clinging) cycle of teachings that Machig Labdrön revealed to Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (1800-1866). It was transmitted by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche to Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche several times, and he has been teaching it at Tara Mandala since 2008. It is an extremely unique lineage because it combines the teachings of Machig Labdrön with the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) teachings. The cycle contains two deities directly connected to Chöd, Tsogyal Karmo (the White Dakini) and Tröma, in addition to three Chöd practices. It also contains teachings on Trekchö and Tögal, which are wholly unique to Dzogchen.
This program offers a rare opportunity to receive this exceedingly pure esoteric lineage with consistent support and structure for the dedicated practitioner. Never before has it been taught in the West. Already, several people have completed the traditional three-year retreat in this lineage at Tara Mandala. This program is unusual because it makes the three-year retreat curriculum available to those who live and practice in the world. This lineage is being established at Tara Mandala through the kind guidance and blessings of Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche. The program is open to anyone interested who is accepted after their application and interview with Lama Tsultrim.
The program is divided into two sections: First, the three-year Foundation Program in which one engages in the foundational practices of Ngöndro; and second, the Complete Transmission Program, which builds upon the first, focusing on the more advanced practices of Tsogyal Karmo (White Dakini), Tröma, three Chöd practices, and the Dzogchen preliminaries of Rushan, followed by Trekchö and Tögal. There are also various other yogic and Dzogchen practices attached to this cycle, including three main Chöd practices of varying lengths. It is rare to have a terma cycle of such vast profundity that is complete and thus able to lead one to complete liberation.
Over the course of the program, a close cohort of fellow practitioners will develop, providing a sense of camaraderie and support while engaging in these profound practices. Each practitioner will also be assigned a Kalyanamitra, a spiritual mentor, with whom they can communicate, get support and share experiences.