The Vidyadhara Institute

The monastic college of Shambhala International

The Vidyadhara Institute is the name of Gampo Abbey’s monastic college, or shedra. It was inaugurated in the Fall of 1999 in response to a request from our Abbot, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. Vidyadhara refers to the Dharma title of Chogyäm Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Gampo Abbey. In Sanskrit, vidyadhara means holder of knowledge.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche had a great concern for education in general and for the learning of Buddhist teachings in particular. He also had great confidence that people could learn properly if they could tune in to their own dignity. In 1980 in a public talk entitled Buddhism in America, he said:

“In order to study and learn properly, we have to pull up our own socks. There is no savior or god of knowledge who descends on our heads, so that one minute we’re dumb and the next minute we are brilliant. Everybody has to prove themselves.”

In-Depth Study and Practice for Monastics and Lay People

The Vidyadhara Institute provides an in-depth study program of the Buddhadharma for the monastics and the lay community of Gampo Abbey. Participants in this program are encouraged to develop a thorough understanding of the view of the Foundational Vehicle, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana through engaging wholeheartedly in the practice of study, contemplation, and analytical meditation.

For those attending shedra for an entire year, the two terms in a given year are complemented by periods of intensive formal practice such as the Yarne retreat, silent weeks, and personal retreats.