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Glimpses of Vajrayana

An Online Course on the Tantric Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa

SKU# 9781611805208


Online Course

Shambhala Publications | 02/01/2017
ISBN: 9781611805208


The tantric path requires complete engagement and fierce dedication. There is a quality of directness, abruptness, and wholeheartedness to it, and it is said to be the more rapid but more dangerous path. Tantrikas, or vajrayana practitioners, recognize that the most challenging aspects of life—the energies and play of confused emotions and frightening obstacles—can be worked with as gateways to freedom and realization.

Join Judy Lief, Buddhist teacher and editor of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, for an online course that explores the third volume of this monumental work: The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness. Using video recorded during a nine-day retreat she led on the subject, Lief will guide us through the traditional vajrayana teachings as taught by Chögyam Trungpa, the Tibetan Buddhist master who was largely responsible for making these teachings accessible and relevant for a Western audience.

In this course, you will:

    • Review the key teachings of the hinayana and mahayana
    • Explore various lenses for understanding and entering the vajrayana path
    • Learn about devotion and the relationship between guru and student
    • Study the three kayas of nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya, and dharmakaya
    • Discover the meaning and use of mandalas in vajrayana practice
    • Learn about the five Buddha families and their elemental qualities
    • Study the preliminary practices, including the four reminders and ngondro
    • Explore creation and completion practice and the role of ritual implements
    • Receive an overview of mahamudra and maha ati


This course includes:

Seven video talks by Judith Lief—ranging from an hour to an hour-and-a-half in length—including Q&A, with transcripts and audio-only versions available
Two archival video talks by Chögyam Trungpa, with transcripts
Contemplations to help you integrate the material into your daily practice
A 50% discount on The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma by Chögyam Trungpa
A list of recommended readings from the book, The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness: The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume 3
Self-assessment quizzes at the end of each lesson to test your own understanding of the material
Unlimited access to the course

A version of this course will be made available this spring for dharma centers and study groups to explore these teachings in a group setting. If interested, please email for more information. 


An Overview of What You’ll Learn:


Lesson 1
Basic Training

In this first lesson, we’ll review the foundation of the vajrayana path: the teachings of the hinayana and the mahayana. We’ll study the four noble truths and the concepts of shila (discipline), samadhi (meditation), and prajna (knowledge) as they apply to the hinayana and the mahayana. It cannot be emphasized enough: these two vehicles are the training ground for the vajrayana practitioner to return to again and again throughout the journey, the same way one always returns to the root when combing one’s hair.

Lesson 2
Indestructible Goodness and Wakefulness

To enter the vajrayana path, we need to drop all pretenses. This is the path of the siddha—the householder yogi. When we leave behind our baggage and our sense of needing to be something special, we can connect to the quality of goodness that is innate. It disrupts our cozy, small-minded way of being, so we can see reality as a dazzling display of wisdom and compassion. It might sound romantic, but once you enter this world, there is no way out.

Lesson 3
The Facets of the Diamond Path

“Vajra” has many meanings: indestructible or adamantine; a mythical weapon that always accomplishes what it sets out to do; a ritual implement; space that cannot be conceptualized. What does it mean, then, for this path of practice? In this lesson, we’ll study the many facets of the diamond path—from the central role of mantra to why it’s kept secret and how, and much more.

Lesson 4
A Spiritual Love Affair

If you have a love of something, learning is easy. When your heart is touched, a more profound opening of the mind can take place. In this lesson, we’ll explore the role of devotion in the student-teacher relationship. We’ll also learn about the three kayasdharmakayasamboghakaya, and nirmanakaya—and how transmission manifests in each.

Lesson 5
The Mandala of Self-Born Wisdom

The mandala is a complete world, and within it we each have different contributions to make and energies to work with. When we inhabit reality with an understanding of mandala principle, we connect with the elements and directions in a way that evokes sacredness. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the many aspects of mandalas, including the five Buddha families.

Lesson 6
Practices of Awakening

The awakened quality we see in the enlightened masters is no different from the quality we ourselves possess. Vajrayana practice is a means for connecting with that quality and resting with a fresh mind. In this lesson, we’ll discuss the progression of practices in the tantric path—from the preliminaries to creation and completion practices, and more.

Lesson 7
Pathways to Realization

One aspect of realization is manifesting utmost devotion and compassion, while another is resting in completely open, pure space. In this lesson, we’ll explore the tantras of mahamudra and dzogchen, which make up two-thirds of the nine-yana path.

Judy round

Judith L. Lief is a Buddhist teacher, writer, and editor. She was a close student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who empowered her as a teacher, and she has edited many of his books including The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma volumes and Milarepa. She was given the title of Acharya, or senior teacher, by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Lief is also active in the field of death and dying, and is the author of Making Friends with Death.

Important Note on Browser Requirements

We are partnering with’s online learning platform Canvas to offer this course. Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release.

Canvas supports the following versions of Flash and popular web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 11 and Edge
  • Chrome 56 and 57
  • Safari 9 and 10 (Macintosh only)
  • Firefox 51 and 52 (Extended Releases are not supported)
  • Flash 23 and 24 (used for recording or viewing audio/video and uploading files)

We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plugin. If you cannot update your browser to one of the above versions, you will not be able to access this course. Some supported browsers may still produce a banner stating Your browser does not meet the minimum requirements for Canvas. If you have upgraded your browser but still see the warning banner, try logging out of Canvas and deleting your browser cookies.

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