Glimpses of Vajrayana (Group Study Version)

Taught by Judith L. Lief
 - Online Course

This group study version contains everything you need to share the course with your community, including guides for both facilitators and participants. Purchase price includes full access to the course materials for the facilitator and the rights to use the course materials in an in-person group setting with participants.

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.

Course Materials

This group study version of the course contains everything you need to share these teachings with your community, including:

Guides for both facilitators and participants to support you in offering this course in an in-person group setting

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

Basic meditation instruction in both mindfulness and awareness practices

Contemplations to help you integrate the material into your daily life

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

Unlimited access to all course materials for facilitators

Any questions about this group study version of the course? E-mail


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 nirmanakayasambhogakaya, 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
What You Will Learn in Each Lesson

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.

Praise for Judith L. Lief

“Lief conveys the profound core of the teachings of Buddhism so that anyone can hear and understand. She shows us that in the end, it is kindness, compassion, and mindful attention that matter, and teaches us the simple skill of just being—in all its rawness, love, and pain—with those who are dying.”—Marilyn Webb, author of The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life.

About the Instructor

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 has been a teacher and practitioner for over 35 years and continues to teach and lead retreats throughout the world. Lief is also active in the field of death and dying and is the author of Making Friends with Death.

Chögyam Trungpa (1940–1987)—meditation master, teacher, and artist—founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and an international association of meditation centers known as Shambhala International. He is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and The Myth of Freedom.

30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.

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