Our Lineage of Practice

The Jefferson TIbetan Society’s primary function is to provide teaching & meditation practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as exemplified for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings. Our center has a long history from the Ri-mey (non-sectarian) tradition.  For many years, we sponsored teachings from all 4 schools of the Tibetan tradition, as well as some Theravadan teachings.  Our resident teachers have been from the Geluk-pa tradition.

Our first teacher was Khensur Yeshi Thupten, a renowned abbot from Drepung Loseling Monastery.  He came from India to teach at U.Va. and we sponsored weekly classes for him in the community for many years to provide opportunities for the general public to have access to such a great lama.

After Khensur Yeshi Thupten returned to India, his student Geshe Jampel Thardo became the resident lama of Jefferson Tibetan Society where he taught for more than 25 years.    H.H. the Dalai Lama had a deep fondness for Geshe-la & described him as one of his best monks in America.  Geshe-la was a deep meditation practitioner & taught the classic Mahayana texts each week at our center, as well as leading retreats.   At the time of his passing, Geshe-la demonstrated physical signs of a very high level of realization demonstrating the ability to have complete control of the death process.  We are so grateful for all the guidance he provided to our sangha and the central Virginia community.  As it was Geshe-la’s wish for our Dharma center to continue to function as a teaching & practice center, we continue to offer on-going opportunities for study and practice.

Come join our Buddhist Study Series!

Saturdays 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Each session includes a 15 minute shamatha meditation practice, Buddhist prayers, book or verse study & commentary, with time for discussion and questions & answers.  Our emphasis is on how to apply Buddhist practices to our daily lives!
     Our current series is on Buddhism In A Nutshell:  Essentials for Practice and Study by Lama Thupten Yeshe, Lama Zopa RInpoche and Ven. Amy Miller.  You may obtain a copy of the book by purchasing it from the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) or amazon.com.  It is not required to have a copy of the book to attend the first session — we will share a book for your use at that time.
 We meet at our temple space at 118 Olinda Drive, Charlottesville, Va. 22903.  We are just 5 min. from U.Va. and not far from downtown Cville.
      If you have questions, please e-mail us at jts108va@aol.com.   All are welcome!
Jefferson Tibetan Society
Dear Friends,
     We are excited to let you know about a new opportunity for learning & practicing natural  awareness meditation practices from the Mahamudra/Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This is from a well developed 1 year program offered through Natural Dharma Fellowship, organized by Lama Willa Miller, Ph.D. and Dr. John Makransky.  Sandy Newhouse, Ph.D., is in the process of completing the NDF 2 year program and has just been authorized to offer this program here in Charlottesville — the welcome group occurs in Dec., but on-line registration occurs very soon in a very narrow window:  Oct. 15th -20th.  The local Charlottesville group will take place for 2 hrs. each month, when the meditations for the month are introduced and there is an opportunity for group participants to check in, share their experiences, ask questions & provide support to each other for the practices.  Please take time to check out this program at http://www.naturaldharma.org/get-involved/margha-program/
     The training program involves being introduced to various methods of natural awareness meditation, including various types of shamatha meditation on a monthly basis.  The program offered here in Charlottesville would be one of 8 different program sites in the U.S., mostly concentrated in the Northeast, but also including Philadelphia and Palo Alto, Ca.  The introductory mtg. takes place in Dec. and continues to Nov. of next year.  There are 2 six day retreats offered each year, one in Jan. and one in July by the primary teachers of this program each year at the NDF’s retreat center, Wonderwell in NH.  (Most of the NDF programs are centered in the Boston, Mass. area.  While it is ideal to attend the live retreats in NH, there is also the oppt. for live-streaming the retreat instruction.
    This comprehensive program was compiled by Lama Willa Miller, who was authorized as a lama & lineage holder after completing 2 consecutive 3 year retreats in the Kagyu tradition in the 1990’s.  She is an American woman, who grew up in Ca. and taught Dharma at a local center here in Charlottesville for some years as a Buddhist nun.  She subsequently returned to lay life and completed her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Harvard.  She went on to found the Natural Dharma Fellowship in the Boston area and the Wonderwell Retreat Center in New Hampshire.  She now has a dynamic team of other female and male teachers working with her.  One other developer of the Margha program offered through Natural Dharma Fellowhip is Lama John Makransky, who also has a Ph.D. and is a professor at Boston College.  He has an extensive background in the Geluk-pa, as well as Kagyu traditions of study & practice.
     I can highly recommend this program as I have found it to be one of the best Buddhist practice programs for the integration of traditional Tibetan Buddhism and Western Psychology.
     If you are interested in this opportunity, you can read more about the program at:  http://www.naturaldharma.org/get-involved/margha-program/.  There is a small on-line enrollment fee ($175. for the 12 mo. program) which is extremely reasonable for the access that you get to lots of on-line resources, including monthly guided meditations & teachings, in addition to recommended reading.
     PLEASE NOTE:  The REGISTRATION time for this 1 year program is a narrow window of OCT. 15th – 20th and then registration does not open up again until next Fall for the 2nd year of the program, which focuses on Compassion & Bodhicitta (including Lojong & Tonglen practices).
     Please don’t hesitate to contact Sandy at jts108va@aol.com with any questions you may have about this program.  You’d be welcome to stop by and see an example of the guided meditations & teachings that are offered.