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., has completed the NDF 2 year program and was recently  authorized to offer this program here in Charlottesville — the welcome group occurred Dec. 8th, 2018.   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
     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:  There is a small on-line enrollment fee ($175. for the 12 mo. program) which includes monthly meetings here in Charlottesville and access to a wonderful curriculum developed by Lama Willa, including monthly guided meditations & teachings, in addition to recommended readings.
PLEASE NOTE:  The REGISTRATION time for this 1 year program is a narrow window of OCT. 15th – 20th; Registration will re-open  in the Fall for the 2nd year of the program, which focuses on Compassion & Bodhicitta (including Lojong & Tonglen practices).  Please Note: New registrants are welcome to start the program Fall, 2020; it is not necessary to have first completed the Natural Awareness Meditation year.  Those enrolling in the program for the first time, will have the opportunity to participate in the Natural Awareness Meditation year long program in Fall, 2022.