Margha Program

Year Long Margha Program in Natural Awareness Meditation

We are honored to share this monthly program which has been developed by the Natural Dharma Fellowship.  Registration is now closed for this year.  Our first session was held on Sat. Jan. 14th, 2023 from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. and it will continue monthly throughout the year.

Registration for this year long program will open up again in October, 2023.  Please see below for more information on the program.

 We are excited to let you know about this 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.                                                                                                                                                               Sandy Newhouse, Ph.D. with the Jefferson Tibetan Society is a co-mitra for the local Charlottesville group, which takes place for 2 hrs. each month.   In these meetings, 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.   Here is the link for 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, is one of 6 different program sites in the U.S., mostly concentrated in the Northeast, but also including Philadelphia.  The welcome mtg. takes place in Jan. and continues to Nov. of next year.  There are 2 five 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.   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 & Lama John Makransky.   Lama Willa was authorized as a lama & lineage holder after completing 2 consecutive 3 year retreats in the Kagyu tradition in the 1990’s.  She 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.  Lama John Makransky, the co-developer of the Margha program offered through Natural Dharma Fellowhip  is a professor at Boston College.  He has an extensive background in the Geluk-pa, as well as Kagyu traditions of study & practice.

     If you are interested in this opportunity, you can read more about the program at:  The on-line enrollment fee is $225. for the 12 mo. program, which includes monthly meetings here in Charlottesville and access to a curriculum developed by Lama Willa, including monthly guided meditations & teachings, in addition to recommended readings.

PLEASE NOTE:   Registration will re-open  in Fall, 2023 for Year 2 of this program, which focuses on Compassion & Bodhicitta (including Lojong & Tonglen practices).  Please Note: New registrants are welcomed to register for Year 2 in the Fall; it is not necessary to have first completed the Natural Awareness Meditation year.