Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center

Joining the Western Nyingma Sangha

Tarthang Rinpoche has offered the opportunity to engage the spiritual path through a deeper connection with the teacher, the lineage, and the TNMC Sangha. Traditionally, this connection is the essential support for enlightenment: it develops through the accumulation of merit and positive intentions and bears fruit through sustained commitment to the teacher and the lineage.

Since 1969 individuals who sought to become Rinpoche’s students pledged their support for Rinpoche and his Dharma activities through financial contributions and offerings of time and energy to create the core organizations of the Meditation Center (Padma Ling), Dharma Publishing and Dharma Press, the Tibetan Aid Project, and the Nyingma Institute.

In 2000, for the first time in many years, Rinpoche opened membership to individuals living outside our centers who have formed a heart-connection with his work and teachings through classes and reading and volunteering. Membership is by invitation from Rinpoche or those authorized by Rinpoche to extend this invitation with his approval. Individuals wishing to become members may apply through this website.

The Meaning of Membership in TNMC

In accepting membership, you become a student of Dharma and a student of Rinpoche. When you take this step, resolving to respect, nurture, and maintain your relationship to the Guru, the Dharma, and the Sangha throughout your life, this connection will provide a reliable lifeline of support through the most difficult and trying of times.

TNMC members current with their pledges receive copies of Dharma Publishing books as they are published, occasional gifts of art prints, and materials that support a closer involvement with the religious aspect of the Dharma tradition as they become available.

For new TNMC members, there will be an emphasis on strengthening a connection to the Dharma and increasing understanding of how to enter and progress along the spiritual path. Members receive the Refuge Book, which helps clarify what it means to enter the Sangha and take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha

While there are specific benefits to membership, including gifts of our publications and access to the inner workings of a vital Dharma community, the greatest benefit is of course the link that membership forges between the student and Rinpoche. Even if there is little direct contact, a serious student can draw upon the support this link provides. As our Sangha matures, it too can provide increasing support for those who give their energy to the teachings and the path.

Rinpoche has also agreed to receive one question from each TNMC student each year about anything related to their Dharma pursuit. Answers will be sent via the Membership Coordinator. Your question can be received at any time but be patient for the answers as he may ponder your question for several weeks before responding specifically to you.

Responsibilities of Membership

Members make a pledge to contribute $35 per month toward the support of Rinpoche’s work, payable monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly. Pledges are sent to Magda Costa, TNMC Membership, 33755 Tin Barn Rd, Cazadero CA 95421, or more easily through the link to the Pay Pal system.

Members also make a commitment to respect the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, to draw inspiration from the great masters of the lineage, to support the work of the Nyingma organizations as best they are able, and to make a serious effort to deepen their understanding of the Three Jewels through continued study and spiritual practice within the Nyingma Sangha. To encourage these efforts, Rinpoche has prepared Entering the Sangha, a booklet explaining aspects of TNMC, and the Refuge Book, a manual based on teachings from Paltrul Rinpoche. These books are available only to TNMC members.

As have countless generations of students before us, we realize the profound and liberating meaning of the Buddha’s message through a heart-connection with the teacher, the teachings, and the Sangha: a connection nourished by commitment to nothing less than full enlightenment. May the significance of this connection inspire you to accept this invitation to become members of the TNMC Sangha, and may its meaning continue to grow in your heart until it shines through all aspects of your lives.

Judy Rasmussen
Membership Coordinator, 2020
Padma Ling, Berkeley, California, USA