Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

We recommend that you visit our Wisdom Blog archives. Here you can find shorter audio or video teachings sorted by topic. You may wish to start with the topic tagged Where to Start. The teachings here are geared for a general audience and can serve as good introductory material. We also highly encourage you to check out the Radically Happy section. Here you can find direct tools for working with emotions and the mind. You might also benefit from physical practices that you can find in our short wellness courses: Yoga Āsanas for Sitting Meditation and Mobility for Meditators.

Please also join the Global Sangha Discussion Group. There you can join in conversations with other students throughout the world. You can also raise any questions you have, and senior students and instructors will respond!

You may struggle with anger, or with other difficult emotions. Or you may feel stressed, or without purpose in your life. Again, we direct you to our Radically Happy section where you can discover how small shifts can make a big difference. Co-authors Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon devised this program to appeal to modern students regardless of their belief systems. Additionally, In our Wisdom Blog archives a number of teachings address universal issues. Here you can find short audio or video teachings sorted by category. Check out the Where to Start collection of teachings. These teachings are geared for a general audience and most don’t presuppose any Buddhist knowledge or any set of beliefs.

You can continue to explore the Wisdom Blog archives. Here, you may wish to begin with the tags Meditation and Mindfulness. The audio and video teachings here are great places to learn about meditation and to begin to understand how Phakchok Rinpoche explains meditation from a Buddhist perspective.

We also recommend that you check out our introductory course: Training the Mind: An Introduction. In this short home study program, Phakchok Rinpoche discusses the importance of the mind—and how to go about transforming it. The course includes video teachings, written summaries, and reflection questions. It is a great introduction for those who are curious about Buddhist meditation, but is also a wonderful review for people who need more inspiration for their meditation practice.

Samye Institute offers a number of home practice programs under our “Courses” tab. The first is a short introduction to the mind called Training the Mind: An Introduction. This short course introduces the key points of mind transformation. In it, Phakchok Rinpoche gives simple and direct meditation instruction.

The second program is a full year program: The Path of Meditation Level I Home Practice Program. This path is suitable for both absolute beginners and for those who wish to rededicate themselves to meditation practice. This course does not presuppose any background in Buddhist practice or meditation. In this Mahāmudrā path of gradual progress program, we feature a number of video and audio teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche. Additionally, the course contains supportive reading material, links to other resources, journal suggestions, and reflection questions. There is a student group as well where you can post questions for discussion and where senior instructors can offer guidance.

We are also pleased to introduce The Path of Meditation Level II Home Practice Program. This program supports students who have previously completed a full year of study in the Mahāmudrā path of gradual progress.  This course also features video and audio teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche as well as support material, reflection questions, and guided meditations.

Please also explore the Wisdom Blog archives—particularly the sections tagged Practice Advice and Self-Reflection. If you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, you might also benefit from spending time in the Motivation section. Here you can find a number of video and audio teachings from Phakchok Rinpoche on different aspects of meditation and mind training.

You might wish to start with the introductory course: Training the Mind: An Introduction. In this short home study course, Phakchok Rinpoche discusses the importance of the mind—and how to go about transforming it. The course includes video teachings, written summaries, and reflection questions. It is a great introduction for those who are curious about Buddhist meditation, but is also a wonderful review for people who need more inspiration for their meditation practice.

Samye Institute also offers a home study course on a classic Mahāyāna sūtra, The Noble Wisdom of the Time of Death. This course features 8 video teachings by Phakchok Rinpoche on this important text as well as two classical commentaries on the text. We thus learn how to practice meditation by first hearing, reading, and contemplating. In this way, you can engage with the teachings and repeatedly reflect on the meaning in depth.

In addition to these short courses, Samye offers two different levels of support for Mahāmudrā meditation. These are called The Path of Meditation Home Practice Programs. In this program, you can find a complete program of meditation instruction and a wide variety of support material.

Anyone who signs up for the site is encouraged to join the General Sangha Discussion Group. There you can post any questions or begin discussion topics with other students around the globe. Other groups are tied into specific on-line courses or to certain groups of students doing a particular practice. For example, if you are doing the Ngöndro (preliminary practices), you can join a group where you can discuss that practice. Senior students and instructors will respond to your questions.

Phakchok Rinpoche often reminds students that gentle exercise can be very helpful for meditators.

We now offer two short courses offering physical practices specifically aimed at meditators. The first is Yoga Āsanas for Sitting Meditation. This series of exercises is firmly rooted in the Indian, Himalayan and South East Asian yogic traditions. Specifically designed for meditators and those sitting for long periods of time, this series of simple exercises is intended to open the channels and calm the winds, adding more flexibility and comfort to a sitting meditation practice.

Our second offering, Mobility for Meditators, presents a series of gentle stretches designed specifically to improve our mobility. Many of these target areas such as our tight hips that make seated meditation postures uncomfortable or inaccessible. This series of simple exercises adds more flexibility and comfort to a sitting meditation practice.

The Wisdom Blog Archive contains a number of articles explaining the meaning and importance of Vajrayana practice. You may wish to explore the section tagged Vajrayana.

We can enhance our meditation practice through ritual practice. Samye Institute currently offers one short home study practice on the ritual smoke offering, or Concise Sang Offering practice. This support program is open to those who have received the reading transmission for this practice. In the future we plan to expand these offerings and include more ritual instruction.

Website functions and tech Help

Please click here to reset your password using the original email address you signed up with.

Once logged in, you can click on your profile and see a list of all your courses. Alternatively, you can visit the course homepage directly and click “Continue Course” in the top right corner to access. You’ll need to be logged in to do this.

We host and stream the videos for our courses using the Vimeo video service. Unfortunately, some countries block the use of this, and similar services. Using a VPN service when viewing the Samye website should solve this issue.

Samye Institute hosts remote events, such as the Tsok Bum or Senior Lama Teacher series using the Zoom platform. You may have used Zoom before, but please follow the steps below to register and attend Samye Institute’s online zoom gatherings.

Accessing Zoom

Step 1

Registration in advance is required for joining the teaching. The registration link will be provided in the email you received.

You will need to register for the event through Zoom. We will request some contact information and additional information from you to help us run the event. On the Zoom registration page, the fields that are required will be marked with an asterix (*)

Step 2

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Step 3

Save your confirmation email or save the link provided in the confirmation email to your calendar.

Step 4

We will resend a Zoom confirmation email within 48 hours before the teaching begins (only for people who register at least one day prior to the teaching).

Step 5

On the day of the teaching, you can join the meeting in one of the three ways:

  • Join Zoom Meeting by following the link that you saved to your calendar.
  • Join by “Click Here to Join” in the confirmation email.
  • Log in by using the Zoom meeting ID and password. This option will only work if you register in advance.

Please enter Zoom 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to begin so that the teacher and instructor can begin teaching promptly. However, if you come in too early, we won’t be able to let you in.

Translations on Zoom

We will provide simultaneous translations in several languages. The languages offered will be detailed in the announcement email.

The main channel will generally be the teacher/instructor speaking in Tibetan with English translation. If you understand English, there is no need to do anything. For other languages, please select the channel for your language. Because Zoom only provides certain channels, the name of the channel might not match with your language—therefore, please notice which channel is assigned for your particular language. This information will be displayed at the beginning of the meeting.

Selecting Your Language Channel

After joining the Zoom meeting, you will be able to select your language where it says English as shown below. Just click on the arrow (^) and all of the available languages will appear. In some cases, the labeled language will be different from the translation provided. For example, if your language is Vietnamese, then you shall select “French”. If your language is Thai, please select “German”, according to the instructions provided at the beginning of the event. 

Important Zoom Notes

1. Password

Zoom has tightened their security and a password is now required to join the meeting.

2. Waiting Room

After you enter the password and join Zoom, you may find yourself in a waiting area. This is another security feature that Zoom has added. Please be patient, and one of the hosts will admit you to the meeting very soon.

3. Microphone

Please mute your microphone upon entry to avoid sounds interfering with the meeting. We will be in noble silence while waiting for the instructor/teacher to arrive and during his teaching.

4. Chat Function

The chat room will be limited to chat with hosts only to allow you to notify the hosts about any unexpected problems.

Instructions for Zoom (If You Have Not Used Zoom Before)

1. Download Zoom Application

It is best to download and install the Zoom application in advance. It will take only a few minutes, and the application is free. You can download the version that is best for your device. Here is the link:

2. Register and Join the Meeting by Following the Instructions Above


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How to Register on Samye

Step 1

In your favorite browser, type

Step 2

Click on “Sign Up” (right top corner).

Then, type your information to create an account. You will have to write your name, last name (family name), a username, and a password.

Step 3

You should receive an email confirming that you have now an account at Samye. Now you can login with your user and password whenever you want!

How to Log on to Samye

Step 1

In your favorite browser, type

Step 2

Click on “Login” (right top corner).

You have to type your username and password, then click on “Log in”. If you are using your own computer and you want your device to remember your username and password, tick on “Remember me”. If you forgot your password and you want to reset it, click on “Forgot password”

If you have any difficulties, feel free to reach out to our support team at [email protected]



How to Sign Up for an Online Course

Step 1

Click on the link below, where you will find the list of all our courses:

Step 2

Select the course you want to sign up for (for example, “The Noble Wisdom at the Time of Death Sutra”) and click on the title. If you do not know the name of the course in English, look at the image of the course or click on the title and read the description of the course in your language.

Step 3

Watch the video of the description (activate subtitles by clicking on the CC button and choosing your language), and /or read the description of the course on the Translations section (at the bottom of the page), and click on the “Take course” button:

Step 4

If it is one of our “offer what you can” courses,  add either the amount you wish to offer or leave the zero if you do not want to offer any amount.

After you click on the yellow “Take this course” button, the cart should appear. It should have the name of the course you want to sign up for and the amount to be offered.

Then, click on the button “Proceed to checkout”.

Add your billing information:

To proceed with the offering amount, there are two options:

A. PayPal

B. Credit Card

If you have any difficulties, feel free to reach out to our support team at [email protected]



Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.