Lesson series

Lotus Seminar

Level 300 | Wisdom
Tuesdays, September 17th to October 22nd  10-11:30am PST

Free cancellation after first class

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In the year-long Lotus Seminar, we will integrate and deepen the key teachings we have received so far at Dharma College. The goal is not to develop a new theory of living, but to directly expand our full human potential. Mind creates the home in which we live. When we explore it with gestures of love—unafraid to touch the heart of our being—we begin naturally to radiate peace, joy, caring, and wisdom.  

Each week, we'll examine a key question about how body, language, and mind operate experientially. Lightly guided by Tarthang Tulku's seminal Lotus Trilogy, we'll discuss, practice and dialogue to unlock transformative knowledge. How exactly do body, language, and mind create the world of appearance? What is the origin of shape and form in our experience? Does the body set limits, or do we have the potential to know beyond its borders? How do concepts of time limit or expand knowledge? What would it mean to dwell in timeless time, without the division of past, present, and future? How are linguistic meanings established, and can we open the ratios of language to a level deeper than words? Who commits to I, me, mine, and mind? Are we forever doomed to repeat the patterns of the regime of mind? Or can we dwell in the open field at the heart of being?  

Everyone who has taken at least one Level 2 program at Dharma College is warmly welcome. You will be asked to read on your own and come to class willing to engage in wide-ranging discussion and contemplative practices. This is your life, 'your very own journey,' so also please: plan to have fun!


“My feelings about finishing the Lotus Trilogy, almost three years studying with Robin and this group of classmates is beyond words and one of the great blessings of my life.”
Robert D.
“Very inspiring and touching classes. The discussions are rich and do lead us to some relevant inquiry about how we relate to ourselves and each other. I am greatly benefitting from them. Thank you so much!”
Claudio M.
“Very comfortable pace - it was helpful for Robin to go slowly with us, giving us time to think as she was talking.  Weekly homework exercises where also helpful.  wonderful class!!” 
Bess C.


Classes meet online for six weeks a term, for 90 minutes a week. Classes are recorded and you will have access to the recordings for six months. Each week, there will be at home reading from one of the books of the Lotus Trilogy, and a central question that we will explore together in class through practices and dialogue. An online portal will allow you easily to become part of our global community.

Weekly Topics

Term 1 Sep 17-Oct 22, 2024
Week 1: Where is 'where I am'?
Week 2: How do shape and form emerge from space?
Week 3: What are the borders of 'me'?
Week 4: Do 'I' continue through time?
Week 5: What changes and what stays the same?
Week 6:  Does anything move at the heart of time?    

Term 2 
Week 1: What are 'problems' and what are 'solutions'?
Week 2: Can we know the unknown?
Week 3: Who is the observer and what is the observed?
Week 4: Can we learn to speak 'space'? Thanksgiving Break
Week 5: What is language?
Week 6: How is meaning established?    

Term 3 
Week 1: Who whispers in mind, and who interprets?
Week 2: How does perception operate?
Week 3: Do words create our reality?
Week 4: Do words obscure our reality?
Week 5: Can we know without language?
Week 6: Who wants to know?    

Term 4 
Week 1: What is mind?
Week 2: Does mind 'have' contents?
Week 3: Is my knowledge 'mine'?
Week 4: How is thought structured?
Week 5: How does noticing happen?
Week 6: Who seeks, and who gives answers?  

Term 5 
Week 1: What is happening before thought?
Week 2: What does seeing see?
Week 3: What do we mean by being?
Week 4: Is knowledge of value if it is not of benefit?
Week 5: Can we open all points?
Week 6: How do we share what we know?


Robin Caton

Robin Caton holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan and an MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary's College of California. She is an attorney, poet and teacher who has studied Buddhism for many years, both at the Nyingma Institute and under the direction of Founding Head Lama Tarthang Tulku. Her published works include a volume of poetry, The Color of Dusk. Robin was the Director of Dharma College from 2010 to 2017.