Pema Gellek

Faculty

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Pema Gellek, Dean

Pema Gellek, M.A., is a disciple of her father, Tarthang Tulku, and Chadral Rinpoche, and studied Tibetan Buddhism at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Nepal. Working within her father’s mandala of organizations, she serves as a bridge between dharma in the East and West and has helped carry out Tarthang Tulku’s dharma activities in Asia for the past 20 years. Pema is also a filmmaker and director of Guna Foundation and has been a faculty member of Dharma College. She is co-dean at the Nyingma Institute and her areas of teaching at the Nyingma Institute are Buddhist Studies and Nyingma Psychology. 

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Read a letter from the deans. 

Lama Palzang

Faculty

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Lama Palzang, Dean

Lama Palzang is a Nyingma lama who was born in the Gyarong region of Tibet, where from a very young age, he was trained in the dharma under Jigme Tenpa Dargye Rinpoche. He was formally educated at Minyak Lhagang Monastery in Kham and trained in the Longchen Nyingtik tradition under his root teachers, Khenchen Chodrak Rinpoche and Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche. He completed a traditional three year retreat under Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche in Beyul Yolmo, Nepal.  Since 2002, Lama Palzang has assisted Tarthang Rinpoche with large-scale dharma projects in Asia.  Lama Palzang teaches classes on Buddhist Studies and Nyingma Meditation and guides traditional dharma retreats at the Institute.

See his current workshops and courses.

Read a letter from the deans. 

Hugh Joswick

Faculty

Hugh Joswick, Instructor

Hugh Joswick, Ph.D., has been studying and practicing at Nyingma Institute under Tarthang Tulku’s senior students since the mid-1990’s. He has also co-edited several books under the close direction of Tarthang Tulku, including Caring and the Lotus Trilogy books. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has taught philosophy at the university level and is currently the Managing Editor of Mangalam Press, the publishing arm of Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages, which focuses primarily on scholarly works in the fields of Buddhist and Religious Studies. Hugh brings a gentle approach and skillful style of inquiry to his teaching.

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Santosh Philip

Faculty

Santosh Philip, Instructor

Santosh Philip, M.A, an architect and entrepreneur, has studied Nyingma teachings since 1995. His primary teaching area is Kum Nye, where he conveys his considerable love and respect for Tibetan Yoga self-massage and movement practices to his students, both at the advanced and introductory levels. Nearly every Sunday throughout the year, Santosh and fellow Kum Nye instructors alternate teaching a drop-in Kum Nye morning class from ten to Noon; Santosh also teaches Nyingma Practices classes, including classes in dream yoga.

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Olivia Hurd

Faculty

Olivia Hurd, Instructor

Olivia Hurd, B.F.A, is a textile artist and retired children’s publisher. She was a co-founder of the Peaceable Kingdom Press, a children’s publisher featuring art from children’s books, which she ran for many years. She is a long-time meditation practitioner and has been a student at the Nyingma Institute since 1997. Olivia says, “In my years studying at Nyingma Institute, my life has taken a wonderful turn. I’ve increased awareness of whatever activity is at hand and the importance of how I do it. Most importantly, I feel that my sensitivity for others has grown.” Her teaching style is heartfelt.

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Abbe Blum

Faculty

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Abbe Blum, Instructor

Abbe Blum holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.A. from Cambridge University, England, where she was a Marshall scholar, and a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale University. As an Associate Professor at Swarthmore College, she taught Shakespeare and intensive writing seminars, and she currently teaches in the School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybook University. She has been studying Buddhism since the 1970’s, and has taught at various TNMC locations since 1998.

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Donna Morton

Faculty

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Donna Morton, Instructor

Donna Morton, PT, NC, a physical therapist, holistic nutritional consultant, and health educator, first encountered Nyingma teachings in 1997. In 2001, she completed a 6-month Human Development Training Program at Nyingma Institute. Since that time she has taught here primarily in the field of Kum Nye, a gentle form of Tibetan Yoga developed for Westerners by Head Lama Tarthang Tulku.

Her whole-person therapeutic approach draws from and integrates a variety of healing modalities including whole-foods nutrition, movement and alignment training, manual therapy, stress reduction, yoga, meditation, and Jin Shin Jyutsu®. Her goal is to support each individual, through integrative therapy, education and coaching, on a positive path toward healing and greater well-being.

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Mark Henderson

Faculty

Mark Henderson, Instructor

Mark Henderson, J.D., LL.M., currently works full-time on sacred art projects with the Nyingma Mandala of organizations as a project manager and has helped create over one hundred thousand prayer wheels. He first encountered several great masters of the Nyingma lineage in the mid-1970s and is an avid student of Buddhism, with great appreciation for its vast and rich collection of texts. In his professional career, Mark was a practicing attorney, recognized by the California State Bar as a certified specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. In the nonprofit sector, he served as both a Board Director and as an Executive Director. At the Nyingma Institute, he teaches classes in Tibetan Language, Tibetan Chanting, and Buddhist Studies.

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Bob Byrne

Faculty

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Bob Byrne, Instructor

Bob has two agricultural degrees and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins SAIS in International Relations. A student of Rinpoche since 1969, he first taught here at the NI in 1972. His passion for Buddhist Studies and Nyingma practices has been evident throughout his adult life. After a successful career in business Bob and his spouse Renie Byrne co-directed Dharma Publishing from 1998 – 2003; Bob also served as an advisor for TAP from around 1994 – 1997. Bob and Renie are now active in a biodynamic compost business.

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Pauline Yu

Faculty

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Pauline Yu, Instructor

Pauline Yu is a full-time work-study volunteer and staff member at Nyingma Institute. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Art History, minoring in Philosophy, encountered meditation in 2006, and has worked full-time in the Nyingma Mandala community since 2007 on graphic design, film projects, and as a jack-of-all-trades. She has also been studying and practicing under Tarthang Tulku’s senior students since 2007 and completed Nyingma Institute’s 1,200 hour Path and Practices of Liberation program in 2010. 

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Ken McKeon

Faculty

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Ken McKeon, Instructor

Ken McKeon, M.A., a student of Tarthang Tulku since the 1970’s, is a highly regarded poet and a devoted High School teacher. His love of both the English language and the possibilities for human growth inherent in explorations of meaning, led him early on to become first a student, and then a teacher of the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision. Ken brings a sense of wonder and delight to his classes at the Institute, as he guides students through their own journey into mind and human consciousness.

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Barr Rosenberg

Faculty

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Barr Rosenberg, Instructor

Barr Rosenberg, Ph.D., has been a student of Tibetan Lama Tarthang Tulku since the early 1970’s. He is a member of the Yeshe De translation team, and is a successful entrepreneur. Barr taught for many years at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, has taught at the Nyingma Institute since 1982, and served as Co-Dean of the Nyingma Institute from 1999-2016. He regularly teaches courses at the Institute in Nyingma Meditation, Buddhist Studies, and Tibetan Art and Language.

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Dave Abercrombie

Faculty

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Dave Abercrombie, Instructor

Dave Abercrombie, B.S., is an entrepreneur and computer programmer who has studied Nyingma teachings for more than five years. Dave teaches Skillful Means classes, drawing upon his own experience in bringing these teachings into the workplace. His Institute teaching allows him to share with his students his particular passion for utilizing work to benefit the world.

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Mollie Hughes

Faculty

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Mollie Hughes, Instructor

Mollie Hughes has trained in Nyingma studies at the Nyingma Institute since 2007, with a focus on Dharma Studies, Meditation, and Tibetan Language. Before her studies at the Institute she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1966 with a BA in English and worked in the publishing field as an editor and proofreader until 1984, when she changed fields to work with children with mental disorders. In 1991 she completed a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and was later hired by Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (Berkeley, California) to do social work for homeless adults with severe mental disorders and drug abuse issues. She is now retired from this position and teaches Intermediate Tibetan Language classes at the Nyingma Institute.

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Elissa Slanger

Faculty

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Elissa Slanger, Instructor

Elissa Slanger, Ph.D., has studied at the Nyingma Institute since 1982. Dr. Slanger brings a wealth of experience to her teaching from her professional work as a practicing clinical psychologist, artist, and author. An octogenarian, Dr. Slanger speaks from her own experience on how Nyingma teachings positively affect how we age and how we cope with the losses and disabilities that come with aging. She leads workshops and retreats that bring the value of meditation and Nyingma Psychology to bear on the aging process and also offers workshops for those in the healing professions.

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Erika Rosenberg

Faculty

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Erika Rosenberg, Instructor

Erika Rosenberg, Ph.D. is a research psychologist in human emotions who brings an expertise in both Western and Eastern psychology to her teaching at the Nyingma Institute. She is the co-author of Psychology: Making Connections, a college-level textbook that includes sections on meditation. Erika has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism for more than 20 years. A regular lecturer and leader of graduate-level seminars, she teaches Nyingma Psychology courses at the Institute and is also an Instructor in the Institute’s Continuing Legal Education program.

See her current workshops and courses.