The 11th century teacher, Machig Labdrön, evolved several different lineages including one called the Magyu: Mother Lineage. This lineage was unique to her and came mostly through her own meditation experiences with direct transmissions from deities and the practices she evolved in her lifetime. Both men and women held these lineages, in fact Machig’s second son, Tönyöm Samdrub, was the main lineage holder of her Mother Lineage. At Tara Mandala, Lama Tsultrim has been inspired to follow this model in introducing Magyu: the Mother Lineage Program.
Magyu has been underway for two years now and over 100 people from all over the world have been accepted into it. Magyu has an open structure and you may join at anytime after completing the application and if you are accepted after the interview. One of the special qualities of the program is that students work their way through the retreats and practice commitments according to their own timing. This allows flexibility for having a baby, an illness, or some other life changing situation and also allows those with available time to move ahead more quickly. Magyu offers a living connection with the supportive Magyu sangha of practitioners which has its own Facebook page as well as a buddy system.
As with other Vajrayana teachers before her, Lama Tsultrim has received meditative visions which have informed and guided her life in many ways. Just as Machig Labdrön herself experienced a thousand years ago, Lama Tsultrim has also received specific practices from Sambhogakaya beings in visions. She has refined these teachings, organized them into a consolidated path for students to follow in the Magyu, as well as including teachings by other lamas whose practices have had a strong influence on her.
Lama Tsultrim Allione
Overview of the Magyu Program
The Magyu Program is an invaluable opportunity to enter this extremely fresh stream as taught by Lama Tsultrim and her authorized teachers. This path cultivates both the spiritual and emotional awakening of the practitioner, integrating the ancient Tibetan Buddhist practices with modern teachings appropriate for our western disposition. The psycho-spiritual integration work in this path inherently distinguishes it from other traditional Buddhist paths. The Magyu Program works directly with each individual through helping them to identify their encumbered emotional patterns and apply relevant practices to transform those patterns. Each student enrolled in the Magyu Program will receive a “Kalyanamitra” or Spiritual Friend, who is authorized to provide personal practice support, email contact, Skype or phone calls as well as personal meetings. You should meet with your Kalyanamitra once a month in person (phone or Skype is fine) to check in. These monthly check-ins may be anywhere between 15-90 minutes depending on your needs. This is meant to support your practice and development throughout the program, therefore you can determine how long your meetings will be depending on your needs.
The Mother Lineage is oriented toward dedicated practitioners who wish to walk a spiritual path with guidance and support. It includes solitary retreats, group retreats and dedicated daily practice, but without a specific daily practice requirement. There are special webcasts and tele-teachings for those enrolled in the Magyu Program. The Magyu Program is a path of personal development and individuation, as well as a path of spiritual evolution leading to the stabilization of the recognition of the ground of being and its display.
Prajñaparamita: The Great Wisdom Mother
After your entrance interview, acceptance and completion of the enrollment process, you will consult with your Kalyanamitra and begin to take the required courses and retreats, establish a daily practice, and accumulate the required meditation hours. You will set up a regular meeting time with your Kalyanamitra approximately once a month. Those who have completed Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 or 3 or other required retreats prior to entering the Magyu Program will not have to repeat them, but will need to document the practice hours required for each level. From Kapala Training Level 3 and higher, each Magyu student will also have personal interviews with Lama Tsultrim as part of the program. Both women and men are welcome to participate in the Magyu Program.
A Mother Lineage practitioner should be prepared to commit to a daily practice, with occasional retreats and day-long sessions, as well as all the necessary group retreats. The path follows five levels of Kapala Training beginning with such practices as Feeding Your Demons® and Prajñaparamita, then going more deeply into the Nature of Mind practices taught by Machig Labdrön. It also includes other practices and retreats. Due to the fact that this is a fresh and evolving lineage there may be some additions and variations as time goes on. The Magyu Program (Mother Lineage) can be a complete path by itself or it is possible to combine it with the Gateway Program or some other practices such as the Dzinpa Rangdröl Ngöndro for those students with the time, inclination, and endorsement of their Kalyanamitra and Lama Tsultrim.
January 1, 2016 marks the second year of Magyu: the Mother Lineage at Tara Mandala. People from all over the world have joined this lineage and some Gateway participants have joined as well. Many began with Kapala Training Level 1, though others began with the Three Yana retreat and are doing the three Mandalas: The Five Dakini Mandala, The Five Buddhas Mandala, and the Yab Yum Mandala each accompanied by months of practice and transformational personal work. The joy expressed by participants to have a path to follow and a guide they meet with regularly has been touching. Each month new members enter the Magyu path, giving their spiritual lives structure as they benefit from the blessings of this fresh transformational lineage.
“In our busy day-to-day western culture, the Magyu Program has been instrumental in bringing dharma practice into my everyday life. Because it is tailored in a flexible manner, with remote tele-teachings, I am able to cultivate a dharma practice like meditation, Chöd, and even personal retreats at times that work for me. My Kalyanamitra provides wisdom and insight into the practices of the Magyu program as I move along with assignments. Through the required Feeding Your Demons® practices I have cultivated a more compassionate relationship with myself and therefore others… Through a satellite sangha in my area, I have worked on issues of racial justice through meditation to understand, deconstruct and liberate the collective and personal inner demons of racial prejudice. It’s a real blessing to be a part of a multi faceted program that tangibly hones in on what is magical and sacred in everyday life, rather than separating the spiritual from the material world in which I live. To do this in the context of learning from a woman’s lineage of Buddhism is a great blessing for me, in which I am immensely grateful.” – Christina, 37, radio journalist/producer
“I like both the flexibility, and the structure of the Magyu program. I know what retreats are on the horizon for me, and yet I also get to pick which ones work best in any particular season. It has allowed me to dive in to Lama Tsultrim’s amazing way of teaching, and also given me a chance to learn from several of her excellent authorized teachers. Between retreats, I have profound practices to work with, tele teachings, and someone to turn to with my questions. I am so happy that this program exists!” – MJ, 45, Professor
“When Lama Tsultrim launched the Magyu Program I felt like it was tailor made for me. Because of the time involved, the expense, and a handicapped husband, I find it difficult to get to Tara Mandala as much as I would like. So having a program that provides direction, personal guidance with a Kalyanamitra and a flexible time frame has been perfect for me. My practice is stronger than ever. And of course, having a strong practice informs my life in so many ways … Compassion, Patience, Loving Kindness, Joy …I am filled with deep gratitude for Lama Tsultrim, for Machig Lapdrön, for Tara, everyone who holds the space at Tara Mandala, for my Kaliyanamitra and for this precious life. May all beings benefit.” – Maya, 68, Massage Therapist
Application Process and Requirements
To enroll in the Mother Lineage you must fill out an application and be interviewed by Lama Tsultrim or an authorized Magyu teacher. You will be contacted to schedule your interview. You will be provided with practice log books to track your practice hours for each practice requirement.
The financial commitment for those in the Magyu Program is to be a continual member of Tara Mandala at the level of Supporting Member ($30, 22 Euros) a month or higher. Membership also entitles you to store and retreat discounts according to the level of membership you hold. Magyu students are also asked to make an annual tuition offering of $350 (255 Euros) by January 31 in order to support the program, webcasts, text development and other program costs. Your initial tuition payment is due two weeks after being formally accepted into the program. Students will also make Dana offerings to their teachers and Kalyanamitra in gratitude for teachings and guidance as is customary.
Maygu Path Requirements
Magyu (Mother Lineage): The Magyu Program is a life path, not something you do for a certificate like in a training program of some sort. It is meant to bring you to awakening and that takes a long time, much more time than is in the Magyu Program listed here. The Magyu Program is a container and a path on which you progress toward your own awakening.
Kapala Training Level 1
Kapala Training Level 1 includes:
- Feeding Your Demons®
- – solo and partner work
- Feeding Your Demons® with drawing and clay
- Extended Ally Process – solo and partner work
- Prajna Paramita practice
Kapala Training Level 2
- Completion of Kapala Training Level I
- 65 Feeding Your Demons® processes: 50 solo and 15 with a partner
- For partner work, tracking forms from both partners equal one partner work process. This should not be done with clients. It is acceptable to work with gods instead of demons for some of these sessions.
- 20 Extended Ally Processes: 10 solo and 10 with a partner
- 108 hours of Prajna Paramita practice
- A practice session is a minimum of 30 minutes. One hour is recommended. 30 minutes is just for those with very limited time. This 30 minutes includes the beginning and ending prayers.
- Plant a tree or sponsor a tree to be planted.
- This requirement came to Lama Tsultrim in a dream in which she was flying over Europe and saw that it was dry, parched and very hot. She heard a voice that said: “For Climate Change everyone should plant a tree before Kapala Training Level 2.” Planting a tree connects your practice to healing the earth and to Machig’s tree experience during her initiation from Sonam Lama.
Kapala Training Level 2 includes:
- Making a full-sized body map
- This entails tracking where the 65 demons/gods you did between Kapala Training Level 1 and 2 appeared in your body and reflecting on what you see in the body map.
- Male and female family lineage demon and ally maps
- A hydra map looking at a constellation of demons/gods
- “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother,”* practice
- “Supplication to Machig Labdrön Nature of Mind,”* practice
- “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space”* practice
- Teachings on excerpts from the “Grand Poem of Aryadeva the Brahmin” and “Machig’s Last Instructions”
- Taking and Waking practice
If you intend to apply for Feeding Your Demons® certification, you will need to do the following:
- Complete Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2.
- Provide documentation (Tracking Forms) showing that you have completed 54 solo and 54 partner sessions (both yours and partner’s Tracking form makes one partner session), totaling 108 sessions.
- Pass a test with Lama Tsultrim or an Authorized Tara Mandala Teacher showing that you can guide someone through the process by memory, without using the text.
Kapala Training Level 3
Kapala Training Level 3 goes more deeply into meditation practices from the Mother Lineage and introduces approaches to Feeding Your Demons® that are more trans-personal and altruistic.
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2
- Completion of a total of 54 solo and 54 partner Feeding Your Demons® processes begun after Kapala Training Level 1
- 108 hours of “Supplication to the Great Mother Machig Labdrön”
- 108 hours of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” with “Cutting the Four Demons Loose into Space”
- You may choose how much time to spend with each (Transmitting the Meaning and Cutting the Four Demons) in one practice session.
- 200 thirty-minute sessions of Taking and Waking
- Or 100 hours total – You can do as much time as you like in one practice session, but 30 minutes is the minimum per session.
- Completion of the Three Yana Retreat
- Completion of the Chöd* Retreat (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche)
In Kapala Training 3 you will receive:
- The Empowerment of Machig Labdrön
- The practice of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
- Feeding Your Demons® with dreams figures
- Collective Societal, Cultural, and Historical Demons
- Organizational and Group-dynamic Demons
- The Fourth Demon: Ego-clinging
- Extended Ally processes with the journey
Kapala Training Level 4
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 and 3
- 200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”*
- Completion of Dentog Chigma* group rereat
- One-month long solo Dentog Chigma* Retreat at Tara Mandala (or another retreat center, not at home) ending with a fire puja (we will help you do fire puja)
- Preferably without break (in a single period of time). Retreat may be broken up in 2 or 4 sections under special circumstances i.e. parent of a young child.
- Fire puja can be completed during Kapala 4 Training
- Completion of the Dakini Retreat
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with dream figures with tracking forms
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with demon of ego-clinging with tracking forms
- 10 Feeding Your Demons® with collective societal/cultural/historical demon with tracking forms
- 10 Extended Ally processes with the journey
- 200 thirty-minute sessions of the Four Immeasurables* practice (as learned in the Three Yana Retreat)
In Kapala Training Level 4 you will receive:
- “Machig’s Direct Transmission” from Lama Tsultrim
- “Movement practice”
- “5 Elements Practice”
Kapala Training Level 5
- Completion of Kapala Training Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4
- 200 hours of “Machig’s Direct Transmission”
- 200 hours of “5 Elements Practice”
- Completion of the “Zhitro”* (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat
- Completion of the “P’howa”* (Chagdud Khandro) Retreat
In Kapala Training 5 you will receive:
- “Machig Labdrön and the Five Chakra Dakinis” practice from Lama Tsultrim
Mandala and Other Required Practices
The Mandala practices may be done once the Three Yana Retreat has been completed and transmission has been received for the practices. There are 150 practice sessions per Mandala practice; 30 sessions with each of the five families.
Beginning with Mandala of the Five Dakinis:
1.5 hours practice – one hour of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis practice followed sequentially by thirty minutes of transformational personal work related to each family of the five dakinis.
This transformational personal work consists of working with Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma, and Karma families and their encumbered patterns either with Feeding Your Demons®, Feeding Your Demons® with Art (drawing, painting, or clay), Guided Meeting with the Dakini, or Mandala Work with Your Hands.
Mandala Practice Requirements:
- 225 hours of Mandala of the Five Dakinis
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This should be done prior to attending KT3)
- 225 hours of Five Buddha Mandala
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done any time)
- 225 hours of Yab Yum Mandala
- 30, 1.5-hour sessions with each family (5 families total) (This can be done anytime)
Other required associated practices and retreats:
Please note that these can be done at any time in the Magyu program unless otherwise stated. Some are pre-requisites for specific Kapala Trainings. See below.
- Chöd* (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche) Retreat. (This is a pre-requisite for KT3).
- Dakini Retreat (This is a pre-requisite for KT4).
- Zhitro* (Namchö Mingyur Dorje) Retreat. (This is a pre-requisite for KT5).
- P’howa* (Chagdud Khandro) Retreat. (This is a pre-requisite for KT5).
- The Lion Headed Dakini Sadhana: Simhamukha Mind Terma of Ayu Khandro* Retreat. (You must complete 170 hours of mantra recitation after attending the retreat).
- Green Tara* Retreat. This Green Tara practice is from the Luminous Secret Vajra Treasury, a treasure cycle of Adzom Drukpa. Lama Tsultrim teaches this practice.
- Three-week Solo Green Tara* Retreat (170 hours of mantra recitation).
- The White Tara* Retreat. This White Tara practice is from Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo as taught by Lama Pema Dorje. (You must complete 170 hours of mantra recitation after attending the retreat).
- The practice of Dentog Chigma Chöd* from Machig Labdrön (This is a pre-requisite for KT4).
- Prerequisites for Dentog Chigma Chöd* retreat:
- Complete Three Yana Retreat and associated practice requirements.
- Ideally you will have completed all of the Mandala and Other Required Practices before learning Dentog Chigma. However, if you are not able to complete all the 225 hours of the Dakini Mandala Practice with the transformational work before learning the Dentog Chigma practice, you must do at least 30 days of daily practice of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis to prepare you for the Dentog Chigma practice. See Mandala and Other Required Practices below for complete details on practice requirements.
- Completion of the Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) Chöd retreat
- You must do at least 30 days of daily CNNR Chöd practice and be able to play the bell and drum well before attending Dentog Chigma Chöd retreat.
- Complete Three Yana Retreat and associated practice requirements.
- Prerequisites for Dentog Chigma Chöd* retreat:
- Chöd Dulzhug Pigrimage:
- Practice either CNNR Chöd,* Parchangma Chöd,* Dudjom Tesar Chöd,* Tsog Ley Rinchen Trengwa Chöd,* Jigme Lingpa’s Khandro Kejyang Chöd,* or Dentog Chigma Chöd* at 108 different charnel grounds (including battle ground sites and concentration camps and prisoner or war camps, cemeteries, places like Ground Zero, springs or lakes). Further instructions will be given when you decide to do it.
- It is recommended to do the Three Yana Retreat as early on in the program as possible because it will give you a good foundation for all the Magyu practices you will learn throughout the course of the program.
- The Magyu practices can be done as you like except when there is a prescribed order like in the Kapala Trainings and Mandala work. For example, you could do Kapala Training Levels 1 and 2, and then start the Mandala practices as taught in the Vajrayana section of the Three Yana retreat.
- Mandala practices must be done in order and each one must be done completely, i.e., first you would do all the Dakini Mandala practices, then the Five Buddha Mandala, and then Yab Yum Mandala, in that order.
- You could then return to Kapala Training Level 3 or do another practice such as Green Tara,* White Tara,* Simhamukha (Lion Headed Dakini),* or the CNNR Chöd.* Once you’ve done Kapala Training Level 3 and all required practices, you could then do Kapala Training Level 4 and then go on to Kapala Training Level 5.
Keeping Records of Your Magyu Practices & Retreats:
Please keep a record of the practices you have done for your own records. Check in regularly with your Kalyanamitra and if you need help being consistent with your practices, ask them for guidance and support in setting realistic and clear goals for yourself.
Also, keep track of all the retreats you do online through Tara Mandala or elsewhere with a Tara Mandala authorized teacher. Tara Mandala only keeps track of retreats you do in person at Tara Mandala.
*Practices marked with an asterisk are required associated practices for the Kapala Trainings and the Magyu Program. Required associated practices are practices that were received by Lama Tsultrim from her teachers. All other practices not marked by an asterisk were created by Lama Tsultrim herself.