The 11th century teacher Machig Labdrön evolved two paths of practice: the Father and Mother Lineages. The Mother Lineage came from Machig’s own experiences with direct transmissions from female deities such as Tara and Vajra Yogini, her own meditation experiences, and the practices she evolved through teaching and practicing as a woman in her lifetime. The Father Lineage evolved from her male teachers, thus the word “father” was used.
Lama Tsultrim met Buddhism in India and Nepal while still a teenager, deepened it through her years as a Buddhist nun in the early ’70s, and honed it as the mother of three and through her unceasing commitment to the Tibetan Buddhist path, extensive solo retreats, daily practice and continual study with her sublime Tibetan teachers. Interfacing these teachings with the western psyche, she developed particular methods to make the teachings accessible and effective in the modern world and to create genuine transformation for the whole being.
As with other Vajrayana teachers before her, Lama Tsultrim has received meditative visions throughout her life. These visions have informed and guided her life in many ways, including her inspiration to manifest Tara Mandala as a seat for authentic and deep practice in the West. Just as Machig Labdrön herself experienced a thousand years ago, Lama Tsultrim has received specific practices from Sambogakaya beings in visions as a result of her sincere connection with the Dharma. She has refined these received teachings, organized them into a consolidated and complete path for students to follow, and is offering this program as Magyu: The Mother Lineage Path.
Lama Tsultrim Allione
Overview of the Magyu Program
The Magyu Program is an invaluable opportunity to enter this extremely fresh practice stream revealed by Lama Tsultrim. The psycho-spiritual integration of this path inherently distinguishes it from the more traditional Father Lineage. The Magyu Program in the mother lineage works directly with the individual through helping each student to identify his or her particular encumbered patterns and relevant practices to transform those patterns. There are special webcasts and tele-teachings for those enrolled in the Magyu Program, as well as direct contact and support through interviews and emails with Lama Tsultrim and her authorized Magyu teachers. 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 within the individual.
Similar to the Gateway Program in the Father Lineage, the complete path of the Magyu Program will take approximately seven years (it may take less or more time depending on the student’s commitment), and will be undertaken within a supportive sangha of practitioners. Unlike the Gateway Program which has certain retreats that must be done each year, the Magyu students works their way through the retreats and practice commitments according to their own timing. This allows flexibility for those in the Magyu for having a baby, an illness, or some other life changing situation. Those who have completed Kapala Training Levels 1, 2 or 3 prior to entering the Magyu Program, will not have to repeat them but will need to document the practice hours required for each level. Each student enrolled in the Magyu Program will receive a “Kaliyanamitra” or Spiritual Friend, who is an authorized teacher providing personal practice support, email contact and phone calls as well as personal meetings. From Kapala Training Level 3 and higher, each Magyu student will also have personal interviews with Lama Tsultrim as part of the program. Due to the fact that this is a fresh and evolving lineage there may be some additions and variations once the program is underway.
Both women and men will participate in the Magyu Program. The Mother Lineage is oriented toward dedicated practitioners who wish the walk the path fully with guidance and support. It includes solitary retreats, group retreats and dedicated daily practice. A mother lineage practitioner should be prepared to commit to a daily practice of a minimum of 1.5 hours with occasional retreats and day-long practices, 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 Prajnaparamita, then going more deeply into the Nature of Mind practices taught by Machig and Chöd practices linked to Machig. It also includes other practices and retreats compiled and revealed by Lama Tsultrim such as the two week Dakini Retreat and the Five Dakinis, Five Buddhas, and Yab-Yum Mandala practices with accompanying transformational personal work. Additionally, the Magyu Program includes Green Tara, White Tara Yum-Yab , and the Lion headed Dakini Simhamuka practices as well as specific movement practices, practices with the five elements, and compassion practices.
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 Magyu Program of the Mother Lineage can be a complete path by itself or it is possible to combine it with the Gateway Program of the Father Lineage or some of those practices such as the ngondro for those students with the time, inclination, and endorsement by their Kaliyanamitra and Lama Tsultrim.
Retreats and Requirements
Kapala Training Level 1
In Kapala Training Level 1 you will learn:
- FYD (Feeding Your Demons) solo and partner work
- Feeding Your Demons with drawing and clay
- Prajna Paramita practice
Kapala Training Level 2
- 65 Feeding Your Demons processes: 50 solo and 15 with a partner
- 108 hours of Prajna Paramita practice
- planting or sponsoring a tree to be planted.
Kapala Training 2 includes:
- making a body map (tracking where the 65 demons you did between 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
- practices of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother” and “Supplication to Machig Labdrön Nature of Mind”
- teachings on excerpts from the “Grand Poem of Aryadeva the Brahmin” and “Machig’s Last Instructions”
- Taking and Waking practice
Kapala Training Level 3
Kapala Training Level 3 goes more deeply into meditation practices from the Mother Lineage with less emphasis on Feeding Your Demons.
- Kapala Training 1 and Kapala Training 2
- completion of a total of 54 solo and 54 partner Feeding Your Demons processes begun after Level 1
- 108 hours of “Transmitting the Meaning of the Mother”
- 108 hours of “Supplication to Machig Labdrön Nature of Mind” practice
- Three Yana Retreat
- Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche Chöd Retreat
- 200 30 minute sessions Taking and Waking
In Kapala Training 3 you will receive:
- the Empowerment of Machig Labdrön
- the practice of “Opening the Gate to Space”
- the practice of “Dentog Chigma” from Machig Labdrön
- Feeding Your Demons with dreams
Kapala Training Level 4
- 200 hours of “Opening the Gate to Space”
- one-month long solo Dentog Chigma Retreat at Tara Mandala ending with a fire puja
- two-week group Dakini Retreat
- accomplishing the Simhamuka practice (transmitted during the Dakini Retreat which must be taken before Kapala Training4)
- 25 Feeding Your Demons with dream figures with tracking forms
- 200 thirty minute sessions 4 Immeasurables practice
In Kapala Training 4 you will receive and practice:
- Machig’s Direct Transmission from Lama Tsultrim
- Movement practice
Kapala Training Level 5
- 200 hours of “Machig’s Direct Transmission”
In Kapala Training 5 you will receive:
- “Machig Labdrön and a Five Chakra Dakinis” practice from Lama Tsultrim
- Five Elements Practices (200 hours)
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.
Beginning with Mandala of the Five Dakinis: 1.5 hour practice, one hour of the Mandala of the Five Dakinis followed sequentially by thirty minute 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, Art (drawing, painting, or clay) with dialogue, or Guided Meeting with the Dakini.
Other required retreats and practices:
- Two-week group Dakini Retreat
- Accomplishing Simhamuka practice (170 hours)
- Three week Green Tara Retreat (170 hours)
- Accomplishing White Tara (170 hours)
- 5 Elements practices (200 hours)
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. Students will also make Dana offerings to their teachers and Kalyanamitra in gratitude for teachings and guidance as is customary.