Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Zangdok Palri Institute?

The Zangdok Palri Institute is an educational facility, which has been founded by Dzogchen Ranyak Patrul Rinpoche as a support for the study and practice of Buddhist philosophy. Starting with its inaugural course, The Precious Bodhi Tree, which was held in Brussels in 2004, it runs both residential and home-study courses which are open to all those who wish to attend.

Who teaches at the shedra?

Patrul Rinpoche, the ZPI's founder and director, is its main teacher, and Rinpoche decides who else is invited to teach at the shedra.

Khenpo Thubten Lodro Nyima assist the students in their studies. Khenpo conduted the morning practices while explaining about the meditation. In the evening, Khenpo summarised and clarified the most difficult points of the teachings given by Patrul Rinpoche.

When do the courses begin?

The General Buddhist Studies Course was the inaugural course at the first Annual ZPI , in Brussels from 24 to 30 June 2004.

The first Six-Year Dzogchen Practitioners' Course began in 2005, the second in 2007, and the third in 2011.

Who can attend Zangdok Palri Institute courses?

The General Buddhist Studies Course is open to everyone and students do not require any qualifications.
Enrolment in the Six-Year Dzogchen Practitioners' Course depends on students making a commitment to study and practice, and continuation on the course depends on their passing annual exams and completing set practices.

The second year is open to students who have attended the first year; the third year is open to students who have attended the first & second year, etc.

Students who did not pass their exams will be admitted until the fifth year. The sixth year will be strictly open to students who have passed all their exams.

What could I read to get some idea of the course material for the Dzogchen Practitioners' Course?
You could read The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche, ISBN 1-57062-412-7, which is one of the shedra's basic texts. It has also been translated from Tibetan into many other languages.

Where do the Annual ZPI courses take place?
The inaugural course of the ZPI, was held in the Brussels Dzogchen Centre.
Annuals course in 2005 and 2006 were held in Slupca, Poland.
The Summer course in 2007 was held in Belgium where we purchas
ed Dharma City
Since 2008, courses took place in Dharma City, Belgium.
Future courses will mainly take place in Dharma City, Belgium.

I have heard the Six-year Dzogchen Practioners' course referred to as "the shedra". What is a shedra?

The Six-year Dzogchen Practitioners' course is indeed commonly referred to as 'the shedra'. A shedra means 'a college' in Tibetan. Shedra is the name given to the college connected to monastic settlements in Tibet. Daily classes are given by a Khenpo (PhD), which are revised later in tutorials, and then studied individually. Students usually memorise the texts they are studying, and later engage in public debate on the subject of the teachings. Exams are set at regular intervals and must be passed in order to advance through the course.

Can I do the Dzogchen Practitioners' Course without attending the Annual ZPI Shedra?
No, you cannot. Each academic year starts with the Annual ZPI Shedra Summer Course, during which the principle subject matter for the year is taught. Follow-up courses are arranged in Dzogchen Centres during the year to assist with revision.

However, if you have already started the course, had an obstacle to attend one course and have the strong wish to continue, you may ask for an exemption (exemption form). An exemption will only be made once during each 6-Year cycle of a Dzogchen Practitioner's Course. Nevertheless students who have not attended an Annual ZPI Shedra course will not be admitted into the 6th Year Course.

If I do not pass the annual exam, can I continue on the course?
Participation can continue in the second year regardless of exam results. However one must have passed all exams in order to attend the 6th Year Course.

Camping area during the courses

Where can I stay during the Annual ZPI Shedra?
Please consult the accomodation page.

How can I be kept informed about courses?
You can subcribe to the mailing list.

How can I enrol in a course?
In order to enrol, you need to fill in the online enrolment form on the event page and make the payment associated to it.

Can I reserve a place on the Dzogchen Practitioners' Course provisionally and confirm later?
No, but you can ask to be kept informed about developments by subscribing to the mailing list.

I want to attend the Dzogchen Practitioners' Course, but I am afraid that if I enrol, the arrangements you make may not suit me and I may not be able to attend. What should I do?
Please do not worry. If you really wish to attend the course, you can enrol now. The arrangements will not differ too much from what has been arranged up to now. The Annual ZPI Shedra will take place somewhere in Europe during the summer months, most likely in Belgium in July or August, and will last for about 16-17 days. The cost of the courses will always be kept as low as possible.

What does the Annual ZPI Shedra and the courses cost? 
Please consult the courses fee section in the enrolment section of the event page.

How are the prices decided?
Prices are set based on a detail analysis of the spendings made in previous courses, and on the expected number of participants in the various events.

For each of the courses we have 2 prices:
Before deadline

  • Reduced price: for those who can't afford to pay more.
  • Normal price: the amount the organisation needs to cover the organisational costs

After Deadline

  • Normal: the amount the organisation needs to cover the organisational costs

Late enrolment: after the deadline for enrolment, the reduced price is no more available to encourage people to enrol sooner rather than later so the organisation has time to order the study resources, order food, calculate for how many people we need to cook etc.

Course fees include: costs to organise the course, infrastructure, course materials, and meals. Also, please note that everyone works voluntarily.

I would like to help.
Thank you!
Please read the
volunteer page, and send us back the volunteer form. You can also send us an email or write to us.