Reading the Sutras | Online

A course into the essential teachings from the Mahayana

Reading the Sutras is an ongoing course with essential teachings from the Mahayana. It is an introduction to the essential teachings of the Buddhist Sutras. In each class, we present some historical background on the Sutras. We read aloud key passages, and discuss the importance of the ideas and practices that the Buddha invites us to contemplate. We complement our discussion with guided reflections and meditations.  

Nyingma Centrum Nederland is very happy to co-announce this beautiful ongoing course presented by two acclaimed instructors of the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California:  Pema Gellek and Hugh Joswick.

Instructors: Pema Gellek and Hugh Joswick

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.

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. Hugh 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.

Hugh Joswick - senior instructor at Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, California, USA.

About the Sutra Study course

For who?
All with a sincere interest in the teachings of the Buddha are welcome to attend. The classes will be in English language.


  • Feb 14 – June 5 2024
  • Wednesday  19.00- 20.30 CEST/ 10 – 11.30 am PST
  • 16 classes

Find your local time at

How to attend?
Online through Zoom

Costs of the course
€ 240,- or 4 x € 60,- p/m

A selection of Buddhist texts

In the first eight classes of the course, Feb 14-April 3, we will look at a selection of essential suttas from the first-turning teachings of the Buddha. It includes the Brahmajāla sutta, short suttas like the Piyajatika and the Aggivacchagota sutta, and the lengthier Maha-parinibbana sutta. These texts from the Pali canon give a fuller context to fundamental concepts and precepts of early Buddhism. We look at the connected web of Dharma views and examine the nature of the Buddha’s life and parinirvana.

In the second half of the course (April 17-June 5) we continue reading Mahayana sutras. We turn to The Sutra of Queen Śrīmālā of the Lion’s Roar (Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanāda-sūtra)—a classic Mahayana text. It depicts Queen Śrīmālā as a female bodhisattva who teaches the doctrine of the tathāgatagarbha and the single vehicle. The sutra is notable for its treatment of women as fully capable of enlightenment and as worthy teachers of the Dharma. It raises many issues regarding Buddha-nature and our potential for full awakening. We also will read another sutra with a female protagonist, the Miraculous Play of Manjushri (Mañjuśrīvikrīḍita), which develops the theme of emptiness and sameness of all phenomena.