Online: Gesar — Rousing Life Force in the Midst of Obstacles

with Robin Kornman, David Shapiro, Jane Hawes and Mark Nowakowski

July 3 - September 18

Gesar: Rousing Life Force in the Midst of Obstacles study cycle


"The epic of Ling has all the aspects of a great story - love, hope, despair and finally victory." - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

"I regard myself as a descendant of Gesar. I am proud to be a member of the tradition of warriorship  and hope that clarifying these precious teachings will help others to bring the inspiration of Gesar's example of warriorship into their lives." - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. From Foreword to The Superhuman Life of Gesar of Ling by Alexandra David Neel and Lama Yongden; Shambhala Publications  

The ideal warrior, Gesar of Ling, is a trusted leader who tames the enemies that turn people from the path of wisdom and compassion. He is the basis for the Epic of Gesar of Ling, beloved throughout all of Asia and comparable in scope, power and humanity to the renowned ancient Greek epic poems, The Odyssey and The Iliad.

Join in us for this online textual study cycle of Gesar of Ling.  Studying this legend gives us profound, practical guidance on how to be a warrior in difficult times and rouse life force in the midst of obstacles.  Gesar of Ling is the main 'protector' of the Shambhala community whom Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche credits as a primary source of the Shambhala teachings.

This is the second, three-month online study cycle of the Dharma.U series
You can register for the entire cycle at the bottom of this page.
Or you may register for individual events by clicking on the titles listed below. 

CLICK HERE to purchase 'Gesar' translations by our series' teachers from our friends at Shambhala Publications. 


The Gesar: Rousing Life Force in the Midst of Obstacles cycle includes:

Gesar of Ling: an Introduction to the Epic 
July 3 – 31, 2021
Authors David Shapiro & Jane Hawes teaching
Led by Gesar translators, you will meet King Gesar of Ling in his historical context, experience the text of his epic and learn how Gesar is alive in our lives and meditation practices. The series will feature live conversations and teachings along with vibrant group study sessions.
If you are interested in taking this as a stand alone class, (not as part of the full cycle), you will need to register for it on Shambhala Online.


First-Day Practice Intensive
July 3, 2021
This Nyinthun (daylong practice session) will include the first talk of the series and is offered only to those enrolled in the COMPLETE Gesar Cycle.


Last-Day Practice Intensive
July 31, 2021
This Nyinthun (daylong practice session) will include the final talk by Shapiro and Hawes, and is offered only to those enrolled in the COMPLETE Gesar Cycle.


The World of Gesar of Ling 
Aug. 7 – Sept. 11, 2021
Robin Kornman with Other Teachers TBA
Led by Gesar translators, you will meet King Gesar of Ling in his historical context, experience the text of his epic and learn how Gesar is alive in our lives and meditation practices. This series features  archive recordings by Robin Kornman, discussions with live teachers,   along with vibrant group study sessions.

Weeklong Online Gesar Practice Retreat
Aug. 21-26, 2021
Featuring talks by Mark Nowakowski and others.

“2nd Annual Gesar Run”
Aug. 26-29, 2021
Led by Camren Von Davis and Nathan Railla
108-mile devotional run from Burlington, Vt., to Karmê Chöling

Concluding Gesar Special Event, TBA
Sept. 18-19, 2021
Details to be announced.


NOTE: All of the above programs are included in the Karmê Chöling Residency fee. Living at Karmê Chöling is a great way to exerience these teachings in person in a community setting, at no additional cost.  You can live at Karme Chöling for all or part of the cycle.
Find out more about Karmê Chöling Residency here. 

Recordings from all talks of the series will be made available to participants. Related recordings from the Karmê Chöling archive will also be available to those registered for the full three month series.

Registration and Payments

The listed price below is for the entire three month series of classes and events. If you would prefer to make three monthly payments, please contact our guest services office at info@karmecholing.org.

You may register for the individual classes at the links listed above. 

Gesar of Ling Links

Find out more about Gesar from some of the teachers in this series!

Each Dharma.U Cycle is a three-month deep dive into Buddhist teachings. The subscription based study cycles incorporate live teachings offered by senior Shambhala teachers (over Zoom, for now), practice intensives, study groups guided by meditation instructors, and archival video and audio teachings.


There are no formal prerequisites for taking this cycle. it is recommended that participants have an established meditation practice prior to the course opening. 


Karmê Chöling values its commitment to making programs affordable and available to all who wish to study with us. To support this commitment we provide two program price options.

This is the actual price of the program.

We offer this discounted price to those who cannot afford the full price of the program. This price is made possible through the generosity of Karmê Chöling and our donors

Payment Policies:
Karmê Chöling has updated its payment policies. The new policies apply to all programs that start after January 1, 2019. Please read the payment policies before proceeding with registration.

Financial Aid:
Karmê Chöling offers full-time student discounts, scholarships and other financial aid.

Program Credit:
If using existing program credit to pay for a program, you must pre-register for this program at least two weeks prior to the program start date by calling the front desk (802-633-2384 x3000). Program credit may not be used to pay for housing or practice materials and may not be used on or after arrival day.

Please Note:
Price includes meals but not accommodations.


About Robin Kornman

Robin Kornman (1947–2007) is best known for his work as a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, as well as a founding member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. Up until his death, he spent many years working on this translation of the epic of Gesar. A longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he earned his PhD from Princeton University and was a professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is the lead translator - alng with Lama Chonam, and Sangye Khandro -  of The Epic of Gesar of Ling: Gesar's Magical Birth, Early Years and coronation as King.

About David Shapiro

David Shapiro became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973. He was a practicing internist for 35 years and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at The Medical College of Wisconsin. He is a past president of the Milwaukee Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and held numerous administrative positions with Ascension Healthcare-WI including eight years as Chief Medical Officer. He is a member of the Light of Berotsana Translation Group, the Heart Essence Sangha Council and now lives in California with his wife, Jane Hawes. He contributed the historical introduction to the first book of the epic and is the author of Gesar of Ling: A Bardic Tale from the Snow Land of Tibet and Gesar and COVID-19: An Ancient Warrior Returns to Battle the Pandemic.

About Jane Hawes

Jane Hawes became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 1970s and is a member of the Light of Berotsana Translation Group. Hawes began studying Tibetan in the 1990s with the late Robin Kornman. She is married to David Shapiro, with whom she has collaborated on several Gesar translation projects including the forthcoming Taming of the Demons: the fourth volume in the Epic of Gesar of Ling.

About Mark Nowakowski

Mark Nowakowski met the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and has been his student ever since. He currently studies with other Kagyü and Nyingma masters. Mark is a senior member of the Nalanda Translation Committee and a senior teacher in the Shambhala mandala. He did his first Fire Offering in 1985, and his second that same year with the Vidyadhara, and with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche the following year. Since then he has led many Amending and Four Karma Fire Offerings. In 2006, he requested the Sakyong’s blessing and permission to do weekend rite-of-aid fire offerings to benefit our mandala and the world, and we have been doing so twice a year since then: enriching and magnetizing at Dorje Denma Ling.

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