Discovering Buddhism Study Program

The Discovering Buddhism course is made up of 14 modules of study and retreat covering the Buddhist path in a systematic way. Each module is completed over two months with both a teaching weekend and a retreat weekend. This two month period gives students time to study, practice and integrate each new subject slowly building a comprehensive base of knowledge and skills.

The modules do not need to be completed in order or within any set time frame. For those students who can’t make it to the center regularly, the course can be completed via a home study option – please visit or call our reception team on 07 5453 2108 for more information.

More than just intellectual study, the Discovering Buddhism course creates a community of students who grow together supporting each other in their practice and understanding.

In 2019 the Discovering Buddhism Program will be taught by Ven. Thubten Chokyi. 

Ven. Thubten Chokyi is a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition, ordained in 2006 by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Before joining Chenrezig Institute she was the program coordinator at our sister center Vajrayana Institute, where she has been teaching meditation and Buddhism since 2006 including Discovering Buddhism. She has also led several successful annual retreats for Chenrezig Institute. Prior to ordination, she taught at university and in the community sector for over 20 years.

She is a member of the Sunshine Coast Interfaith Network and committed to interfaith dialogue for world peace. She is also the international director of Liberation Prison Project, a social services program of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) that offers spiritual advice, teachings, books, and materials to men and women in prison interested in exploring, studying and practicing Buddhism.

Discovering Buddhism Loyalty Reward Package*

In recognition of the ongoing commitment our Discovering Buddhism students make, Chenrezig Institute has created a Loyalty Reward Package. Students who complete five consecutive Discovering Buddhism weekend courses in this round are welcome to attend the sixth Discovering Buddhism course in the series with no course fee. Over the course of the program, this Loyalty Reward equals nearly a 20% discount on course fees for this life-changing course. This discount does not apply to meals or accommodation.

Supporting Your Study 

Students can check the Required Reading list for each module here. We encourage students to support their study by becoming a Library member, giving them easy access to the course materials all year round. Become a Library Member here (and click ‘Memberships’)


 Discovering Buddhism – The Spiritual Teacher with Ven Thubten Chokyi

Although true spiritual experience comes through our own hard work and development, a good teacher is essential. We rely on a qualified teacher to show us the way to understanding, in the same way that we rely on an experienced guide to get us through unfamiliar territory. In this course, we investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path. We will also look at the qualities of a teacher and of a student, how to avoid common mistakes and how to cultivate a teacher-student relationship for the greatest benefit in our spiritual practice. Although it is part of the Discovering Buddhism programme, anyone is welcome to attend – you do not have to have attended previous modules.

book nowSaturday 9th February  9:00am  – Sunday 10th February  3:45pm
held in the Gompa at Chenrezig Institute.
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism – The Spiritual Teacher Retreat with Ven Thubten Chokyi


Although true spiritual experience comes through our own hard work and development, a good teacher is essential. We rely on a qualified teacher to show us the way to understanding, in the same way that we rely on an experienced guide to get us through unfamiliar territory.

In this retreat, we reflect on the teachings and instruction from The Spiritual Teacher module of the Discovering Buddhism programme. It also continues the exploration of the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, and provides an opportunity to meditate on some of the key points.

The retreat provides a chance to ask questions about the teachings and participate in group discussions. It is an excellent opportunity to clear away any doubts you may have, or for those studying at home or online to enjoy group practice and meditation.

Everyone is welcome to attend this retreat weekend, even if you haven‘t attended the previous modules.

Saturday 9th March 9:00am – Sunday 10th March 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately. 


Discovering Buddhism: Death and Rebirth with Ven Thubten Chokyi
My religion is to live and die without regret” – Milarepa

Although we know that death is inevitable and the time of our death is unpredictable, we all live as if we have an infinite amount of time. As a result, we never really accomplish as much as we could in our lives, or do the things we really would like to do, and then eventually face our own death with fear or regret. However, it is possible to face death fearlessly, and use the reality of death as a powerful positive spiritual experience to enhance the quality of our everyday lives.

In this Discovering Buddhism module, we will explore together what to anticipate during the process of death and rebirth. We will learn how to help ourselves and others through this spiritually crucial process.

We also investigate the impact that the awareness of the certainty of death can have in helping us resolve conflicts, experience greater degrees of mental and emotional freedom, and live life to the fullest.

If you participate in the whole Discovering Buddhism programme (14 modules), this module provides you with a powerful motivation to continue with your study and practice. For those who haven’t started yet, or aren’t able to commit to the full series, this course provides a fundamental understanding of the Buddhist view of life, death and rebirth. The weekend includes teachings, meditation sessions, and time for discussion. It is suitable for everyone, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Saturday 13th April 9:00am – Sunday 14th April 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism: Death and Rebirth Retreat with Ven Thubten Chokyi
“Death could come any minute so transform your life into Dharma.” (Lama Zopa Rinpoche)

Meditating on the inevitability of change, and the certainty of death is a powerful way of enhancing the quality of our everyday lives and motivating us to achieve as much as we can.
In this retreat, we reflect on the teachings and instruction from Death and Rebirth module of the Discovering Buddhism programme. It also continues the exploration of the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, and provides an opportunity to meditate on some of the key points.

The retreat provides a chance to ask questions about the teachings and participate in group discussions. It is an excellent opportunity to clear away any doubts you may have, or for those studying at home or online to enjoy group practice and meditation.

Everyone is welcome to attend this retreat weekend, even if you haven‘t attended the previous modules.

Saturday 11th May 9:00am – Sunday 12th May 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately. 


Discovering Buddhism: All About Karma with Ven Thubten Chokyi

 “Your whole life is controlled by karma, you live within the energy field of karma. Your energy interacts with another energy, then another, and another. That’s how your entire life unfolds. Physically, mentally, it’s all karma.” (Lama Yeshe)

Karma describes the simple fact that all of our actions have inevitable consequences. It is not a mysterious force, or punishment handed out by someone else – it is merely the outcome of our own choices and actions. Understanding how karma works gives us the power to choose our actions wisely and take control of our lives.

In this module of Discovering Buddhism, we investigate the nature of karma, the essential facts about cause and effect, and come to understand how we create both our problems and happiness. We will also learn effective tools for purifying mistaken actions, and explore methods for becoming skilled at dealing with life in the most positive and beneficial ways.

The weekend includes teachings, meditation sessions, and time for discussion. Discovering Buddhism is an ongoing programme covering the essential points of Buddhist philosophy. However, you don’t have to have attended previous modules.

It is suitable for everyone, and anyone is welcome to attend.

Saturday 8 June 9:00am – Sunday 9th June 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism: All About Karma Retreat with Ven Thubten Chokyi
As the Dalai Lama says, the view of karma is one of “self-creation.” We are, literally, the creators of our lives, our happiness, and our suffering. We are the boss! With this view we realize that everything we experience is our own “karmic appearance”, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche puts it. Everything is made by our own minds, in the past and in the present. And because of this there is no karma that we can’t change.

In this retreat, we reflect on the teachings and instruction from All About Karma module of the Discovering Buddhism programme. It also continues the exploration of the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, and provides an opportunity to meditate on some of the key points. The retreat provides a chance to ask questions about the teachings and participate in group discussions. It is an excellent opportunity to clear away any doubts you may have, or for those studying at home or online to enjoy group practice and meditation. Everyone is welcome to attend this retreat weekend, even if you haven‘t attended the previous modules.

Saturday 13th July 9:00am – Sunday 14th July 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately. 


Discovering Buddhism: Refuge in the Three Jewels with Ven Thubten Chokyi
Most of us turn to our families and friends for help and protection when things go wrong. But since our own minds are the source of most of our troubles, there is no way those close to us can really provide a lasting solution to all of our problems.

For this reason, Buddhists rely on a teacher who has achieved a complete understanding of their own mind. We rely on their teachings on the nature of reality and we rely on others who can show us how to use those teachings to work out our own happiness. These are the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Understanding refuge is a key aspect of Buddhism, because it is the entrance to the path. Join us for this weekend course to find out more about what it means to take refuge. Learn about the essential practices of refuge and the role of refuge in enhancing our spiritual growth.

Discovering Buddhism is an ongoing program covering the essential points of Buddhist philosophy. You do not have to have attended previous modules. All welcome.

Saturday 10th August 9:00am – Sunday 11th August 3:45pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism: Refuge in the Three Jewels Retreat and Ceremony with Geshe Tsultrim and Ven Chokyi
Taking refuge is the entrance to the Buddhist path and a profound way of enhancing our spiritual practice.
In this retreat, we reflect on the teachings and instruction from the Refuge module of the Discovering Buddhism programme. It continues the exploration of the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, and provides an opportunity to meditate on some of the key points. The retreat also provides a chance to ask questions about the teachings and participate in group discussions. It is an excellent opportunity to clear away any doubts you may have, or for those studying at home to enjoy group practice and meditation.

Everyone is welcome to attend even if you didn’t attend the teaching weekend.

This weekend will be taught by Geshe Tsultrim and Ven Chokyi and will include the opportunity to take Refuge. Students wishing to take refuge for the first time should contact Ven Chokyi for complete information.

Saturday 7th September 9:00 am – Sunday 8th September 3:45 pm book now
Facility Fee

This weekend is freely offered by our community. Please book so we can prepare for you. If you are taking Refuge for the first time please contact us [email protected]
Meals and accommodation available separately.

Discovering Buddhism: Establishing a Daily Practice with Ven Thubten Chokyi
How can you live each day so that your actions, words and thoughts are beneficial to yourself and others?

The key is establishing a daily practice that supports and nourishes you. In this weekend course Ven Chokyi will assist you to assemble all the tools you need to create a daily practice that will inspire and sustain you as your practice evolves through lifes challenges and your own realisations.

This course will guide you through every aspect of the day so that you can make your every action meaningful and beneficial. Discovering Buddhism is an ongoing program covering the essential points of Buddhist philosophy. You do not have to have attended previous modules. All welcome.

Saturday 12th October 9:00 am – Sunday 13th October 3:45 pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism: Establishing a Daily Practice Retreat with Ven Thubten Chokyi
How can you live each day so that your actions, words and thoughts are beneficial to yourself and others?
The key is establishing a daily practice that supports and nourishes you. In this weekend retreat Ven Chokyi will assist you to assemble all the tools you need to create a daily practice that will inspire and sustain you as your practice evolves through lifes challenges and your own realisations.

In this retreat, we reflect on the teachings and instruction from the Establishing a Daily Practice module of the Discovering Buddhism programme. It continues the exploration of the lam-rim, the graduated path to enlightenment, and provides an opportunity to meditate on some of the key points. The retreat also provides a chance to ask questions about the teachings and participate in group discussions. It is an excellent opportunity to clear away any doubts you may have, or for those studying at home to enjoy group practice and meditation. Everyone is welcome to attend even if you didn’t attend the teaching weekend

Saturday 9th November 9:00 am – Sunday 10th November 3:45 pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.


Discovering Buddhism: Preparing for Retreat with Ven Chokyi
Why is retreat important?
“In order for our spirituality, wisdom, concentration, and insight into reality to grow, we need time and space. Our normal modern environment does not give us this…You can see, that Jesus and other great spiritual leaders went into solitary retreat. Christian, Muslim, Indian, Tibetan; all went into isolation for certain periods and gained their high accomplishments through practicing intensively like that. So the history of human experience also shows that Dharma realizations come only through concentrated, twenty-four-hour-a-day practice. And when you are in that situation, you can conduct research into your experiences, just like scientists investigate phenomena in their laboratories. You can analyze your dreams, your sleep and whatever else come up, and you can supplement your research by reading and study.” – Lama Thubten Yeshe

In this weekend course, we will spend time investigating methods of retreat and discussing the benefits that can be found in both solitary and group retreat experiences. We’ll explore the Special Integration Practices of the Discovering Buddhism Program – Lam Rim Retreat, Preliminary Prostrations, Vajrasattva Practice and Nyung Na Retreat. We’ll grow to understand how each of these intensive practices help to prepare our minds in the best possible way to gain realisations on the path to enlightenment.

This is a perfect preparation for students joining us for our annual Vajrasattva and Lam Rim Retreats.

Saturday 7th December 9:00 am – Sunday 8th Decmber 3:45 pm book now
Facility Fee $108
Meals and accommodation available separately.