Program Details


with Gaylon Ferguson
November 30 / 7:30 PM - December 2 / 6:00 PM

The Rigden is a representation of our basic enlightened nature and embodies the principle of unconditional bravery. Historically, rigdens were enlightened rulers — those who could “rule their world” based on their unwavering experience of basic goodness.

This weekend includes a formal transmission of windhorse practice and study of the Six Ways of Ruling.

Gaylon Ferguson grew up on a farm in strictly segregated East Texas. After moving east to graduate from the Phillips Exeter Academy, he studied philosophy and psychology at Yale University. There, Gaylon encountered D.T. Suzuki who confirmed "that it's not possible to learn Buddhist meditation entirely from a book." He dropped his studies and took up work on a radical Catholic fruit farm near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Soon after reading Meditation in Action, by Choygam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Gaylon heard him teach several summer seminars in Vermont. In 1973, Gaylon joined Tail of the Tiger Buddhist Community (now Karme Choling) where he worked in the garden, set the tractor on fire, and took people into retreat. After attending the 1975 Vajradhatu Seminary, Gaylon taught briefly at The Naropa Institute, led a dathun (month-long retreat) at the now deceased Padma Jong, and finally returned to Karme Choling, first as a staff member in the practice and study department, and then as Executive Co-director. In 1979, Gaylon again journeyed west to serve as teacher-in-residence for the Berkeley Dharmadhatu; in 1983, he joined the Office of Three Yana Studies in Boulder. He taught View and Practice of the Buddhadharma at the 1999 Vajradhatu Seminary.

In 1987, Gaylon returned to Yale to finish his undergraduate degree, this time in African Studies. In 1994, he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria; he completed a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology at Stanford University two years later. After several years teaching cultural anthropology at the University of Washington, Gaylon moved to Karme Choling as teacher in residence through 2005. For the Spring Semester of 2006, Acharya Ferguson was Visiting Professor in Religious Studies at Naropa University. His article, "Making Friends with Ourselves" (from the collection Dharma, Color, and Culture) was selected for inclusion in The Best Buddhist Writing: 2005. Since the fall of 2006, Gaylon has served as part of the core faculty in Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa.

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