ACI Courses

In 1993, near the end of his Geshe (Monastic degree equivalent to a Phd) studies, Geshe Michael was determined to make the entire Geshe program available to westerners in their own language. He founded the Asian Classics Institute (ACI) in that same year and began teaching.

Geshe Michael divided the Geshe program into 18 courses and gave the first transmission of these in New York during the 6-year period from 1993-1999, all without any charge to the students. Each course is accompanied by an original translation of about 250 pages of the ancient Tibetan source material, along with homework assignments, quizzes, and a final examination. A high emphasis is placed upon the authenticity of the sources: of the many thousands of pages of course materials, there is not a single page which does not include the original Tibetan or Sanskrit text along with its translation.

This Foundation Series of courses is now taught around the world and is available online for free download at The Knowledge Base. More than 300,000 people download the materials for these courses annually, and they have been translated into many languages.


Sarahni Stumpf, long-time Buddhist practitioner, has been teaching the Asian Classics Institute (ACI) courses since 2004. She and her husband David completed the 18 ACI courses and 6 years of advanced Buddhist studies in preparation for a 40-month, silent meditation retreat. Since completing the long retreat in 2014, Sarahni has been teaching in earnest. She’s experienced the power transformations that are possible when you put these ancient teachings into practice and is eager to share these techniques with others. Check out her recently published book: The Puppy, The Pen, and The Chewtoy: The Secret to Healing Anything

Death and the End of Death Practice Module

January 7-28, 2019: Monday & Thursday

6:00-8:00pm MST

Death is feared, avoided, and denied in ways that often causes us to live as if we will never die. At the end of life, people often die with intense regret from not having done the important things they wanted to do in their life. Acknowledging the fact that we will die, and that we have a limited, unknown amount of time left is essential to making our life choices. By meditating on death in the proper way, we can make every moment of life precious and meaningful. A good death meditation results in a happy, clear mind, free of anxiety and fear. One learns to live each day of life as if it were the last, thereby avoiding meaningless activity and spending each moment in the most fulfilling way possible.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

Tong Len Practice Module

January 8-27, 2019: Tuesday and Friday

5:00-7:00am MST

This is an excellent meditation practice to develop a caring attitude in our hearts toward everyone in our lives, especially those that we have difficulty with. And it’s a wonderful meditation to do when one has an illness, to cultivate empathy, or to generate happiness. Tong Len practice cultivates love and compassion for ourselves, those we are indifferent toward, and those who harm us. It’s a great way to learn to be kind to yourself and others.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

The Six Flavors of Emptiness Practice Module

January 9-30, 2019: Sunday and Wednesday

6:00-8:00pm MST

This meditation practice focuses on understanding ultimate reality (emptiness) on a more advanced level. Mahamudra is meditation on the ultimate nature of one’s own mind. We meditate on our mind, examining it on six different levels, each one leading to a more sophisticated understanding of our mind and it’s nature. Meditating on the ultimate nature of one’s own mind is an important part of a larger practice that leads to the direct perception of ultimate reality. The direct experience of ultimate reality is a key meditative realization that assures very quick enlightenment.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 14: Developing the Good Heart

February 17 -March 24, 2019: Sundays and Wednesdays

6:00-8:00pm MST 

This course presents advices on how to be a happier person and is based upon the ancient text Developing the Good Heart (Lojong Gyatsa) by Muchen Konchok Gyeltsen (1300 AD).

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 3: Applied Meditation

February 21 -March 28, 2019: Thursdays and Mondays 

6:00-8:00pm MST

This Course is a must for anyone who wishes to practice meditation effectively. It is based upon The Stages of Meditation (Bhavana Krama) by Master Kamalashila (750 AD). Topics include: a description of all of the different types of meditation, conditions of the environment conducive to meditation, the parts of a meditation practice, the preliminaries to undertake prior to meditating, the eight-point meditation posture, the best objects to focus the mind upon during meditation, the five problems which occur within meditation, the eight corrections to those problems, and the nine resulting meditative states which lead to the attainment of deep meditative concentration, or quietude.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 10: Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life part 1

February 22 – March 29, 2019: Fridays and Tuesdays

5:00-7:00am MST 

This Course is the first in a three part series based upon A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacharya Avatara) by Master Shantideva (700 AD). Master Shantideva’s work is considered the best book ever written to learn how to live as a bodhisattva.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 11: Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life part 2

April 23 – May 28, 2019: Fridays and Tuesdays

5:00-7:00am MST

This Course is the second in a three part series based upon A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacharya Avatara) by Master Shantideva (700 AD). Master Shantideva’s work is considered the best book ever written to learn how to live as a bodhisattva.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 15: What the Buddha Really Meant

April 24 – June 5, 2019: Sundays and Wednesdays

6:00-8:00pm MST

This Course is based upon The Commentary on the True Intention of the Sutras (Dode Gong Drel) and The Sutra Requested by the Arya Named Never- Ending Wisdom (Pakpa Lodru Misepe Shupay Do) by Shakyamuni Buddha, with a commentary from The Essence of Eloquence on the Art of Interpretation (Drange Lekshe Nyingpo) by Je Tsongkapa (1357- 1419). Topics include: the importance of evaluating spiritual teachings, how to interpret when spiritual teachings are literal or figurative, how to evaluate apparently conflicting teachings, a summary of the teachings Lord Buddha gave in each of the three Turnings of the Wheel of the Dharma, the goal of each of the three Turnings of the Wheel, an explanation of the ideas held by each of the main schools of Buddhism, ultimate reality (emptiness) according to each of the schools, the three progressively higher understandings of emptiness, the three attributes of reality, a comparison of the Mind- Only School and the Middle- Way School explanations of emptiness and dependent origination, how to use an understanding of emptiness to stop all your suffering, and how to stop your aging and death by stopping your ignorance.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!

ACI Course 4: Proof of Future Lives

April 22 – May 27, 2019: Thursdays and Mondays

6:00-8:00pm MST

This course introduces Buddhist logic and shows us how to interpret our world through a new lens.  Topics include: the definition of a valid perception, the three levels of perception, how great compassion is developed, the material cause of the mind, proofs for the existence of past and future lives, and how desire leads to rebirth – an explanation of crucial links in the chain of dependent origination.

For more information and to join this online course, email OR personal message Sarahni Stumpf on Facebook!