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

August 3o – October 1, 2018

Free, Online. ACI Course 1: The Principal Teachings of Buddhism

Monday & Thursday evenings 6-8pm PST

This Course is an excellent overview of the entire Buddhist path; all subsequent ACI Courses elaborate upon the ideas presented in this first Course.

This Course is based upon The Three Principal Paths (Lamtso Namsum) by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419) and Pabongka Rinpoche’s (1878-1941) commentary. Topics covered include: Finding a qualified teacher, How to take a lama, Buddha nature, Authentic Dharma, Samsara and renunciation, The principles of karma, The problems of human life, Bodhichitta and its benefits, How to generate bodhicitta, Two levels of reality, The correct view of emptiness according to each of the four schools of thought, and The relationship between karma and emptiness.

Contact Sarahni: for more information.

October 14 – November 21, 2018

Free, Online. ACI Course 13: Logic and Perception Theory

Sunday & Wednesday evenings 6-8pm Arizona Time*

This Course is based upon the Commentary on Valid Perception (Pramanavarttika) by Master Dharmakirti (630 AD) with a commentary from The Key for Starting the Logic Machine (Rik- lam Trul- gyi Deamik) by Purbuchok Jampa Tsultrim Gyatso (1825- 1901). The Course presents the structure of Buddhist logic and the forms of Buddhist debate.

Topics include: the correct motivation for debate; debating tactics and the flow of a debate; the subject, quality, and reason of the debate; why logic is more valuable than faith; how studying logic leads to perceiving emptiness; what makes a reason correct; contradictions and relationships; relationships of identity, and relationships of cause and effect; proving the absence of something; material causes and contributing factors; valid perception; changing and unchanging things; an outline of all existing things; the concept of time according to each of the four schools of thought; and the reason why suffering has an end.

*Please note that Arizona does not practice daylight savings time.  We are MST without daylight savings.

Contact Sarahni:  for more information.

October 15 – November 19, 2018

Free, Online. ACI Course 2: Buddhist Refuge

Monday & Thursday evenings 6-8pm Arizona Time*

This Course is based upon The Ornament of Realizations (Abhisamaya Alamkara) of Maitreya and Master Asanga (350 AD), with a monastic commentary by Master Kedrup Tenpa Dargye (1493-1568).

Topics include: what is the perfection of wisdom, what is refuge, the objects of refuge, the reasons for taking Buddhist refuge, the qualities of a Buddha, the different types of bodhichitta, what is nirvana, the divisions of nirvana, five different proofs that emptiness is the ultimate nature of reality, and the five paths which lead to full enlightenment.

*Please note that Arizona does not practice daylight savings time.  We are MST without daylight savings.

Contact Sarahni:  for more information.

October 16 – November 20, 2018

Free, Online. ACI Course 9: Vowed Morality

Tuesday & Friday mornings 5-7am Arizona Time*

This course covers the Buddhist code of ethics and the relationship between an ethical way of life, meditating deeply, and experiencing ultimate reality. This Course is based upon the Sutra on Vowed Morality (Vinaya Sutra) by Master Gunaprabha (500 AD), with commentaries from The Essence of the Ocean of Vinaya (Dulwa Gyatsoy Nyingpo) by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419), The Wish-Fulfilling Jewel (Yishin Norbu) by Choney Drakpa Shedrup (1675-1748), and Day Maker (Nyin Je) by Master Ngulchu Dharma Bhadra (1772-1851).

Topics include: The three trainings; one day vows; the five lifetime lay vows; the individual freedom vows; an outline of novice, intermediate, and fully ordained monastic vows; the essence of vows; the basic nature of vows; reasons to live an ethical life; reasons to take vows; why morality is the key to meditation and seeing emptiness directly; how to keep vows from being damaged; how vows are lost; the specific karma resulting from each of the ten non-virtues; how to find a teacher; the characteristics of a qualified teacher; taking refuge; the four forces of karmic purification; the four truths; and the six perfections.

*Please note that Arizona does not practice daylight savings time.  We are MST without daylight savings.

Contact Sarahni:  for more information.