World of Gesar

Robin KornmanLarry MermelsteinJane HawesDavid Shapiro

Individual: $108
Patron: $149 The Patron rate helps us offer our generosity policy to those in need.

In 1992 and 1999, Dr. Robin Kornman held intensive retreats at Karmê Chöling which explored the Shambhala practices and teachings related to the Epic of Gesar. Each talk was an enriching journey and a dazzling display of Dr. Kornman’s vast knowledge, humor, and profound insight.

This course is drawn from six of the talks in those retreats. Along the way, Dr. Kornman will answer the following questions:

  • Who was Gesar of Ling?
  • Was Gesar a “Buddhist” figure?
  • Why did Trungpa Rinpoche dedicate Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior to Gesar of Ling?
  • What, exactly, are “Dralas” and how do our practices connect us to them?
  • What are the historical sources of Trungpa Rinpoche’s terma and teachings on Warrriorship?
  • Robin Kornman also offers expansive line-by-line commentaries on practices such as “The Invocation for Raising Windhorse” and “Warrior Song of Drala” lhasang chants.

Each audio talk is accompanied by an extensive “slideshow” illustrating the lineage figures, themes and practice texts covered.

These will be accompanied by supplemental essays by Dr. Kornman and others which deepen, update and expand on the recorded talks.

List of Talks and Topics

Introduction Module – Welcome, Course Intro with Larry Mermelstein, Jane Hawes and David Shapiro, and introductory talk by Robin Kornman on “Meditation.”

Module 1 – Padmasambhava and the Background of Gesar

Module 2 – Sources of Gesar: Mipham, Epic as Myth, Court Poetry, Local Deities, Bön Tradition.

Module 3 – The Sacred Warrior. Enlightened Society.

Module 4 – Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Warriorship in our World, Rakshasas.

 *Bonus Audio: Short Commentary on Warrior Song of Drala * 

Module 5 – Invocation for Raising Windhorse *

Module 6 – Full Discussion of ‘Warrior Song of Drala’ *

*Note: Chant texts are shared in the slideshow. You do not need to have paper copies to follow the discussion.


Suggested readings and links to selected enrichment materials are available for download within the course. Links to purchase further recommended readings are also provided.

Teachers and Faculty

Robin Kornman—professor of comparative literature, senior dharma teacher, and member of the Nalanda Translation Committee—died in 2007. In the decade before his passing, he focused mainly on translating the Epic of Gesar of Ling, now published by Penguin Random House.

Beginning in 1971, Larry Mermelstein became a close student of the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and scholar. He has served as a senior teacher in the Vajradhatu/Shambhala community for decades, as well as being a member of the board of directors for some twenty years, now long ago. He is a founding member and the executive director of the Nalanda Translation Committee for over forty-five years and is a long-time consulting editor to Shambhala Publications.

Jane Hawes, MD, became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1977 and received Vajrayogini abhisheka in 1996. She is a student of Khen Namdrol Rinpoche and a member of Light of Berotsana Translation Group for which she has been active in editing and formatting many liturgical texts. She began studying Tibetan with the late Robin Kornman, PhD, in 2002 and now studies with Lama Chönam. She has completed a translation of volume four of the Gesar epic with Lama Chönam, which will be published in August, 2021 by Shambhala Books, entitled The Taming of the Demons. She was responsible for compiling and preparing for publication The Epic of Gesar of Ling: Gesar’s Magical Birth, Early Years, and Coronation as King, as well as editing David Shapiro’s books, 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. She practiced Internal Medicine in Milwaukee, WI for 35 years, served as a preceptor for Residents in training, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

David Shapiro became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973 and was the founder-director of the Milwaukee Dharmadhatu (now the Milwaukee Shambhala Center). He currently serves as an occasional speaker at the Jikoji Zen Center in California. 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 and the Heart Essence Sangha Council. 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.  David volunteers as a tax-preparer and financial advisor for a local charitable facility.

Individual: $108
Patron: $149 The Patron rate helps us offer our generosity policy to those in need.