Lamrim – The Stages of the Path class – Fall 2018
Apr 15 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The best way to make the most of this life of leisure is to receive experiential instruction on all the stages of the path from the way to rely on a spiritual teacher up to calm abiding and special insight, and then to practice them each day…causing transformational experience of the stages of the path to arise.” The First Panchen Lama

Lamrim translates as “stages of the path” or “graduated path” and is a detailed and practical presentation of Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings for the sincere practitioner. There are many different versions of Lamrim taught in the various lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. All are based on Atisa’s 11th century root text “A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment”. In this course, we will follow Je Tsongkhapa’s outline of the Lamrim from the “Lamrim Chenmo: The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment” and Pabongka Rinpoche’s commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa’s text, titled “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand”. The classes will be led by student teachers Dan D’Agostino and Cristina Sanchez, and will involve guided meditations, teachings on the relevant topics, as well as time for discussion and questions. While the course is open-ended and people are welcome to attend at any time, it would be most beneficial for participants to attend the majority, if not all, of the classes as the topics build on one another

Now Monday nights – weekly, from 7pm-8:30pm

6 Weeks of Restorative Yoga with Cristina at GC, starting this Tuesday evening
Apr 16 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm

Explore the Healing Benefits of Restorative Yoga with Cristina;

Tuesdays 6-7:15 PM;

6 Weeks: March 19th – April 23rd


A deeply nourishing experience. Props and gentle movements are utilized to restore, relax and heal the body by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This class is suitable for any and all levels of experience. All you need to bring is a yoga mat and comfortable clothing.

Cristina’s Bio:

Cristina Sanchez has possessed a deep interest in spirituality from the time she was a small child. At first seeking answers in Western science, she completed a PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Toronto which led to a busy 13 year career as a college professor in Vancouver BC. For many years she carved out the time in her personal life to pursue a deep commitment to the Buddhist Path of meditation beginning her studies at a traditional Tibetan temple in Toronto in 1996. Cristina studied with many renown Tibetan Lamas, including H.H. 14th Dalai Lama, completed numerous deep retreats, spent her vacations on pilgrimage in Asia, helped run Temples in Toronto and Vancouver where she taught weekly classes and ever maintained a daily practice of meditation and study. Cristina also studied extensively in a female lineage of Taoist Healing practices. Her yoga journey began in 2001 which brought her to several traditions such as Sivanada, Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga: Cristina spending many years deepening her practice in this last school, studying with classical Iyengar teachers. A grave healing crisis in 2013 forced Cristina to leave her job as a professor and to convalesce and turn inward. This difficult period became both a rebirth and affirmation for Cristina with her deciding to become a committed full time yoga instructor and teacher of traditional spiritual arts. Cristina has recently completed her 500+ hour yoga teacher training at Octopus Garden.

“As a long time meditator and yoga practitioner, I have seen first hand the deep transformative and healing power of a committed, long-term practice. I believe it is everyone’s birthright to discover the joy and freedom that lies within themselves. I have made it my life’s work to facilitate and to serve others in this, their personal journey, their own spiritual alchemy.”

Chod Guild – “The Practice of Mahamudra of Chod in the Gelugpa Tradition”
Apr 16 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm


Tuesday nights, weekly, from 7:30pm-9pm. Open to those with the Gaden Chod Tantric Empowerment. By donation.

Chod is a unique and very special tradition of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism originating from the famed Tibetan female Saint, Lama and Yogini, Machig Labdron (1055 – 1149 AD).

Literally meaning “to cut through”, Chod practice uses intense Tantric imagery, ritual, song, drumming, meditation and the philosophy of Prajnaparamita of Mahayana Buddhism to “cut” the “demons” and “gods” that are the obstacles and obscurations that characterize one’s own selfishness and provoke a “limit-experience” of the ego itself.

While Chod has many “shamanic” elements to it, such as trance-like rhythmic drumming, hauntingly beautiful melodies, merging with sky-like awareness and the presence and guidance of Buddhist “angels” – at it’s core, it is a tradition of Buddhist practice build around and fully expressing, the three principle paths of Renunciation, Bodhicitta and the Wisdom realizing Selflessness.

The roots of the Gelugpa Chod go right back to our Founder, the Incomparable Lama, Scholar and Yogi, Je Tsongkhapa Losang Drakpa. Chod has been practiced subsequently by the greatest Lamas of our Tradition, such as Dharmavajra Choki Dorje, Gyalwa Ensapa and the famed Panchen Lamas. The ideal Chodpa in the Gelug Tradition is one that embodies of the age-old ethics of the Kadam Lineage: humility, sincerity, great compassion and pure ethics.

Student-teachers Matthew Richards and Cristina Sanchez are both honoured and pleased to facilitate the Ganden Chod Guild, hosted at Gaden Choling Temple.

Our Chod Guild follows closely both the teachings, protocols and lived examples of our Spiritual Guides and Chod Lamas: The Very Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, the Lineage holder of the Gelug Chod, H.H. Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche and his amazing student-teacher, Yogini Miya Shimada.

Ganden Chod Guild will focus on the main of two lineages of Gelugpa Chod: the Gaden Ensa Chod. Matthew and Cristina also practice and promote the extremely rare, other lineage of Gelugpa Chod – the Gaden Dakini Chod.

The format of each class will be to first do traditional Chod sadhana and then to leave time afterward to workshop the practice and facilitate a Q&A.

Chod Guild will also lead Chod outdoors at locations throughout Toronto that are appropriate to the practice such as more secluded parks and rivers. It is wonderful to do Chod outdoors as we are then following in the sacred footsteps of our Lineage ancestors who, for millennia, have been wandering homeless yogins practicing under the open sky, sun and stars in the wild of Asia.

Chod Guild will also lead in-house and home retreats, traditional to our Lineage.

Open for practice to all who have received the Chod Tantric Empowerment in the Gelugpa Tradition.

Open, to sit in with us, to all those who have received a Chod Tantric Empowerment from a qualified Lama in a valid lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

One may also come to receive healing energy from our Chod practice as this is the traditional healing-modality associated with this unique Spiritual Tradition. Please contact Matthew and Cristina directly beforehand with a formal request and for all appropriate details and protocol. By donation.

For questions or more information, please contact Matthew & Cristina:



Cristina Sanchez has been a devoted and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism in both the Gelugpa and Nyingma Traditions since 1996. She has been a close student of Ven. Zasep Rinpoche since 1996 as well. Cristina has completed many Vajrayana retreats, received many teachings from high Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, including H.H. Dalai Lama, has done a number of Buddhist pilgrimages in Asia and maintains a daily personal practice of Buddhist meditation, Hatha yoga and Qi-Gong. She was a Science Professor at Langara College in Vancouver BC from 2001-2014, with a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Toronto [2000] and has extensive teaching experience.

Matthew Richards has been a devoted student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism in the Gelugpa Tradition since 1995 and a close student of Ven. Zasep Rinpoche since 1996. He has completed many Vajrayana retreats, received many teachings from many high Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism, including H.H. Dalai Lama, has done a number of Buddhist pilgrimages in Asia and maintains a committed daily personal practice of meditation. He has a keen interest and background in Energy-Healing modalities and their relationship to Tantric Buddhism. In particular, he is a Master’s Level Reiki Practitioner and Teacher, has studied Therapeutic Qi Kung and East Asian Shamanic Traditions and has a personal connection to Japanese Shingon Tantric Buddhism. Matthew was a volunteer hospice worker for many years in both Vancouver and Toronto. Matthew earned a Masters Degree in Western Philosophy from University of Ottawa in 1997 and has been a full-time career Flight Attendant since 1994.

Both Cristina and Matthew have been actively involved in the Tibetan Buddhist community both in Toronto and Vancouver and have helped administer both Gaden Choling and Zuru Ling Temples. They recently completed the 4 & half month Chumig Gyatsa Wandering Chod Retreat in Alberta in the summer of 2015. Ven. Zasep Rinpoche has requested Cristina and Matthew to teach at his various centers here in Canada.