Notes of Boundless Freedom: The Songs of Realization of the Indian Mahasiddhas

Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl | 26. Juli 2023 bis 30. Juli

The tradition of free-wandering Buddhist yogīs and yoginīs with profound realization (mahāsiddhas) flourished for many centuries in India. Coming from a wide range of backgrounds, an essential part of their approach was to sing songs of awakening, often in the form of profound, beautiful, and inspiring instructions. Most of these songs were uttered spontaneously on the spot, and some of them betray quite unconventional if not outrageous thinking and conduct. They often use a rich symbolism with profound metaphors (often based on their profession or life situation), and their style sometimes sounds more like modern poetry or song lyrics than traditional Buddhist texts, creating a certain atmosphere or being evocative rather than systematic. Many of them employ a rhetoric of paradox, beating the dualistic mind with its own weapons and pointing to something beyond our usual black-and-white thinking. It is a scent of boundless freedom, openness, and bliss, paired with a deep caring for suffering beings, that wafts through these songs as expressions of supreme awakening. One of the main themes in these songs is Mahāmudrā (“the Great Seal”), which consists of direct pith instructions on the nature of the mind.

During this course, we will explore Mahāmudrā through a number of life stories of male and female mahāsiddhas and the symbolisms in their songs, including singing a selection of these songs.

Kurssprache: Englisch

This course is for you if...

...want to: 

  • would like to gain an understanding of the ways in which Buddhist teachings can be transmitted through the medium of poetry and songs

  • would like to explore the nature of your mind through words that lead beyond words

  • discover how the realizations and instructions of meditators from a 1000 years ago can still be relevant to today’s audiences

The instructor

Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl worked for 20 years as a physician and, since the 1980s, received his training in Buddhist philosophy and meditation mainly at Marpa Institute For Translators in Kathmandu and Nitartha Institute. He also studied Tibetology, Buddhology, and Sanskrit at Hamburg University. Karl is a full-time author, translator, and teacher, having published more than twenty books on Buddhism in English and German. Karl lives in Munich and his main interests are Yogācāra, the teachings on buddha nature, the mahāsiddha tradition with its songs of realization (dohās), Vajrayāna, and Mahāmudrā.


7:30 - 8:15 Morning Meditation at the pond or in the meditation hall

8:15- 9:30 Breakfast

11:15 -12:30 Lectures by Prof. Julia Stenzel

Various contemplative activities and group activities

Movement: Yoga, Qui-Gong, walks and hikes

The daily schedule is subject to change and may be adapted.

Your contribution

Gomde wants to make the precious Dharma available to all who want to practice and learn it.

You can support us with a donation.  

You can orientate yourself on the following value:

With a donation of 550 Euro, you help to cover the fixed costs for board and lodging. 

If you are under 26 and a student, or you have very limited means, a donation of 360 Euros would be appropriate. 

We still offer this course to anyone, who wants to join, no matter the financial situation, although the costs have increased.
If you can give more,
you help the center deal with the increased maintenance costs, by offering 700 Euros. 

If these suggestions do not match your budget, please let us know well in advance. We hope to find a suitable solution for everyone.