Santa Cruz Mountains: Annual Dzogchen Retreat
With Pema Khandro
August 14 - 19, 2018
Join Pema Khandro Rinpoche for a five-day meditation retreat in the redwood forest. This retreat is an immersion in restorative practices to awaken peaceful stability to mind and body, heighten clarity and open the gateways to intrinsic wisdom.
Meditation can be a practice that is profoundly restful, restorative and heart-opening. This five-day retreat offers a supported space to access peaceful stability of mind and body.
This is a precious opportunity to experience the methods taught in Dzogchen meditation, Tibetan Buddhism’s most treasured path. Dzogchen means ‘Great Completion’ because it focuses on the natural wisdom at the heart of every person. Even though each person has intrinsic goodness, states of chronic tension and fixation can impede its expression. Meditation in Dzogchen is a method of awakening to this wisdom. It is a path of allowing intrinsic wakefulness to manifest through letting go, settling in and supporting the body and mind to discover natural calm.
Meditation Retreat is practice-oriented, with three sessions of sitting meditation a day interspersed with restorative yoga, meals and group activities. It will also include teachings on Buddhist philosophy based on the teaching of the great fourteenth-century master, Longchenpa’s work called ‘Finding ease in the nature of mind.’
Meditation is not just something that happens in our minds. Dzogchen practices engage body, speech, and mind, known as the three gateways to awareness. By introducing multiple approaches to the meditative state, these methods demonstrate that everyone can access meditation, given the appropriate support. These practices utilize breathing, visualization, postures, and other techniques. Their goal is to allow spacious, expansiveness and clarity to emerge from within. Therefore, some Tibetan Yoga practices will be taught as an adjunct to help access meditation. Athletic ability is not required for these practices, they are mild and adaptable to any body.
This Meditation Retreat is taught by Pema Khandro Rinpoche who is a teacher and scholar in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Her specialty is Vajrayana and Dzogchen practices as done by Tibetan Yogis, also known as ngakpas and naljorpas. This is a tradition that emphasizes engagement with deep spiritual practice while remaining integrated with work, family, and society. For more information about Pema Khandro visit www.PemaKhandro.org
The Meditation Retreat will be held at Mount Madonna Retreat Center, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California. This area is appreciated for its profound beauty. The filtered sunlight of the redwood forest overlooking ocean views offers a scenic repose away from the hustle bustle of city life. The cabins, campsites, and decks make retreat life simple but comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend this retreat? A: No, this retreat is open to anyone.
Q: Does this retreat require prerequisites? A: New students are welcome to attend this retreat without previous training.
Q: Does this retreat require silence? A: This is not a silent retreat. There are a mixture of periods of silence and periods of socializing. Vajrayana Buddhism tends to offer dynamic settings, however there will be an emphasis on simple meditation in this retreat. There is also a period of chanting meditation and some lectures on Buddhist philosophy.
Q: Is Dzogchen meditation secret? A: The most advanced cycles of Dzogchen meditation are restricted practices. However there are a wealth of practices done in the preliminary and intermediary stages, as well as practices common to both advanced and beginning levels. Additionally there are many approaches to Dzogchen in Tibetan Buddhism. Historically speaking, different Tibetan lineages approach particular Dzogchen meditation practices at different times. Some are done only after ‘ngondro’ the extensive preliminary meditation series for training the mind in Vajrayana. Some are done before preliminaries and others interspersed with preliminaries This retreat offers a series of particular meditation techniques known as ‘holding the mind.’ They are practiced before, during and after preliminaries because they are the main part of the path from the beginning to end in Tibet’s Nyingma lineage’s contemplative tradition. These particular practices are only taught in retreat settings because they require a deeper introduction.
Q: What kind of lodging is available? A: Single rooms, dorms, and camping are available. Lodging is limited and available only on a first come, first serve basis. Commuter rates are also available but we ask that commuters attend the full daily schedule from either 7am to 9pm or 10am to 9pm depending on which day – in order to help keep the momentum and energy of the group practice stable.
Q: What other activities are offered at the retreat? A: All program participants are welcome to enjoy all parts of the land and center, including hiking trails, hot tub, practice spaces, and freshly prepared vegetarian meals.
Q: What diets will be accommodated at the retreat? A: The meals are all vegetarian. Non-gluten and non-dairy options are available at every meal.
Q: What should I bring to the retreat? A: Notebook, paper, sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses, bathing suit if you want to swim in the lotus pond, hiking shoes, comfortable clothes for sitting meditation and yoga, non-toxic bug spray, one nice outfit to dress up for the Tsok on Saturday night. If you are camping, bring your camping gear.
Q: What is the weather like? A: Prepare for heat or cold, the mountains can be unpredictable. It is likely to be quite hot.
Q: Is there anything I should not bring? A: Please, no food, drugs, alcohol, pets, incense, candles or other flammables. Mount Madonna Retreat Center requests us to not wear strongly scented body products, as these cause severe toxic reactions in some people.
Q: Is there financial aid or scholarships available? A: The costs of the retreat are set at the lowest possible rates to cover the expenses of the retreat. Membership discounts are available – see below. Additionally, two financial assistance rates are available by application. Email email@example.com
*This is the approximate schedule based on last year’s retreat. The daily schedule is approximate and subject to change.
Tuesday, August 14th
4:00pm Arrival, registration and check-in at Seminar House
7:00pm Opening Ceremony
Wednesday through Saturday
7:00am Optional Yoga Class
12:30pm Lunch and free time
5:00pm Dinner (5:30pm on Friday)
Sunday – Last Day Schedule
9:00am Yoga and Meditation
10:00am Pack out lodging
1:30pm Final Transmission and Closing Ceremony
3:00pm Group Picture and Meetings
*Membership discounts apply to Tuition Only
**Use your membership discount code at checkout.
10% discount – Supporter Members
20% discount – Mandala Holders
50% discount – Snow Lion Members (with a 6-month commitment)
100% discount – Sustainers and above (with a 3-month commitment)