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Nalandabodhi Fourth Annual Winter Meditation Retreat

Eight Verses for Training the Mind
2018/19 Winter Retreat

Friday, Dec. 28, 2018 through Tuesday,  Jan. 1, 2019
Beautiful new location:  Copper Beech Institute, West Hartford, CT

Registration is OPEN–don’t miss the early registration deadline of 12/2!

Cultivate your path to deeper meditation practice…

Skillful compassion requires a foundation of calm abiding (through shamatha meditation) and the clarity of insight which we can cultivate through progressive stages of analytical meditation. This uncovers our natural joy and wisdom, and prepares us to skillfully interact with our world.

In this year’s 5-, 4-, or 3-day winter retreat over the New Year’s weekend, you’ll find strong support for all of these through the teaching and your own sitting and walking meditation practice.

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen will teach on Eight Verses for Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Thangpa and will also guide analytical meditation practice.

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering will teach and guide the foundational meditation practice of shamatha (calm abiding) meditation.


open to all

This retreat is open to all, and best for those with prior meditation experience. It offers an opportunity for extended meditation and learning with accomplished teachers and an excellent community.  For more details and how to register, see the program and registration info below. There are discounts for Nalandabodhi members and affiliated groups. Register early by Sunday, Dec. 2 for the best discount.

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the teachers, facilitator

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen is an accomplished meditation master, a classmate and close colleague of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, and a professor of Buddhist Studies and Tibetan language at Naropa University in Boulder, CO.

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering is likewise an accomplished meditator and scholar from the same monastic college and the resident teacher for East Coast Nalandabodhi centers and study groups.  Both Lama Tenpa and Acharya Lhakpa are wonderful examples of profound kindness, wisdom, and humor.  They are fluent English speakers and thoroughly attuned to our Western culture.


Damayonti Sengupta is the Chief Operating Officer of Nalandabodhi International and has studied contemplative movement arts and Buddhist meditation and philosophy for many years. She also has extensive experience as an educator, with a focus on experiential and intercultural learning, as well as organizational development.

Please check back here for updates on the retreat program.

the program

The retreat provides an environment for silent shamatha (calm abiding) and vipashyana (analytical or insight) meditation.  The retreat includes:

  • Teaching by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen on analytical meditation.
  • Workshop sessions with Damayonti Sengupta offering tools to help aspirations bear fruit in the coming year.
  • Meditation instruction by senior teachers.
  • Sitting and walking meditation, alternating.
    • 7-9 hours per day for meditation and teaching sessions (some of which are at your option).
  • Contemplation and aspirations for the New Year.
  • Practice of silence until lunch every day. Individuals can also choose silent days or a completely silent retreat.
  • Tibetan yoga (lujong) every morning.
  • Options for a 5-, 4-, or 3-day retreat, to accommodate your schedule.
  • All meals from Friday dinner through Tuesday lunch.
  • Lodging at the lovely Copper Beech Institute in either single or double rooms.

Some program elements and the detailed daily schedule are still being worked out, so check back for updates.

the location: Copper Beech Institute

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 2.54.38 PMCopper Beech Institute is a refuge of calm—an idyllic retreat center for meditation and contemplative practice in West Hartford, Connecticut. The aims of the Institute includes providing an environment for reconnecting with the things that matter most in life. The tranquil campus offers quiet places for rest, deliciously nourishing meals, and 48 wooded acres to explore, including a gorgeous labyrinth for walking meditation. The Institute is located on the idyllic campus of Holy Family Retreat & Conference Center, which has been a refuge for those seeking quiet, contemplation and peace for more than 60 years. Operating independently from the historic Catholic retreat center, it occupies a renovated, handicap-accessible wing of the facility with 210 dedicated beds and access to the space’s stunning grounds. The campus features lovingly maintained perennial gardens, sculpture gardens, labyrinth, and wooded trails. Copper Beech is located minutes from I-84 in West Hartford, CT—a bustling and beautiful town, ranked by Kiplinger’s in 2010 as one of the Top Ten Best U.S. Cities for the Next Decade. It is just a 25-minute ride from Bradley International Airport, and 15 minutes from Union Station, Hartford’s Train and Bus Station.

More information about Copper Beech Institute is available here.

5-, 4-, and 3-day options

If you are unable to attend the full retreat (Friday afternoon through Tuesday lunch, 5 days), you can attend Friday afternoon through Sunday lunch (3 days) or Friday afternoon through Monday lunch (4 days).

Schedule, Arrival, Departure

The schedule below is tentative and subject to change. Please check back for updated information. (Registrants will also receive an email with retreat details prior to the retreat.)

Retreat Check-In:  Retreat check-in begins at 4 PM, Friday, Dec. 28.  Please do your best to arrive by dinner time (6 – 7 PM). The first meditation session is from 7:00 – 7:30 PM. The first teaching session will follow.

Retreat Conclusion & Check-Out:  For 3-day retreat participants, the retreat ends after lunch at 1 PM, Sunday, Dec. 30. For 4-day retreat participants, the retreat ends after lunch at 1 PM, Monday, Dec. 31. For 5-day retreat participants, the retreat ends after lunch at 1 PM, Tuesday, Jan. 1. (If you are able to stay and help with take down for the retreat, we would be happy for your help.)

eligibility and registration, or RSVP

The retreat is recommended for people with some prior meditation experience.  (We want your experience to be positive. A multi-day retreat is a big commitment if you haven’t meditated before.)  Registrants are asked to fill out a short online background questionnaire.

There are discounts for Nalandabodhi members and affiliated groups. Register early by Dec. 2 for the best discount.

To register now, click on the REGISTER button.


If you’re not quite ready to register but are interested in attending, your RSVP to us will help (click to send us an online RSVP).

other practical details

  • This is designed as a residential retreat and we recommend that participants stay on-site. This serves to provide a more supportive container for our meditation practice. If you’d like to attend and it is important that you be able to stay off-campus, there are commuter options.
  • Meals are provided by Copper Beech Institute’s excellent culinary staff.  Vegetarian options will be provided, and the staff will try to accommodate special dietary needs. You can provide your dietary preferences and restrictions in the background questionnaire when you register.
  • Calendar page.


For questions, please e-mail philadelphia@nalandabodhi.org.  We’ll do our best to respond promptly.

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Ponlop Rinpoche on Mindfulness and Political Activism

GOKIND-Mindfulness-Political-ActivismDzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche answers questions about maintaining mindfulness and a heartfelt motivation when engaging in politics or social activism.

From dpr.info 


Q: Can activism succeed without conflict or confrontation? How can one view prevail?

RINPOCHE:  We could say almost all of these movements have started with a good intention. Originally. Everything started with a good motivation — capitalism and what-have-you. But sometimes even though our original intention may be to help by starting a movement or being active in a certain area, we get carried away.

When we get carried away, then we ourselves actually become one of the very institutions or privileged groups … that we’re trying to change. We become pretty much the same except that we have different messages –– we have different labels and taglines. But actually we’ve become very aggressive. We’ve become impatient. We’ve become part of the status quo. Instead of becoming the solution, we have become part of the problem.

Q: So are activism and social movements just inherently going to go in that direction?

RINPOCHE: We don’t have to. We just have to keep the original motivation. That sense of when we first started it, like in someone’s garage or maybe around a bonfire or in a coffee shop. When we originally start it, there’s so much fun, there’s so much heart. There is so much enthusiasm and love along with that sense of desire to change something. There is a real sense of wanting to be part of that. Then later it becomes like a job where you just have to please somebody like your constituency, your boss, or your nonprofit organization. And then it loses the heart, the original motivation –– that genuine curiosity and excitement.


Q:  I have a question about obstacles to compassion. Sometimes our actions can result in what is sometimes called “idiot compassion,” or other unintended consequences. When the intention is good but the result isn’t great, what has gone wrong? Is it ego clinging and fear once again, or is it a different set of obstacles?

RINPOCHE: Yes, ego is always a problem. The basic root of our obstacles is ego, self centered view. But in compassion the main obstacle, so to speak, is lack of confidence and lack of skillfulness. Skillful means is very important.

In order for our compassion–– genuine compassion, not idiot compassion––to manifest a positive result, it also needs to embrace upaya, or skillful means.  Therefore bodhisattvas’ training, the majority portion of Mahayana training, is in skillful means because the actual teaching is very simple, right? It’s teaching compassion, lovingkindness, this heart of bodhicitta and so on. But the majority of the work is in action––how to do it, how to achieve it as well as how to make it effective.  Then that’s where the upaya, or skillful means, starts kicking in, you know.

That’s why when we look at the paramita practices like generosity, discipline, patience, exertion and so on, there’s a lot of training in skillful means involved. Learning how to be generous, how to be patient, how to be disciplined in mindfulness, engaging in the mindful discipline practices––all of these are aspects of training in skillful means. All of these things play an important role in our compassionate action. So as long as our intention is really pure, then sometimes you don’t really have to worry too much about the result. OK, it didn’t work one time, that’s fine. Let’s try again! We must try again and again. The most important thing is to check our intention, our motivation.

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Nalandabodhi Founder Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Talk at Swarthmore College

An Evening with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at Swarthmore College    

Nalandabodhi founder Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche addressed an audience at Swarthmore College on April 28th. His topic was Buddhism for the 21st Century.

Rinpoche spoke about how, despite the material and technological advances over the centuries since Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, the challenges of mastering our minds have remained remarkably similar. He also spoke about the fact that while technological and other material advances have been tremendously helpful to human society in many ways, these advances have not generally aided us in removing the causes of much of the suffering that persists on our planet. He suggested that, as a science of mind, Buddhism offers a way of addressing the causes of this suffering as well as powerful methods for cultivating and practicing compassion.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher and the author of Emotional Rescue, Rebel Buddha, and other books. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, a network of Buddhist centers world-wide, including in Philadelphia. Rinpoche is acknowledged as one of the foremost scholars and meditation masters of his generation in the Nyingma and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is known for his sharp intellect, humor, and easygoing teaching style.

For more information on Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and his activities, visit dpr.info

Rinpoche’s talk was sponsored by Nalandabodhi Philadelphia, Wisdom Seat, and Swarthmore Buddhadharma.



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2016/17 Winter Meditation Retreat

Save the Date!

2016/17 Winter Meditation Retreat

with Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Acharya Lhakpa Tshering, and Mitra Mark Power

Fri., Dec. 30, 2016 – Tues., Jan. 3, 2017
St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, CT

What’s the perfect way to start a new year?Save the date! Please mark your calendars and spread the word about the 2016-17 Winter Retreat with Nalandabodhi teachers Acharya Lama Tenpa GyaltsenAcharya Lhakpa Tshering, and Mitra Mark Power, held over the New Year’s weekend (Fri., 12/30 to Tues. 1/3) at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT.The Power of Nobody. Lama Tenpa will teach analytical meditation, continuing (we expect) his series on “The Power of Nobody,”* a new and very engaging presentation of the Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche — flavored with Lama Tenpa’s inimitable humor, insight and warmth.

Give the gift of meditation and insight. Since this will be an open retreat**, it’s a great opportunity to invite friends. Participants will benefit from an excellent and supportive meditation environment and the profound presence and teaching of great teachers.

Beautiful, affordable, and easy. St. Thomas Seminary provides a beautiful and convenient retreat environment, with the meditation hall, lodging and healthy, hearty meals all in the same building, sheltered from winter’s cold. The retreat is affordable — about $500 for the full 5-day retreat.*** To provide schedule flexibility, there are weekend-only (3-day) and 5-day options. The Seminary is minutes from good bus, train and airport connections in Hartford.

For more info… More information is available online. Stay tuned for more updates and registration information coming soon.

*Lama Tenpa’s teachings from the 2015-16 retreat are available from Vajra Echoes here. We encourage everyone to listen and familiarize themselves with his teaching. Stay tuned for more info to facilitate this.
**The retreat is open to the general public. Some prior meditation experience is recommended.
***This pricing includes early registration and Nalandabodhi member discounts.

More details at:  http://tiny.cc/e280cy


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Emotional Rescue

A Sneak Peak of What to Expect from Rinpoche’s New Book, Emotional Rescue

 “The purpose of this book is to introduce certain methods for working with disturbing emotions so that gradually, step by step, we can move from being victims to partners to creative collaborators with these profound energies. When we bring awareness to our emotions, something truly amazing happens. They lose their power to make us miserable.”    ––Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

emotional rescue book coverEmotions bring color and meaning to our lives, but they can also put us on an exhausting rollercoaster ride that takes us to blissful peak states, the depths of delusion and despair, and everything in between. Only by learning to relate to our emotions skillfully can we benefit from their richness and gain wisdom, instead of letting them control us. When we bring awareness to our emotions, something truly amazing happens—they lose their power to make us miserable.

For details about Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s upcoming public talk in Philadelphia see our events page here. Rinpoche will teach on the 3-step Emotional Rescue Plan for working with disturbing emotions, from his new book Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy that Empowers You.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is a widely celebrated Buddhist teacher and author of Rebel Buddha: A Guide to a Revolution of Mind. A lover of music, art and urban culture, Rinpoche is a poet, photographer, accomplished calligrapher and visual artist, as well as a prolific author. Rinpoche is founder and president of Nalandabodhi, an international network of Buddhist centers.


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