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Dharma Programs


Annual Winter Retreat

Winter Retreat

"The purpose of retreat is to integrate the teachings we have heard into our mindstream. It is very difficult to find the place and time in samsara to do silent, in-depth meditation practice, so have a wonderful retreat! Develop your wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings."

  Venerable Thubten Chodron

Annual Winter Retreat (en Español)

Sravasti Abbey spends each winter in silent retreat, and qualified guests are welcome to join us. Retreat dates vary, but generally extend from early December to early March. A one-month option is usually available as well.

This winter, beginning January 2014, we offer a Vajrasattva purification retreat with two options:

Vajrasattva Retreat

1-month Vajrasattva Retreat: January 13 - February 10
3-month Vajrasattva Retreat: January 13 - April 14

Vajrasattva is the manifestation of the purity of body, speech, and mind of all the Buddhas. The practice of Vajrasattva is especially effective for purifying negative karmic imprints created by the ten destructive actions, transgressions of precepts, vows, and commitments. The three-month retreat is suitable for completing a Vajrasattva ngondro practice, entailing 111,111 recitations of the long Vajrasattva mantra.

Admission is by application. Read a letter from Ven. Thubten Chodron to help you consider attending the retreat. Preparation and other details are described under Winter Retreat Instructions.

For those who can't attend in person, you can join in the Vajrasattva Retreat from Afar.

Benefits of Doing Retreat

Doing long retreat is extremely beneficial for really getting a taste of the Dharma. It gives the opportunity to reflect on the steps of the gradual path and to deepen our relationship with the Three Jewels.

The Abbey offers an excellent retreat environment that includes a peaceful setting, a disciplined retreat structure, qualified spiritual guidance, and a supportive practice community. The environment is set up so that all activities can be done mindfully and with a Dharma perspective.

It’s a wonderful opportunity, and if you can use your precious human life to do a retreat like this, you and all sentient beings will benefit enormously.

Meditation Retreat

A retreat is different from a course. In a course, the teacher teaches the Dharma and guides the meditation sessions. In a retreat, the students do the meditation themselves, and the teacher is generally not present in the sessions.

The annual Winter Retreat is a group retreat wherein all students are focused on the same practice and meditate together in the Meditation Hall for at least five sessions every day. Ven. Chodron will offer teachings from time to time and is available for spiritual guidance as needed.

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