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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.

January 15-February 12, 2016
The Preliminary Practice of Refuge with
Lamrim Meditation from “The Easy Path to Travel to Omniscience”

The mind is often compared to a field that needs to be well cultivated for our seeds of wisdom and compassion to grow into realizations. The preliminary practices (ngondro) do just that, purifying negative karmic imprints and enriching our minds with virtue to progress along the path.

The refuge ngondro is a beautiful practice that entails reciting the refuge formula—Namo Gurubhya, Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya—111,111 times while visualizing the merit field. By meditating on the qualities of the Three Jewels of Refuge, we gain conviction in the fruit of the path. The one-month retreat allows ample time to complete the refuge ngondro mantra recitation commitment.

In conjunction with the refuge practice, we will meditate on the stages of the path using Panchen Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen’s elegant lamrim presentation, “The Easy Path to Travel to Omniscience” as our basis.

Benefits of Doing Retreat

Doing long retreat is extremely beneficial for really getting a taste of the Dharma. 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 offers teachings from time to time and is available for spiritual guidance as needed.

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