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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 December to March. A one-month option is usually available as well.

Next winter, beginning January 2015, we will offer two concurrent options:

Solitary Hero Yamantaka Retreat and Manjushri Retreat

1-month Retreat: January 13 - February 9
3-month Retreat: January 13 - April 13

Manjushri is the Buddha of Wisdom, while Yamantaka is his wrathful aspect.

The one-month and three-month options are available for both retreats.

Admission is by application. Read a letter from Ven. Thubten Chodron to help you consider attending the retreat. Click here for retreat preparation instructions.

Special Qualifications for the Yamantaka Retreat

Highest Yoga Tantra initiation into the Yamantaka practice is required to qualify for the Yamantaka Retreat. Participants must have refuge in the Three Jewels, some if not all of the five precepts, bodhisattva vow, tantric vow, and do the Six Session Guru Yoga each day.

Three-month retreatants will do the retreat according to the commitment given by HH the Dalai Lama when he gave the initiation in April 2012, and the concluding fire puja. It is essential that retreatants become familiar with the sadhana before retreat begins. Click here for preparation instructions.

Ven. Thubten Chodron offers guidance for the Yamantaka retreat from the perspective of a Dharma friend, not as a tantric guru.

For the Manjushri Retreat

Initiation into the Manjushri practice is helpful, but not required. Retreatants must become familiar with the appropriate sadhana—front-generation for those without initiation; self-generation for those with initiation—before the retreat begins. The practice of Manjushri is especially effective for eliminating confusion and ignorance, generating wisdom, and enhancing bodhicitta. Click here for preparation instructions.

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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