Four-Month Human Development Training Retreat


2017 Program: August 31–December 16

If we can find ways to awaken the full power of awareness, we can enter a new phase of human evolution and revitalize ourselves and our world. Tarthang Tulku.

Tarthang Tulku, founder of the Nyingma Institute, taught the first Human Development Training Program at the Institute in the Summer of 1973. This program offers a comprehensive education in how to develop and expand the capacity to know, to be aware through all the senses, and to find new, more positive, ways of being in the world.

In 1984 Tarthang Tulku designed the present Four-Month Human Development Training Program which has been offered by his senior students annually since that time. The program blends meditation, movement, and awareness exercises with discussion in an environment that encourages retreatants to integrate what they learn into daily life.

What an experience! To have the opportunity to evaluate my life after sixty years, to realize who I have become, and to get a new foundation for the remaining part of my life. I wish I had discovered this possibility earlier.” Retreat Graduate.


The Human Development Training Program begins by focusing on relaxing tightly held patterns that manifest in the body, breath, and mind. Movement exercises, chanting, and meditative postures are among the methods used to give rise to states of deep relaxation and inner peace.

Next, specific practices reveal that all of our senses can become gateways to beauty, meaning, value, and truth. Our senses are cleansed and renewed: Whatever we see becomes art, whatever we hear is beautiful music.

“The spirit behind the program is one of tremendous adventure, of exploring the untested possibilities open to us as human beings. It was a joyful and rewarding experience to taste some of these broader possibilities, the different ways to use and experience the mind and the senses.” Retreat Graduate.


Old patterns connected with the self-image and emotion loosen, opening to love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Experience becomes a mirror, reflecting awareness and the prospect of perfect freedom. Practices cultivate new insights and deeper compassion, both for ourselves and others. These practices develop and mature over the course of the retreat.

“I find a deeper sense of feeling, beauty, and wonder, especially in nature. Creating order and beauty feels very good, and I can appreciate even the simplest details.” Retreat Graduate.


The structure of the Human Development Training Program provides a vehicle within which individuals make positive and lasting changes in their lives. Retreat groups are small, so there is plenty of opportunity to interact with the instructors individually.


If you are ready to make a deep commitment to change and to deepen spiritual values within daily life, this is the program for you. The benefits of the program include: establishing a strong foundation for meditation practice (including visualization and mantra); insight into how the mind and emotions work; and appreciation of how to awaken our full human potential in any situation.

Although the program draws on the practices and insights from the ancient wisdom of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, it deals with the direct, human experience of growth and change and does not require acceptance of any dogma.

Cost for this retreat: $6,800 (nonresidential); $9,200 (residential) which may be paid in monthly installments ($1,700 nonresidential; $2,300 residential.). Note that both residential and nonresidential costs include vegetarian meals.

Instructors: Lama Palzang, Pema Gellek and the Nyingma Institute faculty.

What the graduates say about the 4–month Human Development Training Retreat:

Without a doubt, the 4-month Retreat was one of the most joyous and fulfilling experiences of my life. What could be better than being immersed in a place of wisdom and beauty, while learning essential meditation and relaxation techniques? Every day was a new experience in awakening new levels of creativity and balance in my life. And those positive seeds of awareness continue to blossom. Carol V., Boston, MA

Under the expert guidance of the faculty, the retreat combined deep inquiry, experiential learning, and gentle movement techniques to offer a wide range of useful skill sets to call upon anytime in our lives. I can't recommend the retreat highly enough. Creating ease in stressful times is indeed a precious gift. For me, the retreat was like choosing joy as an antidote to the busyness of our modern lives - and the result was a refreshed and renewed appreciation for my life!"  Catherine B., Berkeley, CA.


This retreat really gave me something very precious, which is the loving and compassionate guidance of our teachers, the protection we had in the Institute, and these powerful teachings which were really needed by me to find out it works. I know my mind better and I have tools to quiet it down, to be more at peace with myself and others. Joleen V., Amsterdam, Holland


For a detailed description of the 4-month Human Development Traing Retreat, click here.