Summer 2014 Retreats

Summer 2014 Retreats

Weeklong retreats offer fresh insights in a gentle, meditative atmosphere. Both residential and non-residential retreats include vegetarian meals.  A private tour of retreat facilities available by appointment.  See our photo albums on Facebook for a virtual tour.

Click on the retreat title or scroll down for full descriptions of each of the retreats. Click here for a typical retreat schedule.

New retreats are offered all year long, call or email us for retreat dates and details. Private retreats are also welcome.

June 9-14: Opening the Senses (KNR504)

June 16-21: Kum Nye: Touching Present Energy (KNR503)  

June 23-28: Expanding Body Knowledge (KNR506)

June 30-July 3: Inner Peace through Meditation (MED506)

July 7-12: Joy of Being (DHS504)  This retreat has been cancelled.

July 14-19: Inner Resources for Difficult Times: Negotiating the Transitions of Aging (NPR501)

July 21-August 2: A View toward Enlightenment (MED504)

August 4-9: Transforming Negative Emotions (NPS501)

August 11-16: Skillful Means: Communication and Connection (SKM501)

June 9-14: Opening the Senses (KNR504)

Our bodies are expressions of the creativity and vitality that course through all forms of life. They are endowed with senses that allow us to experience ecstatic beauty and bliss and make it available to others who have not yet seen that this is possible. Tarthang Tulku, Joy of Being.

Begin a process of inner alchemy that transforms ordinary sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings into unimaginable beauty and joy. Tibetan Yoga (Kum Nye) movement, breath, and awareness exercises open the senses to deep feeling and sensitivity, increasing delight and awareness. The retreat will include individual counseling as well as group instructions on how to maintain this vital openness in the face of the pressures and stresses of daily life.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Instructors: Santosh Philip, Donna Morton, and Jack van der Meulen.


June 16-21: Kum Nye: Touching Present Energy (KNR503)   This retreat has been cancelled.

Kum Nye begins with stillness: relaxing and breathing. Movement begins slowly, arising from a present, centered point. Exercises emerge gently, touching each sense and expanding perceptions and feelings beyond limitations. A journey into embodiment, this retreat’s practices carry participants past judgment and preconception to the freshness of the present moment. From this point of balance, a rich tapestry of positive feelings flows through body, senses, and mind.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Instructors: Santosh Philip, Donna Morton, and Jack van der Meulen.


June 23-28: Expanding Body Knowledge (KNR506)

It is possible to allow a greater measure of liveliness, clarity, and intimacy with our surroundings to replace the isolated appearances of ‘body’, ‘mind’, and ‘world’. Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge.

The goal of this retreat is to bring a vital, but relaxed awareness to our physical being. Tibetan Yoga practices will focus on expanding spacious relaxation. Incisive awareness practices from the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision ‘thaw out’ the limiting views and images of our body that constrict liveliness and intimacy.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Instructors: Santosh Philip, Ken McKeon, and Jack van der Meulen.


June 30-July 3: Inner Peace through Meditation (MED506)

The deep relaxation and openness of meditation offer a different perspective on our thoughts and perceptions… A new mind arises, bearing a sense of lightness and calm that ripples throughout all our activities like laughter. Tarthang Tulku, Hidden Mind of Freedom.

Stillness, openness, and balance—all of these can arise from meditation. This retreat presents mantra, visualization, and sitting practices that quiet the mind, suffusing experience with peaceful ease. All our thoughts and feelings are integrated into the calm balance of meditation: our total being becomes meditation, an unfolding path of discovery and insight.

Cost: $300 (nonresidential); $480 (residential). Instructors: Olivia Hurd and the meditation faculty. Meditators at all levels are invited to join this retreat. There is a waiting list for residential participation; non-residential participation is accepted.


July 7-12: Joy of Being (DHS504)

In all this world, there is nothing more important than appreciating the preciousness of our human embodiment and doing all we can to increase health and happiness for ourselves and others. Tarthang Tulku, Joy of Being.

Teachings in this retreat deepen appreciation of the precious opportunity that our lives represent through study and practice of the Buddha’s compassionate way of life, including the Foundations of Mindfulness, the Three Trainings, and the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind to the Dharma. Experiential study includes examining the components and process involved in the arising of experience and increasing clarity into our ‘body of knowledge’ through Tibetan Yoga practices.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Instructors: Buddhist Studies and Kum Nye faculty. Blending cognitive and nonconceptual study, this retreat is suitable both for those wishing to learn fundamental Buddhist ideas and those wishing to integrate these teachings into their experience.


July 14-19: Inner Resources for Difficult Times: Negotiating the Transitions of Aging (NPR501)

Impermanence and death are integral parts of being alive; this realization can vibrate within us and wake us up… we see that although our lives are very dear to us, they do not last forever. To be born a human being is a very rare privilege, and it is important that we appreciate our lives and take advantage of this opportunity. Tarthang Tulku, Gesture of Balance.

Waking up to the preciousness of our lives sets the stage for developing the inner resources we will need to successfully negotiate our journey into old age, illness, and death. Meditation and mindful awareness of what is happening to us right now can help us to face difficulties with strength and confidence, realizing our inner potential.

This retreat draws on the wealth of teachings from Nyingma Psychology that can reduce fear in the face of pain and loss and bring clarity to the path ahead. We cultivate attitudes that help us break the hold of fear, and engage in meditations that strengthen our ability to remain aware and joyfully focused on what is truly meaningful. The retreat will include talks based on Tibetan teachings on the stages that consciousness moves through at death and beyond.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Instructors: Sylvia Gretchen and Elissa Slanger, assisted by the meditation faculty. This retreat is suitable for those wishing to prepare inwardly for aging or illness and for those caring for loved ones facing difficult transitions.


July 21-August 2: A View toward Enlightenment (MED504)

May Mind wearied and weakened by the wilderness of the emotions today find comfort and ease. Longchenpa, Kindly Bent to Ease Us.

The path to enlightenment requires that we re-orient mind, moving away from causes of self-delusion and pain. The great 14th century Tibetan master Longchenpa gives us clear guidance on how to do this. He advises us to shift fundamental assumptions about reality and about how reality takes shape. Gazing at his profound teachings, we glimpse a wondrous potential for freedom.

This retreat will include intense periods of practice in meditative concentration interspersed with lecture and study of the first eight chapters of Longchenpa’s The Dzogchen Trilogy of Mind at Ease (translated as Kindly Bent to Ease Us: Part One: Mind) and its unpublished auto-commentary (Shing-rta-chen-po). Lectures will be based on key sections of the auto-commentary that expand and deepen topics from the root text.

Longchenpa’s text begins with clear instructions on how to engage contemplations that shake the very foundation of how we view ourselves and the world. He asks us to contemplate ourselves as vehicles to enlightenment and see all apparent existence as impermanent, frustrating, and driven by tightly bound patterns of cause and effect. As he guides us on the path to enlightenment, Longchenpa interweaves profound glimpses into the nature of reality with practical guidance on how to gain freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Longchenpa then guides us through the welter of conflicting ideas and judgments about how we learn and how we interact with others. We contemplate how to be a student and how to take refuge in awakened being. We are set on a course of life based on compassionate caring that simultaneously benefits ourselves and others.

Longchenpa urges us to draw upon the deepest faculties of mind. Looking into his text, we gaze into a mirror of enlightened mind—we see all the reflections of ‘here’ and ‘now’, ‘samsara’ and ‘nirvana’, but each reflection conveys a sparkling clarity and incisive knowing that leaves us fundamentally changed without turning us into anything else. Careful contemplation of each word and phrase reveals a vision of Being that is vitally accessible through the path of meditation (the process of integration) and through daily actions attuned to this vision. Amazingly, we are the ones who can follow this path.

Cost per week: $470 (non-residential); $700 (residential). Instructor: Sylvia Gretchen assisted by the meditation faculty. Prerequisite: The retreat will blend cognitive and non-cognitive learning and participants must have at least three years of meditation experience. They should also be comfortable with Buddhist devotional practices and be open to Longchenpa’s approach to human development.


August 4-9: Transforming Negative Emotions (NPS501)

Emotions influence most of our lives. Yet, we may feel that we have little control over negative emotions and little understanding of how and why they arise. Negative thoughts and emotions just seem to pop up, sometimes very unexpectedly, creating confusion and causing us to suffer.

This retreat will challenge the hold negative emotions have over us and potent meditations that pacify emotions without suppressing them. First, we will balance and clear the mind; then we develop insight into how emotions take hold; and then we apply techniques that transform the negative aspect of emotional energy.

Cost: $470 (nonresidential); $700 (residential). Primary Instructor: Olivia Hurd. Prerequisite: some experience with meditation.


August 11-16: Skillful Means: Communication and Connection (SKM501)

As we open our hearts more to others, we see that listening well means opening all of our senses to hear what others have to say, not only in their words but in their hearts. In this way we come to truly understand how others feel and what they have to tell us. Tarthang Tulku, Skillful Means.

In this experiential retreat, students learn to enjoy communicating well. Discussion and exercises clarify a path towards more reliable and rewarding connections with others. We see how working together to accomplish shared purposes both fosters and depends upon effective communication and strong interconnection, bringing knowledge and fulfillment. The retreat will include innovative interpersonal exercises.

Cost: $470 (non-residential); $700 (residential). Instructor: Barr Rosenberg. There is no prerequisite for this retreat aside from a willingness to engage in experiential inquiry.


To register or for more information, call us at (510) 809-1000 or email us at


Typical Retreat Schedule
(Retreat schedules may vary, or be modified to accomodate personal needs.)

7 AM Morning meditation

8 AM Breakfast and breakfast clean up

9:30 AM Instruction session

10:30 AM Tea Break

11 AM Instruction session

12:30 PM Vegetarian Lunch

2 - 3:30 PM Work Practice and individual practice/study.

5:30 PM Vegetarian Dinner

6:15 PM Instruction session


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