Lamrim Retreat

Held in January

The fourteen-day lamrim retreat is based on Lama Tsongkhapa’s writing, considered some of the most important texts of the Gelug Tradition of Buddhism.

The texts are founded on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, and form a complete and gradual spiritual path leading to ultimate happiness and enlightenment. Through cultivating an awareness of our present conditions, we gain an understanding of the nature of our dissatisfaction and unhappiness, identify the causes for these states of mind, and find out how we can overcome them. Understanding this, we can then direct our energy to deal more effectively with any situation, be it positive or negative.

The retreat covers many important topics such as the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the four noble truths, karma, the nature of our mind, conventional and ultimate truth, the twelve links of dependent origination and bodhicitta, just to name a few.

Many of the ideas presented will be new and sometimes contrary to western beliefs, so come with an open mind and a willingness to analyse, question and contemplate the teachings, as well as your own beliefs. The teachings offer a fresh perspective on a range of issues, which may be challenging. It takes courage and patience to complete this course. Courage, because you will see yourself in a new way, and will be listening to teachings that might sound strange and confronting; patience, because it takes time to change old habits. Developing a good heart, learning to be more tolerant, loving and compassionate all take time.

The annual Lamrim Retreat Course at Chenrezig Institute was inspired by the lamrim course taught in September 1974 in Diamond Valley by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa, the first lamrim course taught by the lamas outside of Kopan Monastery, Nepal. More recently, the retreat has become a tradition and is now held every January. It has been attended by hundreds, if not thousands of people looking for meaning and happiness in their lives.

Traditionally, there is a refuge ceremony at the end for students wanting to take the formal step of becoming a Buddhist.

* Events available here once dates are finalised

Easter Retreat

Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga Retreat

Within Tibetan Buddhism, there is an emphasis on creating a connection with a spiritual friend or teacher who will be able to support and nurture your personal development. This person will provide inspiration, encouragement, guidance and, most importantly, lead a life of example. In modern terms, they are the ultimate life coach, not only for this life, but for the lives beyond. When choosing this teacher, the Buddha advises students to look carefully for specific qualities and not to make any commitment until you are completely sure.

Lama Tsongkhapa is revered as the the Founder of the Gelug school of Buddhism and author of The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path (Lamrim Chenmo). Both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche teach this powerful yet accessible practice. specifically because it is helpful for creating the karma to meet a qualified spiritual teacher. It removes obstacles for creating this important connection and increases the blessings that come from this relationship.

This retreat is ideal for students who have taken refuge with Geshe Tsultrim or who are starting to attend his teachings, but is also suitable for everyone else.

* Events available here once dates are finalised

Nyung nä Retreat

Held in the lead-up to Saka Dawa in April or May

Bring to light positive states of mind and discover for yourself the nature of serious retreat during this special annual event.

A nyung nä retreat is a two-day meditation, fasting and purification practice based on the sadhana of Thousand-Armed Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. It is an extremely powerful way to heal illnesses, purify negative karma and open the heart to compassion. It is an effective spiritual, mental and physical detox. Each two-day nyung nä involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts, maintaining silence and doing prayer recitations and prostrations. The second day includes fasting for 24 hours (taking no food or water). We usually hold a series of three consecutive nyung näs. 

Even doing just one nyung nä is an extremely powerful method of cleansing negativity and accumulating merit. No specific empowerments are needed.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche comments, ‘Nyung näs take such a short time, but bring strong purification. So many eons can be purified in this life; it makes it so easy to have attainments.’

* Events available here once dates are finalised

Mani Retreat (November 2021)

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A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir: a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. When compassion is cultivated, it gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that compassion, the wish for everyone to be free of suffering, lies at the heart of the Buddhist path.

A mani retreat focuses on developing compassion through a joyful and uplifting practice of visualising Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion and reciting his powerful mantra of. It is easy to remember, easy to recite and its meaning is extremely profound. The benefits of reciting OM MANI PADME HUM are immeasurable: the mantra purifies our negative karma, develops our compassionate heart, and ultimately creates the causes for us to actualise the entire path to enlightenment.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, ‘Without compassion you can’t have the realisation of bodhicitta, you can’t enter the Mahayana path, you can’t achieve enlightenment, you can’t achieve the infinite qualities of the holy body, holy speech and holy mind of Buddha. Without great compassion you can’t do perfect work for sentient beings, bringing them to enlightenment’.

* Events available here once dates are finalised

Vajrassatva Retreat

End of year

Vajrasattva Purification Retreat

Purification within the Buddhist tradition involves looking over our lives and considering times where we may have thought, said or acted in ways that caused harm to ourselves or others. We do this without guilt but rather with a sense of regret, recognising that it was harmful and not beneficial. With the power of resolve, we firmly envision how we can improve our behaviour in the year ahead. We overcome self-doubt and confusion, and instead focus on the clean clear state of mind that is always present.

Participants are guided through the text Vajrasattva Purification Practice, which involves meditation  sessions throughout the day, some parts conducted in English and some in Tibetan, along with visualisation and mantra recitation. This disciplined method encourages practitioners to skillfully regret wrongdoings, purify them, and resolve to transform their efforts into benefiting all beings.

‘Doing Vajrasattva retreat is not simply about reciting the mantra and saying some prayers. It is about making the practice effective for your mind, making it the quickest, most powerful way to transform your mind.’

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

In this fast-paced, busy and overwhelming world, with little time or emphasis given to contemplation, we have the opportunity to give ourselves this gift, which will inevitably be a gift for others.

This retreat is suitable for beginners or experienced practitioners alike, but a basic understanding of karma will be helpful. Senior members of the Sangha will lead students through the practices.

* Events available here once dates are finalised

Updated information about retreats will be made available each year on our calendar and newsletters.

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