Retreats

No one with a sincere desire to attend will be turned away from registration due to lack of funds.  We have staff and workstudy positions, as well as scholarships available.

Kagyu Ngondro Retreat February 19- February 28, 2020

Kagyu Ngondro and Guru Yoga Intensive

Pre-requisites:  Membership in the Surmang Kagyu Order or permission of the instructor.

During this 10 day ngondro intensive we will be practicing the Kagyu ngondro and a short daily practice of the Sun of Wisdom Guru Yoga which Trungpa Rinpoche composed for his root guru Padme Trime.  We will conclude with the Sun of Wisdom Feast.

This retreat will be led by Tashi Armstrong 

This retreat costs $595.00  room and board included.

“The world of anuttarayoga is a large-scale world. Even in the Hinayana, and at least at the Mahayana level of shunyata, it has been taken for granted that the world is vast and that it has its functions, which are interdependent. This has been understood, and that is why the tantric teachings are possible. Tantra stirs up your smug way of sleeping within the gigantic cosmos. It upsets your sense of security and makes you more paranoid. Instead of security, there are a lot of holes all over the place. The oceans are not just oceans, but they have huge bubbles underneath them. The sky is not just a blue sky, but there are holes carved out that are not actually blue sky. It seems that the role of tantra is to see those things, rather than to rest in the eternity and efficiency of the phenomenal world, thinking that everything is going to be okay. That is not possible. Nothing is going to be okay.”
p.528 “The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness”
Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Event Date 02-19-2021
Event End Date 02-28-2021
Individual Price $595.00
$595.00 10

Vajrayogini Drupchen

March 26-April 4, 2021

 

$695.00 cost includes room and board

Limit 10 participants

"The samaya of body involves always regarding one's basic phenomenal situation as an expression of sacredness.  We do not doubt the sacredness of our world.  The samaya of speech involves also regarding any occurrence-- anything that comes up in our experience-- as sacred.  This could be either internal or external occurrence, so that any subconscious gossi8p or emotional upheaval is included here.  The samaya of mind is connected with the indestructible wakefulness of the vajra mandala-- in this case the mandala of Vajrayogini.  Even the hint or possibility of neurosis is unable to enter into one's state of being because the whole world is seen as part of the mandala of sacredness that one has entered."

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

"Sacred Outlook: The Practice of Vajrayogini"

Consciousness without habitual reference point

What is the view in Dzogchen? The view is essentially consciousness without habitual reference point. This is what is pointed out by your Guru and what you should recognize through the practices which he or she gives you. Recognition means that we recognize our consciousness, our awareness, freed from the constraints of habitual thoughts and through practice we familiarize ourselves with this state.
This sounds great doesn’t it but what we don’t realize is that we, as confused sentient beings, are dependent on our habitual thoughts and emotions as our reference points for our experience. This is what we call “Ego” in the Buddhist tradition and why believing in “Ego” is deluded. It is the view of reality which is based on habitual projection, grasping and fixation which is what relying on habitual reference points entails. When we first begin experiencing “consciousness without habitual reference point” we usually find this to be a panic inducing or unsettling experience.
Understanding this is important in order for us to develop a wariness regarding any attempt to turn our practice into something particularly cozy and comforting. This is the danger of the popularization of such approaches to meditation as “mindfulness based stress reduction.”
Fundamentally, any practice in the Buddhist tradition ultimately has one purpose which is to cut through the mind that clings to habitual reference point. From this point of view there is no “higher and lower” type of practice there is only whether a practitioner practices with the correct view and whether they “accomplish” the practice.
Finding a genuine Guru – someone like Trungpa Rinpoche, or the Vajra Regent is very rare. We should be very wary of anyone who having become their students then doesn’t follow through on their practice instructions. Maintaining the correct view is the meaning of samaya.

This is remarkably troubling with regard to such practices as Vajrayogini Sadhana which used to be practiced extensively in the Vajradhatu Sangha but has all but disappeared from the Shambhala International mandala.
In terms of Vajrayogini Sadhana, this abhisheka was given by the Vidyadhara to his direct students. Of all the higher tantric practices that we practice, this was the main practice of all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s senior students during the Vidyadhara’s life time. Never mind what labels we put on our practice lineages such as Kagyu, Nyingma, or Shambhala, because this practice is so associated with the Vidyadhara Trungpa Rinpoche and inextricably mixed with our experience in his presence it is a direct manifestation of his mind. It is a skillful means for connecting directly with the awakened mind of our root Guru. Whatever resistance we feel about this practice has to do more with this type of "panic" ego feels when it is being undermined by the practice. It is of utmost importance to continue and to actually "lean into" that resistance -- as we have been instructed. To misinterpret this practice, to believe our personal story lines about why it isn't for us is to give in to mara. On the larger scale, the inability of our sangha to hold this practice is bad news for the Dharma in the West and in the world.

As students of the Dharma it is very necessary to question why this has been removed from the curriculum.

Happy Dakini Day!

Participants get to explore the full sadhana practice in the context of a closed retreat situation.  Functional talking is observed throughout.  We do not allow participants to use electronic devices while in retreat or to leave the retreat boundaries.

The emphasis is on practice but we review the Vidyadhara's Tris during the daily feasts.

Participants need the following prerequisites to enter this retreat:

They need to have completed a Dathun within the past 5 years.

They need to have received Vajrayogini from an authentic holder of this lineage

They must have be students of the Vidyadhara Trungpa Rinpoche and the Vajra Regent (either directly or by studying their teachings with senior students.)

They must have a personal commitment to maintain their samaya to this lineage.

Event Date 03-26-2021
Event End Date 04-04-2021
Individual Price $695.00
$695.00 10

Introduction to Dzogchen: Mixing Mind with Space

April 17-19, 2020

Cost: $195.00  Includes room and board

“In the Kagyu tradition a little special technique of breathing practice which is employed is the experiencing of “chung ne dro sum.”  “Chung” is where the thoughts arise; “ne” is dwell and “dro” is where they went; and those three are accompanied by “ying rig se wa.”  Ying means space; “rig” means conscious mind; “se wa” means mixing.  So mixing the mind consciousness.  Sometimes it’s called also “lung sem se wa”—the mind and breathing mixing together.   Whatever it is, the idea is that sense of space.  And one doesn’t have to deliberately try to mix the mind and the breathing with solemn effort particularly.  But like you feel the well-being of your body, in the same way you could feel you are breathing, a general sense of breathing.”

Trungpa Rinpoche

“The View Is the recognition of space as the true nature of mind.  According to the Kagyu gurus, mind is like space.  Space is unobstructed, all pervasive, empty and not produced by causes.  Space accommodates everything—life and death, confusion and liberation.  In that way it is the ground of everything.  At the same time, space is ungraspable by thought and cannot be experienced as a thing.  It is spotless because it has no allegiance and to describe it is impossible.  The best you can say is that space simply is, and in that sense it is primordially pure.

     “We should view our mind in the same way: mind is the ground of everything.”

Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin

The Introduction to Dzogchen practice weekends have two purposes-- to be an intro for people interested in entering the gate of genuine practice and also a monthy short retreat/refresher for people who have begun their practice.

These are closed, residential retreats meaning that we fully immerse ourselves in practice with no outer engagements for the duration of the retreat.  

Practice Schedule:

Friday

5-6 arrival and orientation

6-7 Dinner

7-9 First Meditation Session with instruction; closing chants

10 Lights out

 

Saturday

5:30 Wake up

6-8 Morning practice with Morning Chants

8-9 Oryoki Breakfast and Break

9-12 Second Session

12-1 Oryoki Lunch and Break

1:30-2:30 Work Period

2:30- 4 Rest

4-6 Third Session

6-7 Dinner in Community Room

7-9 Fourth Session with closing chants

10 Lights out

 

Sunday

6:30 Wake up

7-8 Morning Meditation with Morning Chants

8-9 Oryoki Breakfast

9-11 Meditation Practice

11-12 Closing remarks and Chants

1-3 Reception

Event Date 04-16-2021
Event End Date 04-18-2020
Individual Price $195.00
$195.00

Dzogchen Kyudo Retreat: "First Shot Best Shot"

May 25th to June 2nd 2020

“When we draw down the power and depth of vastness into a single perception, then we are discovering and invoking magic.   By magic we do not mean unnatural power over the phenomenal world, but rather the discovery of innate or primordial wisdom in the world as it is.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

 

The idea of retreat practice is to fully engage the view and technique of whatever form of practice the retreat is focused on.  At DMC we offer a variety of retreats throughout the year.  Each retreat focuses on a different practice within the mandala of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s lineage.  I view Kyudo as a practice within this mandala.  Shibata Sensei was a master of kyudo who was invited by Trungpa Rinpoche to come to the USA to teach Kyudo to Trungpa’s students.  I was one of those students.  Beginning in 1987, I studied Kyudo with other students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 

Over the years the emphasis of Kyudo has changed and it is taught as a Japanese contemplative art outside of the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. That is not what I offer here at DMC. 

People who study Kyudo with me will also engage the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche.  Kyudo is the technique, but the view of the practice is Dzogchen as expressed by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through his teachings.

 The retreats at DMC are ‘closed retreats.’  This means that participants enter the retreat at the beginning and stay for the entire time.  Retreats are meant to be completely immersive experiences.  We disconnect from our usual engagements and focus primarily on the training being offered.  During closed retreats participants are not allowed to leave the retreat boundaries for the duration of the retreat unless there is an emergency.  We avoid use of the internet and cellphones. 

   All meals are provided as well as accommodations.

The Schedule:

Wake up 6:30

7-8 Sitting meditation in the main shrine room

8-9 Oryoki Breakfast in the community room

9-12 Kyudo Training

12-1:30 Lunch and break

1:30- 3 work period

3:30-5:30 Kyudo Training

6:00 -7:00 Dinner

7-8 Sitting meditation

8-10 campfire and informal time

10 Lights out

Wishing you the best,

Tashi Armstrong Kyudo Instructor DMC

 

 "With every shot see your true nature"    Awa Kenzo

“All together, these three principles—heaven, earth, and man—deal with how we can integrate our state of mind into a work of art. A fourth principle, though not exactly the same kind of principle, is that of the universal monarch. It is what joins heaven and earth together. This principle is singlefold: that is, it says that body and mind are able to work together harmoniously. Therefore, the mind develops a sense of openness and peacefulness, and the body develops an absence of speed and aggression. In that way, a work of art becomes gentle rather than contrived or extraordinary. It becomes a good work of art, very genuine, and it becomes worthwhile, really good, to be an artist. You can take a lot of pride in being an artist, in the positive sense. You will be so happy and feel so good to be an artist. You can work according to the principles of heaven, earth, and man, and you can expose yourself by means of those principles. It could be extraordinary, quite fabulous.”

Trungpa Rinpoche "Dharma Art"

 This retreat will explore kyudo training as the technique for realizing the nature of mind.  During this retreat we will explore the traditional  teachings of isshin and zanshin from the Japanese contemplative and martial arts and how they correlate with our training in Dzogchen and Mahamudra.  In particular we will be looking at Trungpa's pith instructions on Dharma Art and Shambhala Warriorship and applying these instructions in our Kyudo training.

Isshin means "one mind".  This is the training of shamatha meditation for Dzogchen Practitioners and, in particular, constitutes cutting through the tendency of following one thought after another.  For the Kyudo practitioner we use the  7 steps of shooting the bow to synchornize mind and body in the activity of shooting the bow.   Zanshin, "remaining mind", is the Kyudo term for vipashyana. This is resting awareness beyond the reference point of habitual mind. This expands into "Kyudo mind" which is the atmosphere of wakefulness.

 $495.00 Includes Room and Board

Event Date 05-21-2021
Event End Date 05-30-2021
Individual Price $495.00
$495.00 10

Purnachandra Fleet Maneuvers and Sail Training

June 18-27, 2021

"It is very important for you to connect with the Dralas, which have particular meaning for the military....The Drala concept should sink into your state of being.  When you wear your uniform or your Guard pin, that actually provokes the outer Drala.  The outer Drala situation is created by the military.  If you are a good Kasung, you have special access to the Dralas, much more so than basic civilians do.  That is important for you to realize."

Makkyi Rabjam Dorje Dradul of Mukpo

The Purnachandra Division is the Naval Arm of the Dorje Kasung.  During this retreat we will use the practice of Sail Training as the skillful means for engaging the teachings of the Makkyi Rabjam, Dorje Dradul on the notion of "enlightened Military."

The fleet will rendezvous at Portland Yacht Club in Casco Bay, Falmouth, ME during the week of June 19th.  During the first two days we will engage in basic sail training excercises exploring Casco Bay mixed with a daily schedule of shamatha-vipashyana meditation.  We will be studying "Town Talks" and other Dorje Kasung teachings.

During the retreat we will make our way to Rockland Harbor in Penobscot Bay making a series of day sails.

Cost:  Crew members will be expected to help cover the costs of food and moorings during the trip.  Captains will cover all costs for their boats.

Event Date 06-18-2021
Event End Date 06-27-2021