Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

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Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby localstarlight » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:30 pm

I recently came across this link: http://taramandala.org/program/gateway-journey-into-the-heart-of-machigs-lineage/

The description on that page is quite succinct:

This seven-year program is for dedicated practitioners who cannot do long-term retreat, but wish to live a life imbued with intense practice. The curriculum consists of practices done in the traditional Vajrayana three-year solitary retreat adapted for the modern practitioner living in the “world.”


This is something I would be very interested in pursuing – a way of doing the practices of the traditional three year retreat, but alongside being a lay person living an ordinary life. Unfortunately, this program has already started, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other centers/teachers who offer something similar?

I'm sure there is much lively discussion/debate to be had around the advantages of doing the 3 year retreat in the traditional way it was conceived, and I am certainly open to starting and engaging that discussion, but I am primarily interested to find out if anyone knows other places doing similar things.

Thanks
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby pensum » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:19 pm

The online Tara program presented by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche is similar, providing daily teachings and practices from mind training and progressing right through to advanced practices of the higher yoga tantras. They also support the online program with regular retreats led by qualified lamas at different centres. Here is info https://dharmasun.org/index.php?dharmasun=cms&id=10.

Phakchok Rinpoche has developed a multiyear program in which students work their way through the nine vehicles, which is somewhat similar to Namkhai Norbu's Santi Maha Sangha program. Here is info on Phakchok Rp's Nine Yana program: http://www.phakchokrinpoche.org/study-and-practice/three-streams/the-full-nine-yanas-path. Phakchok Rp. gives annual seminars in a retreat setting the students are then given a course of study and practice to be completed before the next year's seminar. In the meantime, he also provides online support so that one can get advice and ask questions.

Those are just a few i am personally familiar with, i am sure there are many other similar programs out there.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby philji » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:27 pm

I think Rigpa do some form of " home retreat" don't know how it works or anyone who is practicing it....
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby ngodrup » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:35 pm

There are quite a few such possibilities...

It can be done in a group setting or solitary.
It is not really a new form, some lineages have
been doing this for centuries in Tibet. In Repkong,
for example, strict retreat occurs during winter among
the Ngakpas, then they come out in the warm season to
ply their trade, whatever that is... farming, etc.

Groups or teacher guiding this is becoming more common
in the west. Shambhala has been doing it for about 30 years--
they are in or have recently completed their 7th cycle of six months
in retreat/six months out. (This follows Karma Kagyu practice.)
The Palyul (Nyingma) center in upstate New York also is cycling
though the traditional Namcho ngondro over summers for seven years.
You can start in any year. Lama Yeshe Wangmo
guides interested people in an 'alternative three year retreat' following
the Dakini cycle of the Dudjom Tersar-- a combination of retreat and
at home practice. In other lineages some Lamas guide individual students
in at home and solitary practice.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:40 pm

Tai Situ Rinpoche had a program like this, focused on Mahamudra, over a five year period. And Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche and Khenpo Lodro Donyo also have an ongoing program, which includes Mahamudra and Yidam practice. My own teacher, Lama Lodru Rinpoche, had two groups of "five year programs"--one of which survived for 14 years....many of the participants in the second group ended up in three year retreats. Thrangu Rinpoche has the traditional 3 year retreat broken into secions of six months....people go in and out, that way.... I am sure there are others.....

Some of these don't really include all the practices of an intensive three year retreat--but some do. All of these, however, do require shorter retreats, whether teaching retreats or practice retreats, or both. It's my feeling that some of the practices, in particular the Completion Stage practices require some strict retreat, during which "daily life" has to be put on hold. But maybe others feel differently.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby heart » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:50 pm

philji wrote:I think Rigpa do some form of " home retreat" don't know how it works or anyone who is practicing it....


Also Dzongsar Khyentse have home retreat program. If I remember correctly the Rigpa program had a practice requirement of 4 hours daily, Dzongsar Khyentse's program was less but the program was longer.

/magnus
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:49 pm

heart wrote:Also Dzongsar Khyentse have home retreat program.

http://dharmagarwest.org/
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby Punya » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:47 pm

While not described as alternatives to a three year retreat, these are also options for longer term, serious study and practice while continuing as a householder:

Shechen Croatia: http://www.shechen.hr/seminar/index.htm

Jamgon Rinpoche Labrang in Nepal http://www.jamgonkongtrul.org/section.php?s1=3&s2=1
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby Lindama » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:39 am

localstarlight wrote:I recently came across this link: http://taramandala.org/program/gateway-journey-into-the-heart-of-machigs-lineage/

The description on that page is quite succinct:

This seven-year program is for dedicated practitioners who cannot do long-term retreat, but wish to live a life imbued with intense practice. The curriculum consists of practices done in the traditional Vajrayana three-year solitary retreat adapted for the modern practitioner living in the “world.”


This is something I would be very interested in pursuing – a way of doing the practices of the traditional three year retreat, but alongside being a lay person living an ordinary life. Unfortunately, this program has already started, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other centers/teachers who offer something similar?

I'm sure there is much lively discussion/debate to be had around the advantages of doing the 3 year retreat in the traditional way it was conceived, and I am certainly open to starting and engaging that discussion, but I am primarily interested to find out if anyone knows other places doing similar things.

Thanks


Don't assume that it is too late at Tara Mandala... ask. Lama Tsultrim is wonderful... and it seems a work in progress, so ask!!!

I once crashed a retreat in the 90's at Tara Mandala ... I drove in innocently. The guardians were about to send me away bec there was a retreat in progress... when Tsultrim asked who was at the door and invited me in! (she didn't know me) Just in time for Tsok!! On my 50th Birthday. who knew?
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby Alfredo » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:27 am

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche supervises several overlapping "Dharma Gar" online retreats, as well as a less intensive "Dharma Das" program.

The Dharma Gar-s require 2 hours of practice per day, for a duration which Rinpoche initially estimated at 10 years--who knows what will happen further down the road. The curriculum is designed to resemble that of a three-year retreat, though Rinpoche has his own ideas about what practices to assign. Participants are required to receive certain abhishekhas, which means living in or traveling to somewhere where these will be given. Modest dues are assessed. The current Dharma Gar-s seem not to be accepting new enrollees (but see below), so would-be participants will have to watch these pages for announcements of the next Dharma Gar, assuming there is one.

The Dharma Das requires 30 minutes per day, and can be joined at any time. It is entirely online, and seems to be free. So far four modules have been made available--after finishing the first, one may apply for an enrollment key to the next, and so on--and those who complete all four may perhaps be invited to join one of the Dharma Gar-s in progress. The curriculum has no particular relation to a three-year retreat, and at the early stages at least, would be good for those new to Buddhism. (A number of basic texts and practices are emphasized, and participants are encouraged to take teachings from a variety of traditions.)

Looking a bit further afield, although these are not three-year-retreat equivalents, the FPMT offers a 7-year Master Program (either residentially or online), which is a simplified version of the Gelugpa geshe curriculum. Gangteng Rinpoche supervises a five-year course of studies called the Shedra of Longchen Rabjam, which involves intensive study of certain Pema Lingpa treasure texts as well as basic Nyingma lore.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby localstarlight » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:54 pm

Thank you all so much for these answers – much to investigate!

Regards,

S
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:18 pm

If I remember correctly, Shambhala experimented with a 3-yr retreat format of 6mths in / 6mths out over 6 years in the 90s at Gampo Abbey.

I am not sure whether they still follow that format or reverted to the traditional "all-in-one-go" format.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby ngodrup » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:26 pm

Shambhala is either in or has completed its 7th cycle of
6 month on, six months off following the Karma Kagyu
model of three year retreat. Yes, they are offering it.
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:37 pm

...though I think they're doing it in Colorado, and not Gampo Abbey?
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Re: Traditional 3 Year Retreat – new forms?

Postby ngodrup » Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:11 am

As far as I know, its in the retreat facility at Gampo.
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