Phase I: Enter Fall 2011- (10 Months)
Abhishekas for Practices from The Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche
Guru Yoga and Mahamudra Investigations
Konchik Chidu (Padmasambhava Sadhana)
Phase II: Enter Fall 2013 (10 Months)
Sadhanas of Inner and Secret Vajrayogini and Chakrasamvara
Phase III: Enter Summer 2015 (11 Months)
Six Dharmas of Naropa
Jinasagara and Mahakala (Peaceful and Wrathful Manifestations of Compassion)
Information about the Retreat Practices
This retreat was designed by Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche for the
Shambhala Buddhist community in 1989. Because he understood that the
view of the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was to create an
enlightened society, Thrangu Rinpoche wanted this retreat to be
divided into segments that would allow practitioners to maintain
relationships with family and their career.
In 2004, with the blessing of the Sakyong and Thrangu Rinpoche, the
decision was made to open up the retreat modules so that practitioners
who were unable to attend the entire retreat could do one or more
sections of it. This has proven to be a great success as people in our
community discover the hidden treasure of Sopa Choling.
1. Mahamudra retreat: The first three months of this retreat are
dedicated to guru yoga sadhanas of Gampopa, Milarepa and Marpa (which
require abishekas). These are followed by three months of silent group
retreat in which we practice mahamudra investigations, using the text
by the 9 th Karmapa, Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, and a commentary by
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. This retreat is a rare and powerful
opportunity to discover and practice vipashyana mahamudra.
2. Konchok Chidu retreat: Konchok Chidu, meaning “Embodiment of the
Three Jewels”, is a sadhana of Guru Rinpoche, with a commentary by
Jamgon Kontrol Lodro Thaye. It includes an outer, inner, secret and
long-life practice as well as an amending fire offering and feast
practice. His Holiness Dingo Khyentse Rinpoche bestowed this abisheka
for our community in 1987.
3. Inner Vajrayogini retreat: This retreat is an excellent bridge
between Vajrayogini practice and the Six Dharmas. It uses the same
sadhana text as in our previous practice, but the commentary we follow
is by Pawo Tsug-lak Trengwa, which offers a series of five recitations
that progressively train in chandali and mahamudra. It includes
drupchen and fire offering practices.
4. Chakrasamvara retreat: The sadhana text used in this practice is
the same as the one used by other practitioners in our sangha, but the
visualizations are different. We follow a commentary written by Karma
Chagme, a ten chapter practice manual for the outer, inner, secret and
very secret practice, which includes a drupchen and fire offering.
Many people who completed the Chakrasamvara practice before coming
into this retreat found this new commentary extremely beneficial. The
retreat is also open to those who have received the abisheka but have
not done the practice.
5. Six Dharmas of Naropa retreat: The six dharmas are the practices of
chandali, illusory form, dream, luminosity, bardo and powa. Together
they represent the completion stage of Vajrayogini-Chakrasamvara
practice and are methods for transforming all states of mind into the
wisdom of mahamudra. At Sopa Choling we have an ideal facility for
these practices, with guided instructions for group and individual
training. In particular each retreat has included older practitioners,
many in their sixties, who have found this retreat most workable and
6. Jinasagara retreat:
Jinasagara (Tib: Gyalwa Gyatso), red Avaloketishvara with consort, is
a very important yidam practice in the Kagyu lineage, and like
Guyasamaja, it is of the father lineage—an emphasis on the upaya of
compassion, completely transforming aggression.
The lineage comes from Rechungpa who received it from two sources.
First he was asked by Marpa to go to India and receive these teachings
on the nine dharmas of the formless dakinis from Tiphupa.
Padmasambhava also gave instructions on Jinasagara to King Trisong
Detsen and Yeshe Tsopgyal. They were concealed as a terma that was
later transmitted to Rechungpa by the terton Nyan Rolpa. Rechungpa’s
lineage was transmitted to the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi and the
practice of Jinasagara remains a heart practice of the Karmapas.
The practice in retreat is similar to Chakrasamvara in that it has
outer, inner, secret, very secret aspects and a drupchen and fire puja
7. Krishnachola drupchen: The lineage of instruction for the wisdom
protector Krishnachola (Tib: Pernakchen) and his consort Mahakali
comes from Guru Rinpoche who taught it to Trisong Detesen’s brother
who was a ngakpa. The instructions were passed down through thirteen
generations to Karma Pakshi, who then promulgated the practice.
Throughout retreat, a group daily practice to Vajra Krishnachola is
done, and this culminates in a two month drupchen at the conclusion of
Other practices and trainings included in the retreat:
Fire Offering: Adjacent to the retreat building is a beautiful Fire
Offering shrine room that overlooks the sea. Amending Fire Offerings
are included in Konchok Chidu, Vajrayogini, Chakrasamvara and
Feast Offerings: Werma and Padmasambhava feast practices are also
included throughout the retreats, as well as Vajrayogini,
Chakrasamvara, Konchok Chidu and Jinasagara. (the latter 10 th day
feasts are specific to those retreats)
Sadhana of Mahamudra: We follow the custom of performing the sadhana
on full and new moon days, and a Sadhana of Mahamudra feast is offered
at the conclusion of each retreat.
Rain of Wisdom: Normally within the retreat there will be at least one
full day of reading the Rain of Wisdom, with the Milarepa sadhana.
Sur Offering: On a daily basis, we perform a smoke offering to the six
guests, including bardo beings and our karmic creditors.
Daily Vajrakrishnachola: The wisdom protector practice is done by the
group daily, chanted in the traditional melodies. For most of the
retreat, this is the only group gathering of the day, since all the
other practices are done mainly in your rooms.
Monthly Vajrakrishnachola feast: In some of the retreats, a 29 th day
feast practice to the protector is performed.
Torma: All retreatants will receive extensive training in torma
making, and will make permanent tormas out of clay for each practice
as well as fresh tormas for offerings.
Music: We train in the use of cymbols and drum, conches and the long
horns (radung). Gyaling (trumpet) and kandling (thigh bone trumpet)
trainings are available for those who are motivated to learn.
http://www.gampoabbey.org/programs/sopa ... -08-15.htm