Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
User avatar
treehuggingoctopus
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:26 pm
Location: EU

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by treehuggingoctopus »

Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:10 amAlso of note to remember, that back in India and Tibet, people would travel a great distance, on foot mind you; in order to just request teachings. Often bringing what they can afford to offer the Master for those teachings. The mentality here in the material West just seems so different, but I guess this is the age of five-fold degeneration after all.
I honestly do not think that any comparison with Tibet (or Buddhist India, etc) is in any way useful here.

Two different worlds. So different indeed that for us Westerners the other one is literally unimaginable.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche
zenman
Posts: 436
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:10 am .. If it is that important to us, we will have to find a way or else we have to realize that we just don't have the merit at that time.

.. I understand that I need to make some sacrifices in order to recieve the precious teachings, empowerments and transmissions that I wish to recieve. If I truly am not able to because of obstacles, then I know that I just don't have the merit.
What exactly do you mean by merit here?
Terma
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:07 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Terma »

treehuggingoctopus wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:12 am
Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:10 amAlso of note to remember, that back in India and Tibet, people would travel a great distance, on foot mind you; in order to just request teachings. Often bringing what they can afford to offer the Master for those teachings. The mentality here in the material West just seems so different, but I guess this is the age of five-fold degeneration after all.
I honestly do not think that any comparison with Tibet (or Buddhist India, etc) is in any way useful here.

Two different worlds. So different indeed that for us Westerners the other one is literally unimaginable.
Yes, two different times and places. Perhaps it misses the point. My point here really, was that people would go to great lengths to search out and receive teachings and empowerments that was sometimes a little beyond their means. Here in the West, people often evaluate based on cost. One may pay hundreds for a nice phone for example, and then in the next monent scoff at the cost of a teaching or a little hardship needed to travel to attend one. It's tough to gage people's real priorities these days.
Terma
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:07 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Terma »

zenman wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:26 am
Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:10 am .. If it is that important to us, we will have to find a way or else we have to realize that we just don't have the merit at that time.

.. I understand that I need to make some sacrifices in order to recieve the precious teachings, empowerments and transmissions that I wish to recieve. If I truly am not able to because of obstacles, then I know that I just don't have the merit.

What exactly do you mean by merit here?
Not sure how to explain it correctly but I mean, but if we don't have the merit to meet a certain teacher, recieve a certain transmission, etc. Then it just won't happen. Period. An analogy that I have heard is that merit is like our provisions that we need along the path.

But I think merit is a vast and sometimes subtle topic.
User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 2433
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:02 pm
zenman wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:26 am
Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:10 am .. If it is that important to us, we will have to find a way or else we have to realize that we just don't have the merit at that time.

.. I understand that I need to make some sacrifices in order to recieve the precious teachings, empowerments and transmissions that I wish to recieve. If I truly am not able to because of obstacles, then I know that I just don't have the merit.

What exactly do you mean by merit here?
Not sure how to explain it correctly but I mean, but if we don't have the merit to meet a certain teacher, recieve a certain transmission, etc. Then it just won't happen. Period. An analogy that I have heard is that merit is like our provisions that we need along the path.

But I think merit is a vast and sometimes subtle topic.
Can only vouch for that. So many people were excited to prepare for DI from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and last minute they fell asleep or had a headache or sth prevented them from doing it. Quite interesting.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
User avatar
treehuggingoctopus
Posts: 1998
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:26 pm
Location: EU

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by treehuggingoctopus »

Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:49 amMy point here really, was that people would go to great lengths to search out and receive teachings and empowerments that was sometimes a little beyond their means.
They lived in a society that supported religious vocations and the religious endeavour. We do not -- even if you are a Catholic monk in a Catholic country, the tapestry of who you are is woven with the late capitalist thread. (Gross generalisations, I know, but the point stands. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, really.) To be honest, I cannot -- and I do not believe any of us can, in spite of all the anthropological/sociological research we have conducted -- imagine what being a Tibetan there and then would have been like. I have no clue what "going to great lengths" would have meant. Planet Zorg.

Interestingly, Garchen Rinpoche says that Westerners practising the Dharma in the West gather much more merit than those who are born into a Dharmic culture and lucky enough to still live in it do -- because the situation of the former is vastly more challenging than that of the latter.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche
zenman
Posts: 436
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

Miroku wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:25 pm
Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:02 pm Not sure how to explain it correctly but I mean, but if we don't have the merit to meet a certain teacher, recieve a certain transmission, etc. Then it just won't happen. Period. An analogy that I have heard is that merit is like our provisions that we need along the path.

But I think merit is a vast and sometimes subtle topic.
Can only vouch for that. So many people were excited to prepare for DI from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and last minute they fell asleep or had a headache or sth prevented them from doing it. Quite interesting.
I've seen lots of people who managed to show up but miss the transmission because of falling asleep, being distracted or simply not connecting to it. I've seen loads of lamas who miss it too for the same reasons. Not sure what is a merit issue and what simply is being a poor practitioner. Or is that the same thing?
Terma
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:07 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Terma »

zenman wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:47 pm
Miroku wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:25 pm
Terma wrote: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:02 pm Not sure how to explain it correctly but I mean, but if we don't have the merit to meet a certain teacher, recieve a certain transmission, etc. Then it just won't happen. Period. An analogy that I have heard is that merit is like our provisions that we need along the path.

But I think merit is a vast and sometimes subtle topic.
Can only vouch for that. So many people were excited to prepare for DI from Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and last minute they fell asleep or had a headache or sth prevented them from doing it. Quite interesting.
I've seen lots of people who managed to show up but miss the transmission because of falling asleep, being distracted or simply not connecting to it. I've seen loads of lamas who miss it too for the same reasons. Not sure what is a merit issue and what simply is being a poor practitioner. Or is that the same thing?
Good question! I think it is a bit of both though, personally. Obstacles are obstacles one way or another.
lama tsewang
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by lama tsewang »

Well, from what I hear from many Buddhists , this vajrayana has developed a bad reputation,for being for wealthy people, being very into making money.
Are lots of these expensive things necessary.
When I did three year retreat in Canada under Kalu Rinpoche it cost Ed 300 a month.
What are people trying to charge now , maybe go and look, is it right to ask 1500-1600 per month?
passel
Posts: 585
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by passel »

lama tsewang wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:51 am Well, from what I hear from many Buddhists , this vajrayana has developed a bad reputation,for being for wealthy people, being very into making money.
Are lots of these expensive things necessary.
When I did three year retreat in Canada under Kalu Rinpoche it cost Ed 300 a month.
What are people trying to charge now , maybe go and look, is it right to ask 1500-1600 per month?
Right or wrong, it's a surefire way to guarantee dilettantism in western dharma for the foreseeable future. What are we creating that serious practitioners are just a part of the revenue stream, keeping all this gilding and brocade afloat. We can do better, though we should accordingly expect less from centers- I eat all this organic foo-foo food on retreat that I would never buy for myself at home on my budget, because that's what the menu is. I pay to come, but I get charged for all this crap I didn't come for.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7307
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

3 year retreat
@Kama Ling = $25k
@KTC = $24k

It’s actually more like 40 months, so

24,000/40=600 per month.

Both are in New York State. That’s cheap living in the States.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
User avatar
Vaktar
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:08 pm
Location: Surfsofa, Ectopia
Contact:

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Vaktar »

900 to 1200 years ago, in Tibet and India, was the heyday of Mantrayana. Note that "retreat" is rarely mentioned in the biographies of the 84 Mahasiddhas (see Masters of Mahamudra). Now I'm not knocking retreat but here are some interesting facts. (1) Three-year retreat is a relatively recent invention, from the 19th century. It was meant to preserve traditions, by providing intensive training in the formal aspects of practice. In other words, a one-size-fits-all approach. But Buddhism, and Mantrayana, was never a one-size-fits-all religion. More like a "grow your own garden" of methods religion. (2) Retreat is little mentioned in the life-stories of the 84 Mahasiddhas. Many of them lived ordinary lives, with little personal means. And yet these Mahasiddhas, among others, are largely the source of Tibetan Buddhist lineages. (3) Three-year retreats in the west mostly train people how to go through the motions of practice. They do not teach how to integrate practice with ordinary life. (4) Short expensive retreats in America or Europe mostly cater to beginners. No doubt they are helpful but they do not necessarily substitute for studying a long time with a teacher or teachers. Moreover, once one has a teacher, devotion and guru yoga are the fastest approach to liberation. For devotion's sake, it is not necessary to be near a teacher or be in a retreat. It might be better, for devotion's sake, to spend periods far away from one's teachers and facing difficult life-situations.

With all due respect to practitioners and retreatants who have spent many years practicing hard, I think the Mahasiddha models are better suited to our times. Like most of the old Indian adepts (and bearing in mind, 84 is just the number of recorded stories, not the actual number of accomplished ones), we have limited means and limited time for study. Therefore the approach of the old Siddhas might teach us something practical. The lessons I've drawn from those stories is that it is more important to have intense faith and devotion for a teacher, than to spend a lot of time or money in retreat, or to study formally with one teacher. Also, to have frequent contact with a teacher -- the more humble, less famous and less busy, the better -- is enormously beneficial. But above all, to have renunciation and bodhichitta, along with a genuine sense of empowerment from a lineage full of blessings, and a strong guru yoga practice, is all but guaranteed of success.

Nowhere in any scripture that I am aware of does it say, "you must do retreat". Make your life a constant retreat -- this was the advice of Kunu Lama. He was a very humble practitioner who never drew attention to himself, had no titles and no heroic qualifications of having spent many years in retreat or gathering academic titles and distinctions, had no monastery, and no retinue. Yet he became, towards the end of his life, a very highly regarded Dzogchen meditator and scholar of Buddhist teachings. HHDL and some of the Drikung Kagyu lamas of our acquaintance were among his students.

I admit it is easy to say this now. When I was younger and had more time and money, I traveled for retreats and met lots of different teachers. Looking back, at best, those experiences are mostly ornamental. The essentials -- which anyone can practice anytime, anywhere -- are most important, and sufficient.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7307
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Vaktar wrote:Three-year retreat is a relatively recent invention, from the 19th century. It was meant to preserve traditions, by providing intensive training in the formal aspects of practice.
True.

However it also trains one in the entire path of a lineage, from A to Z. And that makes one (potentially) a better teacher.

...to have renunciation and bodhichitta, along with a genuine sense of empowerment from a lineage full of blessings, and a strong guru yoga practice, is all but guaranteed of success.
:good:
You left our refuge, but yeah.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
zenman
Posts: 436
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

lama tsewang wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:51 am Well, from what I hear from many Buddhists , this vajrayana has developed a bad reputation,for being for wealthy people, being very into making money.
Are lots of these expensive things necessary.
When I did three year retreat in Canada under Kalu Rinpoche it cost Ed 300 a month.
What are people trying to charge now , maybe go and look, is it right to ask 1500-1600 per month?
1500 Canadian dollars is 1143 usd. Is this true? On what basis they charge so much?

I think in Chatral Rinpoche's places in Nepal and India you can still do everything for free.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7307
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

zenman wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:58 am
lama tsewang wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:51 am Well, from what I hear from many Buddhists , this vajrayana has developed a bad reputation,for being for wealthy people, being very into making money.
Are lots of these expensive things necessary.
When I did three year retreat in Canada under Kalu Rinpoche it cost Ed 300 a month.
What are people trying to charge now , maybe go and look, is it right to ask 1500-1600 per month?
1500 Canadian dollars is 1143 usd. Is this true? On what basis they charge so much?

I think in Chatral Rinpoche's places in Nepal and India you can still do everything for free.
We recently had our new abbot arrive from Sherab Ling. He was surprised that people had to pay for a 3 year retreat. He didn’t have to pay for his in India. The monastery covered it for him.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
User avatar
jake
Posts: 1611
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by jake »

zenman wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:58 am 1500 Canadian dollars is 1143 usd. Is this true? On what basis they charge so much?

I think in Chatral Rinpoche's places in Nepal and India you can still do everything for free.
Looking at your two statements above, do you want to venture a guess as to why you can still do everything for "free" in India and Nepal?
User avatar
Könchok Thrinley
Former staff member
Posts: 2433
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

Vaktar wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:26 am I admit it is easy to say this now. When I was younger and had more time and money, I traveled for retreats and met lots of different teachers. Looking back, at best, those experiences are mostly ornamental. The essentials -- which anyone can practice anytime, anywhere -- are most important, and sufficient.
I totally agree with you, however at this point I have to add that yes we have to make our life a retreat, however it is still a good idea to do at least shorter one day or few day retreats whenever possible. I does add the juice to the practice.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.
zenman
Posts: 436
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:24 pm

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by zenman »

jake wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:30 am
zenman wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:58 am 1500 Canadian dollars is 1143 usd. Is this true? On what basis they charge so much?

I think in Chatral Rinpoche's places in Nepal and India you can still do everything for free.
Looking at your two statements above, do you want to venture a guess as to why you can still do everything for "free" in India and Nepal?
One thing is that it is free in India, another is how expensive it is in, maybe I should say US, instead of West. 41 000 usd for 3 years... That is frak up.
User avatar
Vaktar
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:08 pm
Location: Surfsofa, Ectopia
Contact:

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Vaktar »

smcj wrote: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:39 am
Vaktar wrote:Three-year retreat is a relatively recent invention, from the 19th century. It was meant to preserve traditions, by providing intensive training in the formal aspects of practice.
True.

However it also trains one in the entire path of a lineage, from A to Z. And that makes one (potentially) a better teacher.
True enough. But the goal of practice generally is not to become a teacher, it is to become enlightened. I used to think that teacherhood was where practice, and retreat, were heading. In some cases it is true. But the real guage of Mantrayana practice being successful is whether results are obtained -- and if so, by how many people. If Mantrayana works, there will always more successful practitioners than enlightened teachers. If that were not so, it would be a case of "too many chiefs, not enough Indians" as the saying goes. One of the signs of successful practitioners is that we don't easily know who they are. Teacher is a role that usually requires lengthy, specialized training, with special mentorship similar to becoming a weather newscaster, dentist or politician. But not every meteorologist, doctor or political scientist ends up pursuing one of those professions. They might know the territory as well as a "professional", but for whatever reason, be doing something else in the eyes of society. Such was the case with some of the Mahasiddhas. One can surmise their retinues were often small. Or even predominantly non-human.

One can teach non-humans too, as Paltrul Rinpoche used to do, when he vowed to teach the Bodhicaryavatara one hundred times but being humble, lacked a human audience. To teach non-human beings one doesn't need any formal training as a teacher. It's what Chod-pas do, actually.
Sennin
Posts: 913
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Cost of retreats USA vs. EUR

Post by Sennin »

Good post, Vaktar. :thanks:

One thing I want to add is depending on which cycle of teachings one is practicing; the bonafide retreat could be as short as three weeks or even one (as is the case in some Nyingtig cycles).
Observe the difference between the Lord of All Victors, Padmasambhava, and the mahasiddhas of India and Tibet.
Locked

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”