THREE MONTHS VAJRASATTVA RETREAT

January 19 - April 27 2022

ABOUT THE VAJRASATTVA PRACTICE

Vajrasattva is the main buddha-energy connected with purification. It is one of the preliminary practices used in all four Tibetan Buddhist Schools. (Heruka) Vajrasattva practice is said to be particularly powerful for purifying the impure energy of the ignorant mind and the negative actions of body and speech that arise from it.

Sometimes our Dharma practice doesn't really work or bring good results. This is because we have so much unwholesome energy (negative karma) that is creating mental blockages (obstacles). Doing this specific practice can purify those negative mental imprints or obscurations, thus breaking the continuity of bad habits so that we are not creating even more negative karma which results in suffering and obstacles to Dharma practice.

The sadhana that will be used during the retreat was composed by Lama Yeshe, the founder of Kopan Monastery, who was a great advocate of this practice. He once expressed the hope that all his students could make the time to do the retreat at least once before they die.

CONDITIONS OF ATTENDANCE FOR THIS RETREAT

1. In order to do this retreat, it is necessary to be a Buddhist, i.e. one must have taken formal refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,

2. It is essential to have attended a complete lam rim meditation course, such the one month Kopan course, or completed the full Discovery Buddhism Course  (see FPMT study program).

3. You should also have some familiarity and strong faith in tantra.

4. It is good to have received a Vajrasattva Initiation. 

5. You commit yourself to stay for the whole retreat (three months) indepent of the commitment you received..

Some people doing this retreat will have a commitment to complete 100,000 mantras, and others will simply have a commitment to do a 3-month retreat – the commitment will vary according to the Lama giving the Initiation.

6. You commit yourself to abide by the retreat discipline as set by the retreat leader.

This retreat is not a holiday! It is hard and intensive work and one needs a firm motivation and determination to cope with difficulties which inevitably arise. It can, of course, also be very blissful at times.

7. It is good to have the support of your teacher(s), so please check with them to see if it's good to do the retreat at this time.

Please Note: It is definitely not recommended to do this retreat if you have any mental disorder, such as severe depression, or a history of psychotic episodes. Meditation will aggravate these conditions.

RETREAT STRUCTURE

Retreat Leader

A Retreat Leader will guide all sessions for the first 10 days. Gradually the retreaters take turns leading the sessions themselves and the retreat leader is then available for questions etc., or to help with any difficulties that may arise, and to give personal support. The retreat leader will also guide additional practices such as Vajrasattva Tsog Offering and Dorje Khadro firepuja.

Schedule

The start of the retreat is scheduled for January 20, 2019. This includes 3 days quarantine on arrival and 5 days for preparation.
The schedule will be structured very closely to that recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche for the Vajrasattva retreat held at Land of Medicine Buddha. (See the schedule below).

The daily schedule starts at the beginning of the retreat; daily four session of meditation,  a minimum of 1 - 1¼ hours long.  The last session at night usually ends around 9.30 p.m. For the middle part of the retreat, each session will last between 1½ - 2 hours. Usually, there is a discussion group once a week throughout the retreat, or as the group itself decides. There are breaks for breakfast and lunch.

The 8 Mahayana Precepts will be taken throughout the retreat. Please check with the retreat leader if you think this will a problem for you, specially if you have a medical conditions that requires some food on a regular basis.

For more information on the benefits of the 8 Mahayana Precepts please read "The unmistaken method" by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive (LYWA).

Silence

For the first and third month, participants will keep silence from last session of the day until after the lunch time meal. Talking is restricted to within the group, retreat leader, Sangha and office staff. Participants will keep strict silence for the whole of the second month of the retreat.

Difficulties of Doing Retreat

It is the experience of most people doing the Three-month Vajrasattva retreat that during the first weeks, the mantra count seems very slow and it's difficult to imagine that one can complete the required amount of mantras in the time allotted. However, as the retreat progresses, one's mantra recitation becomes quicker and it is most unusual for anyone not to be able to complete 100,000 mantras in the 3 months. So please do not expect to accomplish a lot of mantras in the first weeks of retreat, and do not become concerned or uptight about this – Lama Zopa Rinpoche often stresses that the motivations, sadhana and prayers are very important and should not be forgotten in the rush to accomplish the mantras. Numbers are not the important thing.  However it is be good to familiarize yourself with the mantra before you start the retreat.

Doing a Group Retreat

We ask people doing this retreat to remember that you have chosen to participate in a group retreat. Of course there will be the inevitable personality clashes when living and practicing so closely with others. A big part of this retreat is learning to be relaxed and give oneself and others the space and support to do the practice at a comfortable level for each person. There are many advantages to doing this retreat as a group.

The retreat leader is available during the retreat if you need to discuss anything. There are also other monks, nuns and older students available to talk to and to ask for advice. Although much of the retreat will be in silence, it does not mean you cannot seek out a qualified person to speak to if you need to.

Recommended Reading List

It is a good idea to read at least some of the books on the recommended reading list before coming to the Vajrasattva retreat, so you have a better idea of what to expect, and particularly more awareness of why it's so beneficial to do this retreat and how to get the most benefit from it. Particularly we recommend reading "The Tantric Path of Purification" by Lama Yeshe before the retreat. it is highly recommended to have your own copy of the book during the retreat.

The books on the reading list are all available at the Kopan library.

Kopan has a very extensive library, but you may also want to bring a few books with you, such as on Lam Rrim or Thought Transformation (Lojong). You will be supplied with a sadhana and photo of Vajrasattva and a prayer-book with all the prayers you need during retreat.

Lama Thubten Yeshe, The Tantric Path of Purification,  Wisdom Publications
Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, The Door to Satisfaction,  Wisdom Publications
Lama Zopa Rinpoche Teachings during Vajrasattva Retreat,  Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive
Lama Thubten Yeshe & Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Energy,  Wisdom Publications
Lama Thubten Yeshe, Introduction to Tantra,  Wisdom Publications
Chogyam Trungpa, Journey Without a Goal,  Shambhala

Pabonka Rinpoche Liberation In The Palm Of Your Hand  Wisdom Publications
Lama Tsong Khapa, Preparing for Tantra,  Classics of Middle Asia

RETREAT DISCIPLINE

Retreaters must attend all sessions of the retreat unless sick. The retreat leader must be informed if you are unable to attend.

Please come to all sessions on time.

Please be gentle in your behavior and sensitive to fellow group retreaters.

Do not do practices other than the Vajrsattva practice during session times.

It is not permitted to go down to Boudha or Kathmandu during the retreat except in real emergencies.  Please settle all travel arrangements, calls etc before the retreat begins.  

Couples wishing to do this retreat are encouraged to remain as separate from each other as possible. Retreat is an individual process and only by distancing oneself from one's partner can the maximum benefit be gained.

To help the retreat be a deeper experience with as few distractions as possible, we ask retreaters not to receive or send letters or emails during retreat. If you know it is absolutely necessary to receive mail, please ask the person sending to mark it as "Urgent" on the outside of the envelope, and we can make sure you receive it, otherwise letters will be kept until the end of the retreat.

 No singing or playing music.

Please be very aware of how you dress – this is a monastic environment and  wearing tight clothes, shorts, revealing tee-shirts etc  is not appropriate.

No sunbathing or otherwise exposing one's body.

Keep silence around rooms.

If a person's behavior becomes disturbing to the group, the management has the right to ask them to leave.

Additonal Conditions  due to the Corvid virus:

* Compulsory 3 day quarantine  on arrival (included in the above arrival date - 19 Janaurary)

* You must be fully vaccinated (submit together with your application form)

* RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test  (or antigen test) at the beginning and end of the quarantine

* Wear a mask at all times

* Accommodation in single rooms only (or sharing with a travel companion, same sex)

* Observe social distancing in retreat room, dining room and discussion group.

WHAT TO BRING

You will need a vajra (dorje) and bell for the retreat. These can be bought here in Boudha at a very reasonable price.

You may want to bring or buy a hand drum (damaru) as well; this can also be purchased here.

Inner Offering container (can be bought in Boudha).

MP 3 player or radio to listen to audio teaching if desired.

Bring some nice cloth for placing your dorje, bell & damaru on, and some for covering these items in between sessions.

Some pocket money for buying items from the shop (dharma items, chocolate, toilet paper, soap, washing powder, candles, etc), or if you require extra photocopying etc.

Do not bring: your mobile phone, computer, etc;  novels, and other distractions. You will be asked to deposit these in the reception for the duration of the retreat.

MEALS

Kopan serves vegetarian meals  which sometimes may containing wheat and milk products. The kitchen is not able to cater for special diets such as  wheat-free, or lactose free.

Filtered water can be obtained from the dining hall at all times.

COST OF THE RETREAT   

Accommodation for the retreat is provided on a share basis in standard double room, or superior double rooms, all with private facilities. 

The cost of the retreat is around 1500 US$. The exact cost will be available closer to the time, and depends on the accommodation you choose. The retreat fee covers the time for dinner on 19th January, and includes lunch on April 27.

If you arrive earlier, you will need to pay for the extra days before the start of the retreat. If you leave the retreat earlier, you will receive a refund for food only.

Included in the cost of the retreat is

Food: Breakfast and lunch, tea

Accommodation in double rooms (see above)

Practice material: Sadhana, Prayer book

Facility fee (administration, puja room, and other expenses)

Not included is the fire puja at the end of the retreat.

RETREAT DATE

Arrival date will be January 19 2022 - this includes three day quarantine and 5 days preparation.

The actual retreat will start on January 27, 2022.

The retreat starts with the retreat preparation ( 5 days) on the 22 January, with preparing the retreat facilities and to receive in depth instructions on the ritual and commentary on the sadhana. Attenance at the preparation  is compulsary.

RETREAT REGISTRATION

To apply for the retreat please complete the the application form below.The retreat leader will check your suitability for this retreat, and will inform you if you have been accepted.

Find more information about the retreat here

Download the application form here  and mail to Kopan Monastery

Kopan Monastery
(Nepal Buddhist Mahayana Center Gompa)

Kopan Monastery is affiliated with FPMT
(Foundation for the preservation of the Mahayana Tradition)