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Discovering the Dharma | Fundamental Buddhist teachings

Close-up image of the hand of Buddha from Milarepa Hall, Dharmakaya Center for Wellbeing

Discovering the Dharma™ is a series of five retreats led by Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche PhD. A comprehensive program for both beginners and intermediate practitioners, it progresses through fifteen sections covering all major topics of Mahayana Buddhism. Through meditation, study and practical approaches to daily life, it offers a wealth of skills for making one’s life more meaningful.

Register for the next Discovering the Dharma retreat.


The first three retreats may be taken in any order, and there is no prerequisite. The fourth retreat may only be taken after attending the first three retreats. The fifth and final retreat may only be taken after completing the first four.


Although the program is suited for beginner and intermediate level practitioners, applicants may anticipate a fairly intensive retreat, and are expected to attend all sessions on the schedule.


Buddhist prayer flags send blessings out to the world

FIND A RETREAT

 

RESILIENCE: Build strength through inner joy

The Mind: Cultivate Positive Energy
Observe the mind and how it affects our world. Learn to transform harmful thoughts to create a positive and helpful attitude. This helps you cultivate a positive relationship with all your experiences.

How to Meditate: Enhance Concentration and Calm Your Mind
Learn the purpose of meditation and experience first hand the various techniques of calming meditation, known as Shamata. You will learn how to deal with obstacles to successful meditation as well as the physical and psychological preparation necessary for meditation.

Compassion and Bodhicitta: Cultivate and Integrate These Essential Qualities
Discover practices that develop your innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate the mind of bodhicitta.

Mental Purification: Uncover Attachments and Learn to Let Go
Learn how to let go of the attachments that lead to unhappiness. We all have the potential to cause suffering—for ourselves and others. Engage in a critical assessment of how attachment acts as an obstacle to happiness, and engage in profound meditation practices, such as “exchanging self with others,” that transform the energy of attachment into the root of happiness.

Daily Practice: Establish Consistency and the Skills to be Successful
Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and receive the elements necessary to open the mind and develop wisdom through insight. Get some tips for making every action meaningful.

Taking Refuge: Give Yourself the Gift of Commitment to Practice

Learn what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the benefits that flow from this. Understand how taking refuge helps to magnify your personal intention to achieve enlightenment.


SELF-KNOWLEDGE: Find freedom through connection

Dependent Origination: Examine How All Things Are Connected and Conditional
Study one of the fundamental insights of Buddha: Everything exists in relation to other things. All things exist in a conditional state and in a continual process of change. This is a fundamental building block for developing greater insight, awareness and inner transformation.

Karma: Review the Law of Actions and Consequences
Introduce yourself to the non-theistic, rational, ethical system that teaches how intention—in physical actions, speech and thought—always leaves imprints that lead to consequences at a later time. Learn the facts about the law of cause and effect. Know how to reduce harmful acts and increase helpful acts. Find out ways to deal with life most effectively and take control of your future.

Death and Rebirth: Explore the Real Nature of Cyclical Existence
Understand the process of death and rebirth; what dies and what is reborn. Learn to recognize and fulfill your highest purpose in this life, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.

Meditation on Emptiness
The realization of emptiness is imperative to attain freedom and enlightenment. Learn analytical meditation, which helps break through the shell of our preexisting concepts and creates the right conditions to eventually experience emptiness. Familiarize yourself with stabilizing meditation and resolve the nature of mind as taught by Mahamudra teachers.


ACCOMPLISHMENT: Unveil your awakened nature

The Mind of Ignorance and Insight: Empower Yourself by Knowing Yourself
Understand how the path to freedom from fear and frustration opens you to the possibility of enlightenment. Empower yourself with practical skills to deal with and to eradicate disturbing emotions.

The Path: Follow an Accelerated, Systematic Process to Achieve Enlightenment
Receive an outline of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study Buddha’s life story and discover the step-by-step path to enlightenment according to Gampopa’s Thargyan, as described in his seminal text, Ornament of the Precious Liberation.

The Spiritual Teacher: Learn the Importance of Finding the Right Teacher
Understand the need for an authentic teacher on the spiritual path, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher for your greatest benefit.


ACCELERATION: Move swiftly towards enlightenment

An Introduction to Tantric Practice
Tantra is a core part of Tibetan Vajrayana practice. Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is such a powerful way to open your mind. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to work with simple Kriya and/or Charya tantric methods. The two-day Nyung-ney fasting-ritual practice will also be introduced.


TRANSFORMATION: Open the door to the highest yogic practices

Integrate Everything You’ve Learned
As a part of the earlier sessions, you will have spent time developing mental stability through Shamatha meditation, a week in retreat focusing on impermanence and an additional week in retreat meditating on compassion. This final session multiplies the benefits of all the previous sessions by guiding you through the practices of the hundred-thousand refuge prayers with prostrations, Vajrasattva mantra recitations, mandala offerings, and guru yoga prayers. These are very potent and fundamental practices that will act as a powerful spring board for your individual practice at the end of the program.

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