A Young Person on Retreat

A few years before being introduced to Vajrayana, while traveling in the Southwest I made a visit to the Tashi Gomang stupa. At the time I didn’t know much about stupas or the Karmapa. Yet I was moved by the presence I felt and spent some time in quiet reflection. When I left I made an offering to the stupa, not knowing that in a few years I would enter the Vajrayana and return for my first retreat.

Based on experience with shamanic traditions I recognized a potency in Vajrayana practices. What attracted me to Buddhism was the clarity and purity of intention that Bodhichitta infuses into every aspect of practice.

As I immersed in the Vajrayana I uncovered new perspectives to some of my longest-held prayers.

I decided to set aside some time for concentrated practice. Fortunately, the way opened for me to do retreat at KTTG.

I wasn’t sure how it would go because before that the longest I’d been in a solitary retreat was 3 days. I also wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to sustain practice being a beginner without much meditative stability. I was pleasantly surprised that the practice met me right where I was, and I felt able to go from there. Practicing ngöndro several times a day felt very different from doing a little bit day by day as I had done thus far.  There were times when I felt the practice opening to new dimensions of which I was not previously aware.

Throughout the retreat I felt deeply supported by the intentions of the land and the blessings of the stupa. I was reminded of Guru Rinpoche’s advice that some places are especially beneficial to practice. I sincerely pray that we continue to establish and steward such places where our most sacred intentions can be cultivated.

I was surprised that after two weeks of retreat I felt like I was only getting started. So when later in the month I saw that the cabin was available for another 11 days I decided to return. The second retreat was beneficial in new ways and brought to light different aspects of practice and mind.

Though both retreats were relatively short, it was nevertheless life changing to dedicate that time to meditation and prayer. Now my eyes are a just little bit more open to the vastness of the path. From where I stand, I feel deeply humbled by our human potential and the realization of those who have gone before. I look forward to when I am again able to give myself to retreat. It would be with great happiness to do so at Tashi Gomang stupa.

May all beings fully awaken! May auspicious conditions arise for all who seek to do retreat. May we never separate from the perfect teacher.




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