Preliminary Guide Retreats
What are the Preliminary Guide Retreats?
The following explanation, given by Geshe Kelsang in 1993, applies to the Preliminary Guide Retreats. These retreats are held every year at the center. They are usually a week in length, four sessions a day, and allow people to gain deeper experience of a particular practice. They are an integral part of the Teacher Training Program (TTP), but are also open to everyone. You may attend any number of sessions.
Buddha taught many different meditations. The realizations attained through these meditations are the path to liberation. Liberation from suffering therefore depends upon making progress in meditation, and progress in meditation depends upon engaging sincerely in preliminary practices. Buddha taught four principal preliminary practices. These are normally called the ‘four great guides’ because they are the methods by which we are guided into the actual path to liberation. Meditation itself is like the main body, and the four great guides are like four limbs; just as without limbs our body cannot move and function, so without preliminary practices meditation alone cannot work.
In this retreat, we spend time developing the powerful mind of refuge, our actual protection from pain and problems. Through the practice of refuge, relying on the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, we gradually build stable, peaceful and joyful minds that give us the confidence and strength to make authentic spiritual progress.
Guru Yoga Mandala Offering Retreat
Guru Yoga and Mandala offering retreat combines two of the four great preliminary guides that we need to practice if we want to gain mahamudra realizations – the quick path to enlightenment. We all wish for spiritual realisations, but these depend upon creating certain inner conditions such as purifying negativity, accumulating merit, and receiving blessings.
In this retreat we focus on the preliminary practices of accumulating merit and receiving blessings. Making mandala offerings is the gateway to accumulating the collection of merit and attaining an enlightened pure land and Guru yoga is the gateway to receiving powerful blessings of all the Buddhas of the ten directions through our Spiritual Guide.
This is an unguided retreat. If you wish to attend, please arrive at least 15 minutes before the session so someone can give you instructions. Everyone is welcome. It is also recommended to read about Mandala offerings in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s books: Great Treasury of Merit and Oral Instructions of Mahamudra.
There are extensive prayers in each session – we will be using the prayer sadhana and practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide.
Retreat Schedule: June 29 – July 1
Thurs, June 29
Session 1: 7:30 – 9:00am
Session 2: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Session 3: 4:00 – 5:30pm
WFJ with tog: 7:00 – 8:00pm
Fri, June 30
Session 4: 7:30 – 9:00am
Session 5: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Session 6: 4:00 – 5:30pm
Session 7: 7:00 – 8:30pm
Sat, July 1
Session 8: 7:30am – 9:00am
Session 9: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Session 10: 4:00 – 5:30pm
“Through the power of recitation and visualization, and through receiving Vajrasattva’s blessings, we will gradually purify our mind and our actions. In this way we can improve our qualities as a human being, and eventually become a special holy being.” Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, Teachings on Vajrasattva, 1993
This retreat is a powerful method for purifying our negative karma. Each session includes prayer and time for silent meditation. By deepening our reliance on Buddha Vajrasattva in this retreat, we will cleanse our mind of delusions, negativities, and obstacles holding us back from reaching our full inner potential.
Lamrim is a special presentation of Buddha’s teachings that includes all of the essential instructions and meditations of the stages of the path to enlightenment. This special presentation is easy to follow and put into practice and is particularly suitable for modern Buddhists with busy lives. The retreat will include short teachings and guided meditations to enable a deeper and more focused experience of this special meditation cycle.
Short retreats provide the ideal opportunity to contemplate the teachings we have received and deepen our understanding and familiarity with them. Madhyamaka KMC provides a beautiful and blessed environment in which to engage in retreat. Between sessions you can enjoy walking around the extensive grounds or find a peaceful secluded spot for quiet reflection.