Prepare now for the Vajrasattva Winter Retreat &
Retreat from Afar
Winter Retreat is coming soon— beginning December 27. This year, we focus on the purification practice of Vajrasattva.
Vajrasattva combines the wisdom and compassion of all the buddhas. Vajrasattva’s purification practice is a powerful way to release mistakes of the past and step forward into the future with a good motivation and clear mind.
Follow the links to see the various ways you can join us for Vajrasattva practice, then scroll down for resources on how to prepare for retreat, beginning right now.
You can join in person for the
Or sign up for the Retreat from Afar, where you can participate from your home.
Retreat Preparation & Resources
Many conditions must come together for you to be able to do retreat. You create these causes and conditions by preparing internally as well as externally for the retreat experience.
The value of your time in retreat is directly related to the level of your preparation beforehand. Please take the time to study these materials carefully
If you are coming for the 1-month or 3-month retreats, it is a good idea to increase your sitting time as the retreat approaches. We will do 5 sessions daily, each about 90 minutes long. Therefore, If you can set aside a day or two as full days of practice before you come, it will make the transition into the retreat schedule easier..
Ven. Chodron has given extensive teachings on the Vajrasattva practice. There are lots of resources to search for on ThubtenChodron.org and the Sravasti Abbey YouTube channel. The suggestions below will get you started.
- Watch this video to learn the Vajrasattva 100-syllable mantra
- Watch this teaching of Ven. Thubten Chodron guiding the Vajrasattva meditation
- Watch these videos on aspects of the Vajrasattva practice:
- Becoming Vajrasattva: Ven. Chodron explains the meaning of the Vajrasattva mantra and visualization and discusses guilt, shame, and regret.
- Purification: What is it, why we do it, how to do it: Ven. Chodron teaches on the purification practice of the four opponent powers
- Vajrasattva practice overview and the power of reliance: Ven. Chodron
- The power of regret: Ven. Chodron
- The powers of remedial action and determination:Ven. Chodron
- Playlist of eight teachings from the 2012 Vajrsattva Retreat
- Playlist of 38 Bodhisattva Breakfast Corner teachings: Short talks by Ven. Chodron and community members on the Vajrasattva practice, taught throughout the 2011-12 Vajrasattva Winter Retreat
Study these to understand the Vajrasattva practice, karma, and purification:
- Teaching from the Vajrasattva Retreat, by Lama Zopa Rinpoche (in pdf from Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive or in hardcopy from Amazon.)
- Good Karma, by Thubten Chodron. Teachings on karma with a commentary on “The Wheel of Sharp Weapons,” Shambhala Publications, 2016
- Becoming Vajrasattva, by Lama Thubten Yeshe. Wisdom Publications.
- Introduction to Tantra by Lama Thubten Yeshe. Wisdom Publications, 1987.
Learning Lamrim—the stage of the path to awaken ing (gradual path)—is another important preparation.
In each meditation session you will do some Lamrim meditation. This is a powerful way to gain insight into the Buddha’s teachings. Please read some lamrim books and think about and meditate on their contents.
- Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path, by Thubten Chodron, Snow Lion Publications, 2007
- Approaching the Buddhist Path by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, and Ven. Thubten Chodron, Wisdom Publications, 2017
- Listen to and read audio and transcribed teachings in the Lamrim section of thubtenchodron.org.
- Watch the “Stages of the Path” videos on the Sravasti Abbey YouTube Channel. Begin with the introduction series, and then search “stages of the path” for subsequent playlists.
Become familiar with the thought-training teachings, so you can work with issues as they come up in retreat:
- Download a pdf of these antidotes to the afflictions, study them, and bring them with you to retreat
- Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas, by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, Snow Lion Publications, 2005
- Don’t Believe Everything You Think, Thubten Chodron, Shambhala Publications, 2012.
- Watch the Wisdom of the Kadam Masters series of short teachings
- Watch the Sharing the Dharma Day teachings on Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
As you gain familiarity with all these practices—Vajrasattva meditation, the lamrim topics, and thought-training teachings—your understanding will deepen as your readiness for retreat grows.
Learn About the Abbey
- Read the Visit sectionof the Abbey website thoroughly. Here you will find information on accommodation, food, and clothing as well as guidelines for living in community.
- Listen and start to learn the Abbey prayers and chants