Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling

Home > Karma Kagyu Retreat Center - The Curriculum
Karma Kagyu Retreat Center - The Curriculum

The retreat program commences with practices to purify obscurations and accumulate merit, making the participants suitable vessels for the blessings of the teachings. The first practice, Sangtik Vajrakilaya, is part of a series of treasure texts discovered by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa, and is practiced to pacify potential obstacles to the retreat. Next, the retreatants undertake the common and uncommon preliminary practices consisting of 100,000 repetitions each of prostrations and refuge, Vajrasattva’s one hundred syllable mantra, the mandala offering, and guru yoga. This is followed by several guru yogas: Marpa Guru Yoga, Milarepa Guru Yoga, Gampopa Guru Yoga, and Karma Pakshi Guru Yoga. Then the participants meditate on the Seven Point Mind Training and Shamata/Vipashyana. These practices fill slightly more than the first year.

The second year is spent meditating on the principal yidam of the lineage, Vajrayogini, and on the Six Yogas of Naropa. During the third year, retreatants practice several important yidams of the Karma Kagyu, including Jinasagara (better known by its Tibetan rendering, Gyalwa Gyatso), Vairocana, Akshobya, Amitabha, and Dorje Drolo. In addition, the practice of the Nine Deity Mandala of Kalachakra is performed for three months. Though it is not part of the traditional Karma Kagyu three year retreat, Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, Karma Ngedon Chokyi Lodro, was an ardent propagator of the Kalachakra practice. At the conclusion of each of these practices, the retreatants collectively perform an elaborate offering ceremony based on a sand mandala.

Further, each year prior to the Tibetan new year, the participants engage in the meditation on the lineage’s protectors. Thus practices based on the three roots of the vajrayana, i.e., the lama, the yidam, and the protector, are successively accomplished. The concluding phase of the retreat includes the practices of Chod—The Source of All Qualities and the longevity practice of White Tara.