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Kopan West Spring: A Practical Guide to True Happiness

Event Description

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We all want to be happy and we all want to be free of suffering. This retreat will not only provide you with a clear roadmap of how to overcome suffering and to find true happiness but it will also provide you with the tools necessary to undertake that journey.


Dates

April 21, 2017 – April 28, 2017

Level

All Levels

Silence Level

Partial


What is it?

Have you been curious about Buddhist practice, but don’t know where to begin? Have you attended Buddhist teachings, but don’t know how to meditate on the subjects you’ve studied?

This class will be based on the “Stages of the Path” (lamrim) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and will include lectures, guided meditations, discussion periods, and experiential homework assignments. The “Stages of the Path” was developed as a synthesis of main subject matter of all the sutras taught by the Buddha. Subjects to be discussed will include: impermanence, karma, death and rebirth, developing loving-kindness, compassion and the awakening mind (bodhicitta), the ultimate nature of reality, and more.

This class will also teach you the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation, and give you the tools you need both to begin a daily meditation practice and to deal with problems and difficulties once you have started to meditate. Throughout the week, you will learn new information about the theory and practice of meditation, and will also be led in a guided meditation on the subject matter presented in class.

Who is it for?

Beginners are welcome and encouraged, as well as more advanced students wanting to review the stages of the path in an experiential format.

Background on the retreat

A one month meditation course was established in 1971 by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu. Since then the course has been held every year, attended by thousands of people looking for meaning and happiness in their lives. The course is based on the lamrim, or Stages of the Path teachings of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism which provides a systematic and practical approach to the Buddha’s teachings.

If Nepal is too far and too expensive for you to visit, join this unique retreat modeled after Kopan Monastery’s month long November course, right here in California!

Suggested reading
  • The Four Noble Truths, Geshe Tashi Tsering (Wisdom Publications)
  • What Makes You Not a Buddhist, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche (Shambala Publication)
  • How to Meditate, Kathleen McDonald (Wisdom Publications)
  • Buddhism in an Nutshell, Venerable Amy Miller (FPMT Education Dept)

Additional information
  • Please plan on arriving between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on the first day of the retreat.
  • Please plan on departing approximately 2:00 PM on the last day of the retreat.
  • For a preview of our accommodations, please click here.
  • For answers to frequently asked questions, please click here.

If you are interested in serving as Course Liaison for this retreat, please apply here.


  • 21 April 2017 to 28 April 2017

Already Registered? Prepare for your Group Retreat Want to offer Service? Volunteer to be Course Liaison

Teacher Bio

Venerable Amy Miller

Amy J. Miller (Ven. Lobsang Chodren) first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the spring of 1987 during a course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist center management throughout the world. Prior to meeting the Dharma, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC and also worked for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco, California.

Amy also trained as an emotional support hospice counselor during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and offers courses and retreats on death and dying and end-of-life care.

From 1992-1995, Amy managed Tse Chen Ling Center in San Francisco, California. She then served as Director of Vajrapani Institute, also in California, from 1995-2004. From 1998-2002, she was also the Manager of the Lawudo Retreat Fund (which supports the center in which the sacred cave of Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche is located) in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. In 2004, after resigning as Director, Amy completed a seven-month solitary retreat at Vajrapani. For most of 2005 and 2006, she organized international teaching tours for and traveled with the esteemed Tibetan Buddhist master, Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche until Rinpoche’s death in 2006. Amy then became a touring teacher for the FPMT (the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). From 2008-2014, Amy was Director of Milarepa Center in Barnet, Vermont.

Amy has also had the good fortune to visit Tibet in 1987 and again in 2001 as a pilgrimage leader for the Institute of Noetic Science in the United States. She has also led pilgrimages to India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the Liberation Prison Project and Milarepa Center. The next pilgrimage Amy is leading is a trek October 2018 to Lawudo Retreat Center in the Mount Everest region of Nepal. A 4-day retreat will be included along with a visit to Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s birthplace. See Amy’s website below for more information.

Amy was ordained as a Buddhist nun in June 2000 by the great Tibetan master, Ven. Choden Rinpoche, and has been teaching extensively since 1992. Her teaching style emphasizes a practical approach to integrating Buddhist philosophy into everyday life. She is happy to help people connect with meditation and mindfulness in an effort to gain a refreshing perspective on normally stressful living. Amy’s courses and retreats focus on establishing and maintaining a meditation and mindfulness practice, death and dying, overcoming anxiety and depression, battling addiction, dealing with self-esteem issues, and cultivating compassion and loving kindness. She is also often involved in leading a variety of retreats.

Amy is the co-author of Buddhism in a Nutshell (also available online)and a contributor to Living in the Path, a series of online courses produced by FPMT.

Based in the United States, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Amy teaches and leads retreats and pilgrimages around the world. Her teaching schedule and other information can be found at www.AmyMiller.com.

Pilgrimage 2018

Pay-It-Forward:

There are no fees for this retreat.

That’s right. No fees. The retreat is offered to anyone who participates. It’s an experiment we started at 2012’s Kopan West- Lam Rim retreat in the spirit of making the dharma freely available to all.

If it is being offered, who pays for my retreat?

Your retreat has been sponsored by someone who came before you and by past benefactors. Because it’s a gift, you can’t pay them back – but you can pay-it-forward by making a contribution that will allow future retreatants to experience the same generosity.

How does this donation system work?

At the end of the retreat, you will have the opportunity to make a donation based on what feels right in your heart. 100% of the proceeds will go towards supporting future retreatants to keep the generosity going. No pressure or questions asked. Let your heart decide what you would like to offer.

Is there a deposit?

A $150 deposit is required to reserve a space. Your deposit will be refunded as long as you attend the retreat. No refunds for cancellations.

How do I choose the accommodation?

Once you start the registration process, you’ll see details of the accommodation that are available from camping to dorm to private rooms. All accommodation is made available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Is partial attendance allowed? 

In order to provide the most conducive conditions for retreat, we hold full time, residential retreats only.  This allows the group energy to build and minimizes distractions, so you can gain the full benefit of retreat.  See our retreat philosophy and FAQ for more information. Some exceptions can be made for special circumstances and will need the approval of the teacher and our Community Relations Coordinator (CRC) before the retreat begins. Please contact our office at office@vajrapani.org.

All are welcome to this retreat, regardless of previous experience.