Vajrapani Institute of Wisdom Culture
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The Sword of Manjushri: Developing Stainless Wisdom

prayer wheels

Event Description


September 12 – 15, 2019


All Levels

Silence Level

Partial silence

What is it?

In the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, the Buddha identified wisdom realizing emptiness as the means to cut through the ignorance. Without this understanding, we are bound into cyclic existence and stuck in our unenlightened state. While such stainless wisdom is said to be somewhat difficult to cultivate, masters of the Indian and Tibetan Madhyamika tradition, such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, and Lama Tsongkhapa, have left us a treasure of insightful texts and commentaries to aid us in this process.

In this group meditation retreat, we will focus on the various techniques for contemplating the wisdom of emptiness, utilizing teachings from a number of these great Madhyamika masters of the past as well as accomplished contemporary practitioners. In conjunction with guided meditations on emptiness, we will use the practices of Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga and A Meditation Upon Orange Manjushri to structure our meditation sessions.

In addition to guided meditation sessions, the retreat will also include teachings on emptiness and concentration, as well as brief commentary on the practices being used. No tantric empowerment’s are required to participate, although it will be ideal if one has studied this topic previously.

Further reading
  • Insight Into Emptiness by Khensur Jampa Tegchok
  • How to Realize Emptiness (formerly published as Realizing Emptiness) by Gen Lamrimpa
  • The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Introduction to Emptiness: Tsong-Kha-Pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path by Guy Newland
Additional Information

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

Ordained monastics should contact the office directly to register.

  • 12 September 2019 to 15 September 2019

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

Teacher Bio

Don Handrick

Don Handrick

Don Handrick is the resident teacher at Thubten Norbu Ling Buddhist Center in Santa Fe, NM, and he teaches at the Ksitigarbha Tibetan Buddhist Center in Taos, NM. Don also serves as a Buddhist teacher for Liberation Prison Project, which includes teaching Buddhism at a local prison in New Mexico. Don's study and practice of Buddhism began in 1993 when he read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Over the next two years he practiced with Rigpa, Sogyal Rinpoche's organization, until he began attending classes with Venerable Robina Courtin at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco.

At the beginning of 1998, Don left the Bay Area to attend the FPMT's Masters Program of Buddhist Studies in Sutra and Tantra, a full-time seven-year residential study program in Tuscany, Italy, taught by the incomparable scholar and kind Spiritual Friend, Geshe Jampa Gyatso. By 2004, he successfully completed all five subjects of the program and received an FPMT final certificate with high honors. Soon after, Don moved to Santa Fe and served as the Spiritual Program Coordinator for Thubten Norbu Ling, and in 2006 he was appointed Resident Teacher.

Teacher’s fees

Traditionally, spiritual teachings are considered priceless; remuneration of our teachers is not included in the fee information detailed on this page. Instead, we invite you to consider bringing a cash donation with you to express your gratitude for the teachings. (Participants get a chance to present a cash offering to the teachers on the last day of the retreat and this is supplemented by a donation from Vajrapani Institute.)

Fees (inclusive of accommodation and meals)

Option A is a subsidized fee designed to allow as many people to attend as possible. These fees are supported by generous contributions to Vajrapani Institute. Option B reflects the true cost of hosting visitors and is higher as a result. We encourage you to choose Option B if you’re financially able. The accommodations are the same for both options.

10% membership discounts are applicable for members.

Option A Option B
Camping $299 $368
Dorm $391 $494
Semi-private room $422 $525
Private room $580 $680
Private room – extra person $359 $464
Cabin $696 $794
Cabin – extra person $394 $510