Vajrapani Institute
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Experiencing Bodhicitta

Ven, Tenzin Chogkyi with puppy front view

Event Description


April 19-22, 2018



Silence Level


What is it?

All the peace and happiness of the whole globe,

the peace and happiness of societies,

the peace and happiness of family,

the peace and happiness in the individual persons’ life,

and the peace and happiness of even the animals and so forth,

all depends on having loving kindness toward each other.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche


We spend our whole lives trying to find happiness by fulfilling our desires.  Has this ever worked?  Isn’t it true that the most satisfying moments of happiness occur when we do something to help someone else?

Bodhicitta is a mind fully dedicated to benefitting all beings as completely as possible, by leading them to complete liberation from suffering.  The Tibetan tradition teaches techniques for developing this noble intention.  As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says:

Bodhicitta or the altruistic aspiration to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings is a state of mind which cannot be cultivated or generated within one’s mental continuum simply by praying for it to come into being in one’s mind.  Nor will it come into existence by simply developing the understanding of what that mind is. One must generate that mind within one’s mind’s continuum.

This course will provide an overview of the teachings on developing bodhicitta, the wish to become a fully awakened being for the benefit of all.  It will emphasize the meditation techniques of this system of developing bodhicitta and will include discussion periods and guided meditations.

Prerequisites: See Prerequisites tab.

  1. Learn how to develop inner peace and greater emotional balance with the methods of compassion.
  2. Learn how to find happiness inside oneself through changing our frame of reference from valuing ourselves to valuing others.
Additional Information
  1. Please plan on arriving between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on the first day of the retreat
  2. Please plan on departing approximately 2:00 PM on the last day of the retreat
  3. Consider reviewing our accommodations
  4. For more detailed information, please see our FAQ

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

  • 19 April 2018 to 22 April 2018

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

Teacher Bio

Ven, Tenzin Chogkyi

Ven. Tenzin Chogkyi

Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi became interested in meditation after reading Be Here Now and Autobiography of a Yogi in the early 1970s. For the next 20 years, she describes her spiritual path as meandering and haphazard that included several dead ends. In early 1991, she she bought a one-way ticket to India with the intention of meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In late 1991, she became co-director of Vajrapani Institute in California. In 1995, she began working at FPMT International Office, first as co-director and then later as center services coordinator. In early 2000, Venerable Tenzin began a long, solitary retreat that lasted 6½ years. She decided to become ordained in the third year of her long retreat and left retreat for a quick trip to India in 2004 for novice ordination with His Holiness. Since 2008, she has been teaching at various centers worldwide. Most recently, she was the resident teacher at Gendun Drugpa center in Canada and is now resident teacher at Vajrapani Institute.

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.)

Pay-It-Forward Retreat

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

This class will be taught at an intermediate level, so students must have had some introduction to basic Buddhist principles, preferably either a class on the Four Noble Truths or the lamrim (stages of the path) teachings (for example, Discovering Buddhism, Buddhism in a Nutshell or Kopan West).