Six Lamps Retreat with Geshe Sonam and John Jackson

March 22-28, 2024

In-person at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Virginia, USA & online via Zoom

In this seminar, Geshe Sonam and John Jackson will be leading a seven-day retreat on the Six Lamps. This seminar will include plenty of opportunities for meditation practice, Q&A, and opportunities for fellowship among seminar participants.

The Instructions on the Six Lamps is a major work from the Bon Great Completion Oral Transmission Teachings from Zhang Zhung (Dzogchen Zhang Zhang Nyen Gyud). These teachings were transmitted by Tapihritsa who lived in the 8th century. There are essentially four successive lamps teachings: teachings about the universal base; teachings on opening up the heart lamp for continuous realization of awakened awareness; teachings on opening the soft white channel pathway from the heart to the eye lamps; and teachings on setting up the view and gaze to experience the four levels of togyal visions. The fourth lamp sets up the initial meditation on the togyal visions. The fifth lamp is an elaboration on the fourth, describing the resulting meditative experiences of the four levels of togyal visions. The sixth lamp describes a similar experience of visions during the dying process and after-death bardos as method for attaining complete Buddhahood during the dying process or the after-death states.

This event will be held at Serenity Ridge retreat center, in Shipman, Virginia. The retreat will start on 22 March at noon (Eastern US time zone); most sessions will be from approximately 9am – 6pm with a lunch break. The final day will close at noon. Registration includes your stay at Serenity Ridge and all meals during the seven-day retreat.

This retreat is recommended for experienced meditators who have had instruction in Atri Dzogchen or similar meditative practice. All levels of practitioner are welcome, though!

If you register by January 10, you can save $250 on your registration fee! Simply use the discount code: “Six Lamps Special” during the registration process.

Tuition scholarships are also available for those with a financial need – please contact Michael Stern ([email protected]) if you would like to apply for assistance.

All proceeds from this retreat go toward supporting the Mustang Bon Foundation’s work in Nepal and the Mustang Valley.

(Note that cancellations after January 10th will be subject to a $400 non-refundable fee.)

One-Day Retreat with Geshe Sonam

March 30, 2024

In-person in Warrenton, Virginia, USA & online via Zoom

Join Geshe Sonam for a refreshing day of meditation and further learning about Bön traditions and Dzogchen meditation.

This is a hybrid retreat open to meditators at all levels of experience; participants have the option of attending in person (in Warrenton, VA) or via Zoom.

Address information will be provided to registrants who are interested in attending in-person. Retreat times are 9am – 4:30pm (Eastern time).

Practices of Tibetan Bön Dzogchen

April, Preliminary Practices 12-16, Core Practices 17-21, and Inner Fire Practices 24-28, 2024

In-person with Geshe Sonam Gurung at Melbourne in Australia

This meditation retreat is based on the ancient Tibetan Bön Atri teachings of Dzogchen and gives an authentic transmission in the teacher student tradition from the Lama to the participants. It provides a complete overview of the entire path to full liberation, as well as instruction in the essential aspects of Tibetan Buddhist meditation.

The Tibetan Bön model of Dzogchen presented in this retreat provides a complete set of teachings to experience the nature of Mind and its relationship to ourselves and the world around us. The view that is taught is that we are all part of an interconnected, timeless and locationless flow of information. This process must be experienced directly, otherwise we stray into a myriad of conceptual constructs of ever-increasing complexity. This training steps students through the skills that ultimately, to the best of practitioners, leads to liberation.

In this retreat, students are presented with detailed instructions on both Foundational and Concentration Practices designed to both establish the necessary conditions and develop a calm and serviceable mind. Using explanation, metaphor, practice and active feedback, students will develop the essential skills and qualities necessary for practice. Students will be methodically stepped through the foundational practices of Atri Dzogchen that serve to prepare the mind and body to meditate. In order to have the right view of mind and body, we need both to recognize our own motivations and aspirations and cultivate the positive qualities that shift our mind from survival to exploration mode.

These practices serve to ripen the mind and establish the qualities of safety, trust, interest, admiration and motivation. Students will be precisely instructed in methods designed to cultivate the qualities of mind conducive to practice. It is important to point out that “foundational” does not mean “lesser” and that these foundational practices of Dzogchen are a complete practice of the spiritual path that advanced practitioners continue to cultivate.

After establishing these essential qualities of mind, students will be presented with detailed instructions in developing concentration. Concentration, or directly translated from Tibetan as “staying-calming/calm abiding”, are core practices that focus on an external or internal object to develop mental stability. These practices are designed to make the mind “serviceable” with a skilled concentrator able to focus his or her mind on any intended object of concentration for as long as needed without any distraction whatsoever. It is to be emphasized that a carefully concentrated mind forms the very ground on which all other meditation practices are developed; without which, our mind will continue to stray in all forms of distraction.

Experience has shown that students who approach their practice with genuine patience, trust and perseverance develop steadily and gift themselves the opportunity to gently open to the heart essence of these profound lineage teachings.

This retreat shares a complete set of foundational teachings from the A Krid (pronounced “Atri”) Lineage of Tibetan Bön Dzogchen; a one-thousand-year-old compendium of the middle path to liberation in Bön. This text is the gateway to a series of expanded texts that refine the skills that ultimately lead to full awareness of mind.

Chapters 1-5 covered from the text: ‘The Pith Instructions for the Stages of the Practice Sessions of the A-Tri (A Khrid) System of Bön Dzogchen Meditation’.

This text is available for purchase here and will be available for pickup at the beginning of the retreat.

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