The Work-Study Retreat program combines work practice and classes in a schedule that runs from 8 am to 7 pm Monday to Thursday, with optional morning practice in Tibetan yoga and meditation. The year is structured into four 11 week quarters with a one week break from the class portion of the schedule between each quarter. Work-practice continues through breaks between the quarters.
Daily Program Schedule Monday – Saturday
|6:00 – 6:50 am||Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga (optional)|
|7:20 – 7:50||Meditation|
|7:00 – 7:45||Breakfast|
|8:00 – 8:15||Morning Circle: Chanting and Announcements|
|8:15 – 10:30||Work Practice OR Community Work (Sat. Only)|
|10:00 – 10:30||Break|
|10:30am – 12:30pm||Work Practice|
|12:30 – 1:30||Lunch|
|1:30 – 3:30||Work Practice|
|3:30 – 4:00||Break|
|4:00 – 5:45||Work Practice|
|6:00 – 7:00||Class OR Dedication of Merit Ceremony (Sat. Only)|
|7:00 – 8:00||Dinner|
The classes follow a curriculum of Buddhist practices and study in the areas of Skillful Means, KumNye Tibetan yoga and Buddhist studies. They are integral to the schedule and are considered part of the work day. Please do not apply unless you are willing to be in class a minimum of two evenings Monday to Thursday during the duration of your commitment. Volunteers who are not in class Monday to Thursday are required to continue with work practice until 7 pm.
|6:00 – 6:45 pm||Skillful Means|
|7:15 – 8:15 pm||Ways of Enlightenment|
|6:15 – 7:15 pm||Kum Nye – Tibetan Yoga|
|7:30 – 8:30 pm||Introduction to Meditation|
|6:00 – 7:00 pm||Buddhist Studies: The Crystal Mirror|
|7:15 – 7:30 pm||Kum Nye Dancing|
|6:15 – 7:15 pm||Buddhist Studies: Doors to the Dharma I|
|7:30 – 8:30 pm||Buddhist Studies: Mind Over Matter|
|6:00 – 7:00 pm||Introductory Tibetan (optional)|
|7:00 – 8:00 pm||Intermediate Tibetan (optional)|
|6:00 – 7:00 pm||Dedication of Merit Ceremony (optional)|
Skillful Means w/ Ralph McFall
This class covers the fundamental orientation of the Nyingma organizations: work as a spiritual path. Classes encourage exploration of attitudes and ways of working that develop our inner potential and fill our lives with satisfying accomplishments. Topics include time, awareness, concentration, and energy, working with resistance and resentment and more.
Abhidharma Intensive – Ways of Enlightenment w/ Ralph McFall
This course introduces study of the Abhidharma, the branch of the Dharma teachings oriented toward the cultivation of prajna, or penetrating insight. Classes include lecture, discussion, and practice. This is a second year course in the Ratna Ling Buddhist studies curriculum.
Kum Nye – Tibetan Yoga w/ Resident Teachers
The key to both our internal integration and a balanced relationship with the world lies within our feelings and sensations. We can nurture and heal both our bodies and minds by touching our feelings deeply and expanding the flowing rhythms they bring to us, for they are linked to the energy of the universe itself. This energy can stimulate itself internally to sustain and nurture us in our daily lives, recycling residues of blocked emotional patterns and making us alive and well: we are in balance. Kum Nye Yoga is the art of developing this balance. This class will work with theory and exercises from Kum Nye – Tibetan Yoga.
Introduction to Meditation w/ Annette Anderson
Meditation is an ongoing practice of self-knowledge that attunes us to our true inner nature. Once we experience even a glimpse of this nature, we naturally begin to live more meaningful and harmonious lives – lives that benefit ourselves and others. This class will introduce the basic components of sitting meditation: posture, relaxation of the body, awareness of the breath, and neutrality toward thoughts and other mental activity. This class is based on the book Hidden Mind of Freedom.
Kum Nye Dancing w/ Arnaud Maitland
Students will explore the theory and practice of Tarthang Tulku’s newest Kum Nye teachings, published in 2012 as Kum Nye Dancing. Kum Nye Dancing is a form of creative expression. The movements of our bodies communicate experiences of wholeness; our gestures express the unity of body and mind. Kum Nye Dancing, “expresses sacred knowledge in motion; it hints at what it might mean to embody deep realization. This dance, arising from the heart of space, is space’s reply to the unspoken question of our embodiment, the mystery of our being.”
Buddhist Studies: The Crystal Mirror w/ Ralph McFall
This class is based largely on Dharma Publishing’s Crystal Mirror series and gives needed context for Westerners encountering the Buddhist teachings. Classes cover a wide range of topics, including the history of Buddhism in India, Tibet and throughout Asia, life stories of great Buddhist masters, the structure of the Buddha’s teachings, the varieties of Buddhist canonical literature, the origins of our Nyingma organizations and more.
Buddhist Studies: Doors to the Dharma I – The Three Jewels
We have chosen a thematic approach to study the teachings of the Buddha and the first theme is the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Over the course of the program we will work with readings, practice suggestions, and sometimes, specific additional topics such as visualization, mantra, and sacred art. Topics include the historical Buddha, an introduction to Dharma teachings including the 4 noble truths, 3 marks of existence, and mind and mental events, and concludes with a lesson on taking refuge. All the time we will be guided by questioning how we can apply what we are learning to daily life.
Buddhist Studies: Mind Over Matter w/ Arnaud Maitland
Students will work with readings from the text Mind Over Matter, a rich collection of essays by our founder Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche that explores topics ranging from how to study and practice the Dharma, the role of ritual and tradition in establishing Dharma in the West, and many more. Weekly reading assignments provide the basis for discussion and exploration of topics in class. Students are encouraged to bring their questions as we explore how to translate Buddhist teachings in a practical, relevant way that brings Dharma into daily life.
Beginning Tibetan w/ Annette Kogler
Spelling and pronunciation of Tibetan letters, syllables, words and basic vocabulary.
Intermediate Tibetan w/ Annette Kogler
Reading a Jataka (past life story of the Buddha) that exemplifies the Paramita of generosity, this class will focus on translating the story as well as studying different aspects of Tibetan grammar and building vocabulary. In addition, the class will work on translating traditional Tibetan prayers and the Pranidhanaraja
About Our Instructors
Ralph McFall has worked full-time for the Nyingma Centers since 1980. A past Dean of Nyingma Institute and past co-director of the International Nyingma Centers, Ralph has taught for over 30 years. He presently lives at Odiyan and works as a press operator for the Yeshe De Text Preservation project at Ratna Ling. He has studied with Tarthang Tulku for 30 years.
Arnaud Maitland is currently the Director of Dharma Publishing and the Center for Skillful Means. He holds a JD, an MA in Buddhist psychology and philosophy, and is the author of two books, Masterwork and Living Without Regret. He has studied with Tarthang Tulku for over 30 years and is an accomplished international lecturer, retreat leader, and instructor.
Annette Kogler focused on Central Asian studies at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany with a main fous on classical and modern Tibetan language, literature, culture and religion. She spent one and a half years living in Lhasa, Tibet continuing her studies in Tibetan language. She has studied with Tarthang Tulku since 2002.