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Frequently Asked Questions about
Entering the Vajra World Retreat

  • Are there other requirements concerning study and practice?
    We will be offering online preparatory classes throughout the winter of 2023 and spring of 2024.
  • Who should come to this retreat?
    This retreat is open to those who have made a heart connection to the Buddhist teachings and have a genuine aspiration to discover the wisdom and magic of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s vajrayana teachings. It is good if you have completed previous immersive periods of meditation practice. You may have a deep connection to Trungpa Rinpoche’s Shambhala teachings. You may have doubts and hesitations. You may feel that you have pretty lousy hinayana discipline or are a rather fledgling mahayana bodhisattva. You may have already recognized your buddhahood. This is all good; everyone is welcome.
  • What are the prerequisites for this program?
    Participants in this retreat will have committed to studying and practicing Buddhism and to have completed previous intensive periods of meditation practice.
  • I already have another vajrayana teacher. Can I still attend this retreat?
    We welcome participants with diverse backgrounds. While this program will emphasize the Kagyü and Nyingma paths as presented by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, students of any qualified vajrayana teacher are encouraged to attend, as well as students who do not have any vajrayana teacher.
  • I still have questions about the retreat. What should I do?
    Please use the Contact form to let us know. We'll arrange a call with one of the organizers of the retreat to discuss your questions.
  • Do I have to finish the preliminary practices (ngöndro) before the retreat?
    No, you do not need to have finished ngöndro before the retreat. Mentorship in Kagyü ngöndro will be available for those participants who choose that path.
  • I’ve heard that I need a living teacher, who holds the lineage of transmission, to receive transmission and practice the vajrayana? Is this true?
    Students who have received transmission from Trungpa Rinpoche and have spent decades practicing, studying and living what they have learned are qualified to offer the transmission and instruct students in vajrayana practice. We have been encouraged to continue Trungpa Rinpoche’s vajrayana tradition by such masters as Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Khandro Ripoche, and many others.
  • How will the vajrayana transmission be given at the retreat?
    The vajrayana transmission will be given by a senior student of Trungpa Rinpoche. In addition, we will play a recording of one of Trungpa Rinpoche's transmissions. Ani Pema Chödrön and other senior students will also give talks on the transmission and the practice of vajrayana. The samaya connection created by the transmission will be with Trungpa Rinpoche. Students entering the vajrayana in this way may consider Trungpa Rinpoche to be their root guru, although this is by no means required. They will also be encouraged to make connections with living gurus and teachers. The vajrayana is both deep and vast. Students should take advantage of every opportunity to benefit from whatever genuine guides they can encounter.
  • I want to study Trungpa Rinpoche’s vajrayana teachings. By participating in this retreat, does that mean that Trungpa Rinpoche is my guru or vajra master?
    A vajra master is an individual from whom you have received a vajrayana empowerment. It is very common within the vajrayana tradition to have more than one vajra master, as a vajrayana practitioner may receive many empowerments throughout their journey. Vajrayana transmission will be offered during this retreat. Receiving vajrayana transmission within this retreat will allow a practitioner to make a connection to Trungpa Rinpoche, and more broadly, with the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages he represented.
  • Why will vajrayana transmission be given in the middle of this program?
    As students of Trungpa Rinpoche, we are committed to presenting the entire range of the teachings he presented, in the ways that he presented them. One of the unusual aspects of how Trungpa Rinpoche presented the dharma was the way he gave vajrayana transmission. Traditionally, transmission was given individually, or to small groups, in intimate settings by their teacher. The teacher created the path to bring the students along, and when the circumstances were right, the teacher would take advantage of those circumstances, on the spot. Trungpa Rinpoche’s approach to transmission was different. He was trained in this by Khenpo Gangshar Wangpo, one of his most important teachers and a fellow student of their root guru, Shechen Kongtrul. Trungpa Rinpoche had received transmission privately, at the age of nine, from Shechen Kongtrul Rinpoche. But shortly before leaving Tibet, Khenpo Gangshar instructed him to give transmission to large groups of people. Apparently, the great Kagyü lineage master Gampopa also gave transmission in this way. Trungpa Rinpoche gave transmission to large groups of his Western students. He stressed that this enabled students to explore and deepen the transmission experience within the vajrayana practices they subsequently undertook. Because we are committed to presenting the entire range of his teachings and practices, we will be following this approach. This is why we are offering transmission at this Three-Yana Retreat, as the gateway to exploring Trungpa Rinpoche’s vajrayana teachings. The context for giving transmission is especially important and crucial for making it effective. This program will create a wonderful context for the transmission. Through the program application process and the pre-program classes, we will make sure that students are well prepared for their vajrayana journeys. Then the first two weeks of practice and study at the program will prepare the ground for the transmission.
  • I still have questions about the retreat. What should I do?
    Please use the Contact form to let us know. One of the organizers of the retreat will arrange to speak with you to discuss your questions.
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