Sunday, April 13, 2014

Celebrating 30 Years of Life and Friendship at Gampo Abbey

Click on the YouTube link below for a slide show of 30 years at Gampo Abbey. Enjoy!

Looking for 3 Volunteers for Gampo Abbey's Kitchen

Warm greetings from Gampo Abbey! As the days lengthen and the first warm breezes and spring rainshowers melt the long winter's snow and ice, we are beginning to plan the summer season at the Abbey, with its increased activities and visitors.

This is an invitation for 3 volunteers to work in the kitchen: 2 people to serve as cooks from 

May 15 - September 15 and 1 person to serve as cook for the month of June.

Volunteers get free room and board and are expected to take part in the Abbey's schedule, which includes, among other things, about 4-5 hours of meditation practice per day, and about 4 hours of work per day. We ask that applicants have basic cooking skills/knowledge/interest, as well as a willingness to commit to the Abbey's way of life, which includes living in community, focused practice, silence, and much more. Also, as a summer cook, you can look forward to enjoying some of our wind-swept garden's produce, herbs, and flowers.

For more information on life at Gampo Abbey, please visit

For more information on this volunteering opportunity or to apply, please contact:

We look forward to sharing the summer with you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


                                                                 Photo by Alice Haspray

This moose could be the vanguard of the coming Year of the Horse!

Arrival of Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chodron for Yarne 2014

Dispatches from Gampo Abbey 
From Shastri in Residence Alice Haspray
(Photos by Les St Marie)

On January 7, between wind and snow storms and occasional sun, Ani Pema arrived at Gampo Abbey and was greeted by all of the nuns, monks, and residents.  The flags were flying, conches were blown, and all lined the walkway in the clear, cold air to greet her. She arrived from Halifax, driven by Gampo Abbey's new Director Richard Haspray and accompanied by fellow traveller Meg Wheatley.  Meg has now begun her annual two month solitary retreat in Naropa Cottage.

We then followed Ani Pema into the Abbey's main shrine room for a circle greeting.  Each person--old and new--introduced themselves and the work they are doing at the Abbey.  Ani Pema then began talking about the coming Yarne and the practice of silence.  She said that silence is both a gateway to infinite vastness and openness and also a  clear mirror of the workings of our minds. We glimpse the absolute through silence; and, at the same time, when we refrain from speech, on the relative level, we experience all of the emotions and patterns of our habitual mind clearly.  Absolute and relative. Infinite and finite. Intangible and tangible.  We experience all of these through silence.

Fourteen Yarne guests will arrive on January 11, and we will all practice together until the Year of the Wood Horse begins on March 2.  The Sakyong has given us permission to practice Shambhala Meditation during Yarne, so I will introduce that practice during our first silent week (which occurs during the second week of Yarne). The practice of feeling, being, and touching will infuse the atmosphere of Yarne with tenderness and kindness.  Ki Ki So So

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Monastic Youth Dathün at Gampo Abbey

Gampo Abbey was very pleased to host “Empowering our Lives with Meaning: A Monastic Youth Dathün” from July 13 to August 10, 2013. We had nine participants, ranging in age from 17 to 32 and coming from homes including California, Cape Breton, and the Netherlands. 
Before ...
Seven took temporary monastic ordination for the month, an opportunity more rare in the West than in parts of Asia but a heart aspiration of the Abbey’s founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 
... and after
The program took place in Söpa Chöling, the Abbey’s long-term retreat facility. The main activity of the dathün was sitting meditation with contemplative meals, movement, and liturgy used as supports.
The dathün was directed by Ani Lodrö Palmo whose talks focused on how the view and forms of monastic life can inform and inspire household practice, such as having a plan for life and a plan for each day involving mindfulness and contentment, joyful discipline, fearlessness, and wisdom as taught in the four dignities of Shambhala. She was assisted by Getsul Loden Nyima who taught the monastic forms themselves with an emphasis on their underlying themes, which apply to our entire dharma path, and who gave guided meditation on bodhicitta. The dathün was warmly and spaciously coordinated by Dawa Lhatso.
The month-long format allowed time to explore these themes as they apply to various aspects of life and practice. The participants and staff alike were grateful for the opportunity to practice intensively for a month and to have this taste of monastic life.
Participants returned home with a strong set of tools for enriching, strengthening, and further establishing their practices. They also took with them a heightened sense of the preciousness of a human life and the ability to help transform the world through a conscious use of intention and interdependent action grounded in meditation practice and inspired by basic goodness, an underlying theme throughout the month. 
This was a deeply joyful and inspiring experience for all. We wish our participants the very best and hope to see them again along their paths!
For more information about monastic youth dathüns at Gampo Abbey, please visit our website
This rainbow auspiciously appeared behind Sopa Chöling on the departure day

Friday, November 30, 2012

Empowering Our Lives with Meaning: A Monastic Youth Dathün at Gampo Abbey, Summer 2013

If you are a practitioner in your early 30s or younger, we invite you to participate in our Monastic Youth Dathün next summer, from July 13 to August 10, 2013. Below you will find information about the retreat. (Note that the application deadline is March 30, 2013.)

In ancient India, at the age of 29, Prince Siddhartha left his life of transient material occupations in search of liberation from the endless cycle of unease and dissatisfaction which no amount of distraction or entertainment could ease. The young prince was searching for deep inner meaning, understanding, freedom, and for a way to help the world around him.
Though times have changed since then, many of us in today's speedy and increasingly troubled world still feel this calling and some will pursue it by becoming monastics.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Gampo Abbey, felt that it would be beneficial to do so temporarily. For younger practitioners it could become a powerful rite of passage. Temporary monasticism can be a way of exploring the possibility of life as a monastic or can be a way of discovering how helpful principles borrowed from the monastic tradition can support spiritual life as a householder. 

It is in this spirit that Gampo Abbey will be holding a Monastic Youth Dathün this summer from July 13–August 10. It will be directed by Shastri Lodrö Palmo and Getsul Loden Nyima. This dathün is part of an ongoing tradition at the Abbey to offer a powerful immersion experience of monastic training to young practitioners for the duration of one month.

The theme of this year's dathün will be "Empowering Our Lives with Meaning" and will focus on how dharma practice strengthens our sense of purpose in life and our effectiveness in transforming our minds and society. As a means of doing this the dathün will include extensive periods of sitting practice, interviews with meditation instructors, contemplative activities, as well as talks and discussions about enlightened society.

This will take place while immersed in the monastic lifestyle of simplicity, contentment, and deep purpose, which includes forms such as daily silence, oryoki, precepts, and communal living in Söpa Chöling, the Fortress of Patience, the Abbey’s long-term retreat facility.

Over the years we have seen the Monastic Youth Dathün playing a poignant role in the paths of participants. As Lodrö Rinzler (author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar) said of his experience of Monastic Youth Dathün:
"Even though I was raised within Shambhala, it was only during the monastic youth dathün that I realized that this meditation path was my own. I fully credit my time at Gampo Abbey as the foundation for my entire spiritual journey. It made me the man and practitioner I am today."
Shortly after their arrival, participants will be given temporary monastic ordination which will last for the duration of the program. This includes shaving one's head, wearing monastic robes, and holding the five basic precepts of conduct for monastics: refraining from taking life, stealing, sexual activity, false speech, and intoxicants.

The dathün is open to practitioners in their early 30s and younger. As a prerequisite for taking temporary ordination and attending the program one must have formally taken refuge or have definite plans to do so. The cost of the program is $1500, which includes housing and meals. We also have some scholarship funding available.

Join us for deep practice and a profound experience of joyful living!

For more information, write to

Visit our website to download an application form.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New book by Chökyi Gyatso Translation Committee

We are pleased to announce the second publication of our Chökyi Gyatso Translation Committee.

Abhidharmakośa-Bhāṣya of Vasubandhu: The Treasury of the Abhidharma and its (Auto)commentary.

Translated into French by Louis de La Vallée Poussin. Annotated English Translation by Gelong Lodrö Sangpo. With a new Introduction by Bhikkhu KL Dhammajoti.

ISBN: 978-81-208-3607-5. 2898 pages (4 volumes; cloth). Rs. 5000 ≈ US $100 (Motilal Banarsidass)

Since its appearance in the late fourth century C.E., the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya has been used as a standard textbook for the understanding of not only the Abhidharma doctrines but of all the fundamental Buddhist doctrines in general. Its nine chapters cover classical presentations on the skandhas, dhātus and āyatanas, on mind and mental events, on causes and conditions, on dependent origination, on cosmology, on karma, on the kleśas, on the paths and the persons in whom the Noble Path arises, on the cognitions (jñāna/prajñā), on meditative concentration (samādhi), and on the refutation of the self.

La Vallée Poussin’s French translation of this key text of Buddhist scholarship is considered to be one of the most outstanding masterpieces of Western Buddhist scholarship of the twentieth century.

Attempting to make the study of Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa and its autocommentary more accessible to a general Buddhist readership as well as to university students, Lodrö Sangpo inserts into the text section headings (based on Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje) outlining in detail the content of the autocommentary, as well as a table of contents of each chapter, charts and drawings. In his many added endnotes, he presents summaries, overviews and additional important information drawn mainly from the work of contemporary leading Abhidharma scholars (including La Vallée Poussin).

For an electronic appendix providing additional source materials related to the translation, click here.
The translation is enhanced by the masterly introduction (69 pages) by Professor Dhammajoti, Glorious Sun Professor of Buddhist Studies (University of Hong Kong).

Also new in this English translation:
  • The original Sanskrit kārikās and their Tibetan translation inserted into the endnotes
  • Cross-references internal to the Kośa and cross-listings with other texts
  • New bibliography
  • Sanskrit-English Index-Glossary; English-Sanskrit Index-Glossary (205 pages)
  • Remarks by the Translator (38 pages)
Please also note that the publication of this book coincides auspiciously with Lodrö Sangpo’s Fall Shedra course at Gampo Abbey (November 5–30, 2012): The Essential Points of the Abhidharmakośa. This course is open to non-residents. For further information and the prerequisites for participating in this course, please visit our website.