Waking up our Hearts - Winter Retreat - Nalandabodhi Connecticut
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In this challenging time of worry and fear for so many of us, how do we truly take care of ourselves and also strive for the well-being of all? How can we cultivate with joy the desire to benefit others? 

Together with our teachers, we will explore how two ancient texts can guide us today in navigating these timeless questions personally. Our aim? To tap into the courage to care for all beings–others and ourselves. 

The program includes teaching, guided meditation sessions, guided exercises for embodying enlightened qualities, and workshops on connecting with aspirations in heartfelt and sustainable ways. Short sessions designed for children and their families (Meditation Mountain) are also included prior to the formal start of Retreat on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

May we begin 2021 with the aspiration to give rise to an awakened heart!

**All are Welcome — this is an Open Retreat, grounded in Buddhist teachings**

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! More information below in the Registration section.

Schedule (all times Eastern)*

Thursday, December 31  (4 pm – 7:30 pm)

Includes Guided Meditation with Acharya Lhakpa Tshering, Teaching and Experiential Practice with Mitra Lee Worley, and a New Year Liturgy.

Friday, January 1  (10 am – 12 noon;  2 pm – 4:30 pm)

Includes Guided Meditation with Mitra Lee Worley; teaching by Acharya Lhakpa Tshering and Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen; and a Skillful Aspirations Workshop by Nalandabodhi’s Path of Mindful Activity.

Saturday, January 2  (10 am – 12 noon; 2 pm – 4:30 pm)

Includes Guided Meditation with Mitra Lee Worley; Teachings by Acharya Lhakpa Tshering and Acharya Tashi Wangchuk; and a Skillful Aspirations Workshop by Nalandabodhi’s Path of Mindful Activity.

Sunday, January 3  (10 am – 12:15 pm)

Includes Guided Meditation, Teaching, and Experiential Practice with Mitra Lee Worley and Closing Reflections from Teachers.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday (9 am – 9:30 am) Meditation Mountain, a guided practice designed for attendees who would like to include children in part of their Retreat experience. Ideal for accompanied children ages 3 – 10, other ages welcome.

Friday, Saturday (4:40 pm – 5:30 pm) Optional group meditation.

Please note: This is a draft schedule — times may be adjusted.

*Recordings will be made available as soon as possible during the Retreat (our goal is 6 hours after the session or sooner) and for 2 weeks after the retreat ends.

Four Teachers, One Journey: The Way of the Bodhisattva

A bodhisattva is one who is motivated by the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment in order to free others from suffering and its causes. Four Nalandabodhi teachers will act as our guides to engaging, understanding, and living timely ancient guidance on how to connect with and walk that path. The Condensed Meaning of the Bodhicharyavatara in 11 Points provides a readily accessible gateway to the Bodhicharyavatara or Way of the Bodhisattva.

About the Texts

Teaching at Nalanda University in the 8th century, Shantideva taught what is considered one of the most influential texts in Mahayana Buddhism, The Bodhicharyavatara or A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. In this text Shantideva lays out a progressive path for Mahayana practitioners, teaching us how to give rise to, sustain, and further develop an awakened heart (bodhicitta), with the aim of sharing the benefit with all beings. In The Condensed Meaning of the Bodhicharayavatara, Dharmarakshita, the teacher of the great Indian master Atisha, distills the meaning of Shanitdeva’s famous text into eleven pithy points.


Our Teachers

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen was born in Nepal and entered the monastery at age thirteen. In 1981, Lama Tenpa and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche enrolled in the first class of Rumtek Monastery’s Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim, India. Lama Tenpa completed his studies with an Acharya degree in 1991. Two years later, under the guidance of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, he entered a three-year retreat in Pullahari, Nepal.

From 1997 to 2004, Acharya Lama Tenpa was the resident teacher at H.H. the 17th Karmapa’s Teksum Tashi Choling Center in Hamburg, Germany.  Since 1998, Lama Tenpa has also been one of the the main teachers at Nitartha Institute. Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen is a professor of Buddhist studies and Tibetan language at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and teaches regularly at Nalandabodhi centers around the world.

Acharya Lhakpa Tshering was born in Bhutan and entered monastic school at age 12. In 1993, he enrolled at Rumtek Monastery’s Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim, India. During his final years as a student, he served as an assistant teacher and member of the student welfare committee.

In 2002, Acharya Lhakpa graduated with a masters in buddhist studies, also known as an acharya degree. After completing his studies, he served as co-librarian with Dilyak Drupon Rinpoche, as a teacher at Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, and as an editor for Nitartha Publications in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Acharya Lhakpa moved in 2006 to Nalanda West in Seattle, Washington, where he continues to support students as a resident teacher. He is also a visiting teacher at Nalandabodhi centers across the northeastern and central United States, as well as in Brazil.

Acharya Tashi Wangchuk is the resident teacher at Nalanda West, Nalandabodhi’s center in Seattle. He also serves as the main acharya overseeing all Nalandabodhi centers in North America. 

Born and raised in eastern Bhutan, Acharya Tashi moved to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, India, at the age of 15. While there, he studied for ten years and graduated from Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, the principal Karma Kagyu monastic college. After his graduation, Acharya Tashi assumed teaching responsibilities for the Karma Kagyu lineage in Hong Kong before returning to Rumtek Monastery to teach at the college from which he graduated.

Following this, Acharya Tashi did editorial work for Nitartha International in Nepal, an educational organization founded by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche to preserve and digitize endangered Tibetan texts. Acharya Tashi is one of the principal editors working to publish the renowned Eight Great Treatises of the Karma Kagyu Lineage. Currently in Seattle, he continues to prepare classical Tibetan texts vital to the Kagyu Lineage for publication.

Mitra Lee Worley was born in Glen Cove, New York. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a BA in English and Drama, and later from The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Her acting career led her to discover Buddhism in 1973 while attending a theater conference in Boulder, Colorado, where she was invited to teach acting at the Naropa Institute. While teaching, she began meditating and attending talks by Naropa’s founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Lee met Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at Naropa and became his student. She took on the role of practice coordinator in Boulder, and then of national practice coordinator for Nalandabodhi. Lee was appointed as a “Mitra” (Spiritual Friend) by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in 2005, and currently oversees the Path of Meditation within the Mitra Council.

As a practitioner, Lee aims to be a champion of meditation both on and off the cushion. “I look for the truth that underlies the dharma,” she says, “and seek ways to bring it into moment-by-moment life beyond any dogma.” Lee is the author of two books: Coming From Nothing: the Sacred Art of Acting and Teaching Presence: Field Notes for Players.


Miguel Sawaya trained as a Tibetan-language interpreter in Nepal and has been serving in that capacity since 2011. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in religious studies.


Registration is open. Click here to register.

**Please register by Sunday, December 27th, if possible — this will support our registration team in helping you complete the multi-step registration process smoothly.**

We invite you to base your registration donation on what is affordable and what you feel inspired to contribute. We estimate that an average donation of $75 will cover our expenses.

Refunds: You will receive a full refund if your request is received on or before Tuesday, December 29th. After that, no refund will be given. Please send your refund request to winter-retreat@nalandabodhi.org

Questions: Contact winter-retreat@nalandabodhi.org

About the Retreat

East Coast Winter Retreat is an annual teaching and meditation retreat. Since 2015, both experienced practitioners and those just beginning to explore the Buddhist path have come together each December to greet the solar new year in a reflective and intentional way. A collaboration among Nalandabodhi Centers on the east coast of North America, this event has helped people from all over the East Coast (and beyond) connect with one another and with their heartfelt intentions for the coming year. This Winter Retreat is open to everyone — you don’t need to be a Nalandabodhi member, and don’t need to live on the east coast! In past years, the retreat has met in person – and will again – but this year it is meeting online, in homes all over. Please join us from yours. 



The retreat will be offered in English with Tibetan-to-English translation as needed. We aspire to offer translation into other languages at future retreats.


Please contact us with any comments or questions at: winter-retreat@nalandabodhi.org

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