Blessings: Celebrating the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

Judith Simmer-Brown

September 1–5, 2022

Tuition $108 + 4 nights
Whatever your connection is to the Great Stupa and Drala Mountain Center, we invite you to come together to practice and deepen your connection to community.  This land is full of the blessings of generations of dharma practitioners practicing together, invoking the magic of the ancestral and lineage dralas in our high mountain valley. The special focus of this retreat will be the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, celebrating the blessings of our Shambhala lineage and of Tibetan Buddhism.
In Asia, stupas are timeless places of community gathering and practice, magnetized by the power of sacred place.  Our own Stupa, built to honor the Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is imbued with the power of the dralas, the blessings of the lineage, and the love and devotion of all the artisans and patrons, practitioners, and the many visitors from all over the world who naturally feel the power of this place.
The land itself, which is within the ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples, has naturally magnetized the blessings of many lineages, carried within the rocks, streams, trees and creatures who call it home.  Given the careful stewardship that Drala Mountain Center has brought to the land, its rocky outcroppings, sweeping meadows, lush lowlands, and gentle peaks remain beautiful, despite scars from the recent Cameron Peak Fire.
Our practice sessions will fill the meditation halls on the land, and daily we will gather in community at the Stupa for circumambulation, meditation, and lhasang, invoking the power of blessing.  There will be plenty of time for socializing and reminiscing over meals as well as acknowledging the many changes we have experienced.  Practice modules will include the choice between formless meditation (shamatha-vipashyana, Mahamudra, Dzogchen), Werma Sadhana, White Tara, and Vajrayogini.
All this will be held in the embrace of an inclusive practice container. Shotoku may be open with children’s programming throughout the day.  See below for further details.  Let us refresh ourselves and nourish our community by celebrating the blessings of Drala Mountain Center and the Great Stupa.

Practice Tracks and Prerequisites

During registration you’ll be asked to identify your preferred practice track from these choices:

  • Open Meditation (no pre-requisites; open to all)
  • Werma Sadhana
  • Vajrayogini
  • White Tara

Werma, Vajrayogini, or White Tara tracks require practice authorizations. Please only select options for which you are qualified. Open Meditation, or shamatha-vipashyana, is open to all, no pre-requisite. No lungs or practice authorizations will be given during this program.

To register, click the “Register Now” button at the top of the page.

Daily Schedule

7:00 Optional Morning Practices (Movement or Stillness)

8:00 Breakfast

9:00 Practice Sessions:  (Formless meditation, White Tara, Werma, and Vajrayogini)

10:45 Break

11:15 Talks on Dralas, Sacred Places, Blessings—Judith Simmer-Brown

12:30 Lunch

2:30 Practice Options at the Stupa

4:00 Teatime

4:30 Discussion groups/Practice/Hiking

6:10 Optional Closing chants

6:30 Dinner

7:45 Evening enrichment presentations

Heart Gift

Toward the end of your retreat you will be asked if you would like to make a heart gift to the teacher. In Shambhala and other wisdom cultures, people often make heart gifts to those who have made receiving precious teachings possible. The heart gift is purely optional and based on personal inspiration and gratitude. The amount is not important, just your inspiration to give, connect, and explore the cycles of generosity and offering.

Attendance Requirements

Full attendance is required. Requests for partial attendance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please fill out this form by July 22 to request partial attendance. Decisions will be made by August 1st.

Family Options

Childcare may be available, depending upon participant interest. We love to host families and provide practice opportunities for parents of young children. We will make every effort to support this option but it is not guaranteed. Please indicate your interest in childcare on the registration page. We will contact you as soon as more information is available about interest, care providers, and other considerations.


Please review our current COVID-19 policy before visiting Drala Mountain.

Judith Simmer-Brown

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., has just retired as Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978. As Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970’s, she became a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, and served as an acharya from 2000-2022.. Her teaching specialties are meditation practice, Shambhala teachings, Buddhist philosophy, tantric Buddhism, and contemplative higher education. Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men. She has also edited Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Program Details

Registration takes place from 2– 5 pm on your program start date. All participants and volunteer staff must check in at our Guest Registration house. Please arrive before 5 pm to check-in and settle into your accommodations. Your program begins with dinner, followed by an orientation. The Guest Registration house closes at 5 pm after which no one is available to provide information or orient you to your accommodations. All programs usually end at 12:30 pm on the program's departure date, followed by lunch. Further specifics regarding your program's schedule will be available upon arrival. If applicable, you will receive an email from the program coordinator in the week prior to your program with any additional information you may need.