Blessings: Celebrating the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya
Judith Simmer-Brown, Greg Smith, Janet Solyntjes and Susan Skjei
September 1–5, 2022
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.
In the video below, the retreat leaders discuss their connections to the Great Stupa and the sacred lands it sits on, and how it channels the lineage blessings of Shambhala and Tibetan Buddhism. Note: Loden Nyima is no longer leading a track for this program.
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.
Greg Smith, a well known sangha artist and thangka painter, has lived and painted at Shambhala Mountain Center for many years. He has been a student of meditation since 1976, first with Chögyam Trungpa and later with his son Sakyong Mipham. Greg has taught meditation and Buddhist studies since 1982.
Janet Solyntjes, MA, is a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher and has been leading silent meditation retreats in the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years. She provides online study groups and individual mentoring to mindfulness teachers-in-training and has been on the faculty of Naropa University, the Center for Mindfulness, and the Engaged Mindfulness Institute.
Janet facilitates the annual leadership retreat: Leading with Genuine Care (formerly donothing retreat) for entrepreneurs and supports business leaders and teams in the integration of mindfulness into workplace settings.