Mahayana Summer Seminar: Prajnaparamita

Holly Gayley and Loden Nyima

July 25–August 9, 2023

Tuition $0 + 15 nights
Registration requires completion of a questionnaire, please see further down this page for link to questionnaire.

Holly Gayley

Loden Nyima

Ineffable Prajnaparamita, beyond thought and words,

Unborn, unceasing, the very essence of space,

The domain of discriminating awareness wisdom,

Mother of all buddhas, we pay homage to you.

The true nature of our minds and hearts is the perfection of wisdom, known as prajnaparamita—the boundless, spacious, and wise love and compassion within all beings and reality itself.

The Buddha taught the Mahayana teachings on prajnaparamita to help us recognize and have confidence in our true nature, and to self-liberate the destructive emotions (kleshas) and conditioned patterns of actions (karma) which temporarily block access and create vicious cycles of suffering.

As the Sadhana of Mahamudra says, “Good and bad, happy and sad, all thoughts vanish into emptiness like an imprint of a bird in the sky.

When we recognize that our thoughts and emotions are not as solid as they appear, we are poised for healing and transformation. We can gather the courage to move through obstacles and blockages—individual, relational, and social—that may have seemed insurmountable previously.

We’re living in a period of rapid acceleration of social forces that threaten the survival of our planet, its creatures, and humanity. We all need more time and space in order to feel and respond with heart and skill to what is happening and to engage in lasting transformation from the inside out.

Guided practice and study in group retreat is an important step to reconnect with the depth of our own innate wisdom and compassion that we can harness to create meaningful, sacred harmony and balance with the natural elements and to address social and environmental injustices.

Please join us in coming home to wisdom, embodied in the “mother of all the buddhas,” and inherent within each of us. We will practice and study the profound Prajnaparamita teachings.

About  the  Program

The Summer Seminar at Drala Mountain Center is an immersion into the vast and profound Mahayana teachings of Buddhism. With a different theme each summer, we practice and study together in silent mornings with meditation and movement and in engaged afternoons with talks and group discussion, all in the invigorating beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

This year, during the first two weeks of the Summer Seminar, we will explore the Prajnaparamita teachings in a variety of ways, some more intuitive, some more analytical, some directly in meditation itself including working with pith instructions from the Sutra Mahamudra tradition.

This will be our fifth year of the Summer Seminar. We have grown into a wonderful community and look forward to warmly welcoming new friends every year. All who are interested in these teachings are encouraged to attend. We craft each year’s seminar to be accessible entry points for first time participants while continuing to deepen and introduce new themes for returning participants.

See below for information about the registration process. Click the link to apply:

Who Should Attend?

This retreat is appropriate for newer to advanced meditation practitioners, including those on the teaching path. It is not intended as an initial introduction to Buddhism or meditation, so some background is helpful. Please feel free to reach out to Loden at for assistance in deciding whether this is for you. The retreat is limited to 40 participants. We encourage early application (see link above) to ensure you get a spot.

Registration Process

There are two steps to the registration process: 1) Completing the questionnaire (see link above) and 2) Registering for lodging. You may register for lodging once you have been notified of acceptance into the retreat. The purpose of the questionnaire is to ensure the suitability of the retreat for each participant and to help the teaching team tailor the program to participant needs. Participants will be contacted soon after receipt of your completed questionnaire. If approved, you can then register for the program and lodging.

Lodging and Scholarship Information

Lodging Recommendation

We recommend selecting lodging in the Red Feather Cabins or Tent options as these are closest to the Red Feather Campus, where the seminar will be held. Lodging rates have been reduced by 23 – 37% depending on lodging type.

Please review the DMC COVID-19 policy before completing registration.

Scholarship Information

Click here to learn more about Financial assistance and scholarships.  BIPOC individuals are encouraged to apply.  If you would like a scholarship, please indicate on the questionnaire (see links above). Once you have been confirmed, you will be instructed to apply for a scholarship.

Covid Mitigation
DMC and the teachers are committed to the health and well-being of all involved in this retreat. As COVID mitigation is a dynamic situation given new variants and developing treatments, we will determine our retreat protocols in consultation with medical professionals as the time of the retreat draws near. We will communicate those protocols in advance of the retreat. We can share now that the retreat is scheduled to be held in an open-air tent, which we hope will preclude a need for masking during talks, discussions, and meditation practice.
Please note that the retreat’s ultimate mitigation protocols may be stricter than DMC’s center-wide protocols in place at the time of the retreat. Accordingly, during the retreat you may come into contact with others who are not subject to the same protocols. Please keep this in mind if you select a shared housing option.
Please review and understand Drala Mountain’s current COVID-19 policy before visiting.

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. Gifts can be made by cash, check or paypal.


Holly Gayley

Holly Gayley is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet and associate professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research areas include gender and sexuality in Buddhist tantra, ethical reform in contemporary Tibet, and theorizing translation, both literary and cultural, in the transmission of Buddhist teachings to North America. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet (2016); co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet (2017); translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo (2019); and editor of Voices from Larung Gar: Shaping Tibetan Buddhism for the Twenty-First Century  (2021). For two decades, she has regularly led meditation workshops and retreats. At the University of Colorado, she is a founding member of a Contemplative Resource Center on campus and part of the co-design process for the Mindful Campus initiative.

Loden Nyima

Gelong Loden Nyima is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. He lived at Gampo Abbey from 2009 – 2017 where he practiced intensively, completed a cycle of advanced studies (Shedra), and served in various roles including as a senior teacher. He now lives at Drala Mountain Center where he serves as Resident Teacher and a founding faculty member for the Path of Meditation, the Summer Seminar, and other programs. He spends a portion of each year in retreat, travels to continue his own dharma education, and can often be seen jogging around the land at DMC.

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. This program formally ends on the second to last day with the final day being a departure day only with no formal programming. 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.