Shared Breaths, Unified Paths: Echoes from the Vidyadhara and Beyond 


By Otto Pichlhoefer

The Wheel of Dharma is turning again, and truly, it never stopped. But to me, the upcoming Three Yana Retreat feels like a fresh breeze, the Windhorse of our Sangha rising. 

I am from the borderlands. I grew up in post-WWII Austria, very close to the Iron Curtain. However, 40 years ago, I found myself in rural Pennsylvania to take part in one of the famed Vajradhatu Seminaries, about to experience a total immersion in the Three Yanas of the Buddhadharma as well as the magnificence of the Way of Shambhala. I had encountered the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche less than three years prior, and my presence at the seminary was due to the fact that I was from Europe…we had been grandfathered in. It turned out that I would take Refuge, take the Bodhisattva vow, and receive what is sometimes termed the introduction to the nature of one’s mind all in one go. These three months left an indelible imprint on me and guided many decisions of my life to come. 

Reflecting in the presence of what these experiences had been, it is hard to pin them down. It was not the teachings in themselves or only the presence of the teacher. It was that unique experience of being part of a living mandala. One of the pervasive feelings was that of having arrived home, finally. This feeling would rearise in situations like the Dorje Kasung Encampments, many Dharma programs, and the Shambhala Trainings. All of these moments had the characteristic of an environmentally dense experience of the living Dharma birthed by a community of practitioners treading the path that the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche had carved. 

I am overjoyed that some of his students, guided by his exhortation of “never give up,” are convening the Three Yana Retreat this coming summer in DMC. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be an active part of it. 

Of course, times have changed. It won’t be like in the old days. We live in a new world with new challenges and new promises. But one thing remains unchanged: the need for humans to meet in person to form a living mandala out of their shared experiences and breaths. That is what lineages are made of. Let’s fly the victory banner of the Dharma together, one breath at a time…

Join us at DMC in July 2024 for the Three Yana Retreat!

1 reply
  1. Dhi Good says:

    Wow Otto — what a great story! And how wonderful that you are returning to the land this summer to help recreate this immersive experience for others. I’m excited to witness this echo of the Vidyadhara’s precious teachings.


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