Program Details

Mahamudra retreat

with Susan Chapman & Russell Rodgers
November 15 / 6:00 PM - November 25 / 9:00 PM


We now have 23 participants for the Mahamudra Retreat. This number is our desired maximum, based mainly on our cooking facilities. However, our experience is that often a few people have to make last minute cancellations, so please feel free to go ahead and register, but don't pay a deposit. We will contact you as soon as a position becomes available.

Working with Acharya Susan Chapman we have designed a retreat that fulfills Shambhala path requirements for an acharya-led weekthun for ngondro and werma practitioners.  At the same time this retreat will provide an opportunity to learn and practice mahamudra vipashyana investigations. As you know, our rigden-related Shambhala practices are closely tied in with the level of cosmic mirror or dharmakaya. Mahamudra is a powerful way to access that level experientially, and that is what we will emphasize in this retreat in order enhance our understanding of the deeper meaning behind ngondro and werma.

In this retreat we will us the vipashyana investigations of mahamudra to strengthen and stabilize the nature of mind transmission that we received at Vajrayana Seminary or Sacred World Assembly. In Shambhala terminology, we refer to this true nature as absolute ashe, the ultimate court, primordial rigden or cosmic mirror. Rigden Ngondro and Werma practice are symbolic methods that lay the ground for realizing this transmission.

In the mahamudra meditation, we take a direct route. Here we use traditional investigations to uncover the dharmakaya/cosmic mirror qualities that underlie our generation stage practices and are inherent in our everyday experience of mind, thoughts, perceptions of the world, and impressions of duality. Through these practices, we turn simple sitting meditation into a profound practice.

In this retreat, our main practice will be based Wangchuk Dorje's seminal mahamudra text, Pointing Out the Dharmakaya. We will compliment this with the study the four dignities and the four yogas of mahamudra. 

The retreat will run from Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 25th.Thursday, November 15 and Monday, November 26 will be arrival and departure days. There will be a dinner at the Centre at 6 pm on the arrival day.

The retreat is open to werma and ngondro practitioners in the Shambhala tradition.

Basic accommodation at the centre and a limited number of billets are available, and most meals will be provided at the centre.


The Directors

Acharya Susan Chapman has done three year retreat at Gampo Abby. Afterwards she was asked by Pema Chodron to stay for another six years at the Abby as retreat master. She has lead many mahamudra retreats at various centres in North America. Susan is the author of The Five Keys to Mindful Communication and she presently works as a part time consultant, leads workshops in mindful communication and is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Community.


Russell Rodgers completed his first mahamudra retreat under the direction of Thrangu Rinpoche in 1990. When questions arose, he began studying shortly afterwards with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamptso Rinpoche and continued to study with him for twelve years. He has completed several personal mahamudra retreats and uses regular group nyinthuns extend his mahamudra practice into daily life.



Reserving a Place

Space is limited to about 25 participants. The suggested donation is $500 (see our Generosity Policy). Plan for a teacher's gift. Your reservation will be considered complete when we have received your completed registration form and a $100 reservation deposit (payable to Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre and refundable before November 1st. To register, go to  Registration for Mahamudra Retreat. You can make your reservation deposit through our Donations web page at:


Practice Texts

Please bring your ngondro or werma texts, and the practice text for mahamudra “Pointing out the Dharmakaya” by Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje. If you don’t have this text, you can purchase it from the Nalanda Translation Committee:



Air Canada flies into Castlegar, B.C., about half an hour’s drive from Nelson. There is a shuttle < > that can pick you up at the airport and deliver you to where you are staying. They suggest making reservations ahead of time for the shuttle. The shuttle costs $24, plus $8 if you want to be delivered to some place other than the Hume Hotel (which is a block away from the Shambhala Centre).


From the USA

American citizens should check the current requirements for entering Canada at:


You are entering as a visitor. They don’t care if you are going to a Buddhist meditation retreat, but some border personnel may think that you are working in Canada if you get a discount in exchange for doing work. 

Go to Nelson's website