Program Details

Mahamudra Retreat - Pointing out the Dharmakaya

with Brian Hilliard
September 15 / 6:00 AM - September 22 / 6:00 AM

The Shambhala Buddhist lineage holds three profound streams of teaching: The Shambhala terma, Dzogchen, and Mahamudra.

Mahamudra, the "great seal,” established as the basis for our vajrayana path by the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and encouraged by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is revered as a powerful support for all other tantric practices, and is also considered to be a complete practice path in itself. Using extremely simple and direct inquiry, it  focuses on recognizing the true nature of mind through direct experience--the essence of all vajrayana practice.

In this seven-day group retreat, tantrikas will practice "Pointing Out the Dharmakaya", the famous practice instructions of the Ninth Karmapa, Wangchuk Dorje. The retreat will follow the general guidelines set down for the Mahamudra in the Three-Year Retreat at Gampo Abbey, using silence and a disciplined schedule to create the ideal container for practice. It will also connect this tradition with Shambhala imagery and teachings by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

The pre-requisite is attendance at Shambhala Vajrayana Seminary or Sacred World Assembly. This retreat is appropriate for tantrikas at all levels of practice. Participants who have attended Scorpion Seal Assembly will have the opportunity to do the trekcho and appropriate practices during this retreat.

All participants must enter the retreat at the very beginning and commit to the entire time. Students who have previously completed a Mahamudra retreat may request permission to leave earlier, if necessary.


Teacher: A student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1978, Brian Hilliard was recently appointed Shastri by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. For many years he has taught Shambhala Buddhist programs in North America and Europe. In 1997 he completed the three-year retreat at Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which included 3 months of Mahamudra practice. He has also studied the Mahamudra with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche during his cycle of teachings at Karme Choling and Dechen Chöling. He has frequently taught mahamudra courses in Europe. Brian is presently co-director of Casa Garuda, a retreat, contemplative and vacation center in Umbria, Italy.

Please note that there will be additional material costs.

Go to Dechen Chöling's website