Program Details

Spring Dathün Retreat - Just Be

with Barbara Märtens & Simon La Haye
May 17 / 5:00 AM - June 15 / 6:00 AM

Intensive Month of Meditation


Through rich and profound meditation techniques, a Dathün is an exploration of our humanity. It is aimed at anyone interested in making friends with who they are, at a fundamental level. Literally meaning ‘moon session’ it is a month-long program dedicated to the sitting practice of meditation. From early morning to evening we use our time to develop a friendly, genuine yet caring relationship with our body, speech and mind.

During a Dathün we learn how to return to the present moment with our breath, one breath at a time. As the breath begins to calm, the mind follows. Through intensive and regular practice, we can become more and more curious about the functioning of our mind and be truly in touch with our physical sensations, sense perceptions, emotions and mental patterns. This allows us to develop the courage and kindness we need to look at our direct experience. We can then enjoy the stability and joy of a mind that is by nature content, creative and happy.

This Dathün will include teachings and practice of Shambhala Meditation. Through meditation, we connect to our basic human goodness, our natural worthiness. Shambhala Meditation creates the proper atmosphere for this.  With these instructions, we are guided to “just be”, to be ourselves and to find trust in our true nature, by simply being. It is about synchronizing body and mind and by connecting genuinely with our experience as it unfolds moment to moment, appreciate and celebrate our true human potential.

We will work with three simple steps – feeling, being, touching. The Sakyong says “It is through this process that the mind progressively develops strength and trust in basic goodness, finally reaching full saturation with its own understanding and experience. When we have a strong mind, no matter what thoughts occur, we maintain our mental seat. Whether we have good thoughts or bad thoughts, we maintain feeling, being and touching our basic goodness.”

Shambhala Meditation is an approach to living in difficult times. We do not idly wander, waiting to be saved. Rather, by the exertion of engaging in meditation, we uplift our state of mind and our life. As we practice, intelligence and courageousness convene.

“One does not try to be basically good, one simply recognizes that one is basically good. This is how we feel, be, and touch the primal sense of who we are.“ Sakyong Mipham

This Dathün is a unique opportunity to be introduced to and deepen our understanding of Shambhala Meditation, which is the most recent fundamental teaching implemented by the Sakyong.

Recommended Literature: “The Shambhala Principle” by Sakyong Mipham



Led by senior teachers Barbara Märtens and Simon La Haye, guided meditation will be given with full instruction in the six points of posture. Each day will consist of:

  • Eight to nine hours of alternate sitting and walking meditation supported by mind-body disciplines.

  • Intellectual and emotional support with lectures, discussion groups and individual meditation interviews with qualified instructors, regularly throughout the retreat.

  • Functional speech and silent periods will be observed to support the meditation practice.

  • Meals served and eaten in formal oryoki-style derived from the Zen monastic tradition of eating as practice.

  • Exploration of the natural beauty and expansive space Dechen Choling offers during free periods. 

Above all else, meditation in a Dathun is a very personal journey. It gives the sincere seeker time. It takes great courage to take the time for ourselves, away from our habitual tendencies and daily distractions. You will be provided with space to experience the mutual support and inspiration created by group discipline, held in a safe, nurturing container. You can read more about the Dathün's dialy schedule here.


This programme starts on Saturday May 17 at 20:00 and ends on Saturday June 14 in the evening. You can choose to leave anytime next day, on Sunday June 15.

For those unable to attend the entire month there is the option of attending shorter retreat periods:

First Two Weeks Half Dathün Retreat

Date: 17 May - 1 June 2014

Last Two Weeks Half Dathün Retreat

Date: 1 June - 15 June 2014



This programme is open to relative newcomers as well as experienced practitioners seeking to engage in a period of intensive practice. 


This retreat is taught in English. Translation into other languages are available at no extra costs. Please give us notice of your request as early as possible - about 2 months in advance -, so that we can provide translation services. In case you register short-term please get in touch with us in case you need translation into your language.

Go to Dechen Chöling's website