Crestone 2016 Retreats ~ Reflections


Pre-Retreat Practice (8/9-11, 2016)

Pundarika’s three-day pre-retreat practice sessions will be repeated in 2017. Our first retreat in August, 2016 was created so that people could acclimate to the high altitude of Crestone and also find time to relax from traveling. The three days of practice were held in the teaching tent on the Yeshe Rangsal retreat land. A mixture of audio/video recordings of Rinpoche’s guided meditations and dharma talks were offered, as well as chi gong, yoga breathing exercises and silent meditation. This will be a free retreat for all those attending one of the upcoming August, 2017 retreats in Crestone and students can choose to attend one, two or all three days.

_DSC7543Pre-retreat set-up at the utility building

DSC7632-3Waiting for the retreats to begin

_DSC7618-PanoPre-retreat students in meditation at the tent

_DSC7750Grounded Body, Open Heart and Clear Mind: A Path to Dzogchen  (8/12-18, 2016)

What a powerful retreat! Ten people took refuge in a beautifully serene and empowering ceremony. Amidst unrelenting thunderstorms, Rinpoche skillfully articulated the harmony of the handshake practice wherein feelings and awareness reconnect; he instructed us in Lung practice (gentle vase breathing), as well as the nature of mind practice.  He made a case for how and why wounded and neurotic patterns get “stuck” in our subtle bodies, and sabotage our ability to progress on the path.  He made an ironclad case as to why we all need to work with our habitual tendencies, and how we can work with our patterns of reactivity alongside the natural clarity of our minds.  It was a masterful presentation and hammered home the importance of practicing with all that arises.

_DSC7636Registration and checking in

_DSC7688Outside the tent on break

_DSC7605Neil & James on grounds, tent, and media logistics

_DSC7871Receiving teachings from Rinpoche


Rinpoche giving teachings with Adam Kane translating _DSC7793 Student taking refuge


_DSC7866Teachings on the Bardo Experience: A Bardo Retreat (8/19 – 25, 2016)

The Bardo teachings were deep and meaningful. Rinpoche dug into deep issues, especially our assumption that our ordinary perception is reliable and true.  He explained how everything we know and rely on will collapse during the dying process, and therefore, how crucial it is to prepare in our practice.  He gave intimate lucid teachings on sleep, dying, and the various other Bardos–we felt the entirety of life and death to be more of an exciting opportunity rather than frightening and overwhelming.  He peppered the Bardo teachings with powerful nature of mind teachings, emphasizing that the heart of the practice is our best protector.

_DSC7667Receiving Bardo teachings with happy  hearts

_DSC7729Eloquently teaching on a very tough topic

_DSC7847Stephanie Gaines generously presenting on the Crestone End of Life Project


Sleep Resolve ~ a prayer about dreaming by Tsoknyi Rinpoche                                                         “When dreaming, may I be aware of the fact that it is just a dream state; may I recognize that the dreaming is just a dream and when doing so, may I remember the practice so I am able to train further in meditation. While training, may I be able to recognize mind essence.”