The Retreats

This annual winter retreat gives you the opportunity to engage in nine consecutive weeks of guided retreats: starting the foundations of The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, followed by four weeks of retreat focusing on the practice of the Four Great Preliminary Guide Retreats, and finishing with four weeks of silent retreats on Vajrayana Mahamudra. The Four Great Preliminary Guides and Vajrayana Mahamudra Retreats are based on Parts 1 and 2 of The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, and we will use the beautiful prayers, The Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land According to Highest Yoga Tantra.

You are welcome to attend one week, a few weeks or the entire nine weeks of retreat. Each week of retreat will stand alone as a complete retreat, but each week will also build on the the previous week, leading us toward the realizations of Mahamudra.

Laying the Foundation

All Buddha’s teachings can be condensed into 14 meditations. Known as Kadam Lamrim, or The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, these instructions explain how to enter, progress along and complete the spiritual path. During this retreat, we explore these in a meditative manner to gain deep experience of renunciation, universal compassion and wisdom realizing emptiness.

The Four Great
Preliminary Guides

The four great preliminary guides are invaluable tools for successful spiritual practice. They are sometimes called ‘gateways’ because by stepping through them we can enter into deep and powerful states of meditation, and gain authentic realizations. In each week of retreat, we will spend time focusing on distinct yet essential preliminary practices that will prepare the foundation for Mahamudra realizations.

Within the tranquility of retreat, we will focus on finding true refuge . By drawing closer to the Three Jewels through devotional prayer and meditation we will be protected from the painful paths of samsara, and discover everlasting happiness and peace. We create an unshakable foundation in our mind to gain deep realizations of Sutra and Tantra – the priceless gifts of Buddha for our modern day life.

Explore the deeply meaningful and healing experience of purification in retreat conditions. Meditation on Buddha Vajrasattva cleanses our unhappiness, delusion, and negative karma accumulated over years and lifetimes. These negativities remain in our mind giving rise to suffering and obstructing our spiritual progress. However, even a small amount of purification makes a big difference in our life. We will feel light and happy all the time, and find that pure states of mind such as love, compassion, and wisdom arise naturally and easily within us. Eventually, we will become completely pure.

The practice of the mandala offering is a scientific method to attain the Pure Land of a Buddha, and a powerful method to enrich our mind with an abundance of merit. This is true inner wealth and as our merit increases  we will find our happiness grows and all our pure wishes – both worldly and spiritual – are easily fulfilled. Since our experience of meditation is sustained by our collection of merit this practice is an indispensable tool that helps us to realize Mahamudra swiftly and easily.
Guru Yoga is the root of all spiritual realizations because it is the gateway to receiving powerful blessings deep into our heart. This nurtures the seeds of meditation and spiritual practice that we have planted within our mind, and transforms them into actual realizations. Without blessings our understanding remains merely intellectual. As modern day people it is particularly important for us to receive our Gurus blessings continuously because they transform our mind from attachment to renunciation, from self cherishing to bodhichitta, and from ignorance to wisdom.

Silent Retreats
on Vajrayana Mahamudra

Having established a foundation of the Preliminary Guides within our mind, we will delve into 4 weeks of silent retreat, striving towards the realizations of the Mahamudra. Each week will build upon the last, helping practitioners to reveal the nature of their own mind: the union of our own great bliss and emptiness. Learn about the benefits of silent retreat.

Meditation on our root mind is particularly powerful in overcoming distracting thoughts – the main obstacle to concentration – and in ripening the realization of clear light. During this retreat, practical instruction on training in meditative stabilization will be combined with a lucid explanation of the nature of our mind for a truly powerful and concentrated journey of meditation.
This retreat will focus on developing the wisdom of superior seeing observing emptiness. Combining the instructions in How to Understand the Mind with The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra, we will go on an experiential journey of understanding, learning to develop correct beliefs about emptiness and then transform them into valid cognizers and direct realizations through contemplation and meditation. This one meditation is the universal panacea that heals all suffering because it destroys our self grasping.
The eleven yogas of Vajrayogini are a special method to transform all our daily activities into profound experiences of bliss and emptiness. This retreat will focus on developing tranquil abiding through generating ourselves as Vajrayogini and meditating on her body mandala. Training in these meditations we will gradually come under her care and be guided to the Pure Land of Keajra. In these degenerate times the blessings of this practice are very powerful and particularly helpful in overcoming strong delusion.

*This retreat requires Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment or JeTsongkhapa empowerment with the Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka mantra transmission.

Following the precious instructions that are given within The Oral Instructions of Mahamudra we will learn to open the door of our central channel by penetrating our heart chakra with bodhichitta. Then our mind will enter into our indestructible drop and dissolve into the indestructible wind and mind at our heart. This will lead us to the profound experience of Great Bliss – which is the secret to gaining the happiness of enlightenment swiftly and easily in our modern day world.

*This retreat requires Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment or JeTsongkhapa empowerment with the Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka mantra transmission.

Three Ways of Joining in Retreat

Come for the Weekend

If you are interested in gaining a taste of retreat, coming to the start of a retreat is a great option. Leave your smartphone at home and decide to take a break from your daily activities and allow your mind to abide in the peace of meditation. In order to maintain the integrity of the week’s retreat, dropping into a retreat after the weekend is discouraged.

Come for a Week

Our International Winter Retreats provide you with an extremely diverse and comprehensive lineup of retreats. The topics and presentation by Gen Samten perfectly address the needs of anyone wishing to deepen their experience of Kadam Dharma in modern day times. It consists of nine week-long modules that are stand-alone. Choose a retreat topic that inspires you and take your meditation practice to the next level.

Immerse Yourself

Immersion into retreat is blissful and peaceful. Through attending multiple weeks or the entire 9-week season, a transformation of mind will develop deep within your heart. Your heart will mix with the beauty of Kadam Dharma and your life will change forever.

Other Retreats

Vajrayogini Close Retreat
Jan 3 – Feb 3

Vajrayogini Fire Puja at KMC New York
Mar 18

Heruka Close Retreat
Feb 10 – Mar 17

Heruka Fire Puja at KMC New York
Mar 21

This winter, we will offer close retreats on the practices of Heruka and Vajrayogini. These are intensive retreats that will help us to draw closer to these Buddhas and to awaken our Buddha nature. Only available to those who have received the Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerments of Heruka and Vajrayogini. For more information please email our Education Program Coordinator at

Benefits of Retreat at KMC New York

Guidance by Gen Samten Kelsang

  • Over 30 years of study and practice of Buddha’s teachings.
  • Has had the unique opportunity to engage in a three year retreat.
  • He presents Buddha’s most profound teachings in a practical and accessible way.
  • Carries with him a wealth of experience in skillfully guiding sincere practitioners to profound meditative insights on retreat.

Observing Silence

  • For the first part of the retreat we will observe partial silence across the property – from the time you wake up until lunch.

    This structure provides a beneficial retreat boundary while also giving practitioners the opportunity to discuss their experience of the teachings.

  • Towards the end of the retreats we will be in complete silence.

    Observing complete silence greatly accelerates our spiritual development by allowing the mind to become very peaceful and concentrated in a relatively short period of time.

The Good Qualities of Silence

We all want to improve our concentration. As we go deeper into silence our mind becomes clear and focused. We are able to hold a meditation object with stronger mindfulness, our concentration improves and our wisdom increases.
From silence comes stillness. As we refrain from habitual conversation, our scattered thoughts subside and we experience a feeling of deep inner peace. Our mind becomes like a still pool of water undisturbed by ripples.
Within silence, we discover deep inner happiness and joy. Distracted by external sources of enjoyment we are always seeking ephemeral happiness outside of ourselves. As we discover the beauty of silence our mind turns inwards and we become aware of an inner wellspring of happiness and joy that fills our heart to overflowing.
When we observe silence we stop talking and thus easily notice the presence of our underlying mental chatter. Externally we may have stopped talking but our inner voice is still happily chattering away! By observing silence we stop giving that inner voice energy and gradually it becomes quiet. When mental chatter no longer intrudes into our meditation our mind naturally mixes with our object of meditation.
In silence, we engage with the meditation object in a more intimate way. We stop ‘chatting’ about the Dharma from our mouth and start listening to the Dharma deep within our heart which gives us a deep inner experience of the teachings we receive. Penetrating insights arise and since we are able to hold onto them with firm mindfulness we find Dharma experience pervades and nourishes our heart at a very deep level.

A Perfect Place for Retreat

  • Within the stillness of retreat, we are able to step back from the busyness of our daily life and focus on what is truly meaningful.
  • Simply dwelling at the Temple our worries and problems fall away leaving us to enjoy a feeling of happiness and peace that arises naturally from within.
  • Amongst the breathtaking and natural beauty of the woodlands and Temple grounds, enjoy the warmth and hospitality of a spiritual community, and the company of people from all over the world gathered together with a single purpose: to deepen their experience of Kadam Dharma through meditation.
  • As our mind begins to settle we experience deeper and deeper levels of concentration and peace. Our heart mixes with the beauty of Kadam Dharma and our life is changed forever.

A Glimpse of Retreat