The tenth annual one month Ngöndro (preliminary practices) Retreat and the first annual one month Tsawa Sum (Three Roots) Retreat at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery will take place this year starting on the 28th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar (December 10, 2023 – January 6, 2024).
Due to his great kindness and compassion and wish to provide platforms for both study and practice of the Dharma in particular to the lay Himalayan community, H.E. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche established a summer Study Program and a winter Practice Program at Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling Monastery.
The Study Program is a four-month course on Fundamental Buddhist Studies and how to read and write Tibetan (Sambhota) script. This is offered daily and free of charge during the summer and is attended mostly by lay Himalayan practitioners.
The Practice Program consists of the Ngöndro Retreat and the Tsawa Sum Retreat (only for those who have completed the Ngöndro Retreat at least 3 times). These are opportunities for the retreatants to receive teachings and learn detailed practice instructions from senior monks at the monastery.
The Ngöndro that is practiced is the Thukdrub Barche Künsel Ngöndro Retreat (preliminary practices on Accomplishing the Guru’s Wisdom Mind, Dispeller of All Obstacles). This is further divided into the outer preliminaries and the inner preliminaries. The outer preliminaries are practices that turn our mind towards the Dharma with the help of four topics: reflections on our precious human rebirth, the truth of impermanence and death, the causes and effects of karma, and the shortcomings of samsaric existence. The inner preliminaries are practices that are performed to purify negativity and accumulate merit. These include the one hundred thousand practices of refuge with the performance of 10 branches of merit accumulation, bodhicitta cultivation, Vajrasattva recitation, mandala offering, and guru yoga. Within the Ngöndro Retreat, every day there are also sessions on Chöd and Mönlam prayer sadhanas.
Tsawa Sum is the practice of the 3 roots: Lama (the root of blessings), Yidam (the root of accomplishments), and Dakini/Dharmapāla (the root of activity). For Lama the focus is Padmasaṃbhava and the practice is Trinley Nyingpo; for Yidam the focus is Vajrasattva and the practice is Sangtik Dorsem; and for Dakini/Dharmapāla the focus is Tārā and the practice is Drolchok.
Around 700 participants will be attending the Ngöndro Retreat and the Tsawa Sum Retreat this year, mostly Himalayan practitioners, but also some international practitioners including students from Rangjung Yeshe Institute. The retreatants follow a very rigorous schedule without any break throughout the month, starting each day at 5:30 am and concluding at 6:30 pm. The program is offered free of charge and the monastery provides breakfast, lunch, tea, and snacks each day to all attendees.
May everyone rejoice in this noble and virtuous event and dedicate the merit for the benefit of all sentient beings. If you would like, your support of the Ngöndro and Tsawa Sum Retreats would be very welcome.