Four Dignities Winter Weekthun Retreat

with Acharya Richard John

December 26th—December 31st (2018)

Date details +
  • $260 Program Price
  • $320 Patron Price
  • Or offer what you can afford
Room: Decatur

Please Join Us for Our Winter Retreat

This year the Winter Retreat will feature two practice tracks: One for shamatha practitioners and one for Shambhala tantrikas. Both will be structured according to the Four Dignities. While participants are welcome to attend parts of the retreat as they are able (see below), it is beneficial to begin at the beginning and attend the entire retreat. Full attendance is necessary for students wishing to meet weekthun (one-week group practice) requirements.


Shamatha Track: Weekthun 

     Open to everyone

Our practice will include Shambhala Meditation, which will be introduced for those who are new to it. This simple meditation opens our senses, touches our heart, and awakens our connection to the world around us. Shamatha practice will follow the Four Dignities, one per day, with variations each day on the shamatha method appropriate for each dignity.


Vajrayana Track: Ashe Mahamudra 

     Open to Shambhala tantrikas, who have attended Sacred World Assembly or Vajrayana Seminary

The Ashe Mahamudra is a profound practice liturgy written by the Sakyong. This practice aligns the traditional investigation and pointing out instructions of Mahamudra and Trekcho with the wisdom of Ashe and the path of the Four Dignities. A lung, which is required, will be given on the morning of December 27. Each day we will practice the entire liturgy, with emphasis on one dignity per day.

When you register, please say in the Comments Box which track you are registering for, Shamatha or Vajrayana. Thank you.


Each day will begin with coffee and tea at 8:30, with separate morning chants for each track at 9:00, and concluding at 6:00pm. Each group will have practice talks, meditation instruction, times for conversation, and optional interviews.


The first day, Wednesday Dec. 26, will be devoted entirely to Shambhala Meditation and shamatha practice. Each day from Thursday Dec. 22 through Monday Dec. 31 will focus on the practice and teachings for one dignity: Tiger, Lion, Garuda and Dragon respectively. Dec. 31 will conclude with a Shambhala Sadhana feast, open to everyone.

A vegetarian lunch will be provided each day for a suggested donation of five dollars.

Even if you cannot commit to a full week of practice, you are welcome to join us during the retreat. We ask that participants commit to at least a half-day of attendance, either morning or afternoon session. If you would like to join us for a particular day, please register with "Offer what you can afford" and in the comments section tell which day or days you are coming. The program cost per day is $50, or offer what you can afford.

Questions? Melissa Twaroski, [email protected]

Acharya Richard John, an early student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, was appointed acharya by the Sakyong. For many years he has taught Shambhala Buddhist programs in the US, Canada and Mexico. After careers as a designer and a management consultant, Acharya John served as director of the Halifax Shambhala Centre. He completed the first three-year group retreat at Gampo Abbey, and now teaches full time. He and his wife Liz reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 Our Generosity Policy

In order to make our programs accessible to everyone, we have a “offer what you can afford” policy. If the program price is an obstacle for you, please decide what works for you and offer whatever you can.

For those who can offer more, we invite you to pay the Patron Price to help cover the costs for others who are not able to pay the full price.

Heart Gifts

It is customary to offer a monetary Heart Gift to the teacher. Acharyas receive no salary or benefits, and  depend upon this income in order to teach for a living. This is completely voluntary according to your inspiration, and there is no suggested amount.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel less than 48 hours from the start of the program, your program fees will be credited towards another program, less a processing fee of $15.