Program for a 3-year retreat
Within the Nyingma tradition, the path to enlightenment is divided into 9 yanas (vehicles).
The 3-year retreat will focus on the last three yanas known as the Inner Tantras, having specific focus on Dzogchen practices:
· The Yana of Mahayoga
· The Yana of Anuyoga
· The Yana of Atiyoga
The Atiyoga, or Dzogchen, which could be translated as “Great Completion”, is the ultimate goal of all vehicles and paths. “Dzokpa” means “perfect” or “complete”, as well as “that which is exhausted, which has ceased”. ” Chen ” means great. It could be translated as “Great Completion”, as everything within it is complete and perfect, completed. It must be understood that this is not the ultimate goal in the sense that we should strive for this. Dzogchen is described through three aspects – foundation, path and the fruit. It is said that from the viewpoint of the foundation, our nature is perfect, complete from the very beginning; it is a natural state, where nothing needs to be added or taken away. It has been so from the beginning, like sky. It is not something that has been achieved, but it has been spontaneously fully realized.
However, as our ordinary state of mind is obscured by several kinds of afflictions and ignorance that do not allow to see us our natural state, that is why we have to start from cleansing and dissipating these obscurations through variety of Buddhist practices that we could clearly see our natural state which had been concealed from us for so long.
Instructions during three-year retreat
Instructions and necessary empowerments are given by an English-speaking retreat master, a resident lama.
Practice texts are most complete in French, almost everything is available in English and German (as of 2018). The texts are translated from Tibetan.
At the end of each part of the practice, the firepuja and riwo sangchö (smoke offering), purificatory rituals are performed.
Sometimes Gangteng Rinpoche itself will teach (in particular, the teachings of dzogchen, trekchö and thögel).
- Lama Norbu Gamtso ngöndro for 5-6 months
- Lama Norbu Gyamtso lejang for 6 months
- Tsalung for 3 months
- Vajrakilaya for 6 months
- Künzang Gongdü ngöndro – 10 000 times
- Khorde rushen (time not specified)
- Trekchö for 3 months
- Dorje Phagmo practice for 3 months
- Mönsel Drönme for 3 months
- Thögel for 100 days
At the end of the 3-year retreat, a certificate will be issued.
After having completed the three-year, three-month, and three-day retreat, retreatants leave the retreat premises and pass the torch to the new group of retreatants. In Tibet and Bhutan, musical instruments such as kangling (Tibetan trumpet) are played, and white silk scarves are offered as a sign for reverence.
Both groups perform a tsok ritual in the temple: those emerging from retreat take it as a thanksgiving ceremony that they were able to successfully complete the retreat. New participants take it as an auspicious ceremony to create favorable conditions for the start of their retreat (an auspicious day should be chosen to start the retreat).
At least six months before the beginning of the retreat.