Buddhist Philosophy

Inspire Yourself by Doing Home Retreat

Back in December 2015, Samye challenged our community to add some practice inspiration by doing a short “home retreat”. We would like to share a short thank-you message from Rinpoche to all those who participated in the ‘Inspire Yourself’ Retreat. For those of you who participated this time, we rejoice in your merit and thank you for your practice. We hope that this self-scheduled retreat gives you the confidence to schedule regular mini-retreats in the future.

We hope that even more students will be inspired to commit to another on-line retreat in the near future–stay tuned for details!



Inspire Yourself Retreat: Repeating the Process

Remember that you can take a mini-retreat on your own for a day, a weekend, or a slightly longer time.  And we can gain a lot of benefit from incorporating this new habit into our routine.  Here are a couple of tips to help you make this a regular part of your life:

  • Create a Sacred Space:  Even if you don’t have a shrine, choose a clean and quiet spot.  Add a photo to inspire, light a candle, burn some incense, offer a flower, and prostrate or bow to the space.
  • Start Small: If you are a beginner, try out a one-day or two-day retreat
  • Set Intention and Motivation: Take time to think about why you are meditating.  Bring to mind your loved ones, your community, and try to extend the feeling that you are practicing to benefit all sentient beings.
  • Short Sessions: Be realistic about your ability to sit.  If you normally sit for 10 or 15 minutes a day, try to sit for 30 minutes before taking a break.
  • Incorporate Self-reflection: Choose some key points to contemplate.  In the breaks between your silent sitting meditation, read over teachings and spend time seriously considering the teachings.  You could choose topics such as impermanence, or kindness, for example.  What do those topics mean to you–can you consider them deeply?
  • Supplication: Reflect on the kindness of the teachers, the lineage of past masters, your dharma community, your parents, and all sentient beings.  Really take the time to soak up that kindness and let it open your heart.  Repeat this process frequently throughout the retreat, especially if you are feeling a little sad.
  • Rejoicing and Dedication: Be joyful that you have this opportunity to practice!  And at the end of each session, remember to dedicate the merit–all the goodness that you have generated–for the benefit of all beings.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.