Vajrayogini Approximation Retreat

9 July -5 August

Retreat Leader: Paula Chichester (Nyingje) assisted by Steff Hill

Open to initiates only.

Paula (Nyingje) Chichester will lead a Vajrayogini Approximation retreat involving the recitation of 100,000 mantras and culminating in a burnt offering ritual (fire puja) at Land of Joy, starting on 9th July. The prerequisite for attendance is to have received the empowerment of Vajrayogini, and to have received or studied a reliable commentary (see below).

It is hoped that everyone will complete the mantra count by the end of the third week, when there will be a fire puja to purify any faults and create the merit for future success in the practice. During the final week, after everyone has completed the approximation, it is planned to learn and practise the self-initiation and some completion stage practice.

Practitioners of Vajrayogini will understand that this is an exceptional opportunity to undertake the retreat under the guidance of an experienced practitioner who has devoted the best part of her life to retreat, including the great (three year) retreat of Vajrayogini. Paula has led the retreat once before, several years ago.

There are three books of Vajrayogini practices available from FPMT store. Retreatants will require all three. It is possible to purchase hard copies, or downloadable PDFs or e-books for using on your tablet etc. It is essential that you have the 2012 edition of the sadhana.

It is also required that before practising the sadhana one receives the commentary. It is recommended to read at least one of the following in advance of attending the retreat:

Pabongkha Rinpoche’s commentary that is translated by David Gonsalez and is available from Dechen Ling Press

or Geshe Loden’s commentary from Tushita Books in Australia

or Gelek Rinpoche’s commentary from Jewel Heart.

Other good ones are from Geshe Ngawang Dhargye, Serkong Rinpoche, Lama Thubten Yeshe and Kyabje Song Rinpoche.

For at least the first ten days there will be a Q&A session each afternoon in order to enable participants to clarify any issues regarding the practice.

Steff will lead some of the sessions and will take responsibility for leading the retreat for a few days in the middle, while Paula goes to teach at Jamyang Leeds. Otherwise, Paula will lead parts of each day.

About Paula

PfaceI began my studies of Buddhism when I was 14 at Berkeley High School in California where I realized that liberating delusion was key to healing our planet and its inhabitants. The focus on systems theory and ecology at university prepared me to apply the whole body/mind/culture/ environment to this ancient contemplative discipline of human transformation. As a dancer, healer, singer, student of psychology, ecology, I bring all these elements into the understanding of the whole person and how tantra works in this greater context – while preserving the classical format of Lama Tsong Khapa’s ear-whispered lineage. Inspired by the example of the meditators in Dharamsala and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, I devoted the last 33 years to following the guidance of my awesome, amazing teachers, primarily Lama Thubten Yeshe, Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche and Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche.  —  which included 24 years preparing for and completing long retreats — 2 of which were 4 year solitary great maha-anuttara yoga retreats. I study with teachers from all 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism. My goal in life has been steady since childhood: to realize Mahamudra and do all I can to bring peace and environmental justice to our world.