The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

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conebeckham
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The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:31 pm

I posted this elsewhere,but though some of you may enjoy it as well.
Also, it does demonstrate a RiMay attitude, and addresses questions about Dzogchen practice in "Kagyu" environments...


Kongtrul's "Retreat Manual," tranlsated by Ngawang Zangpo (Hugh Leslie Thompson), has been a favorite book of mine since it's publication in 1994. I find it inspiring and it is packed with information, though it takes some time to decode some of it. Years ago, I made a map or schedule of "daily practice" and "main practices" based on the information, and I thought some other Vajrayana geeks may be interested in seeing it, so I thought I'd share it here. I've seen some other similar schedules, from current Western and Indo-Tibetan retreat centers, but I have to say nothing currently out there approaches the smorgasbord of practices Kongtrul instituted. That's not necessarily a bad thing...but it personally inspires and amazes me to see what the curriculum at Tsadra Rinchen Drak was.....here's the daily routine:

"Thun One"
1.Yoga of Arising/Awakening from Sleep-(Clearing stale winds, blessing speech, tasting nectar, etc.)
2.From the "Seven Prayers"-prayer to the three kayas of the Guru, Prayer given to Yeshe Tsogyal
3. White Tara practice
4.MAIN PRACTICE Session One
5.Sangtik Vajrasattva practice
6.Water torma offering

Morning Group Practice (Prayers to Guru Rinpoche, 21 Tara praises, Confession and Renewal of vows, Sutra of the Three Heaps, etc.)

"Thun Two"
1.Confession Prayer
2. MAIN PRACTICE session two

Lunch (Yoga of Food; Offering to One's Body, Prayers of Barchay Lamsel, Sampa Lhundrup, etc.)

"Thun Three"
1.Sangtik Yangdak practice
2. MAIN PRACTICE session three

Afternoon Group Practice (Gyu De Lha Nga torma offering; Mahakala Chagdrupa Drubtab; KhamYigMa (Kamtsang Daily Protectors); Minling Protectors Torma offering ritual; Heart Sutra; Sengdongma; Long Life prayers, etc.)

"Thun Four"
1.Sur Cho
2.From the Seven Prayers; The prayer given to Dorje Dudjom
3. MAIN PRACTICE session four

After last "Thun"
1.Sangtik Phurba practice
2. From the Seven Prayers: Prayer given to the King, Prayer given to Mutri Tsaypo
3. Sutra of the Three Heaps, Confession, Twenty Five Vows, etc.
4. LuJin/Chod --abbreviated practice of Offering One's Body


As for the MAIN PRACTICES, here's the list I've condensed from the Manual. I didn't list all the special Monthly tsoks, practices, etc. that were performed....but some days were taken over by these Drupchos, Drupchens, etc.

"Main Practices"
1.Kamtsang Chagchen Ngondro-five months (LoJong Don Dun Ma included in this)
2. Shangpa/Niguma's Demchok Lha Nga--two months
3.Shangpa Gyu De Lha Nga Tso Du-one month
4. Nigu Cho Druk (Niguma's Six Yogas)-including preliminaries, one week; Tummo-three months;Illusory Body/Clear Light/Dream-3 weeks each;Powa and Bardo -two weeks each.
5.Shangpa Chagchen Ga'uma-two months
6.Shangpa Lam Khyer Sum-one week
7.Shangpa Khacho Karmo/Marmo-ten days each
8 Shangpa's Deathlessness and Nonentering-One Week
9.Shangpa Lama/Protector Inseperable-one week
10. Sukhasiddhi's Six Yogas-one month
11. Niguma/Sukhasiddhi Longevity practices-one week

12. Kalacakra according to Jonang/Vajra Yoga instructions-6 months (2 1/2 months creation phase; three isolations-3 weeks; Withdrawal of senses and mental stability-two months; remaining yogas 10 days each--vitality control, retention, recollection, samadhi.

13.Minling Dorsem and So Luk Yangdak--3 months total
14.Lama Yangtik-(incl. ngondro, for 3 months; Trekcho-three months; Togal-three months. This includes recitations and mantra accumulations for the Three Roots, and the practices from Vimalay Zabtik).

In addition to these, one week at the end of the first year is spent on Shangpa's Lha Shi Dril Drup, or condensed four deities; Chagdrupa for one week at the end of the second year, and Tersar Chagdrupa at the end of the Third year for one week. These week-long individual practices precede the Yearly group protector pujas done for one week at the end of each year, as a group. To end the retreat, One week is spent on Group Practice of White Tara.

Kongtrul indicates that, after this three year retreat is done, retreatants should enter retreat again, after a short break, and do KunRig for Six months, followed by ten days of KunRig Jinseks, three months of Akshobya practice, and one month on NamCho Amitabha.


Pretty amazing roadmap, huh?
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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bryandavis
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by bryandavis » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:37 am

Daaammmnnnnnnnn! ( in chris tucker voice ).

Hopefully those who engage in that regime have the understanding of the essence of one deity is the same as all others, lol.

Covering all your bases with that schedule.

:cheers:

dzoki
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by dzoki » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:15 am

Thank you very much for this inspiring post. Is it known how long would one thun take? Was it 3 hours or something like that? In any case a schedule there, in Tsadra, must have been very tight.
There is video somewhere on youtube, where Kamala Rinpoche, wife of Chatral Rinpoche, outlines (if I have written it down correctly) his ngondro retreat schedule like this:

3 - 6 first session
6 - 7 preparing tormas, doing sang
7- 8 breakfast
8-11 second session
11-13 lunch break
13-16 third session
16-18 dinner break
18-21 fourth session
21-22 sur and chod
22-3 sleep

of course during the breaks it was not only that he cooked and ate, but he also wrote, washed his clothes, prepared ritual objects etc. so there was no time for leisure in his schedule.

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:46 pm

Traditionally a full Thun in retreat is 2 1/2 to 3 hours or so.......group sessions are a bit less long. The retreat schedule I use, when doing strict retreat, is something like this:

4-7 Frst thun, incl. Tara praises, sang, etc.
7 -8 breakfast
8-11 second thun
Break for lunch, torma making, rest
1-4 third Thun
4:30-6:00 Protectors, Sur
Dinner break
6:45-9:30-ish fourth Thun
Phurba and Chod, until 10-10:30 ish
Sleep

If I'm on a strict group retreat with my fellows--which we haven't done in about 4 years-- then there's a group session before breakfast for Tara, Riwo Sangcho, Vows, etc., and the protector session in the afternoon is also a group session.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:49 pm

Is Kongtrul's Retreat Manual available? I've looked for it for years gave been told its restricted to Karma Kamtsang 3 year retreatants.

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:49 pm

Snow Lion published it, now Shambhala has it. No restrictions I know of....

http://www.shambhala.com/jamgon-kongtru ... anual.html
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:51 pm

What you'd have trouble finding are the actual "Yig Cha" retreat manuals that detail the order of practices, texts, etc.--as far as I know they are not translated into English, though commentaries on some of the practices are available. In my tradition, Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche wrote two manuals--one for Kamtsang, one for Shangpa,-and these are what most Tibetan retreat centers use. They're Tibetan-only, AFAIK. Tsadra helps to publish them, along with a host of other books intended for intensive retreat.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:30 am

Thanks. I have no need or interest in the yicha for the different practices.

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heart
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by heart » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:15 am

conebeckham wrote:Snow Lion published it, now Shambhala has it. No restrictions I know of....

http://www.shambhala.com/jamgon-kongtru ... anual.html
It isn't really a translation though.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:44 pm

heart wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Snow Lion published it, now Shambhala has it. No restrictions I know of....

http://www.shambhala.com/jamgon-kongtru ... anual.html
It isn't really a translation though.

/magnus

Really, Magnus? Have you compared it to the original text? I have not...to be clear. I know it's in the GyaChen KaDzo, and I suppose I could have a look.

Most of the book is commentary, frankly, from NgaWang Zangpo, laid out in smaller typeface, or maybe it's italics, I can't recall.....while the translated parts are in regular type. Do you think he left bits out?
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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heart
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by heart » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:39 pm

conebeckham wrote:
heart wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Snow Lion published it, now Shambhala has it. No restrictions I know of....

http://www.shambhala.com/jamgon-kongtru ... anual.html
It isn't really a translation though.

/magnus

Really, Magnus? Have you compared it to the original text? I have not...to be clear. I know it's in the GyaChen KaDzo, and I suppose I could have a look.

Most of the book is commentary, frankly, from NgaWang Zangpo, laid out in smaller typeface, or maybe it's italics, I can't recall.....while the translated parts are in regular type. Do you think he left bits out?
I don't know if he did leave anything out but I don't like these books that tell you what is written in a text, like for example the recent Longchenpa biography by Jampa Mackenzie Stewart. I can't read Tibetan but it was obvious when I read Ngawang Zangpos text that it wasn't a translation but rather a narration about the GyaChen KaDzo just like Jampa Mackenzie Stewart's book.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:17 pm

I've had a brief look at the original version of the Tibetan text in the GyaChen KaDzo--it's about 60 pages of Tibetan. It's not a very long text, actually...based on what I see, the translation is accurate. I cannot say whether it is "complete," or if some things were left out. I haven't read the whole thing, nor do I want to. but I want to point out that "Jamgon Kongtrul's Retreat Manual" is not merely a translation of Kongtrul's text. In fact, most of the book is more detailed info, intros, and background stuff about the contents of Kongtrul's actual writing. So, I don't think anything was really left out of this particular translation. But of course it's not the whole GyaChen KaDzo...that would be...like.......many volumes of books. Just Kongtrul's Encyclopedia of Knowledge is Ten volumes in English. The source of that,In Tibetan, SheJa Kun Khyab, is four Tibetan volumes, and GyaChen KaDzo is 13 Tibetan volumes.

Also, keep in mind that this text translated, the "Retreat Manual," is not a "complete instructions" text for all the practices to be done. It wasn't meant to be. It's the basic framework, outlining the curriculum, if you will, of Kongtrul's specific retreat plan. It's almost like a "prospectus" as well as general advice for entering and exiting retreat. For each individual practice, the teachers (and students) would have recourse to the Tri texts for the various practices they were engaged in. Traditionally, in Kongtrul's time, the Retreat Master would bestow each empowerment and instruction prior to the actual practice, though these days most three year retreats, especially in the West, differ in that all the empowerments are often given up front at the beginning, with detailed instructions (based on the Tris) given as each new practice was encountered.

Ngawang Zangpo (Hugh Leslie Thompson) did a great job, I think. My only minor quibble is his decision to translation proper names, esp. of deities, into English. So Kalacakra becomes "Wheel of Time," Cakrasamvara becomes "Wheel of Supreme Bliss," etc.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

emaho
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by emaho » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:15 pm

Hope it's okay if I barge in with this offer.... I've bought this edition a while ago:

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/1559390298

I've bought it second hand for 11€ plus shipping, and for me it was unfortunately a mispurchase (does that word even exist?). It's in good condition, if somebody is interested I'd be happy to give it away for a tenner plus shipping (I'm in Germany). PM me, if interested.
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

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Kelwin
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by Kelwin » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:52 pm

Dear Cone,

First of all, thanks for the inspiration! A question, if I may.. Do you find it useful, in strict retreat, to do all these different practices every day? Have you tried 'just' doing your main practice, with maybe a short protector practice at some point, some wakeup and sleeping methods, and nothing else?

My experience is that doing only one thing helps me to really relax into the practice, whereas a schedule of diverse practices makes me stress out a bit. Probably just the result of my mind being such a busy mess, but I'm curious what you and others have experienced.

Any thought appreciated!
:namaste:
'I will not take your feelings seriously, and neither will you' -Lama Lena

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conebeckham
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by conebeckham » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:08 am

Kelwin wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:52 pm
Dear Cone,

First of all, thanks for the inspiration! A question, if I may.. Do you find it useful, in strict retreat, to do all these different practices every day? Have you tried 'just' doing your main practice, with maybe a short protector practice at some point, some wakeup and sleeping methods, and nothing else?

My experience is that doing only one thing helps me to really relax into the practice, whereas a schedule of diverse practices makes me stress out a bit. Probably just the result of my mind being such a busy mess, but I'm curious what you and others have experienced.

Any thought appreciated!
:namaste:

If you want to teach or transmit lineage, this program is important. Some people like variety, as well....and different people have different karmic propensities for certain practices, so covering a lot of bases can be helpful.

(Resurrecting this thread after searching for three year retreat-related threads....)
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

smcj
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by smcj » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:52 am

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:46 pm
Traditionally a full Thun in retreat is 2 1/2 to 3 hours or so.......group sessions are a bit less long. The retreat schedule I use, when doing strict retreat, is something like this:

4-7 Frst thun, incl. Tara praises, sang, etc.
7 -8 breakfast
8-11 second thun
Break for lunch, torma making, rest
1-4 third Thun
4:30-6:00 Protectors, Sur
Dinner break
6:45-9:30-ish fourth Thun
Phurba and Chod, until 10-10:30 ish
Sleep

If I'm on a strict group retreat with my fellows--which we haven't done in about 4 years-- then there's a group session before breakfast for Tara, Riwo Sangcho, Vows, etc., and the protector session in the afternoon is also a group session.
Not even Jerry Garcia would practice that much!
:jawdrop:
Last edited by smcj on Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by LolCat » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:56 am

Does being in retreat reduce your need for sleep? I usually need 7:30 - 8 hours of sleep to not be sleepy throughout the day, most of the long-term retreat schedules I have seen allow for around 6 hours of sleep or lesser.

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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by yagmort » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:21 am

been wondering same thing as i got similar problem. i dunno if i have a condition like hypersomnia but i have troubles to properly awake in a morning if i don't sleep enough, and that's 8 hours minimum. when doing ngöndro i was trying to sleep 7 hours and woke up at 5am, but then middleway first session i became so sleepy it was malaise. like i've been drugged or something.. i'd call it "sleep attack" because my brain was shutting down accompanied with vertigo. after 2-3 hour session i had to lay down to get a short 15-20 mins sleep. ever since i've been wondering how they sleep so little? do they fight extreme sleepiness or they just get enough sleep in 4-5 hours?

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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by Grigoris » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:47 am

conebeckham wrote:...and I thought some other Vajrayana geeks may be interested in seeing it...
Yup, you are definitely a geek! :smile:

Thanks for that Cone.

Needless to say that I am jealous of the capacity of anybody that can pull that off on a daily basis!
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: The Retreat Map--from Kongtrul's Retreat Manual

Post by pemachophel » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:35 pm

IME, as one progresses in their practice one needs less and less sleep.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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