Ashe, The Essence of Life: A Dön Season Scorpion Seal, Werma, and Ngondro Retreat (Berkeley)
with Acharya Christie Cashman
Over the centuries, Vajrayana masters have expressed the diamond-like, luminous and empty nature of mind in a variety of ways. Knowing that words are inadequate, this nature is transmitted directly from teacher to student. Through the terma teachings of the great Dorje Dradül, this inexpressible primordial wakefulness became known to us as Ashe.
Because Ashe is multifaceted like a jewel, we offer this course to practice and study Ashe from a variety of perspectives. Ashe is transmission, and it is also our human life-force. Its nature is gentle like a pigeon’s heart, but it’s also a weapon that cuts through fear and self-aggression. It is vast and transcendent, but it can also be a calligraphed as a symbol of authenticity. It is invocable but is already present. It is the essential wisdom that resides deep in the human heart, but expresses itself as the radiant power of social transformation.
We have been taught that the warrior’s path is to be aware of Ashe and trust in its presence—that when we lose sight of it, life can feel cruel and degraded. At the same time, when the human heart is delighted in, we find a window into the potential and beauty in everything, in everyone, and thus discover the power to make a difference in the world.
This retreat will be delighting in Ashe in its various aspects and applications. The program will include videos of the Sakyong teaching on stroke practice and Ashe at Sacred World Assembly, daily talks, physical exercises, and intensive practice of Scorpion Seal and Werma Sadhana as well as the Rigden Ngondro. Practice sessions will include the stroke of Ashe, Ashe Mahamudra, and Dharmaraja Guru Yoga. There will be personal interviews and discussion groups with Ngöndro and Werma practitioners and with each year of Scorpion Seal.
Acharya Christie Cashman entered the Shambhala Buddhist teachings in 1971, dedicating herself to intensive study and practice, and eventually teaching a full range of courses, from introductory meditation intensives at Naropa University to Vajrayana sadhana classes and Shambhala Training levels. For many years she taught at the three-month Vajradhatu Seminary and worked closely with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on curriculum design and implementation.
Christie moved to Nova Scotia in 1987, and in subsequent years taught at several Warrior and Kalapa Assemblies. From 1999 to 2003 she served as international executive director of Shambhala Training.
In 1999, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche appointed Christie as an acharya, thus beginning for her a life of traveling and teaching. She enjoys teaching a variety of Shambhala Programs, but her main teaching focus has been on the Vajrayana path retreats: Werma Sadhana Vajrayogini Ngondro and Sacred World Assembly. In 2012, the Sakyong requested that Christie offer a program, "The Sacred World of Kyerim," to both his Werma and Scorpion Seal students to enrich and ease their journey from the first stages of the natural and healing capacity to imagine into the sacred world of pure vision.
Under the Sakyong’s guidance, Christie continues to work with curriculum development and the training of Shambhala teachers. She lives with her husband, Paul Cashman, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is an avid gardener and has recently taken a great interest in exploring local year-round food production.
Shambhala Vajrayana Seminary or Sacred World Assembly with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, or the Vajra Regent Ösel Tendzin.
- The retreat will meet daily from 8:30 AM to around 6:30 PM, and include Mamo chants at the end of each day.
- There will be a 1.5-hour lunch break that will include time for ROTA.
- Contemplative, brown-bag lunches (bring your own) will be eaten together in the shrine room.
- There may be some break-out sessions scheduled for evenings.
- If needed, a lung for Ashe Mahamudra will be offered on Saturday evening. If you do not have this lung, please contact Kathryn so it can be arranged: kathrynrile [at] icloud [dot] com.
- We will have a festive closing dinner on Thursday, the final evening, after chants.
- A detailed schedule will be provided at the retreat.
Berkeley Shambhala Center
2288 Fulton Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Program Price: $375
Patron Price: $500
Daily Rate: $75
If you need to make a special payment arrangement, or set up a payment plan, please contact Kathryn: kathrynrile [at] icloud [dot] com.