Shambhala Weekthün: A Winter Refuge Retreat

with Acharya Gaylon Ferguson & Acharya Charlene Leung

December 27th—January 2nd

Date details +
  • $400 Program Price
  • $500 Patron Price
  • $300 Early Registration Discount
  • Or write in the amount for the full weekend ($140), day rate ($80 x number of days), or pre-arranged scholarship amount.
Room: Meditation Hall

Winter is the natural time of year to gather in community, reflect on our lives, and set aspirations for the year to come.
Whether you are a newcomer to meditation or a long time Shambhala practitioner, this retreat is the perfect opportunity to do just that. The week will include: sitting meditation, walking meditation, talks by the teachers, individual meditation meetings with an instructor, movement periods as well as lunch and tea breaks.

The week will be structured around the Buddha’s central teachings of The Four Noble Truths, the basis of the entire path of awakening. Realizing suffering is the beginning of this path, which leads to freeing ourselves from confusion as the first step toward helping others.

In this 7-day urban retreat, we will engage the practice of mindfulness-awareness meditation, cultivating mindfulness of suffering and developing awareness and insight into the causes of suffering and the path to liberation from it.

This retreat is open to all, and there are no prerequisites. If you have not previously received Shamatha meditation instruction, you should plan to begin your attendance on or before Saturday, 12/29, the third day of the retreat, as an orientation including meditation instruction will be offered only on the first three days (contact the coordinators for exceptions). The last day for those who have previously received Shamatha meditation instruction to enter the weekthün is on New Year’s Eve, December 31, day five of the retreat. After that date, no new or drop-in participants will be allowed.

You are welcome to attend the full retreat or whichever days you are available, but partial-day attendance is not offered.

This retreat is open to beginning and experienced meditators and will include both Shamatha and Vajrayana tracks. It fulfills one week of a Dathün requirement and vajrayana group practice days.

An opportunity to take Refuge Vows on New Year’s Day.
If you are planning on taking Refuge, the ceremony by which one becomes a Buddhist, you are advised to meet well in advance with your meditation instructor to discuss the process and implications of this important commitment. We will also be offering teachings on Refuge on December 30th and 31st, for those who will be taking vows.

And, for those unable to attend these days, or who wish to have supplemental guidance, we are planning to offer online teachings (details TBD) on Refuge in advance of the weekthün.

For those contemplating taking Refuge Vows, you should consider one or more of the excellent sources for information regarding the view, process and practice of Refuge:

  • The Truth of Suffering and the Way of Liberation by Chögyam Trungpa (widely available and the main text for the retreat)
  • The Heart of the Buddha: Entering the Tibetan Buddhist Path by Chögyam Trungpa (widely available)
  • The Refuge Vow: A Sourcebook, a compilation of commentaries and traditional text excerpts by various teachers (available from Kalapa Media)

Special note for Shambhala Vajrayana practitioners
Acharya Ferguson is planning to offer special sessions in the final 3-4 days of the retreat for Tantrikas/Sadhakas (no special lung required) entitled The Four Noble Truths and the Four Yogas of Mahamudra, based on Ashe Mahamudra and the 1980 Vajrayana Seminary talks on the Song of Lodro Theye.

Acharya Gaylon FergusonAcharya Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, is Core Faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. He received a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Stanford where he was a Fulbright Fellow to Nigeria. He is the author of two books, "Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as a Direct Path of Awakening"  (2016), and "Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Were Born With". He has led group retreats in mindfulness-awareness meditation for 40 years. He is an Acharya (senior teacher) in the Shambhala lineage of compassionate bravery. His essay “Buddhism and The Politics of Race” appeared in the collection Mindful Politics. His article “Making Friends with Ourselves,” from Dharma, Color, and Culture was selected for inclusion in the series The Best Buddhist Writing.

Acharya Charlene Leung serves as Chairperson of the Shambhala Diversity Working Group since 2009 and facilitates groups for the UNtraining a Shambhala inspired organization devoted to healing personal and social oppressions. She raised two sons in a Shambhala household with her husband, Robert Pressnall, in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been part of the Shambhala community since the early 1980’s.

Sample Schedule

8:15 AMTea and coffee/ light breakfast
8:45 AMCalling gong
9:00 AMMorning session
12:00 PMMovement
12:30 PMContemplative Bag Lunch
1:20 PMROTA (daily chores)
2:00 PMAfternoon Session
4:00 PMTea
4:45 PMEvening Session
6:45 PMClosing Chants
7:00 PMEnd










If you have questions, please contact the program coordinators:
JoshuaRaen Thornberry at manager [at] berkeleyshambhala [dot] org,or
Rebekka Martorano at rebekkamartorano [at] gmail [dot] com.

Program Price: $425
Patron Price: $500
Student and Senior Rate: $300
Day Rate: $65 to $80 sliding scale
Weekend Rate (Saturday & Sunday): $140
Generosity Policy Applies. Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Please register and pay online in advance of the program so that we know to expect you. Also, advance registrants will receive important communications with details prior to the program.