Varjayana Retreat

with Acharya Christie Cashman

October 5th—October 9th

Date details +
    Room: Meditation Hall


    The vajrayana teachings are renowned for providing the strongest medicine in times of the greatest confusion. But it’s also during these times that practices such as invoking the deity, resting in the nature of mind, or engaging in sacred perception can feel very remote. Throughout this five-day retreat, we will explore how wrathful, peaceful, and effortless vajrayana methods “touch the fruition,” and thus remind us of our inherent wisdom.

    We’ll engage in the practices of Vajrakilaya, White Tara, and mahamudra, and separately practice Werma, ngöndro, Scorpion Seal. The program will include discussions with each group of practitioners, talks and personal interviews with the acharya. Lungs will be given for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s White Tara and The Short Daily Practice of Vajrakilaya by Mipham the Great—more information to follow. 

    Among topics for discussion: Yeshe Tsogyal and the feminine principle; Understanding the Heart Sutra’s message as the basis of vajrayana; the luminosity practice of kyerim; recognizing naked awareness whatever we are doing; relationship with a teacher; remembering our vajrayana training for when we are nearing death; and making direct contact with confusion in order to liberate it. As Tulku Ugyen has said, “The ground is gold, and the path is gold mixed with impurities that are slowly being purified, and the fruition is buddhahood.”

    Partial attendance is allowed. The program counts toward ngöndro, Werma and Scorpion Seal Assembly requirements.

    All those who have been to a Sacred World Assembly, Rigden Abhisheka, or Scorpion Seal Assemblies are welcome.


    Acharya Christie Cashman

    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.