Calming the Mind — Joy of Living 1 Retreat @Dharmalaya (14-16 Apr 2019)

What: Meditation retreat (residential)

Topic: Calming the mind with meditation

Where: Dharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India

When: 14-16 April 2019 (see below for details)

Language: English

Facilitators: Tsunma Kunsang Palmo and Mark Moore

Description: A three-day meditation retreat designed by world-renowned meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. Awareness meditation empowers us to use any situation or experience, even difficult emotions and pain, as a gateway to joy and inner peace. In this first retreat in the Joy of Living series, we explore ways in which awareness meditation can be used to create a peaceful mind and joyful heart.

Over these three days, we will explore the landscape of our experience with mindfulness and presence, learning how to use the body, sensory experiences, thoughts, emotions, and even awareness itself as supports for meditation.

This retreat is suitable for people of all backgrounds, including experienced meditators and those who are new to meditation.

For details and registration, see this page at the Dharmalaya Institute’s website.

Compassionate Living Intensive Workshop (15-26 Apr 2019 @Dharmalaya)

What: Intensive workshop-retreat (residential)

Topic: Designing a life of compassion in action, integrating personal and professional development with a lifestyle of sustainable thriving

When: 15-26 April 2019 (must attend from the start and stay for the duration)

Language: English (with Hindi translation if requested)

Facilitators: Mark Moore and other members of the Dharmalaya faculty and community

Description: Twelve-day residential workshop-retreat focused on creating a more compassionate life, through opening the heart, informing the mind, developing our innate qualities of sensitivity and compassion, and putting that compassion into practice by reducing our harm footprints and increasing our help footprints in all spheres of life. The primary emphasis in this programme is on identifying areas of our lives where we need to change and grow in order to become more compassionate citizens of the world and more effective agents of positive change.

For more details and the application form, see the Dharmalaya Institute’s website.

Vernacular Eco-architecture Workshop (15-29 Oct 2015 @Dharmalaya)

What: Intensive Service-Learning Workshop in the Vernacular Eco-architecture of the Himalayas
Activities: Hands-on training in earthen architecture
When: 15-29 October 2015 (must attend from the start)
WhereDharmalaya Institute, Bir (Ghornala)
Languages: English (with Hindi translation if requested)
Facilitators: Dharmalaya faculty and artisans, e.g. Mark Moore, et al.

DharmalayaDescription: Residential service-learning programme at the Dharmalaya Institute with hands-on training in earthen building and more. Learn to build eco-friendly structures in the neo-traditional Kangra style of esteemed eco-architect Didi Contractor, while contemplating our relationship with nature and the values of sustainable and compassionate living.

› What is Vernacular Eco-Architecture? See this page for an introduction.

After the introductions, orientation, and general overview of the programme, we will get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on several earthen structures that are in various stages of construction. The two main focal points during this programme will be raising the walls of a new earthen structure while doing some finishing work on another. The work will include adobe and other earthen techniques, and may also include stone, bamboo and slate, as well as mud plaster, landscape architecture, and possibly other activities. We will also have theory discussions and other presentations and explorations. If circumstances allow, we may also have a small participatory design process (depending on the needs on site at the time).

For information and registration, see

Punyesi Vipassana Meditation Retreats (2-10 & 14-23 Sep 2015)

What: Vipassana Meditation Retreats
When: 2 September- 23 September 2015 (2 retreats from 2-10 & 14-23)
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Ajarn Kanchana Punyesi & Ajarn Kanya Dhammapalee

Upcoming Program of Punyesi Vipassana Retreat on September 2015          

Arjan Kanchana Punyesi (Yoobamrung) is a vipassana-insight meditation teacher at Punyesi Vipassana Retreat, Loei, Thailand. Arjan Kanchana was born on August 6, 1970. She is 44 years old and has experience to study Dharma with Sayadaw Pattantavirojana, NguTao U Temple in Chan State, Myanmar.

For information and registration, see

Volunteer Work Period for Sustainable Living (16 Jul – 13 Oct @ Dharmalaya)

What:  Volunteer service work opportunities
Activities: Earthen building (primarily interior work), organic gardening, and tree planting
When: 16 July – 13 October 2015 (Volunteers may arrive and depart anytime during this period, with a minimum stay of one week)
WhereDharmalaya Institute, Bir (Ghornala)
Languages: English & Hindi

 Description: Volunteer opportunities at the Dharmalaya Institute, open to both residential and non-residential participants (though, during the monsoon, we highly recommend staying on the Dharmalaya campus). During this period, volunteers have the opportunity to learn the arts and methods of sustainable living in the Himalayas by doing physical work related to earthen building and organic gardening.

Due to frequent rains in the monsoon period, most of the work will happen indoors. This usually includes:

  • Various aspects of traditional earthen building (e.g. interior mud plasters, tile work, wood/bamboo work, and fine finishing work)
  • Organic gardening and natural landscaping (as weather permits)
  • Possibly some tree planting

Dharmalaya is a beautiful place to get your hands dirty and learn about sustainable living and Himalayan culture in the process.

For more information see


Bodhicitta Retreat (24 Jul – 2 Aug @ Deer Park)

What: Bodhicitta Retreat
When: 24 July – 2 August 2015
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Geshe Dorji Damdul

This retreat will focus on practise of “Boddhicitta,” the “awakened/altruitic mind,” which is ever-present as a seed in us, all sentient beings. The path to nurture and awaken this, will be based from the Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings, specifically the Four Seals.

About Geshe Dorji Damdul

Since 2005, Geshe Dorji Damdul has served as the official translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama. Geshela, has completed his studies from Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) in Dharamsala, Drepung Monastic University and Gyumed Tantric College. Serving as a fellow in Cambridge University, England in 2003,  he was appointed as a visiting fellow at Delhi University to give lectures in three of the University’s departments – Philosophy, Psychology, and Buddhist Studies. Presently, he is serving as the Director of Tibet House, Cultural Center of H.H. the Dalai Lama, New Delhi. He gives lectures and leads philosophy classes and meditation retreats in Tibet House, Delhi University and other venues. He also travels widely in India and abroad, to teach Buddhist philosophy and practice.

For information and registration, see

Hatha Yoga Pradipika Course (4-14 July @ Dharmalaya)

Yoga at Dharmalaya

What: Residential course on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
WhereDharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India
When: 4-14 July 2015 (must attend from the beginning)
Language: English (with Hindi translation if requested)
Instructors: Roshan Palat and his assistants

Description: A ten-day residential course exploring the rich world of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (one of the most influential of the great classic texts on hatha yoga), through both practice instruction and philosophical explorations.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Skt. haṭhayōgapradīpikā, हठयोगप्रदीपिका; literally ‘Clear Light on Sun-Moon Union’) was written in the 15th century CE by Swami Svātmārāma, a disciple of Swami Gorakhnath, drawing on the great wisdom of earlier yoga texts and synthesizing a definitive work that survived the test of time over centuries. Even today, it is regarded as one of the greatest authoritative sources on Hatha Yoga. In fact, scholars view this text as establishing the very definition of hatha yoga as the term is used today.

This course will cover both practice and theory, including:

  • Asanas: Instruction and practice in hatha yoga asanas from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Philosophy: Exploration of the profound meaning of the text
  • Advanced practice elements: Pranayama, mudra, bandha, dharana, and dhyana

For more information see

Earthen Building Workshop (22-27 June @ Dharmalaya)

DharmalayaWhat: Intensive service-learning workshop
Topic: Earthen building methods & techniques
WhereDharmalaya Institute in Bir, HP, India
When: 22-27 June 2015 (must attend from the beginning)
Language: English (with Hindi translation if needed)
Facilitators: Mark Moore, Sidney Rosario, et al.

Description: Week-long, residential service-learning programme at the Dharmalaya Institute providing hands-on training in traditional, eco-friendly earthen building techniques of the Himalayas. Learn by doing, in the real-world context of helping to build a few new structures on the Dharmalaya campus. Activities will depend on the needs on site (and the weather), but are likely to include earthen renders (mud plasters), foundations and plinth, stonework, and possibly other methods and techniques of earthen building.

› What is Vernacular Eco-Architecture? See this page for an introduction.

After introductions, orientation, and general overview of the programme, we will get straight to work doing various hands-on projects around the Dharmalaya campus, including work on several earthen structures that are in various stages of construction. The main focus during this programme will be on plastering and weatherproofing our newest buildings so they will be protected from the rains. The work might include mud plasters, foundation work, stonework, and possibly other techniques. We may do some water flow management as well, in preparation for the coming rainy season.

Workshops and groups sessions may include the following (depending on weather and the needs of the site):

  • Hands-on education in traditional earthen building methods of the Himalayas
    • Earthen renders (mud plasters)
    • Foundation and plinth work
    • Other natural building materials and methods (e.g. stone, bamboo, wood, etc.)
  • Natural landscaping and water management

What to expect:

  • Practical, hands-on training focus (no theory classes in this workshop).
  • Opportunities to learn traditional methods by working alongside village artisans.
  • You will be working with your hands and body for approximately six hours per day on most days of the programme, so it is recommended to be in reasonably good physical fitness when you arrive, and to bring work clothes.
  • Beautiful, rustic, village setting with a simple lifestyle.

For more information see

Tuning Fork Film Workshop (13-18 June @ Deer Park)

When: 13-18 June 2015
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: THE HIMALAYAN FILM SCHOOL and Deer Park Institute

Bring out the storyteller in you, learn to make films in the mountains

Watch Films | Tell stories | Have fun

Learn to shoot on DSLRs

Edit on professional software

Script – Shoot – Edit & Export

leave the workshop with YOUR OWN FILM

Ankit Pogula – 9810146679

Shreya Kakria – 9717066975

The Vibration of Consciousness: The Spanda Kārikā (15-21 May @ Deer Park)

What: Introduction and Retreat-Seminar in the tradition of Nondual Kashmir Śaivism
When: 15 May 2015 (Introductory seminar) and 16-21 May 2015 (retreat-seminar)
Where: Deer Park Institute, Bir
Who: Dr. Bettina Sharada Bäumer, Varanasi

The Vibration of Consciousness: The Spanda Kārikā with Commentary by Kṣemarāja

A Retreat-Seminar in the tradition of Nondual Kashmir Śaivism

The Spanda Kārikā or “Verses on Vibration” by Vasugupta (9thcentury, Kashmir) is one of the foundational texts of Kashmir Shaivism which teaches the dynamic nature of the Absolute, of the cosmos and of human consciousness. Its Nirnaya Commentary by Ksemarāja, direct disciple of Abhinavagupta (11th century) adds a lucid spiritual interpretation to the concise verses of the text.

Spanda means creative vibration and the inner divine dynamism which pervades everything, and which can be mystically realized in one’s own essential nature. The text teaches an analysis of consciousness and a way to full awakening (suprabuddha).


  • Two sessions of text teaching daily
  • 4-5 hours of meditation
  • Walks in nature
  • Recitation of hymns and ślokas (Sanskrit)
  • Silence from dinner time till next day lunch included

Note : Silence is essential for the practice of the teaching and for maintaining an atmosphere of retreat.

Requirements for participation:

Basic knowledge of Indian spirituality and philosophy and basic knowledge of Sanskrit is an ideal preparation, though not a necessary condition for participation.

Experience in meditation is a necessary requirement.

Text editions and translations recommended:

Spanda-Kārikās. The Divine Creative Pulsation, ed. and transl. by Jaideva Singh, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1980 ff.

Dyczkowski, Mark S.G. : The Stanzas on Vibration. The Spandakārikā with four Commentaries, Albany: SUNY Series in the Shaiva Traditions of Kashmir, 1992.

Dyczkowski, Mark S.G.: The Doctrine of Vibration, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 2006

Silburn, Lilian: Spandakārikā. Stances sur la vibration de Vasugupta et leurs gloses, (French transl.), Paris: Ed. de. Boccard, 1990.

For more information, see