4 Higher Empowerments of Kalachakra & Dark Retreat with Khentrul Rinpoché
July 12th – 21st (9 nights)
This is for registration for the Kalachakra Four Higher Empowerments and Dark Retreat (Wensum / Three Isolations).
Rinpoché has kindly accepted a request to bestow the Four Higher Empowerments of Kalachakra in Europe. This precious and rare opportunity is a major step on the Dharma path. To ensure the success of students on their paths, Rinpoche will only bestow these empowerments to pre-approved students who genuinely wish to deepen their practice. To bring more clarity to the preparation process, we have prepared an additional explanation. Regardless of whether you are a new or veteran practitioner, Rinpoché requests that everyone takes the time to read it. Download here:
For new participants, by clicking on this link you can find more material to understand where you are currently on your path. After reading and reflecting on this material, we welcome you to present yourself as a candidate by sending your application here. Only upon approval will you be able to proceed with registration.
(Note: The Kalachakra Four Higher Empowerments are not the same as the Kalachakra “Seven Empowerments of a Growing Child” given by Rinpoché online. For further clarification regarding it and Guru Devotion, please read the respective chapters of Unveiling Your Sacred Truth Book 3.)
About the Event and Schedule
“Up to this point, our use of conceptual methods has been instrumental in removing our many layers of misconception, but as they are embedded in the dualistic mind, these methods function as a subtle barrier to experiencing our definitive nature. For this reason, we need to abandon them in favour of a direct approach that works without conceptual fabrications. We can achieve this transformation from conceptual to non-conceptual in two steps. Firstly we are introduced to the Kalachakra view by receiving the Four Higher Empowerments. Secondly, with the establishment of this view, we use the unique meditation technique of the Three Isolations (Wensum) to cut the proliferation of thoughts and abide in the nature of the mind.” (Khentrul Rinpoche, “Unveiling Your Sacred Truth 3”)
The retreat encompasses 1) a day of preparations with Preliminary Practices, Guru Puja, Kalachakra-Tsok, and a walk in the nature with Rinpoche, 2) The Kalachakra Four Higher Empowerments, 3) Teaching-Transmission of the Wensum (Three Isolations) Practice, 4) a printed booklet about the Empowerments and Practice, 5) “Secret Dakini Treasure” Sadhana oral transmission 6) If needed, a personal audience with Rinpoche (upon request), 7) Kalachakra Dark Meditation Retreat (Three Isolations / Wensum) with practice sessions guided by senior students, as well as 8) food and accommodations at the Dzokden Kalapa Retreat Center.
We aspire to offer new English materials written by the lineage masters about the practice in case the translation process is finalized before the event.
12th July afternoon – arrivals and welcome meeting with introductions (check-in 2 PM – 4 PM)
13h July – Kalachakra Preliminary Practices, Guru Puja Ritual and Kalachakra-Tsok, Walk in the nature around Dzokden Kalapa Retreat Center with Rinpoche
14th July – Four Higher Empowerments and teaching-transmission of the Three Isolations (Wensum) practice.
14th – 21st July – Kalachakra Dark Meditation Retreat; personal audiences with Rinpoche
21st July – full moon – concluding Tsok, and check-out after lunch
How to Prepare and Materials
How to prepare for this retreat: We strongly encourage you to prepare yourself as much as you can with the Kalachakra Preliminary Practices. In addition to the longer sadhanas “Divine Ladder” and “Enlightening the Heart”, you will need to know the sadhana “Secret Dakini Treasure”. For the latter, you must register here for the recorded commentary Rinpoche gave recently if you have not already done so. We encourage you to study all the sadhanas as much as you can, including the transliterations and chantings, because there will be some sessions of chanting in Tibetan without a recording during the retreat.
During the retreat, Guru Puja and Kalachakra Tsok gatherings will also be held on special occasions. We strongly encourage you to additionally register for their two associated courses at our learning center to prepare yourself in advance so that you know the rituals very well beforehand. If you wish (not mandatory), bring your own vajra, bell, damaru, or other ritual instruments to use during the puja and tsok gatherings.
Materials: You can borrow printed texts of Guru Puja and Tsok from the temple to use during the event. Please bring your printed practice book “The Profound Path of Vajra Yoga”. You bring also Rinpoche’s commentary “The Hidden Treasure” and “Unveiling Your Sacred Truth 3” as a reference for your practice (everything on paper, as tablets, phones, or computers are not allowed after the strict retreat begins.) Other reading materials not directly related to the Wensum practice are not allowed during the retreat period. If you have already participated before, bring also your “Four Higher Empowerments Booklet”, your blindfold, and your meditation belt. If you are new, you will receive these as a gift during the empowerment ceremony.
Retreat Information and Guidelines
After the Four Higher Empowerments on July 14th, the strict retreat will begin. The retreat will be closed and in silence. During this period, participants are not allowed to receive visitors or use computers, tablet devices, mobile phones, and so forth. We can store personal phones and other electronic devices in our office. If someone needs to contact you in case of emergency, they can email [email protected] or call +43 676 395 8898. Both e-mailbox and phone will be checked at least once each day. Rinpoche advises participants to follow the retreat guidelines respectfully, not only for the success of their own practice, but also to avoid disturbing others.
The daily schedule consists of four Wensum practice sessions and additional activities such as occasional pujas, interviews, and so forth. Participation in two daily group sessions is mandatory unless health conditions completely prevent you from taking part. The remaining two sessions can be practiced in your own room if you prefer. Practice sessions will be conducted in English and Tibetan. If you absolutely prefer, you can bring copies of the texts in your own language as well and read them silently while the group recites in English.
In the Jonang Tradition, this practice is done using a special blindfold to generate complete darkness. If you are a new participant, you do not need to buy this in advance. We will buy it for you and you will receive it as a gift after Rinpoché has blessed it for you to practice. Also, if you are attending the Higher Empowerments for the first time, we will give you a meditation belt. If you arealdy have one, then we will ask Rinpoché to bless yours.
The fee for the retreat includes three vegetarian meals and shared accommodations at the beautiful Dzokden Kalapa Retreat Center. Please inform us ([email protected]) in advance if you have allergies, food intolerances, or other important health or mental conditions that we need to consider. We cannot offer space for individual rooms for participants of this event. However, you can alternatively bring your own tent and sleep outside near the Kalachakra Stupa (see registration options below). Please note: Parking in the area of Kalapa is very limited. If you are staying with us for the whole retreat, we encourage you to drop off then find a space to park at a distance (in the city, if possible) to help other travellers reach the site.
Off-Site Accommodations: If you absolutely need an individual room, many options for accommodations are available near the retreat center’s area, in the Garanas region, and in the town Bad Schwanberg. In this case, please search for and book the necessary reservations yourself.
FAQ: Please note it takes incredible merit to have the conditions for this project to happen. 1) We have made a large effort to keep the cost reasonable. We encourage practitioners to save up and create the conditions to participate. In the past, people have given everything they had to the Master for this opportunity. 2) If you cannot commit to attending for the entire period, please let us know in advance the exact date and time of your earlier check-out. Please note that in this case we cannot offer you a special registration cost. The cost is for the entire event, regardless of whether you can stay for the entire period or not.
This is a strict retreat, and participants should avoid engaging in too much physical activity and interacting with others unnecessarily. We need one volunteer to cook breakfast, lunch, and a light dinner for the participants, and a cook helper. The volunteers will be able to enjoy all the areas in the retreat center except for the Kalachakra Temple itself where the participants will practice. Unlike the participants, the external volunteers can access electronic devices, the internet, and so forth. This is an extraordinary opportunity to generate merit and create the causes to be able to engage in this practice yourself in the future. Rinpoche strongly encourages us to support our dharma brothers and sisters by volunteering. If you have already taken the Higher Empowerments and want to volunteer full-time for the whole period, you can also participate in the event for free.
If you are considering this opportunity, please write as soon as possible to [email protected], so that we can arrange a video call to plan your participation. You can also volunteer for only a portion of the event rather than for the whole retreat; you can offer as much as possible according to your capability. That being said, we prefer the participation of someone who can commit to the whole period. During your stay, we can provide free access to an online course or recorded retreat at our digital learning center if you would like to support your practice and study while you are volunteering. You can also choose a dharma book of your choice in our Kalapa Shop that Kalapa will give you as a gift.
How to get to Kalapa?
Dzokden Kalapa Retreat Center, Garanas 41, Bad Schwanberg, zip code 8541, Austria, Südweststeiermark. The nearest airport is in Graz, Austria. To travel to Kalapa by train, start at the main train station in Graz. From there, take the S6 or S61 S-Bahn towards Wies-Eibiswald for about an hour to the Bad Schwanberg station. (timetable information)
To travel from the Bad Schwanberg train station to the retreat center, a relatively inexpensive taxi service supported by the government is available that will take you directly to the Retreat Center, which is referred to as “Buddhistisches Zentrum” by this taxi service. For more information, please visit the following website: Regio Mobil. The taxi must be ordered at least one hour in advance, but visitors are recommended to do so much earlier or on the day before you intend to arrive. On weekdays, this taxi service operates between the hours of 6.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. On weekends it does not operate during the evening. As the journey is quite long (about 20 minutes), the service should be scheduled at least half an hour before the closing hours provided above. For trips on Sundays or public holidays please schedule the taxi service by 5 p.m. on the day before you intend to arrive.
To order: +43 (0)50 16 17 18 Cost: €6.00 total regardless of how many people are taking the taxi. Alternatively you can book a normal taxi service or similar.
By car: From the Graz-West motorway junction (A2/A9), get on the A2 towards Klagenfurt/Italy and take the Lieboch exit. Then, continue on Federal Road 76 towards Eibiswald. After about 30 km, you will reach Schwanberg. At the end of the main square in Schwanberg, turn left towards Garanas. After the bridge, turn right towards Garanas and follow the signs to “Kalachakra Kalapa Center” uphill for about 8 km to reach the center.
- Khentrul Rinpoche
Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö is the founder and spiritual director of Dzokden. Rinpoche is the author of Unveiling Your Sacred Truth, The Great Middle Way: Clarifying the Jonang View of Other-Emptiness, A Happier Life, and The Hidden Treasure of the Profound Path.
Rinpoche spent the first 20 years of his life herding yak and chanting mantras on the plateaus of Tibet. Inspired by the bodhisattvas, he left his family to study in a variety of monasteries under the guidance of over twenty-five masters in all the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Due to his non-sectarian approach, he earned himself the title of Rimé (unbiased) Master and was identified as the reincarnation of the famous Kalachakra Master Ngawang Chözin Gyatso. While at the core of his teachings is the recognition that there is great value in the diversity of all spiritual traditions found in this world; he focuses on the Jonang-Shambhala tradition. Kalachakra (wheel of time) teachings contain profound methods to harmonize our external environment with the inner world of body and mind, ultimately bringing about the golden age of peace and harmony (dzokden).