THOSAMLING Buddhist Nunnery & Institute Winter Retreat 2018

Cultivating Shamatha to Reveal Insight
with Doug Veenhof

Thosamling Winter Retreat 2018

The Buddha—and the great commentators and mahasiddhas ever since—emphasized that the effortless stability and vividness of mind achieved with shamatha is essential before experiential wisdom can flourish. The serenity and solitude of Thosamling provides the ideal conditions for an undistracted exploration of what Tsongkhapa calls, “the fusion of shamatha and vipashyana.”

An Invitation from the Nuns at Thosamling

Join the Nuns at Thosamling for an immersive two-month retreat with Doug Veenhof at their beautiful nunnery in Northern India.  The retreat will begin with basic Shamatha meditation practices before gradually introducing the Dzogchen view of consciousness.  The retreat aims to uncover new levels of relaxation, stability, and clarity with which to investigate the true nature of reality.

This is a two-month retreat (although you can register for 2 weeks, one month or for the full two month period).  The retreat is open for both men and women and is structured to benefit both beginners to the practice as well as experienced students.

The retreat is structured in a progressing gradual manner starting with:

• Shamatha basic practices (first 2 weeks of the retreat)
• fusion of shamatha and vipashyana meant to explore the pliancy of shamatha and how that relates to wisdom (weeks 2-4)
• onto the Dzogchen view of consciousness and how it relates to shamatha and vipashyana based on Düdjom Lingpa teachings, in the way it’s presented by Alan Wallace (weeks 4-8).

The gradual structure of the retreat accommodates both those who are new to the practice and would like to experience and explore Shamatha meditation practices a, as well as long time practitioners, who would like to dive into a prolonged retreat and re-acquaint themselves with the practices in a quiet supportive environment under the guidance of an experienced teacher.

Course Description

This two-month retreat will provide an immersion in a full range of practices for cultivating shamatha and then apply those skills to the close observation of our experience of the world and of ourselves.

Retreat leader Doug Veenhof will guide participants through a systematic progression of shamatha techniques drawn from many months of retreat with his teacher, renowned shamatha authority Alan Wallace.

The progression begins with a variety of breath meditations to break the incessant flow of the chattering mind and moves into a powerful sequence of practices taught by Padmasambhava for Taking the Mind as the Path.

All Buddhist traditions emphasize, however, that achievement of the effortless stillness and vividness of shamatha is not an end in itself. The close observation of individual moments of experience combined with inquiry can reveal experiential insights about the nature of the self, the mind, and the world of phenomena that has greater transformational power than conceptual analysis alone.

The retreat is divided into two-week segments that each provide instruction on a full range of shamatha techniques and their application in vipashyana practices drawn from Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

The full two months of retreat provides ample time for individual practice, but even if you can attend only two weeks or a month, and regardless whether you are a long-time practitioner or an absolute beginner, this approach will provide a comprehensive practice to take home with you.

For a tentative daily schedule of the retreat click here


During the Winter Retreat some of the sessions and practices can be done in one’s own room.
Participants in the course will be hosted in Single rooms (either with attached bathroom or with shared bathroom) to allow their practice to evolve with minimum distractions.  The option of shared rooms will be offered only for those joining the course for a period of 2 weeks only.  The organisers will do their best to accommodate your wishes and provide you with your room of preference, all subject to availability of rooms.

For a view of our accommodation options, meditation hall and overall look of Thosamling click here

Conduct in a Buddhist nunnery
Please read the following explanation about the Winter Retreat – conduct in a Buddhist nunnery – before signing up to the course.

Info and Registration
For more information and registration please email: