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Ten-Day Ashe Mahamudra, And Vajrayana Practices Retreat

With Acharya Susan Chapman and Russell Rodgers

November 8 - 18, 2014

  • $700.00 – Program Price

The Sakyong has written a beautiful practice text that brings together the Shambhala dzokchen path of Ashe, windhorse, and the four dignities with the mahamudra vipashyana investigations into the nature of mind. Whether we directly experience body, perceptions, thoughts, emotions, or awareness, all transmissions agree at one point—liberation on the spot. This essentially formless insight can help us be skillful with any practice, activity, or experience that we have.

This retreat is open to all Shambhala vajrayana students who have attended a Vajradhatu Vajrayana Seminary or a Sacred World Assembly. This is a wonderful opportunity for the entire vajra sangha to gather and be of one mind, one heart. If you are doing something other than Rigden ngondro, werma or scorpion seal, please contact us directly at so that together we can plan to accommodate your practice.


The retreat will be led by Acharya Susan Chapman and Russell Rodgers. This will be our fourth annual mahamudra retreat, and the third featuring the unique combination of mahamudra vipashyana and form practices of shambhala ngondro, werma and scorpion seal. As such, it will count towards the practice requirement for an Acharya-led weekthun for werma. We will be using the mahamudra investigations to increase our understanding of the mind that visualizes, and thus increase its power and effectiveness. Mahamudra also stabilizes the nature of mind transmission.

The retreat will be structured as follows: We will be doing two shorter than usual sessions per day of ngondro, werma or scorpion seal or other form practices for seven of the ten days. The rest of the time on those days will be devoted to mahamudra investigations. This will have the effect of adding vipashyana elements to the sampannakrama phase that ideally takes place on completion of the form practice. Three of the ten days will be fully devoted to Ashe Mahamudra investigations.
The retreat will run from Saturday evening, November 8, to Tuesday evening, November 18. November 8, Saturday, will be an arrival day, and November 19, Wednesday, the departure day. The last day of practice will be on November 18. There will be a dinner and orientation at the Centre at 6 pm on the arrival day. Meals will be provided at the Centre for the duration of the retreat.

Reserving a Place
Space is limited to about 22 participants. The suggested donation is $700 (see our  Generosity Policy). Plan for a teacher’s gift. Your reservation will be considered complete when we have received your completed registration form and a $100 reservation deposit (payable to Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre and refundable before October 8thth.

Practice Texts

The retreat will include lungs for the Sakyong’s new practice text Ashe Mahamudra, and also for the Wheel of Wisdom, a short Manjushri practice. You will receive these texts at the retreat. Please bring and review ahead of time Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso’s Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness or Andy Karr’s Contemplating Reality. Either of these two books can help to provide a conceptual background for the experiential investigations of mahamudra. You should also review and bring “Shambhala Dzokchen” by the Sakyong. This book can be ordered from Shambhala Media.
Please bring your practice liturgies and chant books, including the Kagyu Lineage Supplication and the Melody which Accomplishes Deathlessness. Also bring the Sadhana of Mahamudra and the Dharmaraja Guru Yoga. Participants should purchase Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s book Shambhala Dzogchen and read it in advance of the retreat. This book can be ordered from Shambhala Media.

Accommodation and Meals
Meals will be provided at the Centre during the program. A limited number of billets with local sangha are available. Some participants may choose to sleep at the Centre (we have a shower at our new Centre). The Dancing Bear Inn, a hostel, has had good reviews in the past. Their rates are $52 for a single. Shared and family style accommodations are also available for as low as $26 per person. The Hume Hotel , at $109 per night, also has good reviews and is within easy walking distance. You could also contact Judy Katz, who has a room with private bathroom available in her home, a twenty minute walk to the Centre. Wireless, towels and bedding are provided for $30/night, $185 weekly. Call her at 250.352.3319,  or email

Travel Within Canada
Air Canada flies into Castlegar, B.C., about half an hour’s drive from Nelson. Connections to Castlegar can be made through Vancouver or Calgary. The Kootenay Shuttlecan pick you up at the airport and deliver you to where you are staying. They suggest making reservations ahead of time. The shuttle costs $24, plus $8 if you want to be delivered to some place other than the Hume Hotel (which is five blocks from our Centre at 812 Stanley St.

Travel From the USA
American citizens may wish to check with the Border Services Agency about current requirements for travel to Canada. You are entering as a visitor. You need a passport. They don’t care if you are going to a Buddhist meditation retreat, but some border personnel may think that you are working in Canada if you get a discount in exchange for doing work. The closest major airport is in Spokane, 3 ½ hours away. From there, you can rent a car, or arrange a shuttle through Kootenay Shuttle. You may also choose to fly Air Canada to Castlegar, half an hour away and reserve with the same shuttle company. You can make connections for the flight to Castlegar in Vancouver or Calgary.

Unless you specify otherwise, we will share contact information with other people traveling from your area. Participants traveling through Spokane may wish to share in the rental of a car, or connect with others coming from Washington.

The Location of the Retreat

The retreat will be held at our new Centre, 812 Stanley St., Nelson. When you first enter Nelson, you will arrive at a four way stop. Turn right onto Baker St, the main business street. Proceed three blocks and then turn right again on Stanley St. The Centre is three blocks up from Baker Street, on the right hand side, across from a large school. It is a ground floor location.

About the Teachers


Acharya Susan Chapman

Acharya Susan Chapman completed three year retreat at Gampo Abby, and afterwards was asked by Pema Chodron to stay for another six years at the Abby as retreat master. She has lead many mahamudra retreats at various centres in North … More


Russell Rodgers

Russell Rodgers completed his first mahamudra retreat under the direction of Thrangu Rinpoche in 1990. When questions arose, he began studying afterwards with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. He continued to study with Khenpo for twelve years. He has completed several … More