The Profound Practice Container of Nirmanakaya

Cabin Retreats
Created Sat, Feb 10, 2024 by
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Mike DeGive

I fell in love with Nirmanakaya retreat cabin late last fall. I’ve never done a retreat there, and somehow had not formed a bond.

My bosses had no idea where I was, which is the perfect state of affairs in my book. So I decided to spend time puttering around after putting freshly scrubbed dishware back on the shelves.

What a profound cabin.

First thing I did was build a fire and light a lamp, giving the space a warm, amber glow. The practice of hundreds of practitioners radiated from the walls. The cabin’s recently refinished floorboards love reflecting fire-light. I had the impression Nirmanakaya was waking up to greet me.

Acharya Bill McKeever, one of the early directors of Karme Choling, had told me years before that Nirmanakaya was the first retreat cabin to be built on the land. Back then, it was at the very end of the Retreats Road, above a sloping meadow ringed by the mountain.

Raptors circling the vast sky frequently dine in that meadow. The weather, playing out in the open space, is the main form of entertainment. The spot is perfect for heart-opening, mind-expanding practice.

Although it was decided to build a new cabin above that meadow, practitioners loved Nirmanakaya so much that it was lifted off the ground and moved — I assume through the power of levitation.

It now resides two-and-a-half stone throws from the campground’s Upper Meadow. I’ve startled more than a few deer relaxing on the grass in its “front yard.” Dr. Eva Wong, a holder of the Xiantianwujimen Taoist lineage, has identified a power spot just east of the porch, which holds an energy well-suited for contemplation.

In its new space, Nirmanakaya is excellent for the practice of Shamatha. Its focus is powerful.

I plan to do my next retreat at Nirmanakaya. So if you’re trying to book time there, remember to call first — I’ll let you know when I’m done.

To learn more about entering solitary retreat at Karme Choling, contact Mike at

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