How to Meditate
Read our guide on Buddhist meditation practices Meditation practice at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center Learn to Meditate
Join our Open House for beginning meditators. Free meditation instruction provided. Learn to Meditate at our Free Open House for beginning meditators offered at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center Introductory Meditation Programs
Introductory meditation programs and classes offered at Karmê Chöling. Introductory meditation programs and classes offered at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center Explore Karmê Chöling
Learn more about Karmê Chöling through our blog articles and videos Introductory meditation programs and classes offered at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center
Write a Retreat Schedule
Whether its your first solitary retreat or you consider yourself an old hand, it’s important to have clarity about your intentions on retreat.
Shastri Alexander deVaron, who just completed a 108-day retreat last week, encourages retreatants to establish a vision of what they want to do each day in retreat.
“In a way, it’s like a macrocosm of Trungpa Rinpoche’s instructions: Decide how long you want to sit for; don’t sit for longer and don’t sit for shorter. Make it very clean.”
Solitary retreat is similar to this, but on a larger scale.
Before arriving at retreat, write down a schedule. Make it realistic — especially if you are new to solitary retreat. Share it with you meditation instructor or a seasoned fellow practitioner. Make sure you are being kind to yourself. Unrealistic expectations can unravel a retreat.
“Keeping a schedule is very important on retreat because it’s forcing you to let go of all your ideas of what you should be doing. All these concepts we have about ourselves — who we are and what we think we need to do? — well, on retreat that’s got to go” Shastri deVaron said.
Once you get into the cabin, you may find your schedule is under siege — by ego. You left your electronics with the retreats master. You’ve only brought two books with you. And sitting is … boring and repetitive.
“It’s challenging ego. Ego has all these tricks for how to maintain itself, and ideas about doing other fun and delightful things. And you’re saying, ‘No, ego, right now this is what we’re going to do.’”
New retreatants might schedule five or six hours of meditation into the whole day. Add time on the cushion progressively, with successive retreats, and see how it goes. Talk about the retreat with your meditation instructor or the retreats master when you return.
If you’ve sat for a dathün at Karme Choling, you know how repetitive and predictable the day can be.
“The heart of a dathün is the schedule,” said Shastri deVaron, who once trained dathün leaders at Karme Choling. “A dathün is not about pearls of wisdom from the dathün leader. Dathün is about the schedule, and maintaining the forms within the schedule.”
Here’s a sample solitary retreat schedule newer retreatants might consider. We hope to see you soon to support your next solitary retreat.
Retreats Customize a Personal or Group Retreat Planning a personal or group retreat? Our 750 acres, large house, pavilion, and multiple shrine rooms can accommodate a single person or a group of up to 20.
Plan Your Retreat Create your own personal or group retreat at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Bring mindfulness into your staff retreat by meeting at our peaceful Northeast meditation center in Vermont.
Learn About Company Retreats Hold your company staff retreat at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Take a solitary retreat in one of our secluded cabins, located on 750 wooded acres in Vermont.
Learn about cabin retreats Solitary cabin retreats at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Teach in our peaceful Northeast meditation center in Vermont and leave the logistics to us.
Learn About Workshop Rentals Hold your workshop or retreat at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont
Everyone has their own idea of paradise
For those searching for a rural Vermont retreat center, Karmê Chöling nestled amongst 750 acres of gently rolling countryside is ideal. Here you can find meditation intensives, basic Buddhist intro classes or long term meditation retreats.
Connect to the natural environment
This Northeast retreat center is immersed in lush forests, clear streams and open meadows. From the renowned rich autumn colors of New England to the deep quiet of winter to the vibrancy of life all around in spring and summer, this land gives rise to magic in all four seasons.
Places for Quiet Contemplation
Just walking on the land, one feels an appreciation for the environment. There are many places that provide an opportunity to take a quiet moment and connect back to one’s surroundings. Contemplative Places For Quiet Reflection The Organic Garden
You can make your way to Karmê Chöling’s abundant one-acre Organic Garden. The Organic Garden has its own summer volunteer program and provides over a hundred varieties of herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Fresh organic produce is available to all who join us for a meal, including people who come for Day Visits, guided group retreats, residential retreats and more.
Learn more about The Organic Garden Koi Pond
Just outside the Main House is our koi pond. In winter time the pond freezes over in sub freezing temperatures. Spring through fall is when it receives frequent visits from a variety of birds and waterfowl. This is also when the brightly colored koi can be seen. Kyudo - Traditional Japanese Archery
Kyudo is one of the mind/body training paths available at Karmê Chöling. Its archery range, the Kyudojo, is just down the hill from the Main House.
Pictured in the foreground is the ‘Father Stone’, a traditional element of the Kyudojo. Japanese Style Rock Garden
Stop by our Japanese-style Rock Garden. Built in the courtyard of the Main House, it is a quiet place for a moment of rest or contemplation.
Learn more about The Rock Garden The Purkhang
The Purkhang is the structure that was used to cremate the body of Chögyam Trungpa. Located in the upper meadows, it continues to stand as a memorial to the founder of Karmê Chöling.
Learn more about The Purkhang Kami Shrines
There are three Kami shrines on the land. Kami is the energy that evokes a sense of wonder and awe in the human heart. Karmê Chöling's Kami shrines are adopted from a Shinto tradition, and relating to them is intended to promote a sacred outlook on life and the world. If you would like to make offerings to the shrines while you are here, check in with the Retreats Department.
email@example.com The Stevens River
Stevens River is the stream that runs through Karmê Chöling’s land. It has many moods throughout the year, ranging from a lively river in the spring, to a trickle in the fall, to an unseen but still heard presence under snow and ice in the winter. Walking & Hiking Trails
If you are feeling adventurous and want to explore The Land in depth, there are 6 wooded hiking trails. These range from gentle to vigorous and will take you from the low areas around the Main House to the highest peaks on Karmê Chöling’s land.
View our Hiking Trails Guide Ripened by several generations of practitioners and blessed by many great teachers for fifty years, the land at Karmê Chöling remains a constant source of wakefulness and delight for our worldwide community. A little about Karmê Chöling …
Karmê Chöling is a Buddhist meditation retreat center founded by Chögyam Trungpa, a Tibetan lineage holder. Established in 1971, it is one of the oldest retreat centers in the US. It has become part of a global movement and community of meditators working together to build enlightened society.
You are responsible for providing your own provisions for your retreat. Please bring them with you as we are unable to make shopping trips into town to buy supplies for you.
Review the Food Suggestions below. They may give you some helpful ideas.
Bring enough non-perishables to last the whole retreat. Plan on having them with you in your cabin from the beginning.
Some perishables will go into retreat with you initially. For retreats longer than 10 nights, more perishables can be stored in the Retreats Department refrigerator or freezer at the Main House. These can be delivered to you by a pre-arranged schedule. Be sure to make arrangements with the Retreats Master for your food to be delivered on specific dates.
We are happy to offer organic produce from our garden during our growing season of June-October. The produce comes in CSA style boxes. You never know what you’ll get in a box, but the Retreat Master can send you a list of the most current garden produce if you ask by email a week before your retreat.
Please let the Retreat Master know at least a week in advance if you want to buy a produce box from the garden.
Be sure to bring enough cash with you to buy the food or supplies you are planning to get from Karmê Chöling. We are unable to cash checks for you.
Retreat Food Suggestions Since you will work with your mind in retreat, it is inevitable that you will also work with your body. Eat simple and healthy food, easy to prepare.
Vegetables: Leafy vegetables: lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, chard, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, sprouts, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers.
Root vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, yams, daikon, beets, onions, ginger.
Fruits: Apples, pears, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, peaches, avocadoes, tomatoes.
Dairy: Cheese, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, mayonnaise.
Dry Goods: Pasta, rice (brown, white), oats, quinoa, kamut, spelt, millet.
Canned goods: beans, tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters, soups.
Cereals: muesli, granola, instant hot cereals
Carbs: Bread, crackers, rice cakes, cookies, chocolate.
Beverages: Boxed soy, hemp and rice milk; boxed and bottled juices; teas, coffee, and cocoa.
Condiments: (We do not supply any condiments other than salt and pepper)
Honey, sesame oil, olive oil, vinegar, jam, peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, tamari, soy sauce, mustard, ketchup.
Regarding meat: If you decide to bring meat into retreat, bring it in frozen, and consume relatively early in your retreat. If your retreat is greater than 10 nights in length, you can store extra meat servings in the Retreats freezer in the basement before going into retreat and this can be delivered with your food delivery.
Miscellaneous: Nuts, dried fruits, tofu, tempeh, miso, dry or fresh herbs, bottled salad dressing
Ask Us Questions
Our Online Zoom Sessions are open to the public and free of charge:
Karmê Chöling's regular practice sessions are available weekday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30pm Eastern Time. We offer the Shambhala Sadhana and Sadhana of Mahamudra practices on whichever day they fall, at their respective times. Please note that we are unable to screenshare the text of the chants at this time, due to small numbers of available staff.
Zoom Room links will be updated quarterly and sent to everyone who is registered. Register here for the Practice Zoom Room link.
Regular weekday offerings:
White Tara Practice every Tuesday
Sitting meditation and Tonglen Practice on the other evenings
All regular practice days finish with Protector and closing chants
Regular weekday schedule:
5:30pm: Sitting Meditation
5:50 - 6pm: Tonglen Practice
6:10pm: Protector & Closing Chants
Sadhana of Mahamudra
Maitri Bhavana Green Tara practice at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Maitri Bhavana Practice
Fourth Monday of the month
5:30 - 6 pm Eastern time
Maitri Bhavana is a practice of lovingkindness where we acknowledge our interconnectedness to each other. We bring to mind those people (or circumstances) to whom we wish to bring comfort and benefit. It is a practice of unlimited friendliness and compassion for those who may be experiencing physical or mental suffering, such as cancer, grief, or depression, as well as for those who care about them.
We are able to do Maitribhavana, Tonglen, Sukhavati, and Shing Kham practice for individuals or groups. If you have someone you would like to request we practice for, please let us know by listing them here. White Tara practice at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont White Tara Practice
5:30 - 6 pm Eastern time
Join the Karmê Chöling Staff in the healing practice of White Tara, followed by our regular evening sitting session & closing chants. Shambhala Sadhana practice at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Shambhala Sadhana Practice
Morning of the Full Moon
9 - 10:15 am Eastern time
Join the Karmê Chöling Staff to practice the Shambhala Sadhana during morning practice the day of the full moon. Sadhana of Mahamudra practice at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Sadhana of Mahamudra Practice
Evening of the New Moon
5:30 - 6:15 pm Eastern time
Join the Karmê Chöling Staff in the Sadhana of Mahamudra during evening practice the day of the new moon. The sadhana takes most of the hour with an abbreviated list of closing chants at the end.
Karme Choling looks forward to constructing a stupa, as monument and memorial to Shambhala Buddhist founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Named The Stupa that Conquers all Directions, it will commemorate the memory and wisdom teachings of this beloved Tibetan meditation master, who first came to the United States in 1971.
A stupa is a monument to peace and nonaggression, expressed in the form of Buddhist sacred architecture. It is a physical representation of the Buddhist ideal of enlightenment. Incorporated into its structure are symbols that depict the Buddha, the elements, and the steps on the path to enlightenment .
Stupas aid individuals and their communities on their spiritual path as well. Because they are seen to embody aspirations for increasing wisdom and compassion, Buddhists and others come to them to meditate, circumambulate and recite mantras or prayers. Magnetizing good energy and right timing, stupas can bring auspicious coincidence for the community.
What is the Symbolism of a Stupa? The stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in a meditation posture, seated on a throne. It symbolizes his enlightened mind and presence. The Stupa represents the sitting Buddha, Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont Incorporated into the symbolism of the stupa is the Buddha, the elements, as well as the path to enlightenment. The jewel, sun and moon representing the Space element of the Purkhang. SPACE - All Encompassing Space
1. Jewel: The subtle body or enlightenment
2. Sun: The feminine aspect of prajna and wisdom
3. Moon: The masculine aspect of bodhichitta and skillful means Wind element represented in the Purkhang at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont AIR - All Accommplishing Wisdom
4. Parasol: Compassionate protection for all beings
Fire element represented in the Purkhang at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont FIRE - Discriminating Awareness Wisdom
5. Thirteen Disks: Representing the 13 powers of the Buddha or his teaching styles.
6. Harmika: Representing the 8-fold noble path:
Right View or Understanding
Right Concentration or Samadhi Water element represented in the Purkhang at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont WATER - Mirror-like Wisdom
7. Bumpa: Representing the 7 Factors of Enlightenment
Equanimity Earth element represented in the Purkhang at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont EARTH - Wisdom of Equanimity
8. Four steps: Representing the 4 Immeasurables
Maitri or Loving Kindness
Your support is vital in building and empowering The Stupa That Conquers All Directions. The energy and potency of a stupa is directly related to the energy that a community puts into it. With your engagement and support, Karmê Chöling will be able to continue construction of the stupa, initiating a new era of growth and expanding our capacity to continue making the world a better, kinder place.
Karmê Chöling aspires to radiate the vision of Basic Goodness and Enlightened Society throughout our own community and beyond into the broader culture. As sacred architecture, the stupa will enable our unique and nurturing practice center to fulfill this vision more fully in the world. Donate Now
Karmê Chöling is a Buddhist meditation retreat center founded by Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan lineage holder. Established in 1971, it is one of the oldest retreat centers in the US. It has become part of a global movement and community of meditators working together to build enlightened society.
The purpose of the household COVID policy is to reduce the likelihood of a household-wide COVID outbreak. The KCL community includes household members that are at high-risk for serious COVID illness and/or hospitalization.
When to Mask:
When you leave the land, please wear a N95 mask in any indoor space where it is not possible to maintain social distancing (at least 6 ft between you and other people), where there is poor ventilation, or where there is a high level of COVID present (e.g. hospital).
When you go to a restaurant, please wear a N95 mask any time you are not sitting at your table.
If you have any flu/cold symptoms, we require you to mask until symptoms subside. While you have symptoms you will not be able to unmask, even if you test negative for COVID.
If you leave the bubble, you may have to wear a mask when you return to KCL; see “Leaving/Returning to the Bubble” below.
If you have COVID or have been exposed to COVID you will have to mask and follow additional procedures; see appropriate sections below.
We require all household and bubble members to be vaccinated. We strongly encourage everyone to receive the most recent booster - bivalent (for 2 strains of COVID). Living in community puts you at higher risk of contracting and transmitting COVID.
Leaving/Returning to the Bubble:
If you go on an overnight trip outside the bubble OR do not wear a N95 mask in a crowded/high-risk indoor venue (see “When to Mask” above) OR use public transit to arrive at KCL (ex. air travel, bus travel, train travel, etc), we will ask you to follow the current protocols to re-enter the bubble (see OVERNIGHT STAY/RETREATS). -
We highly encourage you to wear a mask on public transportation and in densely populated areas where COVID transmission is more likely to occur to reduce your chances of bringing COVID back to KCL.
If you contract COVID while away, KCL will ask you to delay your return to KCL if that is possible.
If you have been exposed to COVID:
Test 7 days after your exposure and mask for 10 days (day 1 = day of exposure).
If you contract COVID:
If you contract COVID, KCL will ask you to quarantine in your room/ room assigned to you for 5 days (eating meals in your room, bathing in single-use bathrooms, and masking indoors) and you will be asked to mask indoors for an additional 5 days after your quarantine for a total of 10 days from the onset of symptoms or/and positive COVID test (ex. Day you test positive = Day 0, next day = Day 1). You can unmask after 10 days if:
Your symptoms are receding,
You haven't had a fever in the previous 24 hours and
You didn't need to take medication in the last 24 hours in order to keep a fever down