Three Year Retreat
True practice is not to practice. True practice is without practice.
It was a matter of particular concern to the Drikung Kaybgon Chetsang that the Milarepa Retreat Center will be the place in Europe, where the traditional three year retreat may be held. In Tibet, there was an ancient tradition in the Drikung Kagyu school, whereby practitioners were sent into the solitude of the sacred places at Mount Kailash, Lapchi, and Tsari, removed from all people and worldly distractions, for a three year mediation retreat. In the early 13th century, the lineage founder, Kyobpa Jigten Sumgon, sent three times very large numbers of his students to these sacred places. Today, it is almost impossible for Tibetans to pursue Buddhist practice at these sacred mountains and for Western practitioners, it is even harder. Only in the region of Lapchi, which lies partly on Nepalese territory, the Drikung Kagyu school has rebuilt the ancient retreat center. Nevertheless, it is extremely difficult for Western students to practice at this place for three years.
It was the vision of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, to establish three retreat centers in the West, corresponding to the three sacred mountains. One of these centers is in the vicinity of Auckland, New Zealand, and it corresponds to the mountain of Lapchi. The second is the Milarepa Retreat Center in Schneverdingen, Germany, and it corresponds to Mount Kailash. The third is in Zalaszántó, Hungary, and it corresponds to Mount Tsari.
Because the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang related this place to Mount Kailash and because notably Mahamudra meditation will be practiced there, Garchen Rinpoche gave the center the Tibetan name: Drikung Kagyu Gangri Chagchen Dargye Ling - Kailash, the place where Mahamudra is flourishing.
A somewhat secluded building on a shielded portion of the property of the Milarepa Retreat Center will serve for the traditional three year retreat. It will then be the first time that this important spiritual practice in the Drikung Kagyu tradition can be carried out in Europe, in the traditional closed form or in flexible segments.
Participants in such a special and extended retreat are often dependent on support. To keep costs as low as possible for the participants, you can support the three year retreat with a donation. In Buddhist thinking, someone who supports retreat participants in this way, shares the spiritual merit of the practitioners.
If you are interested in the three year retreat yourself, or in supporting practitioners in retreat and would like more information, please contact: