Mukpo Institute students conduct a three-month investigation into intensive meditation practice and contemplative study in beautiful rural Vermont. At its root, the curriculum presents the heart teachings and forms of Shambhala Buddhism, as presented by both Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
The Mukpo Institute is made up of a series of retreats that are offered over the course of the Semester (Fall/Spring). The heart of the Mukpo Institute semester is a month-long mindfulness retreat called dathün. During dathün, students apply mindfulness to all activities in addition to scheduled walking and sitting meditation sessions. Meals are taken in traditional Japanese monastic style; silence or mindful speech is observed; also mind-body disciplines are practiced.
Immersing oneself in the Mukpo Institute allows the space and time to delve into the age old question of what it really means to be human and alive within the context of living in a contemplative community.
Mukpo Institute is for all who wish to study and practice Shambhala Buddhism in depth and learn how to bring simplicity, clarity and, ultimately, joy into their personal and professional lives. No previous experience with Shambhala is necessary.
There is no typical Mukpo Institute student. Among our alumni are a retired nuclear engineer, a singer/songwriter, several teachers, a computer software developer, a dancer, an actor, a writer, and a physical therapist. Students have ranged in age from 21 to 60, and have come from several continents. Many have taken time out of their careers to come to Mukpo Institute. Some of them have very little meditation experience and have never taken a Buddhist course. No matter their varied backgrounds, what they have in common is the willingness to listen, meditate and contemplate wisdom teachings and apply them experientially. In so doing they transform into more of who they are. Each semester, the transformation repeats itself. At the end of every semester, we celebrate with these students and send them back to the larger world with hearts that are ever more open and accessible.
Mukpo Institute students benefit from the following:
- Living in a contemplative community.
- In-depth Shambhala Buddhist programs that steep students in ancient wisdom lineages and bring these teachings into everyday life.
- Fulfilling many of the requirements for advanced Shambhala Buddhist path programs such as Warrior Assembly and Enlightened Society Assembly (formerly Sutrayana Seminary).
- Ongoing mentoring and meditation instruction with Senior Teachers and Acharyas.
- Leadership training in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.
- Residential practice and study may apply toward college credit in some cases.
Many come to Mukpo Institute and Shambhala who are all too familiar with “spiritual shopping” or the desperate and arduous task of searching outside ourselves for help in dealing with the world’s many challenges. This path guides us in how to take the challenges of daily life in our modern society as opportunities for both contemplative practice and social action as well as points us to the infinite source of wisdom and compassion, our own minds and hearts; thereby, ending the frenzied shopping trip and allowing us to settle down and make friends with ourselves. This transformative program is so precious because you give yourself the opportunity to excavate the depths of who you really are as you gain experiential and practical wisdom that you will have for the rest of your life.
“My experience at Karme Choling has spun me around 180 degrees. My life now has direction, meaning, and purpose. I met the most beautiful human beings I have ever been blessed to come across.”
— Jesah Segal, Mukpo Student, Fall 2012