What does a typical semester look like?
There are four core faculty members of Mukpo Institute. These are Acharya’s or senior teachers in the Shambhala tradition. They help create the curriculum and teach some of the courses. The Mukpo Institute is made up by a series of retreats that are offered over the course of the semester. These retreats will be made up of Mukpo students and non-mukpo students, so there is always the opportunity to meet new people during each retreat. There is generally space between each program. During the time where there is no program scheduled students are encouraged to engage in community practice of living at Karmê Chöling. Mukpo students are welcomed in fully to the community of Karmê Chöling staff. The periods between programs are not ‘breaks’ per-se. There will often be events schedule in that time such as one-day programs or half-day classes that will provide introductions to different avenues of the Shambhala community/culture. These courses could include but are not limited to, Ikebana, Kyudo (Japanese contemplative archery), culture and decorum, Kasung, shrine room training (gate, umdze, drum).
Mukpo students will do a few hours of Rota or contemplative work each week. This will always include helping with dishes but there will also be contemplative work tasks that rotate throughout the semester that get students involved with community life through shrine keeping, Ikebana, working in the garden, or working in the kitchen.
Once a week students have a practicum lunch with a faculty member of Mukpo Institute and the other students. This happens throughout the semester except during Dathun. This is a time for students to ask questions, get to know each other, spend time with the faculty and process their experiences.
What are the dates?
General dates for Mukpo Institute Fall Semester are mid-September through early December. The spring semester generally begins in early March and ends early May. Click on the curriculum link to find exact dates. If the link is not yet up for the semester you are applying for, you can email the Mukpo Institute Coordinator.
What does the curriculum look like?
The curriculum for the Mukpo Institute can be found at the link on the top of this page. You can also email the Mukpo Institute Coordinator for further information. It should be noted that the gaps between programs, are a time where students can engage in the community practice of living at Karmê Chöling and engage with the residential staff. It is likely that during periods when students are not in a program there will be Mukpo specific activities that occur. These generally are not determined until the students begin their semester. Generally, the events are tailored toward the group of students and what their interests outside of the program curriculum are.
How many people attend?
It varies per semester. Mukpo Institute Semesters typically range from two to seven students.
What types of people attend Mukpo Institute?
People from all walks of life attend Mukpo Institute. Students arrive with diverse professional and academic backgrounds; the Institute respects and fosters this diversity. Mukpo Institute attracts multi-generational students. Each Mukpo Institute class is unique. Many people who attend Mukpo Institute have some connection, and some experience, with the Shambhala teachings and are wishing to explore further and deepen.
What is the atmosphere of Karmê Chöling like and how do Mukpo Students fit into it?
Mukpo Students are invited into the community that makes up Karmê Chöling. Students go in and out of different retreats, which make up the semester. When students are not in a retreat they are invited to engage with the full-time residential staff and with each other. Being that Karmê Chöling is a community it can sometimes be difficult to find private space. Hundreds of people come for the various retreats that are offered and so there can be lots of movement at times.
Are there pre-requisites?
There are no prerequisites. Each semester has two tracks, one for beginning Shambhala Buddhist practitioners and one for more advanced practitioners.
How much does it cost?
Tuition for the Mukpo Institute is $3,500 for the semester. This does not include housing. Students can choose from dormitory housing (5 other people in the room), a shared room (this is only available if there is another Mukpo student interested in sharing a room), or a single room. Each accommodation is a different cost per night. Housing charges are added to the tuition cost. In general students will have balances of $4,500 – $6,500 depending on their choice of accommodations.
Is there financial aid available?
Yes. There is a financial assistance application on the Scholarships page. Mukpo Institute offers need based financial assistance only. Financial assistance can be offered to help cover tuition costs (up to $3,500 depending on a person’s need), but will not be offered to cover housing costs. There is a limited amount of scholarship money available each semester. Students seeking financial assistance are encouraged to do their own fundraising for the Institute. Speaking with family and friends or fundraising at one’s local center can be good starting places for student fundraising. The Offering Bowl website is something to look into as well. Prior to your arrival, at a minimum, we ask that you pay a $500 deposit for the Mukpo Institute program and establish a payment plan for any remaining balance.
Do you offer a summer program?
No. But there is a Summer Volunteer Program at Karmê Chöling. It is a work focused program, not retreat focused, but is a great way to integrate with the community and learn. Contact the Head of Human Resources for details: firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 633-2384 ext ext.140 for more information.