MANI RETREAT
with Lama Zopa Rinpoche
5 May to 6 June, 2009


Dear friends, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends in the Dharma,

Vajra Yogini Institute is one of the French residencies affilated with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)

Be assured that we will do everything possible to organize this big family get-together in Europe, centered around our precious Lama, as best we can. During the retreat we will try to answer all your temporary and ultimate needs. But please help us by getting organized well in advance with our proposals in the following pages.

The heart of the retreat will be held in a large tent on the grassed area opposite the stupa. The last time this kind of organisation happened was in 2003 for Lama Zopa Rinpoche's visit during the Four Kadampa Diety retreat and in 1993, for the teachings on the ninth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara by His Holiness the Dalaï Lama. Two events that will be long remembered in the hearts of those who took part, even though they were of short duration. So, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's presence, for nearly six weeks, in this already blessed place will surely ripen a lot of karma, open hearts and minds, and stir our consciousnesses.

Let's be ready to receive all these blessings with calmness and gratitude. The presence of this incredible and extraordinary being is well worth the trouble, so for a short while let's be ready to sacrifice those comfortable conditions that we're so used to in the West, ready to travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers to this corner of France that will, for the occasion, become international.

It's not easy for everybody to find a slot of four, maybe six weeks in their timetable but it's a unique occasion for us to meet, once again, our brothers and sisters from all over the world, together with our spiritual guide, so…

You'll find various pages on this site designed to introduce you to the place, the retreat content and general information. If we've missed certain points, please feel free to let us know, we can adapt at any moment if needs be. There will surely be very many people attending so it will be necessary to take into account the needs of everyone but please, before sending us your registration form, take the time to read all of these pages so that we can avoid unnecessary letters and telephone calls. The Institute's timetable is very loaded throughout the year: we have activities before and after this precious month of May and the Mani retreat will be preceded by an important international meeting of FPMT center staff members, so it's important that everybody be clear about arrival and departure dates in order to maintain harmony throughout the Spring season. We'll now let you discover or re-discover Vajra Yogini Institute in the following pages; we hope that you won't be too bored reading it and that it'll give you the occasion to meet with us at tulip and daffodil time together with our precious Lama for a huge Dharma celebration. With all our devotion and with the joy of welcoming you, we pray that no obstacle will prevent anyone from taking part in this event.

Hoping to see you very soon,
The Vajra Yogini Institute team


GENERAL INFORMATION
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Vajra Yogini Institute is situated on the summit of a hill, surrounded by a six hectare park and is one of five French FPMT centers (three in France and two in over-seas territories). Founded thirty years ago, it now has over 1,000 active members. Teachings and retreats are organised throughout the year, guided by Tibetan lamas and visiting western teachers from around the world. The Institute has hosted two important visits, in 1982 and 1993, His Holiness the Dalaï Lama. The presence of Geshe Lobsang Tengye for over 25 years, of Geshe Tenzin Dorje for four years and of Geshe Tenzin Loden for nearly a year, has strengthened the powerful connection the Institute has with Sera Je Monastery in southern India.

Each summer we welcome Yangsi Rinpoche for our summer university. We have great joy in regularly receiving lamas such as Chöden Rinpoche, Kensur Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche and Kensur Geshe Tegchok Rinpoche. In the near past, the Institute has also welcomed His Holiness Sakya Trinzin, Lati Rinpoche, Kirti Tsenchab Rinpoche… Young lamas such as Ling Rinpoche ou Gomo Toulkou Rinpoche have given us the pleasure of visiting despite not having finished their studies, giving the opportunity for Institute students to make or re-establish a contact with these incarnations.

We have also received senior western students who have since become qualified teachers such as Steve Carlier or Thierry Racca, Anilas Rita et Sangye Khadro. For four years we've had the joy in organising a week's teaching with Anila Robina Courtin and a yearly vipassana retreat guided by the Venerable Antonio Satta.

For twenty years we have proposed a Vajra Yogini retreat and for two years, over the same period, a four week Lam Rim retreat.
This is the second long retreat guided by Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Vajra Yogini Institute.

Weather
Difficult to predict the weather in May and June… Years go by and none are the same. Nevertheless, spring in the south-west of France is generally very temperate, neither too hot nor too cold but perhaps a little rain from time to time. It's better to bring light clothing with a number of warmer layers for the evenings and the morning sessions, as well as a wind-breaker, an umbrella and water proof shoes in case of rain.




Translation

Lama Zopa Rinpoch's teachings will be given in English. The translation will be broadcast by FM radio in French and Spanish. The other retreat sessions will probably be guided alternatively in French and English. ALL participants (excepting those who speak French AND English) should bring an FM radio. For those who don't bring their own radios, small FM radios will be on sale during the retreat. If you need a translation in another language or if you can translate into another language for a group, please let us know, using the registration form. The prayers and practices connected to the retreat are supplied to all French, English and Spanish participants.

Telephone and internet

During the retreat it is of course advisable for everyone to limit, as much as is possible, communication with the exterior (telephone, email, etc). However…
- A telephone box that works with tele-cards (on sale at the reception) is at your disposition.
- The château is equiped with wi-fi therefore, for those who are obliged to keep a contact with the exterior, it will be possible to connect to internet with your lap-top computor.
Don't forget to leave the Institute's address and phone/email with those close to you in case of emergency.

Telephone : 05 63 58 17 22 or 05 63 58 29 61
Email : institut.vajra.yogini@wanadoo.fr

What to bring ?

The complet retreatants kit could be composed of :
- a wind-breaker, an umbrella and water proof shoes in case of rain.
- comfortable and light clothing, shoes that are easy to take on and off.
- An FM radio with enough adaptables batteries (also necessary for English-speakers because certain retreat sessions will be guided in French).
- An alarm clock.
- A pocket lamp or torch
- A small meditation cushion
- A shawl or blanket for sessions in the tent.

We've anticipated having a large number of mats and meditation cushions for your comfort during the sessions but on certain days like the initiation we will be very large in number, so please, if you come by car and if you have the place, bring your own cushion, mat…

Water

For those accommodated in the Institute, the priority will be vigilance concerning daily water consummmation. We are rarely more than a hundred spending the day on site, so if we multiply this number by two or three, we need to adapt. Showers should be short, be reasonable with WC water usage, and daily habits like washing teeth or hands should be done with this in mind.

The boutique

The Institute's boutique will be open every day during the retreat. You'll find handicrafts, books, CDs, meditation cushions and mats, embroideries, ritual objects, clothing, post cards…