Upcoming Events

  • $725.00 – Late Registration Tuition (Meals and Lodging charged separately)

Members discounts apply to tuition only. Use your membership discount code at checkout. Regular Tuition is $675 and begins July 1st. Late Registration Tuition is $725 and begins August 1st.

Date & Time Details: Tuesday, Aug 29th at 4pm through Sunday, Sept 3rd at 3pm

Location: Mount Madonna Retreat Center

Address: 445 Summit Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Email us about program

Santa Cruz Mountains: Annual Dzogchen Retreat

With Pema Khandro

August 29 - September 3, 2017


Retreat into the beautiful redwood forest, unwind with restorative yoga, experience deep meditation, enjoy vegetarian meals, converse with fascinating people and best of all, receive Buddhism’s most profound teachings….

Join the community of Buddhist Yogis and friends for a rare opportunity to hear Pema Khandro teach on the teachings of the great 14th century Dzogchen master, Longchenpa, from the Trilogy on Finding Comfort and Ease (Tib. ngal gso skor gsum).


This meditation retreat focuses on discovering meditation as an effortless experience of deep calm and vivid presence. Working with mind, body, and breath, the obstacles to meditative practice fall away. With supportive practices and skillful instruction, the experience of meditation can be accessible, spontaneous and rewarding.

This meditation retreat focuses on Dzogchen meditation, Tibetan Buddhism’s most treasured path. Dzogchen means ‘Great Perfection,’ because focuses on the natural goodness at the heart of every person. At the heart of every person is an intrinsic wisdom. Meditation in Dzogchen is a method of awakening to this wisdom.

This meditation is not just something that happens in our minds. Dzogchen practices engage body, speech, and mind, known as the three gateways to awareness. By introducing multiple approaches to the meditative state, these methods demonstrate that everyone can access meditation, given the appropriate support. Meditation can be a practice that is profoundly restful, restorative and heart-opening. The goal of this retreat is to provide a supported space to access the peacefulness and stability of mind. These practices utilize breathing, visualization, postures, and other techniques. Their goal is to connect the mind with spacious, expansiveness and clarity.

Is Dzogchen meditation secret? There are many approaches to Dzogchen in Tibetan Buddhism. Historically speaking, different Tibetan lineages approach meditation practices at different times. Some do it only after ‘ngondro’ the extensive meditation series for training the mind in Vajrayana. Some have done it before ngondro and others interspersed with ngondro. This retreat offers a series of particular meditation techniques known as ‘holding the mind.’ They are practiced before, during and after ngondro because they are the main part of the path from the beginning to end in Tibet’s Nyingma lineage’s contemplative tradition. These particular practices are only taught in retreat settings because they require a deeper introduction.

A major topic of the retreat is the great fourteenth-century master, Longchenpa’s teaching, called ‘finding ease in the nature of mind.’ If we don’t understand what our mind is and how it works, a general sense of tension and anxiety result. These meditation techniques give the mind a way to let go and quiet down while giving the body the support, comfort or release of tension that makes meditation happen naturally.

General Schedule of Events

*This is the approximate schedule based on last year’s retreat. The daily schedule is approximate and subject to change.

Tuesday, August 29th
4:00pm – Arrival, registration and check-in at Seminar House
5:00pm – Dinner
7:00pm – Opening Ceremony

Wednesday – Saturday
8:00am   –  Breakfast
10:00am –  Buddhist Teachings, Meditation and/or Movement class
12:30pm –  Lunch
1:30pm   –  Free time
3:00pm  –  Buddhist Teachings, Meditation and/or Movement class
5:00pm  –  Dinner  (5:30pm on Friday)
7:00pm  –  Buddhist Teachings, Meditation and/or Movement class

Saturday Evening Celebration
7:00pm  –  Tsok Feast Celebration and Public Teaching with Pema Khandro – open to all Members of the school and the public

8:00am  –  Breakfast
9:00am  –  Yoga and Meditation
10:00am – Pack out lodging
11:30am  –  Buddhist Teachings
12:30pm –  Lunch
1:30pm   –  Final Transmission and Closing Ceremony
3:00pm  –  Group Picture and Departure

Member Discounts
*Membership discounts apply to Tuition Only
**Use your membership discount code at checkout.
10% discount  –  Supporter Members
20% discount  –  Mandala Holders
50% discount  –  Snow Lion Members (with a 6-month commitment)
100% discount  –  Sustainers and above (with a 3-month commitment)

Click Here to Learn More about Membership

Meals, Lodging and more at Mount Madonna Retreat Center

  • Lodging is limited and on first come first serve basis
  • All program participants are welcome to enjoy all parts of the land and center, including hiking trails, hot tub, practice spaces, and freshly prepared vegetarian meals.
  • Non-gluten and non-dairy options are available at every meal.
  • Please, no food, drugs, alcohol, pets, incense, candles or other flammables.
  • Please do not wear scented body products, as these cause severe toxic reactions in some people.



Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, humanitarian and scholar specializing in the philosophy and practice of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis. Her mission is to make in-depth Buddhist education accessible, to open the doorway to the great treasures of philosophy, meditation, medicine and art contained in Tibetan Buddhism. Pema Khandro is the spiritual leader of the Community of Buddhist Yogis in North America, she is the founder of Ngakpa International, the Yogic Medicine Institute, the MahaSiddha Center in BerkeleyCalifornia and Ngakpa House, a charity which supports the education of children and elders in the Himalayas. Pema Khandro is an authorized Lama…
Learn more about Pema Khandro