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Light of the Path Retreat

Kadampa Center is thrilled to present the next Light of the Path Retreat on Sunday 3pm, May 4 to Sunday Noon, May 18, 2014, at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC. The retreat is almost full, so don't wait any longer to register if you don't want to miss this amazing opportunity! (For information about the 2014 Light of the Path Retreat in Spanish, please click here.)

Rinpoche's lamrim teachings at this retreat at the foundation of all of our practices, and will be available to future generations as the FPMT education program Living in the Path. Be a sponsor of the retreat and teachings - to find out more, click here. More details about the retreat are below.

The teachings will be streamed live in English at

We came here to take care of the mind, to take care of the mind, to look after yourself. To take care of yourself means what? Without taking care of the mind, just to take care of the body like putting on one dress in the morning, putting on another dress in the afternoon, putting one dress on at night time, then several shoes, hats. If you go out, you put on one dress, then go to beach in another dress, going to movie ‐ another dress, and if going to a party, another dress. … Without taking care of the mind, without taking care of the mind, then it is just only the body. The root is the mind, not the body, the root from which sickness and all of the problems come is the mind…

We are doing this course to have realizations, mainly we are looking for realizations, looking to subdue the mind... Here the main purpose, the main goal, is to subdue the mind. We have to understand that ‐ to change the mind, the heart to become Dharma, that Dharma to become the path, that path to be successful, to not have obstacles. Then in some teachings it is said thrul wa ye she su chhar wa, “the hallucination to appear as transcendental wisdom.” That which did not become Dharma, the heart which did not become Dharma, Dharma meaning detachment, renunciation to this life, detachment to this life, the heart to become content, satisfied. Then you have happiness and peace, otherwise not, otherwise only suffering, otherwise only, only suffering.  – Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Light of the Path 2010

What is the Light of the Path Retreat?

Light of the Path Retreat 2014 is the third of a 5-year series of teaching retreats led by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA, and hosted by Kadampa Center (an FPMT affiliate located in Raleigh, NC). The root text for the course is Lama Atisha's Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. Anyone is welcome to attend, even if you did not come in 2009 or 2010. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has not yet started a direct commentary on the text, and you can stream the preliminary teachings from past years on FPMT’S Online Learning Center to help prepare.

Inspiration to Attend

In the 11th century, Lama Atisha (Shri Dipamkara) was invited from India to Tibet for the purpose of transmitting the complete teachings of Lord Buddha to the Tibetan people, and presenting them in a way that was clear, precise, and easy to practice. To that purpose, Lama Atisha wrote and taught the Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (jangchhub lam gyi drönma), which had a profound impact for the Tibetans. It not only became the source for the Gelug lam-rim tradition, presenting a step-by-step set of instructions how to practice the path to enlightenment, but is also a source of teachings in all the Tibetan Buddhist lineages.

Lama Atisha’s text provides a foundation for understanding and realizing Lord Buddha's teachings that continues to flourish in modern Buddhist practice internationally. Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche is giving a modern day commentary on this profound and ancient text.  FPMT considers this event to be the ultimate teaching and practice lineage transmission available for FPMT teachers and students and strongly encourages everyone to attend in person. We will also make full use of the spectrum of information technology to make this new program available to a worldwide audience. Living in the Path is an online teaching program created from Rinpoche’s teachings during the 2009 Light of the Path Retreat and will continue to evolve throughout this series of retreats.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a unique teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He is well-known for teaching long hours into the night and for rarely teaching in a linear fashion according to a text, but rather for teaching according to what is most karmically beneficial for his audience. For over 45 years, Rinpoche has been gathering examples of the truth of Dharma and perfecting his ability to discern what practices and teachings are best suited for his students. It is our belief that Rinpoche's offer to give a commentary on Atisha's Light for the Path, which had a tremendous impact on how Buddhism was subsequently understood and practiced in Tibet, is an indication of how transformative this teaching event will be for the way Buddhism is practiced and understood in our time.

Who is Kadampa Center?

Kadampa Center was founded in 1992 as an expansion of a study group formed some years earlier by Don Brown, the Center has been directed by either Don or Robbie Watkins since that time. We are incredibly fortunate to have had Geshe Gelek Chodha as our resident teacher for over fourteen years.

We are an urban center in Raleigh, NC. In 2007, we attained the long-term goal of purchasing our own building.  Since then we have expanded our spiritual program offerings and membership considerably. We offer FPMT education programs like Discovering Buddhism and Meditation 101, a regular schedule of pujas, Sunday morning teachings, regular children’s and teens’ programs, social events and potlucks, and many special events such as 21 Tara practice nights, animal blessings and liberations, and a New Year’s Eve Dorje Khadro fire puja.

Kadampa Center has had the good fortune to host visits by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Chöden Rinpoche, Gyümed Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Delek, Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Donyo, Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, Geshe Yeshe Tobden, Geshe Tsulga, Geshe Kelsang Wangmo, Venerable George Churinoff, Venerable René Feusi, Venerable Robina Courtin, Venerable Sangye Khadro, Venerable Tsen-la, Gareth Sparham and many other western and Tibetan teachers.
Kadampa Center is thrilled to continue to host the Light of the Path Retreat in 2014 at the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina.  We look forward to meeting and serving all who attend!

About Retreat

How does a residential retreat differ from attending teachings at a center? Unlike teachings at a center, a retreat provides the participants with an atmosphere conducive to practice 24 hours a day. Basic retreat discipline includes observing the five lay vows, attending all sessions and keeping silence for at least the first half of the day. For the rest of the day, no idle speech or gossip. Use of cell phones and internet service is strongly discouraged to reduce distraction and prevent disruption to the contemplative environment. Everyone is encouraged to participate as fully as possible but no one is expected to do more than they are able. Observing the five lay vows in the context of a retreat means no killing of any being (including insects); no sexual conduct of any kind; no lying; no stealing or taking that which has not been given; and no intoxicants, including drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.

During the two-week retreat, Rinpoche's commentary will be supplemented by practice and review sessions, discussion, and guided meditations led by senior FPMT teachers with additional practices to accumulate positive energy and purify obstacles so that realizations may dawn quickly in the mind. Course participants have the opportunity to engage in group practice of Lama Chöpa Jorcho, confession and prostrations to the 35 Buddhas and take the Eight Mahayana Precepts for most of the retreat. All participants will be expected to participate in karma yoga work sessions for the duration of the retreat. In this way, the Light of the Path Retreat will include all aspects of FPMT integrated education: study, practice, service, and ethical behavior.

For those interested to watch the event via webcast or receive information about Living in the Path courses based on Rinpoche's teachings at this retreat, please refer to the FPMT website.

Contact for more information.