Below are detailed listings of our upcoming events, or you can see our Events Calendar. We encourage you to try our courses if you have an interest in learning about your mind, finding true happiness, and developing a good heart.

Costs are set as low as possible to meet expenses, and we never want money to be an obstacle for people to practise the Dharma. We offer these courses on a donation basis to the local community, and have live-in volunteer positions as a way to offer service and have free access to courses. All monks and nuns are offered reduced rates. If you have the means, consider donating to help us continue to make the Dharma accessible to everyone.

15 – 24 June: Riding the Waves of Life’s Ups and Downs with Ven. Robina Courtin

VRC 1 photo by Jane LewisLife is inevitably full of ups and downs – a process of constant change. We suffer because we try to chase and hold on to the good things, and avoid and get rid of anything we think is bad, while unable to see the big picture. Learn more about the Buddhist view of the causes of our suffering, and how to be happy by developing a kind, compassionate heart and a better understanding of the true nature of our reality.

Join us in welcoming back the dynamic Venerable Robina Courtin to Mahamudra Centre for this special event, sure to provide a strong dose of wisdom and compassion to take back into your daily life. Ven. Robina tours year-round teaching internationally, and her life story and work with prisoners was featured in the award-winning documentary Chasing Buddha. She recently edited the book by Lama Zopa Rinpoche How to Enjoy Death, and released a CD of devotional chanting. For more about Ven. Robina, see her website www.robinacourtin.com

Attendees can can choose from two packages: either the opening weekend, or the entire retreat.

View and download the Retreat Schedule

First weekend only

Friday 15 June, 7:30pm – Sunday 17 June, 3:00pm

Includes delicious vegetarian meals from breakfast Saturday 16th through lunch on Sunday 17th. Gluten-free meals avalabile for an extra $6. Dinner on Friday can be added for $7.50 with your booking, and is served at 6:00pm.

$160 meals and facility/materials fee not including accomodation: all weekend accomodation on site is booked (unless you are coming in a camper van, which is $18 a night), but we can help describe, price, and book you in other local accomodation when you register.

Full Retreat

Friday 15 June, 7:30pm – Sunday 24 June NEW – extended to 2:30pm

Prices below include discounted accommodation, a low facility/materials fee, and delicious vegetarian meals from breakfast Saturday 16th through lunch on Sunday 24th. Gluten-free meals avalabile for an extra $25. Dinner on Friday can be added for $7.50 with your booking, and is served at 6:00pm.

As of 19 May, The following options are still available for booking.

One Large self-contained cabin (kitchenette and bathroom): single $1320 or double $1740 ($870 per person)

Just opened – Tara Cabin (small single cabin with kitchenette, outdoor drop toilet nearby and use of communal toilet/shower block) $763

Camping/camper van $499 (this time of year can be cold and damp, so tent camping allowed but not advised)

All other accomodation on site is booked, but we can help describe, price, and book you in other local accomodation when you register.

To register and enquire about accommodation, please fill out our online booking form or call us at (0)7 866 6851.

If you are arriving outside of our office hours (9:30am – 5:00pm) please tell us your plans so we can make arrangements to check you in. If you’re coming from out of town, we find guests have the best experience when arriving before dark.

14-17 July: Nyung Nä Retreat on Chokhor Duchen (Buddhist Holy Day)

Nyung Nä: The Means of Achievement of the Eleven-Face Great Compassionate One (1000-Arm Chenrezig, also known as Avalokiteshvara)

Nyung Na Merit Field from FPMT

The Nyung Na Merit Field

The Nyung Nä retreat is an intensive two-day purification retreat that includes fasting, taking the 8 Mahayana Precepts, prostrations, prayers, mantra recitation, and offerings. Nyung nä is a practice based on the deity, 1,000 armed Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion. This retreat is being held over the special Buddhist holy day of Chokhor Duchen, the anniversary of Buddha’s First Teaching, which is a merit-multiplying day on 16 July. On these special Buddha Multiplying Days, karmic results are multiplied by one hundred million, as cited by Lama Zopa Rinpoche from the Vinaya text Treasure of Quotations and Logic.

Doing even one Nyung Nä is said to be as effective as three months of other purification practices and is extremely powerful for healing illness, purifying negative karma, and opening the heart to compassion. According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Abiding in the Retreat: A Nyung Nä Commentary:

Nyung nä is a practice that is very easy to do and yet has unbelievable power. There is extraordinary benefit in doing nyung näs. Everybody should definitely attempt to do nyung nä practice, this powerful method of purification. You shouldn’t regard nyung nä practice as unimportant and be careless about it. You must practice it, and from your heart you must recite OM MANI PADME HUM.

Doing this practice is an unbelievably powerful way to collect the most extensive merit and to purify the negative karmas collected during beginningless rebirths. Doing that is a most powerful way to develop realizations, especially compassion for sentient beings. Doing Chenrezig meditation-recitation can really purify any negative karma and is the quickest way to achieve enlightenment. Don’t miss the opportunity to do this practice. And the harder you find it to do, the better it is, because you will purify more negative karma. As well as bringing powerful purification, however, it helps you to develop so much compassion for sentient beings. Nyung nä practice is also very effective in healing sicknesses, even those that are difficult to cure, where otphoto-of-roy-fraser-small1.jpgher methods have been tried and haven’t helped. By confessing to the guru, reciting the Chenrezig mantra and doing nyung näs, people have been cured of such sicknesses. Nyung nä is very powerful.

The retreat will be led by Roy Fraser, Centre Director and one of Mahamudra Centre’s founders.

Pre-requisites

There is complete fasting (no food or drink) and silence on the second day, and the entire retreat involves fasting combined with intensive physical prostrations, so participants need to be in good mental and physical health. Participants must also stay on Mahamudra Centre’s grounds for the entirety of the retreat.

  • You should be a Buddhist, having formally taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
  • You should have taken the Great 1000-Armed Chenrezig Initiation, which will require taking the Bodhisattva Vows. If you do not already have a Great 1000-Armed Chenrezig Initiation, to participate in this Nyung Nay Retreat, you should have received a complete initiation (wang) from one of the three higher classes of tantra, or an initiation of one of the deities of the tathagata or lotus family of Kriya Tantra.
  • You must be familiar with the Lam Rim (the Graduated Path to Enlightenment as presented in the Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist tradition) and have attended at least one introductory course in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • You must have read all information on this website about the Retreat and agree to follow the discipline of the Retreat, including fasting, strict silence, attending all sessions, and wearing appropriate clothing (no shorts or sleeveless shirts).
  • If you have never done Nyung Nays before you must attend the introductory session on Friday night, where all the explanations of the practice will be given.

Registration

We offer this course to you on a donation basis. To register, you just need to pay for food and your choice of accommodation, and you can add a donation in whatever amount you can afford to give with an open heart. If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable.

Arrivals are on Saturday the 14th, with a mandatory introductory session at 7:00pm, then the practice begins before dawn on Sunday and continues through to an early morning session on Tuesday the 17th finishing with a breaking of the fast at breakfast. Delicious and homemade vegan meals (with dairy provided on the side) provided for $25. If you are arriving before 6:00pm on Friday, you can add dinner for an additional $7.50. Gluten-free available on request for an additional $6 for the retreat.

To register, please complete the Nyung Na Application. Deadline for applications is 1 July.

25 Sept: 7:00pm Public Talk – The Art of the Mandala with Andy Weber

White_Tara_4abac01bf229aJoin us at 7:00pm for this free public talk on The Art of the Mandala in the meditation hall of Mahamudra Centre. This beautiful sacred art in Tibetan Buddhism is filled with symbolism and created with precise geometry and meaning. Internationally renowned artist Andy Weber will present an evening on the art of the mandala, a fascinating introduction to this meditative artistic practice. The talk is open to everyone, and serves as an introduction to the five-day drawing workshop that follows.

25 – 30 Sept: Drawing the Mandala of Tara with Andy Weber

Learning the sacred art of the Tibetan Buddhist mandala with a qualified teacher is a very rare opportunity, and we bring you internationally renowned Andy Weber who will lead this 5-day workshop on drawing the mandalas of the female Buddha Tara. In addition to learning the symbolism and hands-on techniques of drawing a mandala of Tara, over the weekend Andy will demonstrate the painting techniques so you can continue colouring your mandala at home.

White_Tara_4abac01bf229a

Mandala of White Tara – an example of Andy’s work and what will be taught in the workshop

Tara Mandala ( Tib: Droljang khyil.khor )
Born from the tears of Avalokitesvara, the buddha of compassion, Tara grants protection and relief from suffering.  According to the myth, Green Tara appeared to the right of Avalokitesvara as the principle of active compassion that overcomes obstacles. White Tara, whose devotional practices overcomes illness and extends one’s life span, sat to his left side. Called the “ mother of all buddhas,” she promises assistance when called upon. The three outer rings (fire, vajras, petals) of her mandala protect the inner sanctuary, her palace and the practitioner. Viewing the mandala is regarded as a personal blessing.

About the course

Mandala_of_Chitt_4b66b5dccdaaf

Chittamani Tara mandala

Andy will guide students through the process of drawing the Mandala, either the Green or White Tara Mandala. For those students with Highest Yoga initiation he will instruct the Cittamani Tara Mandala. Meditation and mantra recitation will enhance and deepen the experience of this courses. He’ll provide hands-on-tuition to draw the mandala and share insight into painting techniques used to complete the works.
It is not the end result what matters but the path getting there.

Beginner’s course. No artistic talent/experience required; genuine interest in the subject is preferred.

25 Sept Tuesday 7:00pm free public talk on the Art of the Mandala and introduction to the course

26-30 Sept Weds – Sunday for registered course participants. Optional weekend-only package available for Friday night – Sunday.

Andy Weber photo from his website permitted to use

For more about Andy Weber and his artwork, visit his website andyweberstudios.com

Lists of materials students need to buy in advance and bring for the course:

DRAWING MATERIALS – required

PAINTING MATERIALS – optional

If you are traveling without a car and cannot bring a drawing board, please contact us and we can quote a price to buy it locally and provide it for you. Supplies are more expensive in our beautiful but remote location, so we recommend making the arrangements to bring everything with you.

Save the dates: Costs and registration details will be posted here as soon as possible. To receive updates on our programmes and registration openings, please subscribe to our email list.

Oct 5-7: Mindfulness as a Way of Life with Hedwig Bakker

meditation-1287207_1920Practicing Mindfulness means learning to relax and stay present with a non-judging and friendly awareness. We can cultivate it by paying attention – on purpose and carefully – to the contents of this moment in a friendly and allowing way.

In daily life we often are not very present or mindful, instead acting on impulse, under the influence of conditioning and strong habit patterns. When life situations become difficult or challenging, we have the tendency to escape, to turn away. With a mindful attitude we can be more present, aware and successful in every moment of your life, and we can deal more skillfully and effectively with inner and outer difficulties.

What to expect in the retreat:

  • Practicing several aspects of mindfulness in sessions of sitting meditation, walking meditation, while eating and while moving.
  • Developing familiarization with the essential attitudes of mindfulness: non-judging, non-striving, beginners mind, acceptance, presence, patience, letting go.
  • Learning how to apply the attitude of mindfulness in day-to-day life.
  • Practicing for the weekend in silence.

HedwigThis course is suitable for anyone new to mindfulness practice as well as for those who are already familiar with it: they can deepen their understanding and experience.

Mahamudra Centre warmly welcomes back Hedwig Bakker to lead this retreat.

Registration

The first session of the course is at 7:30pm on Friday night, and finishes at 3:30pm on Sunday. Delicious and homemade vegan meals (with dairy provided on the side) provided from breakfast on Saturday through lunch on Sunday for $52.50. If you are arriving before 6:00pm on Friday, you can add dinner for an additional $7.50. Gluten-free available on request for an additional $5 for the weekend.

We offer this course to you on a donation basis. To register, you just need to pay for food and your choice of accommodation, and you can add a donation in whatever amount you can afford to give with an open heart. If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable. Please fill out our online booking inquiry and we’ll get back to you shortly to confirm your space and choice of accommodation.

19-28 Oct: Medicine Buddha Empowerment and Retreat with Geshe Thupten Wangchen

medicine-buddha-mediumOptions to attend empowerment only or entire retreat

Medicine Buddha practice is particularly beneficial for healing of both body and mind. According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, “The Medicine Buddha encompasses all the buddhas. This means that when we practice the seven-limb prayer and make offerings with the seven limbs, we receive the same merit as we would if we had made offerings to all the buddhas. Similarly, when we recite the mantra of Medicine Buddha, we collect unbelievable merit just as when we offer the seven-limb practice to Medicine Buddha.” (Click here for Rinpoche’s full explanation of the benefits of Medicine Buddha mantra and practice.)

p1200621The purpose of a retreat is to help you feel close to Medicine Buddha, opening your heart, and recognizing your potential to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings. The empowerment gives you permission to visualize yourself transforming into Medicine Buddha when doing the sadhana practice, as well as creates a close and profound karmic bond with the vajra master for all lifetimes. We are extremely fortunate to be hosting Geshe Thupten Wangchen, resident teacher of FPMT’s Dorje Chang Institute in Auckland, who will be giving the empowerment and leading the retreat.

The Empowerment/Blessing

In order to take this tantric empowerment, you should:

  • Have at least an intellectual understanding of the Three Principal Aspects of the Path.
  • Have taken or be ready to take refuge and bodhichitta vows. If you have never taken refuge yet, you may request a refuge ceremony with Geshe Wangchen on Saturday evening before the empowerment begins by emailing the Spiritual Program Coordinator, Sarah Brooks at spc@mahamudra.org.nz. The bodhisattva vows are always given during an empowerment since bodhichitta is the basis of the practice.
  • On the day of the empowerment, refrain from eating black foods, be washed and wearing clean clothes.
  • Geshe Wangchen requested students memorize the long Medicine Buddha mantra prior to the retreat to make focusing on the practice easier.

The Medicine Buddha long mantra is:
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE BHAISHAJYE / GURU BAIDURYA /
PRABHA RAJAYA / TATHAGATAYA / ARHATE SAMYAKSAM
BUDDHAYA / TADYATHA / OM BHAISHAJYE BHAISHAJYE MAHA
BHAISHAJYE [BHAISHAJYE ]** / RAJA SAMUDGATE SVAHA
Common pronunciation:
OM NAMO BAGAWATAY BEKANZAY
GURU BAIDURYA / PRABA RADZA YA / TATAGATAYA / ARHATAY
SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA / TA YA TA / OM BEKANZAY BEKANZAY
MAHA BEKANZAY [BEKANZAY]* / RADZA SAMUDGATAY SOHA

*Syllables in brackets are optional.

It is possible to come to the initiation just as a blessing, and not take the empowerment. Only people who take it as an empowerment can stay for the retreat, however.

Typically with any empowerment you are committing to do whatever daily practices are recommended by the teacher for the rest of your life. Geshe Wangchen said it is likely there will be a lifetime commitment to say the long mantra at least seven times daily. However, the commitment can change during the empowerment depending on the group and what the teacher feels is most karmically beneficial, so you should be mentally prepared to do whatever the teacher instructs.

The Retreat

This is a strict retreat only for students who take or have had the Medicine Buddha empowerment or initiation. During the retreat participants must stay within a boundary (typically Mahamudra Centre’s property) and no visitors are allowed during that time. Anyone who comes for the empowerment or blessing only must leave Sunday afternoon before the retreat begins.

Arrivals are on the evening of Friday the 19th, with dinner at 6:00pm and an introductory session at 7:00pm. Saturday morning is time for settling the mind in preparation for the empowerment and retreat, with teachings beginning at 3:00pm. The empowerment will be on Sunday morning.

Silence is recommended during the retreat, but Geshe Wangchen said students may talk to each other about the Dharma as well. Since the purpose of retreat is to step away from daily life and turn inwards to focus on the mind, cell phones and tablets/computers are not allowed. Please plan to take that time completely off from work and arrange with family and friends that you will be out of touch for this time. Staff at the centre can take any emergency calls should someone need to reach you in a crisis. Please bring a small alarm clock to use rather than your phone.

The group will take the Eight Mahayana Precepts together on Sunday 21st, and students will have the option to take them on their own throughout the retreat (food will be vegetarian with no black foods for the duration of the empowerment and retreat).

Schedule

View and download Medicine Buddha Retreat Schedule 2018

Costs*

We offer this empowerment and retreat to you on a donation basis. To register, you just need to pay for food and your choice of accommodation, and you can add a donation in whatever amount you can afford to give with an open heart. If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable.

Empowerment only: Delicious homemade vegan/vegetarian meals are $35 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Saturday 20 Oct. Gluten-free option available for an additional $5.

Empowerment and Full Retreat: Donation basis, plus cost of choice of accommodation and meals. Delicious homemeade vegan/vegetarian meals are $315 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Sunday 29 Nov. Gluten-free option available for an additional $25.

Registration

Pre-registration essential by 10 October. Please fill out our online booking inquiry and we’ll get back to you shortly to confirm your space and choice of accommodation.