Berkeley New Years Retreat: Waking Up to Vivid Presence

About This Event

Everyone longs for peace in tumultuous situations, and longs for the spaciousness that makes integration with changing circumstances possible. This retreat explores meditation and mantra as a path to vivid presence and straightforward experience. This class is part of a five course series on mind, emotions and modes of being. Join Troma Rinpoche for this course in awakening the heart of pervasive wisdom through Tibetan Yoga & Dzogchen.

Reviews     To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).

  • Donna Rushing   August 04, 2020

      Intro to Meditation Instructor Training

    I really appreciated being able to see Pema Khandro Rinpoche and hear her thoughts. Even though she was only there briefly, it was so supportive and she seemed so light and happy. I also was glad for the relaxation of not being on camera, but being one of of however many people of interest. As a teacher, I used a Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas, so I'm curious if we will be able to explore the course before we commit to it. (I will check my email to see if I've received a link.) Since I had conflated the introduction with the actual training, I was surprised when the presenters casually touched on the payment and options, but scrolled quickly past the page with the actual info and moved on fairly quickly. I did ask about that at the end, and they went back and spent some time on the page and in explanation of the options, so my questions were answered. As a low income retiree, this piece is important to me. Since your organization has limited scholarships, I will pursue a scholarship from another organization that might fund me for this training and see what happens!

  • Laura Cannon   August 02, 2020

      A powerful transmission, even online!

    I am very grateful that despite the pandemic, this retreat was beautifully transmitted online. I wondered how the transmissions of such deep and powerful teachings typically given on residential retreat might translate to the online medium. Partially because I wondered if I would feel disconnected being online vs. in person and partially because I wondered if inside of my home I would be able to create proper conditions for the experience. On the retreat we were instructed about how to make a home altar on the very first evening. It was such a powerful part of the experience and it really felt like I was creating a connection between the virtual retreat and my actual inhabited space in my house by having the altar set up. By the end of the retreat I sincerely felt that I liked it even MORE than a live retreat. I highly recommend it.

  • peche di   July 17, 2020

      Amazing Buddhism Class!

    I've attended several classes with Pema Khandro. I love all the classes. I feel inclusive and welcoming. She's caring and wonderful. It's memorable to get to see an opening of Vajrayogini statue. I'm looking forward to joining her classes. ~ lotus

  • Courtney Smith   July 17, 2020

      Blissful #chodlover 🥰

    I love the teachings from Rinpoche before practice. She has a way of taking ancient doctrine and like a mother (Buddha) bird, breaking it down for easy digestion. I always learn how to apply what she shares to my life and practice. One of the most beneficial things is when she shares her personal journeys with her practices. Not only does this make her more "human" as a teacher to me lol (some amazing teachers are very disconnected from their students or separate themselves to appear "perfect" or above "worldly" things), but not only does this make her more relatable, but I find comfort that even her amazing Bodhicitta Self can also experience the same struggles and obstacles her students do and yet she is still benevolent (and patient) with herself. I instantly have more compassionate for myself every time I realize she has some of the same frustrating experiences I do (I can be hard on myself sometimes, thinking I shouldn't be "stuck" or Im not doing the practice well enough if I'm feeding the same demon every day). Another beneficial thing is how we didn't do the full Chod this week, we focused on one section. I realized this is WAY more beneficial for me in my practicing to be a Chodpa. It is less overwhelming, feels less like the practice is "work", and the visualizations became so much easier! I've already switched Chod from every night at 9pm to being my morning wakeup ritual (what better way to start the day then stomping on some demons? LOL). but I am now going to go back to basics. I am going to only do one section a day until I can fully visualize it in English while singing in Tibetan, and then I will move on to another section, including the one I previously became proficient in. Basically Dakini Days are my solace; they feed my soul and I am humbled to be able to receive this peace from Rinpoche's dharmic offerings 🙏🏾.

  • Michael Fijal   July 17, 2020

      5 Wisdom Dakinis Chod

    I always find Pema Khandro's teachings very penetrating and helpful. In the Chod, dealing with difficult emotions, it gives me great encouragement to hear about the ways we can approach their resolution. I felt empowered by Rinpoche's teaching. I was invigorated and inspired by the descriptions of the 5 Wisdom Dakinis, the poisons and their antidotes. I'm excited to explore more of this powerful and enchanting world of Vajrayana!

  • Kellie Rupard-Schorr   June 29, 2020

      Transforming, Brave and Safe

    The day was a mixture of tears and wisdom, comfort and peace. I have a better understand of the death process from the view of consciousness. After-Death is unique to Buddhism in Western Culture and knowing what to do, along with permission to be imperfect even as you love perfectly was so empowering. The memorial service gave me a flood of tears, the good cleansing kind, and even though I was on Zoom in my house, I felt Rinpoche and my sangha with me and I was not alone. I am changed by this offering.

  • Victoria Simon   June 23, 2020

      Lama Surya Das - outstanding!

    When I read “Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be” by Lama Surya Das years ago, it was life changing. I am so grateful Pema Khandro chose him as a guest and had great questions for him about the book and how he brings everything, even death and grieving, in the View and as a teaching. I admire how Lama Surya turns toward his deepest grief and engages it, and doesn’t avoid it, and sees the different layers of experience. This in itself, is a profound teaching. Thank you so much for an excellent, beneficial webinar, that includes timeless wisdom and teaching AND profound pithy Dzogchen meditation instructions. A jewel awaits any who view this webinar!

  • Könchok Wangchuk Palzang   June 17, 2020

      Another great session with Rinpoche and the sangha

    Rinpoche is great at explaining tantric teachings and symbolism in a way that makes sense to people who are approaching the teachings with Western schemas, background knowledge, and communication styles. She skilfully incorporates the language of contemporary psychology to accessibly explain why we as practitioners do things the way we do them and to explain, on some level, what makes the practices work. Last, but definitely not least, I love the friendliness, kindness, and welcoming attitude that I've gotten from so many people at Ngakpa, especially the two people I've had experiences interacting with so far, Tsal'gyur and Pema Khandro Rinpoche. They've been very kind and helpful in guiding my practice. Thank you all, once again!

  • Könchok Wangchuk Palzang   May 25, 2020

      Great event

    Rinpoche was an amazing teacher. She spoke in depth and with compassion and kindness, while keeping all of her instruction and discussion engaging and interesting. I'm very grateful.

  • Katalin Bogdan   April 20, 2020

      Great Teacher of our time

    Even with some studies and experience in Dharma Teachings, listening to Pema Khandro Rimpoche is always like a fresh breeze, totally timely and absolutely clarifying. Her teachings are easily accessible yet not simplified or shallow, in contrary, it is always surprising how vast her knowledge is supported by decades of practice and experience. For her age-group she is one of the most knowledgeable I have encountered among western Teachers in the tradition, and I am always amazed and delighted by the richness and applicability of her transmission. All her teachings I have heard are down to earth and totally practice oriented for the benefit of the listener. I have not yet attended any teaching in person, but would at any time if opportunity arises, till then i look forward to more - always, from this great Master.

  • Katherine Winge   April 19, 2020

      Deep wisdom

    Having the opportunity to receive the chod practice from Pema Khandro was a great gift. Her insight and experience with the practice was helpful to understand it. I love how well balanced her teachings are. They are deeply rooted tradition, practice and integrate psychology and common sense.

  • Linda Detsal Joy   April 19, 2020

      Retreats and Classes by Pema Khandro Rinpoche

    i have attended many of Pema Khandro's retreats and classes in person and online over the years. It always feels that she gives her utmost. Her teachings are not only practical but impart so much wisdom that rings true in my heart. I can hardly put into words how much she has helped me to make sense of life and given me deep resilience through troubled times. Teaching with so much compassion and empathy that it has deepened my own capacity for love and compassion in my life for my self and others. The atmosphere that is created in this community feels supportive, accepting and welcoming to anyone no matter who they are, which I believe is so needed in this world. I'm truly grateful to have been able to have access to these ancient and beautiful Buddhist teachings.

  • Philippe Guichard   April 16, 2020

      Transforming Fear | Shifting our perceptions

    I attended the series "Transforming Fear" online with Pema Khandro Rinpoche, it helped me find more space in my mind to deal with this transition we are all experiencing. One of the key teachings that I was reminded of was "Every experience will have a peak and it will dissolve", this helped remain in the openness of the mind and free our thoughts and emotions. A big thank you to Lama Pema Khandro Rinpoche and her team for making those teachings available. May this benefit all.

  • Susan Jackson Weirauch   March 23, 2020

      Medicine Buddha webinar 3/21/20

    Thank you so much for sharing all of that useful information. It was mentioned that participants would receive an email with all of the slides shown during the webinar, as much of the information was presented quickly. Will that email be forthcoming? I would love to review the material. My email address: . Namaste.

  • Daniel Aaron Davis   July 12, 2016

      A Real Connection

    I am new to the teachings of Buddhism and attended a weekend retreat with Pema Khandro Rinpoche in Berkeley, CA. What struck me was her ability to articulate such challenging aspects of the spiritual path. I felt a deep resonating within me while she spoke... as if my channels were completely open. This was the first time in my life that I felt this connection. Even though I am still learning, and technically not Bhuddist, I am a better human being thanks to Pema Khandro Rinpoche.

  • Kundini Funk   January 12, 2016


    It seemed like an ordinary day that day, I didn't know that as I went about my ordinary day, a most extraordinary occasion would mark my life as one of the most fortunate, and life changing events. That evening I heard Pema Khandro Rinpoche speak at a public teaching, and was deeply moved by what I heard. I knew that very night, that what was being spoken were the words that made up the fabric of my path. I was not looking for a teacher, nor a path, however once I heard Pema Khandro Rinpoche, I recognized that a precious jewel was being revealed, and I could not resist the resonance and brilliance. I was suddenly longing to understand more, to learn more, to grow and to unravel my own confusion. For the first time ever, I heard in these words a tangible and profound possibility for authentic growth. The way Rinpoche could decode and present teachings to my western mind, and the way her own presence and heart could reach the depth of my own fervor for awakening to life, was astonishing. It has been 13 years, and I still feel the same way, more so. Rinpoche has continued to bring the Dharma to life in a way that speaks to my every day life and tribulations, and also to the sublime which sparkles through. I have taken several teachings a month, for over a decade, and each and every one has held a fierce freshness of passion and precision that have kept me longing for more. I meet so many people who talk about having some kind of existential angst, a kind of restlessness within; I feel so grateful to have met Rinpoche and to have the opportunity to study with her, because even though life has its ebbs and flows, I feel that I have found a sense of peace. It is a refuge accumulated from my relationship with my teacher, the teachings, practices and the community of practitioners. This is a precious gift, one which I hold dear, and to Pema Khandro I am ever grateful.

  • Dawa Jig'med   August 04, 2015

      Something for Everyone

    I've been taking teachings with Pema Khandro for about 14 years now. When I first started attending some of her talks I was moved by the way she conveys the teachings in a lighthearted but potent way. She has a wonderful sense of humor and it's as if she intimately knows her audience. She has profound ability to deliver the teachings in ways that have allowed myself and others to understand them in extremely meaningful ways, which has helped me to work with and apply Buddhism with life-changing skill. Being a westerner I feel as though my practice has greatly progressed taking teachings from a Western teacher. Sharing the same culture has helped me to get to the meaning of some teachings that seemed a bit vague just reading about them in books or listening to teachings online from non-western sources. Being around Pema Khandro and getting to see first hand how she has dedicated her life to Dharma, and how she cares for her sangha and friends is inspirational. I've learned a lot just from her just about simpler things in life such as just being kind to all beings and working to improve myself in that way as a practice. Sometimes enlightenment isn't about gaining awesome siddhis and magic powers like we hear about in different stories. I've learned that the path can often be just being kind and learning to expand that inwardly and outwardly as well.

  • Preston Cox   April 23, 2015

      A Precious Jewel

    Pema Khandro is one of those rare teachers with deep knowledge whose enthusiasm fills you with a wish to learn. That enthusiasm was apparent from my first encounters with her via telephone classes and then internet webcasts. Being cautious, I reserved my opinion of her until I had the chance to meet her in person, and to know her students. I can now attest to the depth and breadth of her knowledge, and to the joyous effort she uses to illuminate her classes. But for me, her students were the real proof. They clearly put into practice what she teaches, especially about compassion and the genuine wish to help others. Tibetan Buddhism is not an easy subject to grasp. A teacher who can explain it with enthusiasm and joy, with a depth of experience and contemplation that add relevance, and with the capability to impart meaningful lessons to her students - such a teacher is a rare jewel. May your own journey bring you to a precious jewel of a teacher such as Pema Khandro.

  • Ray Snow-Shiva   March 10, 2015

      Brilliant Living Example

    I have studied with Pema Khandro Rinpoche for nearly 15 years, and I am thankful every day for the opportunity. Having a living teacher who is so clear and so dedicated to the benefit of all beings has changed my life. She is a brilliant example of living the buddhist teachings. Her compassionate wisdom, sincerity, intellect and playfulness combine to pierce and uplift. Pema Khandro Rinpoche illuminates the teachings of the Mahasiddhas, and shines a light on the oft minimized role of the Ngakmas and female enlightened masters in buddhist history. She is a scholar of supreme dedication, and her breadth of understanding and willingness teach are a gift everyone should experience. I can't say enough. I am humbled and honored to have a friend and teacher like Pema Khandro Rinpoche. I hope every living being get's the opportunity to bask in such light. Eh ma ho wonderful!

  • Khalden James Heidt   January 24, 2015

      Teaching on the radical tradition of finding goodness

    Pema Khandro Rinpoche is a down to earth brilliant scholar who's bound to change how westerner's view Buddhist tradition....but not only that, she's helped me weather the most challenging aspects of my life with humor and dignity. There is not an inkling of 'more holy than thou' lingering in her lovely community or 'Sangha' and I've been surprised to find the relevance of ancient buddhist thought address the most gripping current issues of life in the 21st century (like money, relationship, work etc...). I had a lot of aversion to what I thought Buddhism was because the ultimate expression of it always seemed aloof, disconnected, and in some ways other words someone I could not see myself becoming while maintaining my life commitments ....well I came to find out, there has always been a rare tradition of serious practitioners who felt the same way since the very beginning of buddhism in fact and Pema Khandro has put me in touch with this amazing life changing tradition

  • Chhi'med Drolma   January 23, 2015

      A Teacher For The Modern Buddhist

    When I met Pema Khandro Rinpoche 10 years ago, I had never heard of a Buddhist who did not shave their head, live in a monastery, or live a celibate life. I was amazed when Rinpoche taught very practical, down-to-earth teachings on love, work, time, conflict and communication, cultivating obstacle-free energy, and how to work with intense emotions such as anger, depression, grasping, jealousy/fear, and insecurity/controlling behavior. Rinpoche also advocates the natural healing methods of Ayurveda & Tibetan Medicine and teaches that our mind state is inseparable from the state of our body. All these teachings are offered in addition to Buddhist teachings on Emptiness, Self, the Five Precepts, the Four Thoughts That Turn The Mind, along with the Heart Sutra, Chod, Inner Yogas, Yidam practices, and too many wonderful others to list here. Pema Khandro Rinpoche is a teacher brimming over with a palpable love of Buddhism which she shares through real life examples and tales of female and male masters of the non-monastic lineage. These masters were regular people like you and me who diligently practiced Buddhism, and despite every obstacle imaginable were able to meet all sorts of difficult and horrible situations with sanity and a sense of possibility. I highly recommend Pema Khandro Rinpoche's sensible, profound, humorous, kind, brilliant, contemporary teaching style and am grateful for her selfless dedication to Buddhism for the benefit of all beings.

  • Mikyo Marie Martin   January 22, 2015

      Very Applicable

    I have been going to retreats with Pema Khandro Rinpoche for over 10 years and they keep getting better and better! One of my favorite things about her retreats and teachings is that they are given in a way that is easy to take and apply into my own life and experience. The way she teaches makes me feel empowered and encouraged to use the methods in my own life and find out what is or isn't useful for me personally towards the goal of finding sanity and wisdom in everyday life. Her teachings are very intelligent and I appreciate her emphasis on view and methodology. She has a wonderful sense of humor also, and her passion for Buddhism is very inspiring. Her compassionate warmth and presence really shine through to me as beacon of what is possible when we put these teachings in actions in our lives. Her retreats always leave me refreshed and rejuvenated with a lot of energy and inspiration to integrate into my life. I have continued to grow in many difficult areas of my life because of her teachings and support. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in Buddhism in the modern world.

  • Dé dzin   January 21, 2015

      Rare Vajrayana teachings found with Pema Khandro

    As Tibet becomes over run by China the very real threat of losing precious teachings, teachers and history are all too real. What Pema Khandro is bringing to the West is the very heart of what is being lost: sanity, love, kindness and the lived meaning of tantric buddhist teachings. She is a bridge to vast worlds of teachings we would otherwise never know because she is fluent in Tibetan and has been translating texts for many years now. How rare and precious and wonderful it is to be able to understand ancient texts in a clear, concise way that makes sense in our modern times. No translator, nothing lost in translation, just pure heart and wisdom in plain English. Her scholarly knowledge is radical and vast and in my experience she answers questions from 2-3 viewpoints so one can get a really full picture of what is possible. I hope her teachings flourish all over the world so that all beings everywhere may be free.

  • Chö-ying Gigi Pellegrini   January 15, 2015

      Radiantly Wise and Clear

    I have been attending in person retreats, web classes and tele classes with Pema Khandro for the past 10 years and my experience of her has been life changing. I always walk away feeling like I have a deeper understanding of the Tibetan Buddhism's Nyingma Lineage, Her knowledge is vast in this subject and yet she is able to make it accessible to any level of training. I love her style of teaching, and I appreciate that she is down to earth, joyful, kind and humorous. I find that her teachings are deeply nourishing and they have helped to open up my world view and shift in ways that have been very beneficial to my life. She is a masterful skillful teacher. I look deeply forward to each and every training and am very grateful that there are teachings and training's that can be done online as well, in this age of technology that is a great way that I stay connected no matter where I am or if I'm not able to attend in person, I know I can attend via the web. Very cool!!

  • Satya Shiva   December 29, 2014

      A Scholar and Teacher of Remarkable Kindness

    My experience of Pema Khandro has been consistently positive and life changing. I have studied with her since the beginning of 2001, and I particularly enjoy her poignant scholarly nature, her light hearted humor, and her down to earth teaching style. I find her teachings to be extremely clear, direct and relevant for all levels of Buddhist inquiry. I'm quite pleased that Pema Khandro offers regular classes and retreats for the study of Dzogchen and Vajrayana, as I have found repeated exposure to be particularly helpful for my mind and my practice. I have also found her to be remarkably kind, and I am inspired by her dedication to philanthropy. Her knowledge of Tibetan Medicine and Ayurveda is another notable quality that adds a fascinating dimension to her teachings. My life has been altered in a most beneficial way by her teachings, her community and above all by her presence and state of being.

  • Zat Baraka Elias   November 11, 2014

      Pena Khandro Rinpoche is brilliant and compassionate, authentic and masterful

    Over the past 15 yrs Pema Khandro Rinpoche has been a constant source of inspiration. Pema Khandro Rinpoche is a brilliant teacher with a down to earth and a ‘penetrating to the heart’, clarity of speech. Eloquent and lighthearted, when one hears her teaching, it immediately resonates as true. Her ability to share details is always astounding, but it is her depth of compassion coupled with skillfulness that makes her a rare jewel of a teacher. She has guided through some very dark times. If you have any interest in Vajrayana and or the Nyingma tradition, you will most definitely want to experience her. She has helped so many find a rewarding spiritual life, I know I can speak for myself.

  • Tsal'gyur Priya Dorje   November 02, 2014

      Clear, Relevant and Supportive

    I've taken multiple retreats with Pema Khandro over that past 10 years and have found her down-to-earth teaching style instrumental in making Buddhist methods and views so accessible and applicable to my life. Her skill at communicating these potentially vague treasures in such an inspired, clear and relevant way is easy to take for granted and was only obvious to me after taking teachings where the information was extremely hard to grasp. Often using her own life experience as an example, it is easy to connect with what she is talking about and relate it to my own life circumstances. There are teachings for students at any level of interest, from public teachings that last only a couple of hours to weekend retreats and ongoing in-depth studies via the web, so it is clear that she can teach to any level and does so wholeheartedly. Also, the community is a warm and welcoming group of real practitioners with a range of ages/experience. Through her teachings I have come to find clarity and support that I am ongoingly so grateful for, and that has helped me through some of the hardest and most painful times of my life. For anyone wanting to connect with, understand and apply Tibetan Buddhism’s Nyingma lineage teachings to their life, Pema Khandro's teachings are invaluable.

  • Serge Berliawsky   October 28, 2014

      Life Changing

    I have been a student of Pema Khandro Rinpoche's for 12 years, since I was 21 years old. Her retreats, teachings, and guidance have benefitted my life to an indescribable degree, and have produced significant results in the way I relate with the world. I have taken plenty of other teachings from a variety of teachers in Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu Yogic traditions, and other branches of spirituality. And none have had the same transformative quality of Pema Khandro's work. Pema Khandro Rinpoche possesses a delightful mix of intelligence, compassion, sharp clarity, humor, and earthiness. I have laughed more at some of her retreats than any other times in my life. And I have gained authentic insight into my experiences in the next breath. Some people say, "If you want to judge a teacher, look at their students..." And when I look to Rinpoche's students, I see real practitioners who have developed their capacity for awareness, are lovely to spend time with, and have a sincere commitment to the dharma. It is easy to observe the ways in which they have truly benefitted from Rinpoche's guidance. Highly recommended.

  • Janak Kimmel   October 25, 2014

      My Experience of Pema Khandro Rinpoche

    I have been to many teachings with Pema Khandro Rinpoche during the last 10 years. The qualities that I like about her are that she is very kind and in every situation I’ve seen her, has very high integrity. She is passionate about studying, living and communicating the Buddhist teachings. She impresses me as exceptionally authentic and will speak about having normal human emotions and normal human situations. She is extremely talented at answering people’s questions about the teachings and questions about their personal circumstances. She is dedicated to providing a comprehensive, accessible, profound course of Vajrayana Buddhist teachings through in-person gatherings, web and phone conferences. It’s an eight course meal.

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

So that I am rejuvenated to be the best I can be in my relationships - personal, work and in Society - offering and giving to be of benefit to others! Laura

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.