Scorpion Seal Community Retreat: Limitless Ayatanas

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown

July 12–23, 2020

Tuition $400 + 11 nights

Note: This program is moving online for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online program is tentatively scheduled for September 10-20, 2020. If you are interested, please save the dates for now; registration will open soon. See updates about SMC’s response to the pandemic here.

“In some religious traditions, sense perceptions are regarded as problematic, because they arouse worldly desires.  However, in the Shambhala tradition, which is a secular tradition rather than a religious one, sense perceptions are regarded as sacred.  They are regarded as basically good.  They are a natural gift, a natural ability that human beings have.  They are a source of wisdom.”

         –Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

One of the most provocative teachings in the Scorpion Seal is that our ayatanas, or sense gates, are limitless.  This points to a difference from Buddhist teachings on sense perceptions, and highlights additional skillful means in our Shambhala practice.  Awakening to sense perceptions is our secret gate to drala, and a support for our lungta, samaya, and physical health.  This retreat introduces the meaning of these teachings through Scorpion Seal practices, talks, and sensory experiences drawn from the terma and our transmissions. The powerful land of Shambhala Mountain Center is a perfect place for connecting with the dralas and exploring these profound teachings.

This Scorpion Seal Community Retreat is open to all levels of Scorpion Seal practitioners.  Blocks each day will be devoted to the specific Scorpion Seal practices, with common practices morning and evening together as a community.  The purpose of this practice retreat is to deepen in the practices you have already received, strengthen our bonds as a community, and renew our samaya to the profound Shambhala terma. 

Prerequisite: Scorpion Seal I.


For planning purposes, we strongly encourage you to register ASAP so that we have a sense of the number of people that will be attending.


This program will be held on the Red Feather Campus. You may choose any of the available lodging options that you like, but the Red Feather lodging options will be in closest proximity to your retreat space.

Financial Assistance & Scholarships:

Click here to learn more about Financial Assistance and Scholarships.

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she has taught since 1978.  As Buddhist practitioner since the early 1970’s, she became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, and was empowered as an acharya (senior teacher) by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 2000. Her teaching specialties are meditation practice, Shambhala teachings, Buddhist philosophy, tantric Buddhism, and contemplative higher education.  Her book, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Shambhala 2001), explores the feminine principle as it reveals itself in meditation practice and everyday life for women and men.  She has also edited Meditation and the Classroom: Contemplative Pedagogy for Religious Studies (SUNY 2011). She had her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Program Details

Arrival and registration is between 10am and 5pm on Arrival Day for participants. All participants and volunteer staff must check in at our Guest Registration house. Please arrive before 5:00 p.m. to check in and settle into your accommodations. Departure will be after breakfast on Departure Day.

Travel Information:

Direct, shuttle-bus transportation to and from Denver International Airport is available on designated arrival and departure days for this program.

To reserve a seat please indicate that you would like travel assistance on the registration page. Your seat is reserved once we receive full payment. Further inquiries about travel assistance can be made to the Travel Coordinator at or 970.881.2184 x234.