Summer Seminar: Weeks I & II

Acharya Susan Chapman, Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Acharya Holly Gayley, Acharya Daniel Hessey and Gelong Loden Nyima

June 12–27, 2020

Tuition $0 + 15 nights

Acharya Susan Chapman

Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown

Acharya Holly Gayley

Acharya Daniel Hessey

Loden Nyima

Note: The Mahayana Track for this program is moving online, and will be held June 12 – 26. More information coming soon. 

The single focus of the Buddha’s teachings was showing humanity the path to ending suffering and reconnecting with our natural state of freedom. The profundity and sophistication with which the Buddha expressed a path of liberation has given his teachings a timeless relevance, making them as practical today as ever.

Over the course of this month-long retreat, we will live with the intention of mixing our minds with the teachings and directly experiencing our inherent wisdom. We’ll spend this time practicing the disciplines of the complete path taught by the Buddha: Shila, practicing the 5 traditional precepts daily in a commitment to refrain from taking life, taking what is not offered, sexual misconduct, false speech, and intoxicants, Samadhi, spending mornings practicing meditation, and Prajna, studying and discussing of the philosophical and psychological frameworks described by the Buddha in the afternoons. The subjects of study will include topics like the Life of the Buddha, the 4 Noble Truths, Karma and Causation, Calm-Abiding Meditation, the practice and study of the Refuge Vow.

We will co-create a community that balances rigor with simplicity, warmth, and openness through our body, speech and mind discipline. This environment will support your journey in deepening your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, developing your meditation practice, and relaxing the speed and habitual patterns that characterize so many of our daily lives.

One element of this retreat which may be new to some participants is that we will have the option and opportunity to work with the Five Householder Precepts which have been practiced since the time of the Buddha and introduced to the Shambhala community by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Their intention is one of kindness and compassion to ourselves and others, helping us maintain healthy conduct or discipline (shila) which is conducive to harmony, to not causing harm, to liberation, and which supports our cultivation of meditation (samadhi) and wisdom (prajna).

This retreat is appropriate for beginning to advanced meditation practitioners, including those on the teaching path. Limited to 45 participants.


Registration Process

We require that each participant fills out the Summer Seminar Questionnaire before their registration is considered complete. The purpose of the questionnaire is to ensure the suitability of the retreat for each participant and to help the teaching team tailor the program to participant needs.

You will be contacted within two weeks of submitting your questionnaire with confirmation that your registration for the Summer Seminar retreat is complete.

Click here to register for the full month of Summer Seminar I.


Lodging Recommendation
We recommend selecting lodging in the Red Feather Cabins, as this option is closest to the program which will be held on the Red Feather Campus.

Sample Daily Schedule*

7:00 – 8:00 am        Morning Chants, Meditation, and Movement
8:00 – 9:00 am        Breakfast
9:00 – 11:30 am      Meditation
11:30 – 12:30 pm    Tea and Study
12:30 – 1:30 pm      Contemplative Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm        Work Period and Rest
3:00 – 4:30 pm        Teachings
4:30 – 5:00 pm        Break
5:00 – 6:30 pm        Small Group Study
6:30 – 7:30 pm        Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 pm        Evening Meditation

*subject to change


Acharya Susan Chapman

Acharya Susan Chapman, author of The Five Keys To Mindful Communication, is a retired family therapist, contemplative psychologist and meditation teacher. She completed Gampo Abbey’s three year retreat and served as Druppon, retreat leader, for six years.

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 and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Acharya Holly Gayley

Acharya Holly Gayley is Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on Buddhist literature in contemporary Tibet with special attention to gender and ethics. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2016) and co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rimé Masters of Tibet (Wisdom Publications, 2017). As a senior teacher (acharya) in the Shambhala tradition, Holly regularly leads meditation workshops and retreats.

Acharya Daniel Hessey

Acharya Daniel Hessey has been a student of Shambhala Buddhism since 1973. He has lived at Shambhala dharma centers for over 20 years. He served as director of Shambhala Mountain Center for 6 years, and has been a senior teacher, Shastri, and Acharya. He has translated and written a commentary of the I Ching as a map of social development. He is currently the resident Acharya at Shambhala Mountain Center.

Gelong Loden Nyima

Gelong Loden Nyima is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. He lived at Gampo Abbey from 2009 – 2017 where he completed shedra studies, practiced intensively, and served in various roles including as Shastri. He now lives and teaches at Shambhala Mountain Center, and spends a portion of each year in retreat.

Program Details

Registration takes place from 2– 5 pm on your program start date. All participants and volunteer staff must check in at our Guest Registration house. Please arrive before 5 pm to check-in and settle into your accommodations. Your program begins with dinner, followed by an orientation. The Guest Registration house closes at 5 pm after which no one is available to provide information or orient you to your accommodations. All programs usually end at 12:30 pm on the program's departure date, followed by lunch. Further specifics regarding your program's schedule will be available upon arrival. If applicable, you will receive an email from the program coordinator in the week prior to your program with any additional information you may need.

Financial aid is available for this program.