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The Instructions of Gampopa:  A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path
A Three-Day Virtual Retreat with Khenpo Karten Rinpoche
& Guest Teachers Lama Leshe Zangpo and Thich Minh Tinh (Thay Kozen)
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, January 16-18, 2021
10:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-4:00pm Pacific Time
Online via Zoom–Registration Required
Donation requested at $10.00 per session, $50.00 for entire retreat
No one turned away for lack of funds

About the Retreat

Spend three days with Tibetan monk, scholar, and meditation master, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche as he teaches on The Instructions of Gampopa: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, written by the Venerable Gampopa Sonam Rinchen. With warmth and clarity, Rinpoche will draw on his decades of personal study and meditation practice to explain the nature of happiness and methods to cultivate it.  Attendees will receive the oral transmission of the text, as well as extensive teachings on one of the masterworks in the Buddhist tradition. In Precious Garland of the Supreme Path, Gampopa lays out 28 lists, each containing key oral instructions on all levels of the path to Enlightenment–succinct points for right actions and intentions. The text includes many inspiring and poetic descriptions of the ultimate nature of mind and reality.  Time will be made during each day for the chanted prayer practice of Amitabha Buddha (the Buddha of Infinite Light), and on Saturday and Sunday morning, we will enjoy special guest teachings from the Venerable Lama Leshe Zangpo and the Venerable Thich Minh Tinh (Thay Kozen).   Additionally,  Rinpoche will give all attendees the opportunity to renew the Bodhisattva vow (a promise to practice love and compassion), and to pray for peace in the coming year.   Teachings will be in Tibetan and English (with English interpretation/translation). A preliminary schedule and more details are below.

Retreat Schedule

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021

Session One:  10:00am-12:00pm PT: Oral Transmission, Amitabha Practice & Dharma Teaching from the Venerable Leshe Zangpo on the Four Causes for Rebirth in Sukavatti.
Session Two:  2:00pm-4:00pm PT: Oral Transmission & Teachings on A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path from Khenpo Karten Rinpoche

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

Session Three:  10:00am-12:00pm PT: Amitabha Practice & Dharma Teaching from the Venerable Thich Minh Tinh (Thay Kozen).  “I would like to tell the story of the beautiful Metta Sutra and the wonder filled life living the Brahmavihāra. Metta (loving kindness ) opens our hearts to living a kind and caring life; as we learn to let go of anxiety, stress, anger, ignorance and desire,” says Ven. Kozen.
Session Four:  2:00pm-4:00pm PT: Teachings on A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path from Khenpo Karten Rinpoche

Monday, Jan. 18, 2021

Session Five:  10:00am-12:00pm PT: Amitabha Practice, Bodhisattva Vows, Butter Lamp Prayer & Conclusion of Teachings

Registration, Donation, and Zoom Participation

  • Step one: REGISTER via EventBrite.  Click the link to register. 
  • Step two: Donate–This is a fundraiser for the Manjushri Dharma Center, so your generosity in giving $10.00 per session or $50.00 for the retreat is appreciated. If you can give an additional amount to pay for those who cannot donate at this time, that would be greatly appreciated. If you cannot donate at this time, please know there is no shame in that, and you are still welcome to join all sessions. You will indicate any amount comfortable for you to complete registration. All donations are tax deductible.
  • Step three: Zoom link–The Zoom link is below, or you may join by phone.
Retreat Zoom Link:

Password: MDCRetreat


Or by telephone:

Or Telephone:
US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 646 876 9923  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799

Meeting ID: 992 4340 7554 (No participant ID, press # to bypass)
Phone Password: 8787813131

International numbers available: https://middlebury.zoom.us/u/aeuAxOnHp

About the Venerable Khenpo Karten Rinpoche

Khenpo Karten Rinpoche is an accomplished teacher and practitioner of the Karma Kagyu Lineage and is also trained in the Nyingma Lineage of Buddhism. He was born in the beautiful mountains of the Himalayas of Tibet.  At the age of twelve, he was ordained at Ja-pa monastery, where he began his formal education of reading, writing and ritual practice. At the age of fifteen having completed the basic studies, he furthered his studies in the Sutra and Tantric texts under the accomplished master Khenchen Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche and Pema Tsewang Rinpoche for eight years. Subsequently Khenpo Karten Rinpoche went to the hermitage of anther accomplished teacher, Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche and completed five years of retreat under the great master. In the retreat he completed the practices of the Naropa’s six yoga, Mahamudra and many others.  In recognition of his achievements, Sangye Tenzin Ringpoche bestowed upon him the title, Khenpo Karma Lekshe Tharchin in 1994.

In 1996, he left Tibet and traveled to Dharamsala, India to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Upon His Holiness’ advice, he spent another two years doing retreat. H.H Dalai Lama also recognizing his achievement, bestowed upon him the title Khenpo Rinpoche. After his retreat, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche was requested by H.E Tai Situ Rinpoche to go to the monastery of Venerable Tsoknyi Rinpoche, to teach the young monks there.

Khenpo Karten arrived in the United States in 2008, and taught in the Monterey Bay area for the first time in September of that year. After meeting a group of prospective students and seeing the hills of Big Sur which remind him of Tibet, he returned in 2009 to make the Monterey Bay his permanent home. Since then, Rinpoche has established the Manjushri Dharma Center (MDC) in Pacific Grove, California, which has become his main teaching location and his home residence.  With unflinching faith in the precious Buddha Dharma, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche, now a U.S. citizen, bestows sacred teachings to thousands of people all over the world, with weekly teachings and events.

About the Venerable Thich Minh Tinh (Thay Kozen)

Thich Minh Tinh (Thay Kozen) is a Buddhist monk in the Zen tradition, and co-founder of the Mount Adams Buddhist Temple at the Trout Lake Abbey retreat center in Trout Lake, Washington.  For several years, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche and his sangha in Portland, Oregon have made their annual retreat at the Trout Lake Abbey, where Thay Kozen and Khenpo Karten became good friends.   Thay Kozen has been transmitted in the Vietnamese Rinzai Zen line of Thich Thien An and Thich An Giao. In addition he has studied in Japan with Nanrei Kabori Roshi, then in the US with Soyu Mastsuoka Roshi, then in Japan with Doki Suda Roshi. Matsuoka Roshi later transmitted Kozen after a period of time as the Long Beach Zen Center’s administrative assistant. It is under Matsuoka Roshi’s and Thich An Giao’s request that Kozen teaches and maintains a temple and teaches. Saito Roshi from Japan, has been a mentor and dear friend and teacher.  Saito Roshi and Kozen were both student priests over 40 years ago in Southern Japan.


About the Venerable Lama Leshe Zangpo


Lama Leshe Zangpo is a longtime friend of Khenpo Karten Rinpoche and fellow ordained monk in the Gelug tradition.  He will teach on the Four Causes for Rebirth in Sukhavatti, using the text “Sukhavatti Aspiration.”



About the Venerable Gampopa Sonam Rinchen

The Venerable Gampopa (སྒམ་པོ་པ་བསོད་ནམས་རིན་ཆེན།) is known as the father of the Kagyu Lineage in Tibet.  Gampopa lived from 1070 to 1153 of the common era. He was born in Central Tibet, trained in Buddha-dharma and medicine, and was known as a great doctor and healer. At age 26, there was a terrible epidemic in Tibet.  He buried both of his children, a daughter and a son, and then his wife became ill.  He promised his wife on her deathbed that he would become a monk and devote his life to Buddhism.   He knew great sorrow, losing his wife and family, but determined to become a monk and fulfill his promise.  He eventually met the great yogi Milarepa and became his foremost student. He founded the system of Mahamudra which combines the tantric teachings of the great siddhas of India with the graduated path teachings of Atisha.

Gampopa wrote a number of commentaries on Buddha’s teachings, including The Jewel Ornament of Liberation and The Instructions of Gampopa: A Precious Garland of the Supreme Path.  In A Precious Garland he gives precise instructions on what is needed to develop one’s understanding, meditation and conduct on the spiritual path for practitioners of beginning, moderate, and advanced levels. Gampopa succinctly outlines in twenty-eight categories what we need to know in order to perfect our spiritual practice–bullet points for right actions and intentions.  The text includes many inspiring and poetic descriptions of the ultimate nature of mind and reality.

Texts and Resources:

Virtual Shrine:

Khenpo Karten Rinpoche has expressed his preference that we leave our cameras on (as willing and able) during virtual practice and teachings. It brings him joy to see all of us sangha together as if we are in one place. During this upcoming retreat, Rinpoche has a special request for us to prepare a shrine in our practice space and make it visible on camera (it is okay to position the shrine behind us), as a way to inspire each other’s practice with many pleasing offering and images of holy dharma on screen. This is of course optional, but you are warmly encouraged to do so. Traditional Tibetan Buddhist shrines typically have supports for Enlightened Body (statues or pictures of deities and teachers), Enlightened Speech (scriptures and mantras), and Enlightened Mind (represented by a crystal, mirror, or stupa), and sense offerings such as flowers, candles, incense, or a row of seven bowls of water symbolizing seven types of offerings. However, your shrine may also be as delicately simple as a flower, a candle, and a photograph of the Buddha or other holy being.

Butter Lamp and Khata Offering:

At the conclusion of the retreat, Khenpo Karten will lead us in a traditional “Butter lamp offering prayer.” The offering of butter lamps symbolizes filling the world with the light of wisdom and dispelling the darkness of ignorance, which is the root of all suffering. For this prayer, please have a candle ready to light and hold during the prayer. If you have one, please also have a khata (traditional Tibetan white silk scarf) ready, so that we may make a virtual khata offering to Rinpoche and the guest lamas at the conclusion of the retreat.

Advice for the Virtual Retreat:

This weekend, let us collectively rejoice in the decision to engage in even a few days of online retreat. We are extremely fortunate to be able to hear the liberating wisdom of the Buddha dharma. To even have the inclination to focus our efforts on study and meditation on this long weekend, when many others are just watching extra Netflix shows, is a rare phenomenon. At the beginning of the COVID shutdowns nearly a year ago, many of us marveled at the quiet, and took advantage of both the heightened awareness of suffering and the time at home to step up our meditation practice. Now, we have an opportunity to reflect on where our mind and actions are, a year into the pandemic lifestyle. Have we continued to keep up the level of spiritual practice we might have been inspired to engage in when this situation began, or have we, like so many others, settled into the “new normal” and slowly reverted to a level of distraction and busy-ness similar to what we experienced before. Let us reinvigorate our determination to take advantage of our precious human life, and remember the suffering of motherly sentient beings in samsara. Even though most of us are in our own homes, and we might have family around us and other other responsibilities in the evenings, let us make a concerted effort, for these two-and-a-half days, to disengage from the distractions of ordinary activities and focus whole-heartedly on the Dharma to the greatest extent possible. If you are able sleep in a different room than usual (or even a tent) and maintain “noble silence” during the whole weekend, that is excellent! Perhaps you are only able to shut off your cell phone between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. That is excellent! Whatever the case, consider the level of retreat you can realistically commit to, and maintain that discipline. This will be of great benefit to you, as it will increase the merit of your hearing, contemplation and practice of the teachings during this special weekend.

How to Make a Donation of Dana at the MDC January Retreat 2021

Dana is a monetary offering to an individual–it is a sign of respect and thanks for the teachings and services provided during the retreat.  You may make a dana offering by following the steps below:

Step 1:  Fill out our Dana Donation Form to specify your wishes

Step 2:  Make Payment by credit/debit card or by check.

We will distribute your donations to each teacher in the amount you specified, sending a final check for all dana collected.

For Payment by Credit/Debit Card: 

Please go directly to PayPal– https://www.paypal.com/   and enter your login information.   Then select “Send” and enter the following email:  [email protected] and this will reach Manjushri Dharma Center.   You may put the name “Manjushri Dharma Center” in the name if it requires it.    You may put a note in the payment to specify that the donation is for Dana or any specific fund or purpose.   We will make sure to honor your intentions.

For Payment by Check:

    • Please make checks out to “Manjushri Dharma Center” and mail to 724 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA.

For questions, contact:  Pam Krone, MDC Co-Treasurer:  [email protected]


For questions & more information

Please contact Aaron Joseph, Manjushri Dharma Center Board President, 805-618-8822 or [email protected].  You may also subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates on events and written teachings delivered to your email in-box each Monday.

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