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New Year Retreat 2024: Phowa Teaching and Transmission
Venerable Khenpo Karten Rinpoche
Saturday through Monday, January 13-15, 2024
9:00am to 5:00pm Sat/Sun, 9:00am to 3:30pm Mon
In-Person Only (no Zoom option, will not be recorded)
Open to all who have taken refuge or who have the basic foundations of Buddhist teachings
Registration required, donations requested, but no one turned away for lack of funds
Suggested donation: $150 for all three days


About Phowa

The subject of the retreat is the profound and esoteric practice of Phowa, often translated as ‘transference of consciousness’. In Phowa practice, the consciousness of a person is transferred to enlightenment or a higher state of being, and is based on the Buddhist beliefs of righteous Buddha worlds where spiritual enlightenment is easy and fast and on the Tantric Buddhist concept of the psycho-physical human anatomy made up of energy channels, vital energies and flexible nature of consciousness. Phowa is often practiced or applied by spiritual people at the time of death. Please click this link for a brief explanation of the practice.

Retreat Schedule

8:30am: Venue will be open for you to arrive & get settled
9:00am to 10:30am
10:40am to 12:00pm
2:00pm to 3:30pm
3:40pm to 5:00pm

9:00am to 10:30am
10:40am to 12:00pm
2:00pm to 3:30pm

Prerequisites to Attend

  • Refuge with Rinpoche or another teacher, and the basic foundation of Buddhist teaching and practice.

Because of the nature of this teaching and transmission, Rinpoche has requested that students who attend the retreat are those who have taken refuge, have fundamental teachings of the Buddhist path, and who are Buddhist practitioners. Thus, this will not be an open-to-the-public event.

  • Commitment to all three days of the retreat

Because of the complex nature of this teaching, it is requested that students attend all three days, so the continuity of the teachings is unbroken. With understanding and compassion for any unforeseen circumstances that may cause disruption, we ask attendees to sign up with the intention to remain for all three days of the retreat.

Other Considerations

  • Special Retreat Commitment: As with most Buddhist retreats, there are some commitments asked of attendees for the retreat days. Rinpoche asked only that no alcohol or drugs be consumed. He did not state that participants need to be vegetarian, etc. , though participants can follow the retreat traditions they are familiar with.
  • Texts: texts will be provided as a photocopied booklet during the retreat
  • In-person only: the teaching will not be available via live-stream nor will it be recorded
  • Food and personal comfort: there will be floor seating, floor cushions, and chairs available, but attendees should bring anything that would make them comfortable for the teaching; attendees should plan to bring their own food/beverages or purchase from nearby restaurants. There are many options for coffee/tea/food in the area around Wave Street studios. (we hope to have the Momo Food Truck again, but this is not yet certain).
  • Flowers for the altar: participants may bring flowers for the alter if they wish, but this is not to be considered a burden or requirement.

Donations & Registration

  • Sliding scale: Participants can make the suggested donation of $150.00 through the EventBrite registration, but if you cannot donate at this time, please do not feel any shame or hesitancy to attend. A minimum of $1.00 is required by the EventBrite system to complete the registration. All donations are tax deductible.
  • Dana and additional donations: When you register with EventBrite, you will have the opportunity to offer Dana (a monetary gift of respect) for Khenpo Karten Rinpoche and translator Jampa Tharchin (David Molk). We ask that Dana be in addition to the suggested donation for the retreat. Beyond giving Dana, you may choose to donate additional funds on behalf of those who cannot afford to give at this time. Please specify your wishes in the registration.
  • Other ways to donate: Participants can donate via PayPal, Venmo, by check or cash if preferred. Please visit the Manjushri Dharma Center donation page for details, or contact: Pam Krone, MDC Co-Treasurer: [email protected]
  • Other ways to register: Participants who cannot complete the EventBrite registration are asked to email [email protected] (please be patient as this is volunteer staffed)


Please contact our volunteers at [email protected]. We have no phone number to call, apologies–inquiries by email only.

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 David Molk aka Jampa Tharchin, esteemed Translator, Interpreter, and Author

David Molk studied Tibetan language at Venerable Geshe Rabten’s Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies in Mont-Pèlerin, Switzerland. Since 1987 he has interpreted and translated for many Tibetan lamas. He lives in Big Sur, California.

Learn more about David’s translated books:  David Molk (shambhala.com)



Image used in this announcement: Amitabha in Sukhavati Paradise, Tibetan Thongka circa 1700, public domain courtesy of the San Antonio Museum of Art.

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