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Welcome to Dharmalaya Institute

Dharmalaya Institute is devoted to education and empowerment for compassionate living, with a practical focus on contemplative service-learning and sustainable development.

Brick ParadeTradition + Innovation = Sustainability, Health & Joy

Dharmalaya Institute’s mission is to unite the best of traditional wisdom with creative innovation to produce compelling possibilities for compassionate living and sustainable development.   › Learn about Dharmalaya Institute


hOMe-BuildingDevelopment & Empowerment Through Learning & Service

Dharmalaya’s programmes for the local and international communities help us empower ourselves to improve our world. Vocational education, volunteer opportunities, meditation, yoga, and more.   › Explore our programmes


Sangha Join the Dharmalaya Community & Get Involved

Join Dharmalaya on our membership page.
Donate on our support page.
Leap into the action our volunteer page.
Stay informed via the news and our blog.
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Upcoming Programmes & Events


NOW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2017 (MONSOON PERIOD)

Volunteer Work Period [FULLY BOOKED FOR MOST DATES, ACCEPTING WAITLIST APPLICATIONS]: Learn and practice the arts of sustainable living in the Himalayas by doing various kinds of physical service work related to traditional, eco-friendly earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping. Seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga in the mornings and evenings. It is usually very rainy during most of this period, so most of the work will be indoors, such as interior earthen renders (mud plaster), wood/bamboo work, slate tiling, and fine finishing work, though we will also do some gardening, rainwater harvesting/water management, and possibly some tree planting.
When: 3-29 July 2017 — participants may apply to volunteer starting on any Monday, with a minimum stay of two weeks.)  › More

Rains Retreat: A traditional three-month meditation retreat period for experienced meditation practitioners. There are no teachings or programmes; just a serene and beautiful place to do your own practice.
When: Anytime in July through September 2017. Please contact us to let us know if you are interested.

Introduction to Earthen Interiors (Renders, Flooring, Finishing, Etc.): A six-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular. Learn to create and apply earthen renders (mud plaster) in a Kangra-style adobe structure, as well as other interior work (e.g. flooring, fine finishing, etc.). Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 31 July through 5 August 2017. Must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration. › More

Practicum in Earthen Interiors (Renders, Flooring, Finishing, Etc.): Only open to those who have completed the Introduction to Earthen Interiors (above) or one of Dharmalaya Institute’s other workshops related to earthen building. A one-to-four-week volunteer work period to help you improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans doing various work in the interiors of our buildings. May also offer opportunities for organic gardening, permaculture landscaping, rainwater harvesting/management, etc.
When: 7 August through 1 September 2017. It is not required to stay for the entire period. › More

Introduction to Earthen Interiors (Renders, Flooring, Finishing, Etc.): A six-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular. Learn to create and apply earthen renders (mud plaster) in a Kangra-style adobe structure, as well as other interior work (e.g. flooring, fine finishing, etc.). Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 4-9 September 2017. Must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration. › More

Practicum in Earthen Interiors (Renders, Flooring, Finishing, Etc.): Only open to those who have completed the Introduction to Earthen Interiors (above) or one of Dharmalaya Institute’s other workshops related to earthen building. A one-to-three-week volunteer work period to help you improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans doing various work in the interiors of our buildings. May also offer opportunities for organic gardening, permaculture landscaping, rainwater harvesting/management, etc.
When
: 11-30 September 2017. It is not required to stay for the entire period. › More

 

OCTOBER THROUGH DECEMBER 2017    

Introduction to Earthen Building: A six-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular. Learn to make mud bricks, mortars, and other mixes for a Kangra-style adobe structure, as well as possible interior work (e.g. plastering flooring, fine finishing, etc.), depending on the needs of the site at the time. Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 2-7 October 2017. Must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration. › More

Practicum in Earthen Building: Only open to those who have completed the Introduction to Earthen Building  (above) or one of Dharmalaya Institute’s other workshops related to earthen building. A one-to-two-week volunteer work period to help you improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans doing various work in the interiors of our buildings. May also offer opportunities for organic gardening, permaculture landscaping, rainwater harvesting/management, etc.
When: 9-21 October 2017. It is not required to stay for the entire period. › More

Meditation Retreat with Ellen van Iersel: A (mostly) silent meditation retreat guided by mindfulness trainer Ellen van Iersel from the Netherlands. This will be a gentle retreat in which we will explore how silence can support us in opening up to our inner and outer experiences. The days will begin with yoga, followed by guided and silent meditations, including walking meditations in the beautiful Himalayan foothills.
When: 30 October - 5 November 2017  › More

Karma Yoga Retreat for Compassionate Living: Holistic Exploration of ‘Meditation in Action’ through Earthen Architecture, Organic Gardening, Vegan Cooking & More: Mindful service work retreat exploring a compassionate approach to the essentials of life: shelter, food, water, wisdom, and love. This retreat will blend formal silent meditation sessions (three per day) and conscious movement (e.g. yoga, chi kung, walking meditation) with ‘meditation in action’ in our gardens, kitchen, and earthen building sites. The karma yoga sessions will include growing and cooking organic food, eco-friendly earthen construction activities, and more. Enjoy gardening and walking meditation with views of the Himalayas. Gently work up an appetite by doing mindful work making adobe bricks or cooking delicious plant-based (vegan) meals.
When: 7-18 November 2017 — must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration. › More

Sustainable Living Workshop: Unique service-learning workshop exploring a sustainable and holistic approach to living through diverse activities spanning the essentials of life: shelter, food, water, widsdom, and love. Activities will include eco-friendly earthen building, growing and cooking organic food, and meditation. Explore the theory and practice of vernacular eco-architecture of the Himalayas, with a focus on the Kangra style as expressed in the neo-traditional designs and methods of esteemed eco-architect Didi Contractor. Practice organic gardening and permaculture landscaping with views of the Himalayas. Help our kitchen team cook delicious plant-based (vegan) meals. Group meditation sessions morning and evening. This will be a two-part programme: The first week will provide initial training with hands-on workshops during the day and presentations/discussions most evenings; the second week will be a practicum for applying meditation in action with morning and afternoon work sessions, and the evenings of the second week will have either optional sessions or free time.
When: 21 November - 2 December 2017. Must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration. › More

Volunteer Work Period: Learn and practice the arts of sustainable living in the Himalayas by doing various kinds of service work related to traditional, eco-friendly earthen building, organic gardening, and natural landscaping. Seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga sessions in the mornings and evenings.
When: 4-13 December 2017 — participants must arrive on the morning of the 4th and depart on the 13th.  › More

Silent Meditation Retreat: A one-week, (mostly) silent meditation retreat in the Insight Meditation tradition, led by Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde of SanghaSeva.
When: 15-22 December 2017. › More


JANUARY 2018 ONWARD (Programmes and dates are tentative and subject to change

Introduction to Earthen Building: A six-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular. Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans. Details to be announced.
When: Proposed for 1-6 January 2018, with an optional 1-4-week practicum from 8 January through 3 February.

Introduction to Sustainable Living: Details to be announced.
When: Proposed for 5-10 February 2018, with an optional 1-4-week practicum from 12 February through 3 March.

Silent Meditation Retreat with SanghaSeva: A one-week, (mostly) silent meditation retreat in the Insight Meditation tradition, led by Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde of SanghaSeva.
When: Proposed for 12-20 March 2018. Details TBA.

SanghaSeva Work Retreat: A ten-day ‘meditation in action’ retreat, providing those who have completed the silent meditation retreat (see above) with opportunities to practice mindful engagement doing various forms of service work related to earthen construction, organic gardening, natural landscaping, and more, helping to build and beautify the Dharmalaya campus.
When: Proposed for 21-31 March 2018. Details TBA.

Compassionate Living Workshop: Holistic Exploration of Earthen Building, Organic Gardening, Mindfulness, Meditation & More: Unique, residential service-learning workshop-retreat exploring a sustainable and holistic approach to living through diverse activities spanning the essentials of life: shelter, food, water, widsdom, and love. Activities will include eco-friendly earthen building, growing and cooking organic food, and meditation. Explore the theory and practice of vernacular eco-architecture of the Himalayas, with a focus on the Kangra style as expressed in the neo-traditional designs and methods of esteemed eco-architect Didi Contractor. Enjoy organic gardening with views of the Himalayas. Help our kitchen team cook delicious plant-based (vegan) meals. Group meditation sessions morning and evening. This will be a three-part programme: The first week will provide initial training with hands-on workshops during the day and presentations/discussions in the evenings; the second week will be a practicum for deepening one’s learning through morning and afternoon work sessions and evening sessions on a variety of topics; the third week will bring more flexibility for participants to focus on the activities of greatest interest to them.
When: Proposed for 5-25 April 2018, but not yet confirmed. Details TBA.

Earthen Building Workshop: A hands-on workshop in building with natural materials. Learn traditional, eco-friendly earthen construction in the real-world context of the Dharmalaya campus. Activities will depend on the needs on site, but will include adobe (sun-baked mud bricks) and may also include come combination of earthen renders (mud plasters), stonework, earthbags, and possibly other methods and techniques of earthen building. Seven hours per day of hands-on work to gain experiential understanding of the materials and methods. Theory classes and discussions most evenings. Optional meditation/yoga in the mornings and evenings.
When: Proposed for 30 April to 12 May 2018, but not yet confirmed. Details TBA.


See the Dharmalaya Events Page for the complete calendar of our events past and future.