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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


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Join Dharmalaya on our membership page.
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Overview of Dharmalaya Institute’s Upcoming Events

Below you’ll find a list of our upcoming workshops, retreats, and other events. You’ll notice that many of these include some combination of contemplation, meditation, yoga, and various forms of work. This is to provide the opportunity for participants to integrate our outer life (e.g. work and family) with our inner life (e.g. contemplation, reflection, meditation, yoga) so that we live in balance, which supports us to be the best we can be.

Why? Scientific research now confirms what Himalayan wisdom traditions have known for centuries: Bringing mindfulness and warm-hearted presence into our work improves not only the quality of our experience doing the work but also the quality of the work itself (in other words, we get better results, and we feel better in the process). The benefits work in the other direction, too: Putting meditation and yoga into action extends the benefits beyond ourselves to reach others, too. Thus, the Dharmalaya experience is designed to support active people to deepen their contemplative practice, to support contemplative people to engage actively in service, and to empower all of us to make our best contributions to a better, more sustainable, and more compassionate world.

So, while most of our programmes combine these outer and inner aspects to some degree, each has a different emphasis. Some put more emphasis on the outer work, while others put more emphasis on the inner practices.

Here’s a quick guide to the terminology we use to differentiate these different types of events and programmes:

  • Workshops focus on providing hands-on education and training in particular concepts and skills. There is also time in the mornings and evenings for inner practices (e.g. meditation, yoga, reflection, etc.).
  • Intensives are workshops that are designed to cover a lot of ground in a short time, so you’ll be busy from breakfast till bedtime, but still our meditation hall is available for early morning and late evening practice for those who desire it.
  • Practicums are experiential learning periods for those who have already completed a workshop or intensive to deepen their understanding and improve their skills through extended real-world practice on site, working side-by side with our local staff and artisans (the best way to learn).
  • Retreats focus primarily on the inner work (which, depending on the retreat, might include meditation, yoga, personal development, etc.), but also provide at least a little bit of time for putting the practice in action through karma yoga. (Some retreats involve a greater degree of engagement through work, so see each individual programme pages for details.)
  • Courses and internships are long-term programmes (typically lasting several months) designed to develop a whole range of understandings, skills, and qualities. These usually include multiple workshops, intensives, and/or retreats. These are the best way for people with serious interest to get the most out of the Dharmalaya experience (since our workshops, courses, and retreats provide just a taste).
  • Volunteer Work Periods are brief opportunities (generally 1-3 weeks) welcoming anyone to join the work happening on campus. During these Volunteer Work Periods, the focus is on service rather than instruction, so volunteers should not expect the kind of training we provide in our workshops, but it’s still a good opportunity to get a taste of learning by doing. One simply joins whatever work is happening on a given day, and follow the lead of our staff, local artisans, and interns. 

You’ll see brief summaries of our upcoming events below, and you can click the ‘more’ link to find details and application information for each one.


NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 2017

Karma Yoga Retreat for Compassionate Living: Holistic Exploration of ‘Meditation in Action’ through Earthen Architecture, Organic Gardening, Vegan Cooking & More [NOW COMPLETELY FULL]: 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 [ALMOST FULL]: Unique service-learning workshop exploring a sustainable and holistic approach to living through diverse activities spanning the essentials of life: shelter, food, water, wisdom, 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 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 improving our practice and deepening our understanding through 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 with Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde: A one-week, (mostly) silent meditation retreat in the Insight Meditation tradition, led by our dear friends Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde of SanghaSeva. The focus of this retreat will be on developing mindfulness and compassion through sitting meditation, with some walking meditation and other forms, and with a Dharma talk each evening, all set in the beauty of Dharmalaya’s eco-campus in the Himalayan foothills.
When: 15-22 December 2017
More


JANUARY THROUGH MARCH 2018

Introduction to Earthen Building: A twelve-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular and in the neo-traditional adobe architecture of Didi Contractor. Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 1-13 January 2018 (participants 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.
When: 15 January through 10 February 2018 — participants must arrive on a Monday and stay at least two weeks.
› More

Introduction to Earthen Building: A twelve-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular and in the neo-traditional adobe architecture of Didi Contractor. Followed by an optional one-week volunteer work period during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 12-24 February 2018, followed by an optional one-week volunteer work period from 26 February through 3 March.
More

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. This popular retreat fills up every year, so we suggest you register early.
When: 12-20 March 2018 (Participants must arrive at the start and stay for the whole retreat.)
More 

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: 21-31 March 2018 (Participants must have attended the silent retreat, and must stay for the whole work retreat.)
› More 


APRIL THROUGH MID-JULY 2018 (Programmes and dates are tentative and subject to change)

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, wisdom, 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: 4-21 April 2018, followed by an optional one-week practicum from 22-28 April
More 

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 11 May 2018, but not yet confirmed. Followed by an optional 1-2-week practicum from 14-26 May. Details TBA.

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, wisdom, 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 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 improving our practice and deepening our understanding through morning and afternoon work sessions, and the evenings of the second week will have either optional sessions or free time.
When: Proposed for 28 May through 8 June 2018, but not yet confirmed. Followed by an optional one-week practicum from 11-16 June. Details TBA. 

Compassionate Living Intensive — Harmonizing the Outer & Inner Environments: This will be Dharmalaya Institute’s most comprehensive workshop yet, integrating explorations of ‘outer sustainability’ practices — such as permaculture, vernacular eco-architecture (earthen building), solar cooking, and rainwater harvesting — with ‘inner sustainability’ practices — such as meditation, yoga, and personal development. Stay tuned for details.
When: Proposed for 18th June through 13th July 2018. Details TBA.


MID-JULY 2018 ONWARD (Programmes and dates are tentative and subject to change)

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 from 16 July through 30 September 2018. Please contact us to let us know if you are interested.

Introduction to Earthen Interiors (Renders, Flooring, Finishing, Etc.): A twelve-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the interior aspects 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: Tentatively scheduled for 6-17 August 2018 (must attend from the beginning and remain for the duration), with an optional 1-3-week practicum from 20 August through 8 September. Details TBA.

Introduction to Earthen Building: A twelve-day, beginner-level training workshop introducing some of the foundational skills of earthen building as practiced in the Kangra vernacular, and in the neo-traditional style developed by Didi Contractor. Followed by an optional practicum during which to improve your skills and understanding by working alongside our team of artisans. Details TBA.
When: Tentatively scheduled for 10-21 September 2018, with an optional 1-2-week practicum from 24 September through 4 October 2018 (participants must attend from the beginning and remain for the entire period). Details TBA.

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: Tentatively scheduled for 12-17 October 2018. Details TBA.  


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