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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 JUNE 2017

Compassionate Living Workshop: An Holistic Exploration of Earthen Building, Organic Gardening, Meditation & More [REGISTRATION FULL]: Unique 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 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. (17-30 April 2017 — must attend from the beginning.)  More

Volunteer Work Period [REGISTRATION FULL, ACCEPTING WAITLIST APPLICATIONS ONLY]: 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. Four to seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga sessions in the mornings and evenings. (2 May - 17 June 2017 — participants may apply to volunteer anytime during this period, starting on any Monday, with a minimum commitment of two weeks.)  › More

Compassionate Living Workshop: An Holistic Exploration of Earthen Architecture, Organic Gardening, Meditation & More [FULL, ACCEPTING WAITLIST APPLICATIONS ONLY]: Unique 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. 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. (20 June - 1 July 2017. Must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration.)  More


JULY THROUGH MID-NOVEMBER 2017

Monsoon Volunteer Work Period: 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. Four to seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga in the mornings and evenings. It is very wet during most of the monsoon 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 and tree planting. (3 July through 30 September 2017 — participants may apply to volunteer anytime during this period, starting on any Monday, with a minimum stay of four 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. (Anytime between July through September 2017)  › Please contact us to let us know if you are interested.

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. Four to seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga sessions in the mornings and evenings. (2-27 October 2017. Must arrive on a Monday [2nd, 9th, or 16th October] and stay for at least two weeks.)  › 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. (30 October - 5 November 2017)  › More

 

MID-NOVEMBER 2017 ONWARD  (Programmes and dates are tentative and subject to change)

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. (Tentatively scheduled for 7-18 November 2017 — must attend from the beginning. 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, 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. (Tentatively scheduled for 21 November - 2 December 2017. Details TBA.)

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. Four to seven hours per day of hands-on work, with optional meditation/yoga sessions in the mornings and evenings. (Tentatively scheduled for 4 December 2017 through 3 March 2018 — participants may apply to volunteer anytime during this period, starting on any Monday, with a minimum commitment of four weeks.)  › 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. (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.  (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. (Proposed for 5-25 April 2018, though 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. (Proposed for 30 April to 12 May 2018, though not yet confirmed. Details TBA.)


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