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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

Check our programme schedule below.
Join Dharmalaya on our membership page.
Leap into the action our volunteer page.
Donate on our support page.
Stay informed via the news and our blog.
Follow us on our social networks.

Visiting Dharmalaya Institute

The campus of Dharmalaya Institute is normally open to registered programme participants only. Visits to Dharmalaya Institute are by appintment only, and appointments are available only at certain times. For details, see our Visitor Information page and our FAQ.

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, as well. 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 retreat’s description page 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 and retreats provide just a taste).
  • Volunteer Work Periods are brief opportunities (usually about three 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. Volunteers join whatever work is happening on a given day, and follow the lead of our team members.

You’ll see brief summaries of our upcoming events below. You can click the ‘details and application’ link to know more about each programme, including description of activities, costs, and application instructions.

JUNE 2019

Earthen Building Workshop [REGISTRATION FULL]: Ten-day residential workshop to provide introductory hands-on training in some of the foundational skills of earthen building in the neo-traditional Kangra style of esteemed eco-architect Didi Contractor as practiced at Dharmalaya Institute. Learn to create and apply earthen renders (mud plaster) in an adobe structure, as well as other interior work (which, depending on weather and the needs on site at the time, might include flooring, fine finishing, etc.). There will also be the option to stay on for the extended practicum after the workshop (until as late as 1st June) if you wish to deepen your skills and understanding further through practice on site.
When: 1-10 May 2019 (participants will attend from the beginning and stay for the duration), followed by an optional practicum until as late as 1st June
Details and application 

Sustainable Thriving Intensive Workshop — Permaculture, Earthen Building & Creative Life Design [REGISTRATION ALMOST FULL]
: An eighteen-day residential training workshop-retreat exploring the basic principles and practices of ‘sustainable thriving’, including voluntary simplicity, earthen building, and permaculture, as expressed in the Himalayas and beyond. This will be a three-part programme: The first six days will provide initial training with hands-on workshops during the day and presentations/discussions in the evenings; the middle six days will be a practicum for improving skills and deepening understanding through morning and afternoon work sessions, while continuing our discussions and explorations in the evenings; and the final six days will be organized according to the needs on site and the interests of the group. For those desiring even more hands-on experience, there will be an optional extended practicum providing an opportunity to improve your skills and understanding further by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 11-28 June 2019 (participants will attend from the beginning and stay for the duration), followed by an optional practicum.
Details and application

JULY 2019 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 1 July through 30 September 2019. Please contact us to let us know if you are interested.

Calming the Mind: Joy of Living 1 Retreat [NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS]
: A six-day meditation retreat designed by world-renowned meditation master Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, with special added features unique to the retreats at Dharmalaya. Awareness meditation empowers us to use any situation or experience, even difficult emotions and pain, as a gateway to joy and inner peace. In this first retreat in the Joy of Living series, we explore ways in which awareness meditation can be used to create a peaceful mind and joyful heart. Over these six days, we will explore the landscape of our experience with mindfulness and presence, learning how to use the body, sensory experiences, thoughts, emotions, and even awareness itself as supports for meditation. As a unique feature of this retreat, we will also incorporate yoga asana practice in a style specially designed to integrate with Mingyur Rinpoche’s Joy of Living teachings. 
When: 7-12 October 2019 (participants will arrive at the beginning and stay untiil the end)
› Details and application

See the complete calendar of our events (past, present, and future)