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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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Leap into the action our volunteer 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, 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.


Meditation Retreat with Ellen van Iersel [REGISTRATION FULL]
: 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: 12-18 October 2018 (participants must arrive at the start and stay for the whole retreat).
Details and application

Compassionate Living Intensive — A Workshop-Retreat for Integrating Personal and Professional Development with a Lifestyle of Sustainable Thriving [NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS]
: This nine-day intensive residential workshop-retreat will explore sustainable and holistic approaches to compassionate living through diverse activities spanning the essentials of life: shelter, food, water, wisdom, and love. It will combine explorations of ‘outer sustainability’ practices — such as organic gardening, earthen building, solar cooking, and rainwater harvesting — with ‘inner sustainability’ practices — such as mindfulness, meditation, and movement (yoga/chi kung/nature walks). It will also integrate key aspects of personal development, including self-awareness, communication, and leadership for people who aspire to be effective agents of change. Group meditation sessions morning and evening, and more…
When: 29 October - 6 November 2018 (participants must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration)
Details and application

Sustainable Thriving Intensive Workshop — Permaculture & Earthen Building [NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS]
: A twelve-day residential training workshop 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 two-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 improving skills and deepening understanding through morning and afternoon work sessions, with the evenings of the second week organized according to the needs on site and the interests of the group. For those desiring more hands-on experience, there will be an optional extended practicum until 1st December, providing an opportunity to improve your skills and understanding further by working alongside our team of artisans.
When: 13-24 November (participants must attend from the beginning and stay for the duration), followed by an optional one-week practicum until 1st December.
Details and application 

Tergar Core Facilitator Training
: A five-day training programme exclusively for facilitators of Tergar International’s meditation programmes developed by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. (By invitation only; the Dharmalaya campus will be closed to the public during this time).
When: 5-9 December 2018


JANUARY 2019 ONWARD (Programmes and dates are tentative and subject to change)

Dharmalaya Leadership Retreat
: A five-day planning retreat for Dharmalaya Institute’s board members, faculty, staff, and key long-term participants. (By invitation only; the Dharmalaya campus will be closed to the public during this time.)
When: Tentatively scheduled for 9-13 March 2019

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: 18-26 March 2019 (Participants must arrive at the start and stay for the whole retreat.)
Details and application

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: 27 March  - 6 April 2019 (Participants must have attended the silent retreat, and must stay for the whole work retreat.)
› Details and application

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.

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