Class Electives

Participants in the 2019 retreat will have the opportunity to pursue one of the following four elective courses during their stay. The class format is smaller, usually under 20 people and meet four times during the course of the retreat. Taught by Rinpoche’s senior students, these electives offer the possibility to both broaden your knowledge of buddha dharma or to take a deeper dive into an area familiar to you.

Elective classes provide an opportunity to focus on an area that complements the overall retreat theme of Sharpening the Sword of Prajna: The Awakening of Insight and expands and deepens each students own area of study.

Analytical Vipashyana Meditation

In this course we will explore the classification of vipashyana into analytical and non-analytical and the presentation of analytical vipashyana in various key meditation manuals, including the four absolute bodhicitta slogans of Atisha and the Vidyadhara’s commentary on those. We will focus on the stages of this practice as they present it and how it relates to shamatha meditation and non-analytical vipashyana. Readings will be provided in advance digitally.


Derek Kolleeny

Derek Kolleeny

Derek began the practice and study of Buddhism in 1976 under the guidance of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and later continued it with other leading dharma teachers, primarily Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. After studying Sanskrit and Tibetan academically, he became a member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. Derek has served in various dharma world roles including in External Affairs at Vajradhatu, hosting many great teachers including the HH XVIth Karmapa and the HH Dalai Lama; founding member and Treasurer of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center for fifteen years; Director of Practice and Study of the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York from 2000-2005; founder and teacher of the Rime Shedra NYC program for the past fifteen years; and co-founding and co-leading the Westchester Buddhist Center which is dedicated to the tradition of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

The Art of War

Sun Tzu’s Art of War is widely acknowledged as the world’s preeminent strategy and leadership manual. Its main contribution is that rather than perpetuating war and conflict, it shows leaders how to find victory without battle and destruction. And, since it arose during a time of massive change much like our own, it is especially relevant in complex situations. All of this, and more, gives it compelling authority for our time. Understanding and working with the Art of War begins with a few simple strategic approaches that lead to leadership success, which we will study in this course:

  • Knowing—oneself, the other, and the environment
  • Employing shih—the configuration of power that brings about victory
  • Finding victory—without battle

What we’ll learn:

  •  A working understanding of the Art of War; how to study and use it in daily life.
  •  A fresh way to understand and work with seemingly intractable challenges.
  •  How to foster a kind of knowing and seeing clearly that lead to effective action.
  •  To employ “shih”—the ability to see how energy moves, gathers, focuses, and releases in a natural or human-made system, and how to use that to advantage.
  •  Why the Vidyadhara told us to study the Art of War and what it taught us about the basic strategic approach he used throughout his life.


Barry Boyce

Barry Boyce

Barry Boyce is editor-in-chief of Mindful magazine and mindful.org. He became a student of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, in 1973. Also a professional writer and editor, he is the editor of and a primary contributor to The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life. Barry also worked closely with Congressman Tim Ryan, as developmental editor, on A Mindful Nation and The Real Food Revolution. He is a member of the group who created the Denma translation of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and co-author of The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict; Strategies from the Art of War. Barry serves on the board of directors of the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto; on the advisory board of Peace in Schools, in Portland, Oregon; and is currently chair of the board of the Profound Treasury Dharma Foundation, which sponsors the Profound Treasury Retreat. Barry lives in Nova Scotia.

Carolyn Gimian

James Gimian

James served as the co-director of the Denma Translation Group’s acclaimed and best-selling The Art of War and the co-author of The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict–Strategies from the Art of War. He teaches seminars and leadership programs on how to apply the principles of the Art of War in a wide range of contexts. He has worked in publishing for over 40 years, most recently as founding publisher for Mindful magazine and Mindful.org. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Foundation for a Mindful Society.

Dancing with the Sword of Prajna: Dharma Art for All

Brush – voice – character – on the spot. In this class we will be exploring wider ways of engaging with the teachings through mark making and body movement, strengthening our capacity for “best knowing”, brightness and unexpected insight. Activities will include big brush work, body warm-ups, character improvisations and collaborative expression both on the page & in the space.


Barbara Bash

Barbara Bash

Barbara has been walking the calligraphic path for many years with an interest in buddhist sensibility as expressed through western art forms. She studied Dharma Art with Chögyam Trungpa and has been a longtime Shambhala practitioner and meditation instructor. She teaches creative process through big brushwork and has collaborated with musicians, storytellers, and dancers to explore new forms of visual learning. Barbara has also trained in Nonviolent Communication and Focusing, weaving these communication practices into her teaching.

Lanny Harrison

Lanny Harrison

Lanny Harrison is a performance and visual artist, teacher and poet. She has created many one-woman shows and collaborated with performers, musicians, artists including Steve Clorfeine, the late Collin Walcott, Jerry Granelli, Barbara Bash, and Arawana Hayashi. Lanny has been a member of The House, Meredith Monk’s company, since 1969. In Lanny’s classes, she integrates contemplative disciplines and movement/theatrical improvisation. She teaches a course,”Performing Stories: East Meets West” at NYU’s Gallatin School and an ongoing workshop, “Characters in Motion” at the NY Shambhala Center. Lanny has taught at Naropa University over the years, since 1975. She became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s in 1972 and is a certified Meditation Instructor.

The Four Dharmas of Gampopa

The Four Dharmas of Gampopa chant is a concise, pithy summary of the Buddhist path. The chant begins with an aspiration to be one with the dharma. This is a reminder to not look outside ourselves for wisdom as something external, but rather to experience and work with the reality of our everyday, ordinary experience.

With this view, the second Dharma of Gampopa describes the proper discipline and diligence that carries us forward on the path. In his teachings on the “Four Dharmas of Gampopa” the Vidyadhara says: “Discipline is the fuel which burns ego.”

In the third Dharma of Gampopa, confusion is clarified when we abandon preconceptions and the false security that comes from the frantic search for happiness and pleasure. We can discover freedom, beyond ego’s fruitless, misguided search for happiness.

 “Confusion dawns as wisdom…” means we see through the battle of ego. When we give up our scheming, our neurotic strategies, and our desire to have something more, confusion is seen what it has always been – wisdom.

In the course, we will do a careful, detailed reading and contemplation of the four-line chant. We will have short talks and long discussions, and will explore how this chant clarifies the most basic logic and stages of our Buddhist path.


Peter Volz

Peter Volz

Peter started to practice and study in the Zen tradition in 1970 in Berkeley, California. He met the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1973, and attended the Vajradhatu Seminary program in 1976. For many years he served in the Office of External Affairs for Vajradhatu and Shambhala, and worked on the teams that hosted many of the prominent lineage teachers who visited North America at the invitation of the Vidyadhara. Since the early 1980’s, Peter has taught dharma classes and served as a meditation instructor. In 2007, after ten years working with international education at Naropa University, Peter started a mixed vegetable farm in Boulder County, Colorado, where he currently lives and works.

Jade Weston Kranz

Jade Weston Kranz

Jade Weston Kranz is a vajrayana practitioner and teacher in the Shambhala community, where she’s been practicing since 2009. She works for Shambhala Publications, where she helped create their online education program. She is a member of the Opening the Dharma Treasury editing committee, which works to bring the written teachings of Chögyam Trungpa into being. She’s also the Director of Practice and Education at the Boston Shambhala Center.