The Colorado Retreat

October 4-13, 2024
In Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

The Tibetan word for mandala is kyilkhor. Kyil means “center,” khor means “fringe,” “gestalt,” “area around.” It is a way of looking at situations in terms of relativity: if that exists, this exists; if this exists, that exists. Things exist interdependently, and that interdependent existence of things happens in the fashion of orderly chaos.­ — Chögyam Trungpa 

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Interbeing is the understanding that nothing exists separately from anything else. We are all interconnected. By taking care of another person, you take care of yourself. By taking care of yourself, you take care of the other person. . . The understanding of interbeing is very important. It helps us to remove the illusion of loneliness and transform the anger that comes from the feeling of separation. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

The topic of this year’s class is the mandala principle.  Mandalas present Buddhist teachings in the form of a circular diagram, as a dynamic and interconnected system.  Mandala teachings encourage us to think more holistically and to relate to experience in terms of energies, systems, relationships, and patterns of interconnection. Mandalas display the intersecting webs of connection between all experiences and all beings. They help us to place our personal experiences within a broader context, a context in which every experience is welcomed and included.

Mandala teachings heighten our understanding of the interconnection between our inner experience and the external world. They show that when we deepen our relationship to the natural environment—the elements, the seasons, the plants and animals, and so forth—we at the same time deepen our relationship to our internal world of perceptions, thoughts, and emotions.  They encourage us to view the world as a mirror, and to learn from what it reflects back to us.

Throughout the retreat, our focus will be on cultivating a direct visceral connection with the five basic elements—earth, water, fire, wind, and space— as a way to go more deeply into Buddhist  teachings on working with emotions.

Topics include:

  • the structure and components of a traditional mandala.
  • the five elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and space
  • the conflicting emotions
  • the five wisdoms


Nestled high in the Colorado Rockies, Drala Mountain Center (formerly Shambhala Mountain Center) combines natural beauty, unspoiled wilderness, blue skies and crisp mountain air with the comforts of a modern retreat campus. Accommodations range from lodge rooms with private baths to shared same-gender dormitories. Meals include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Head teacher

Judy Lief

Judy Lief was a close student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who trained and empowered her as a teacher. She has been a Buddhist practitioner and teacher for over 45 years, and continues to teach throughout the world. Judy is an editor of many of Chögyam Trungpa’s books including, The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma volumes.

Judy is also active in the field of death and dying, and is the author of Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality. She offers workshops and retreats on the contemplative care of the dying for pastoral counselors, hospice workers, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Her numerous articles have appeared in Lion’s Roar magazine, Buddhadharma: The Practitioners Quarterly, O Magazine, Tricycle, and The Naropa Journal of Contemplative Psychotherapy, among others.

Her podcast series Dharma Glimpses is a series of talks on different aspects of meditation practice and is based on Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s unique presentation of meditation.She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

“Generosity is a willingness to give, to open without philosophical or pious or religious motives, just simply doing what is required at any moment in any situation”

– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Financial support

The Profound Treasury Dharma Foundation is committed to offering the authentic transmission of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings to all, regardless of their financial capacity.

If it will make the difference between attending or not attending the retreat, we encourage you to request financial support when you apply. Decisions on financial support are made concurrently with the application review.

If you would like to join us in offering financial support to those who need it to attend, please go to our Donations page.

The Profound Treasury Dharma Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Sample Schedule for a Study Intensive Day

The Team

The 2023 Retreat Coordinators
Scott Lafontsee


Scott and Liz will be making sure all aspects of the retreat run as smoothly as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Scott if you have questions about the retreat that aren’t covered here.

Liz Greene


Liz will be working closely with Scott and is handling the registration process this year. Please contact her if you need any help navigating any aspect of that.

Fees and Housing Options

Pricing Plans

The price of the retreat includes program tuition, lodging, and meals.  The price varies depending on the type of lodging you choose.

For any questions regarding our pricing plans below, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Double Room
$1500 Per Person
  • Private Bath
  • Linens Provided
  • May Specify Roommate
    (or will be assigned)
Dorm Room
$1210 Per Person
  • 7-bed same-gender dorm
  • Shared Bath
  • Linens Provided
Single Room with Private Bathroom
$1920 Per Person
  • Private Bath
  • Linens Provided
Single Room with Shared Bathroom
$1650 Per Person
  • Shared Bath
  • Linens Provided
Triple Room
Per Person
  • Linens Provided
  • Bunk Beds


Arrival and Departure

Arrival day is Friday, October 4th. Plan to arrive after lunch and before dinner, 2pm-5pm, to register and settle in. The first event is dinner at 6:30pm, followed by an opening ceremony and welcome talk by Judy Lief at about 7:30pm. If you must arrive later than dinnertime on Friday, please let us know by emailing the retreat coordinators,

The retreat ends on Sunday morning October 13th around 11am, with final remarks and a closing ceremony. 

DMC is located 50 miles Northwest of Fort Collins – about a 2.5-hour drive from Denver. The address is 151 Shambhala Way, Red Feather Lakes CO 80545. Detailed directions can be found here.

If you can offer a ride, or are looking for a ride, please check the RIDE BOARD.

There will be a shuttle bus from Denver International Airport to DMC departing on Friday October 4.  The shuttle will return from DMC to DIA on Sunday October 13.


Friday, October 4th
Shuttle departs DIA at 2:30pm, arriving at DMC at 5:30pm

Sunday, October 13th
Shuttle departs DMC at 10:00am, arriving at DIA at approx. 1:00pm 

Denver International Airport

If you can offer a ride, or are looking for a ride, please check the RIDE BOARD.


What to Bring

We will provide meditation cushions—gomdens, zabutons, and a limited number of zafus and support cushions. We also have chairs for those who prefer them. However, if you use a meditation bench or a favorite cushion, please bring it with you.

DMC provides each participant with 1 set of linens, which includes sheets, towels, a pillow, and a blanket. If you need anything else, you will need to bring it. For example, you might want to bring an extra blanket or that special extra-fluffy pillow.

The weather in Colorado changes quickly and can vary to extremes. The sun is a higher intensity; gusty winds are frequent. Summers are cool with average highs in the 70s. In any given fall, winter or spring, one may experience mild temperatures and bright sunshine, or heavy snow and intense cold. Daytime and nighttime temperature variations can fluctuate greatly. Rain, snow and wind can blow in quickly.

What are the essentials?
• Layered clothing to accommodate a wide range of temperatures on any given day.
• Sturdy shoes, with good traction and stability for walking on trails and uneven ground.
• Chapstick, sun protection and sun hat.
• Water bottle, waist or day pack, flashlight, batteries, camera if desired.
• Light layers for warmer days and indoors; warm layers of fleece/wool in cooler months.
• A windproof jacket; water-resistant or waterproof in wetter months.
• Thick socks for indoor areas.

Daily dress for the program is casual but uplifted (in other words, not loose work-out clothing). Please refrain from clothing with complicated designs and messages as they can become distracting entertainments or annoyances during sitting periods. We advise you to check the weather in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, for the retreat period just prior to coming and bring appropriate outdoor clothing. Colorado in the fall is likely to be chilly in the mornings and evenings so layers are recommended. You should have rain gear and/or an umbrella. We have a celebratory banquet on the last night, so please bring one dressy outfit for that occasion.

Please bring two Covid test kits with you.

Bring all your own toiletries including soap and shampoo. These items are not provided. Also bring any other personal care items and prescription, non-prescription vitamins & supplements that you use or may need. Again these items are not provided and unless it’s an emergency we are not able to shop for them during the retreat.

What other miscellaneous things should I think about?
• A flashlight
• You may want a shawl or a throw for chilly mornings or evenings in the shrine room.
• Open containers like mugs are not allowed in the shrine room. If you need to bring liquids into the shrine room, please bring a spill-proof bottle or mug.


Practice. Practice. Practice.

The most important preparation you can do for the retreat is to have a regular sitting practice. Try to meditate every day and do longer sessions on the weekends. If you are able to attend group meditation sessions, that would be excellent. If you have been introduced to tonglen practice, make it a point to incorporate this into your daily and weekly practice so that it feels familiar to you.

If you’d like to purchase a PTR Chant Book ($30 including shipping within the US), please email

Another great way to prepare for the retreat is to watch the video courses of past Profound Treasury Retreats produced by Shambhala Publications, available here.

The suggested readings for retreat are from
The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma

Volume One: The Path of Individual Liberation
Chapter 34. Cutting Thoughts and Short-Circuiting the Kleshas
Chapter 53. The Power of Flickering Thoughts

Volume Two: The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion
Selected Slogans from Part Seven: Mind Training and Slogan Practice
Slogan 40. Correct all wrongs with one intention.
Slogan 44. Train in the Three Difficulties

Volume Three: The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness
Chapter 14. Unconditional Ground
Chapter 16. Fundamental Magic

To download a printable PDF file of the suggested readings sourcebook, click here.

.Access to Maitri reading will be available in the Sacred Studies Library once we have had a chance to practice together.

Food and Drink

The kitchen provides three healthy meals per day with Omnivore, Vegetarian, and Vegan/Wheat-free choices at all meals. They are not able to accommodate special dietary needs beyond these three options. Participants with more specific or restrictive diets may bring their own food supplements to ensure proper nutrition and limited refrigerator space is available. A microwave and hot water are provided for participant use. Unfortunately kitchen access is prohibited by State Code regulations.

In the case of severe allergies, please report this at registration. Keep in mind that any known allergy is the responsibility of the person with the allergy.

With respect and consideration for other participants, PTR & DMC have a policy of no public consumption of alcohol during the retreat – except at the banquet when alcoholic beverages are offered. The retreat is an opportunity to explore our habitual tendencies – including those around alcohol – and participants are encouraged to refrain from drinking during the retreat.


Nestled high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Drala Mountain Center is situated on 600 acres of native forests, gentle meadows and sweeping valleys at 8,000 feet in Northern Colorado. While the land will nourish your soul and provide ample opportunity to connect with nature and community, Drala Mountain Center is not a 5-star resort. Accommodations range from clean and comfortable private lodge rooms with bathrooms to dorm rooms with shared bathrooms. Our aim is to support your basic needs while you participate in your program, provide a safe, clean and comfortable environment with wonderful food and a staff dedicated to the success of your retreat.

Is there a store?
DMC does have a gift store which sells snacks, drinks, some toiletries, and a few over-the-counter medications. Also books, journals, meditation, and gift items Only credit cards are accepted. Open Friday to Sunday 1:30-3:30pm.

Is there internet access?
WiFi is available in the Lodge buildings – but please note that access is limited and shared between guests and staff. Please limit usage.

Cell phones do not get reception at DMC. Public phones are available for calls within the US and Canada.

Download the DMC Campus Map HERE.

Costs and Money

Prices range depending on the type of accommodations you select. Please see the Pricing section for more details.

If you withdraw within three weeks of the start date, a refund is unlikely as we will be committed to paying our host facility for the full cost of your participation. After the retreat, the Administrative Team will review finances and make additional refunds wherever possible.

The Profound Treasury Dharma Foundation is committed to offering the authentic transmission of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings to all who want to receive them, regardless of their financial capacity. Please see Financial Support above for more details.

You can apply for a financial support during the Application process. Funds are not unlimited, and are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please apply as early as possible. You will be notified of your financial support in your acceptance letter.

There is no ATM on premises or nearby. Please plan for cash needs before arriving since we cannot make trips into town to get money.

Since there is no ATM on site, you should bring some cash (and/or a checkbook) if you wish for incidental expenses. There will be an opportunity to offer a teaching gift to the head teacher (a traditional offering after receiving teachings). The amount of your teaching gift, if you wish to offer one, is completely up to you. We can accept major credit cards for offerings if you don’t have cash.

Photography and Use of Electronic Devices

Participants cannot make video or audio recordings of the talks under any circumstances. An official retreat photographer will be taking photographs during the retreat.


Please click HERE to read the DMC Covid policy.   

The Retreat Location