Retreats and Programs

Winter Retreat 2012: Experiential Transmission, Part 5, With Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

December 27, 2012 - January 1, 2013
The Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung is the centerpiece of Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s dzogchen teachings and is presented at Serenity Ridge each year at our winter retreat. The concise and essential practice manual of the Experiential Transmission, the Chag Tri, provides pith instructions for those who aspire to practice dzogchen, the path of self-liberation.

This winter Rinpoche will conclude his Part 5 teachings on The Practice of Seven Cycles of Clear Light. During this final part of the cycle, students will receive guidance in tögel (pure vision) meditation and will engage in practices with the sky, sun and darkness. Tenzin Rinpoche will discuss the dark-retreat experiences of various teachers, including his own experiences; and will offer a brief explanation of the seven cycles comprising the traditional retreat of 49 days in total darkness. For those students who have completed Parts 1 through 5 and are ready to engage in a 49-day (or shorter) dark retreat, Rinpoche will be available to give personal, one-on-one guidance.

PREREQUISITE: Participants must have received the teachings for Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung in order to attend these Part 5 teachings.

RETREAT COST (includes meals; accommodations extra):

$475 received by November 15 (earlybird registration)

$550 received after November 15 (regular registration)

Serenity Ridge Information

With the establishment in 1998 of the Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's longtime vision of a North American home for Bon has been realized. Our residential retreat center is located 30 minutes south of Charlottesville in Nelson County, Va. Its nearly 20 acres rest atop a mountain ridge overlooking the Rockfish River Valley, with beautiful views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

NEW: Serenity Ridge now rents out its facilities for use by outside groups and organizations. Learn more >

In our teaching hall (gompa) we are fortunate to have received teachings from many Bon masters including H.H. Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, Ponlob Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, Chongtul Rinpoche , and Khyimsar Rinpoche.

As construction, renovations and landscaping have continued on the property, the contributions of labor by sangha members and the blessing of the land by visiting masters are seen and deeply felt in the serene beauty of the buildings and land. The Garuda House, completed in June 2007, provides comfortable accommodations for up to 80 retreatants in private, semi-private and dormitory rooms, plus shower facilities and lounges. Both inside and out it provides a relaxing, supportive environment for sangha in its gardens, guest rooms and lounges. The core of the building features a teaching room that houses the entire Bönpo Canon, plus two dark-retreat rooms for personal dzogchen retreats. The newest wing features a Tibetan silent-contemplation space and a room for practitioners of the healing arts to offer their services to sangha members.

Ligmincha International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Toward the ongoing preservation of the ancient and unique Bon Buddhist tradition, we appreciate and continue to rely on the generous contributions and engagement of patron donors, devoted students, and supportive friends for continuing the development and maintenance of Serenity Ridge.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Serenity Ridge retreat facility is to serve as a center for the worldwide operations of the Ligmincha International for the Study of the Religions and Cultures of Tibet. This center will:

  • Support the activities of the international Bon community.
  • Provide a place where teachers and students can engage in short- and long-term group or personal retreats.
  • Be a setting where teachers and students can work on specific projects such as translations, editing, and publishing of Bon texts.
  • Provide a home for Ligmincha’s library.
  • Provide living quarters for a caretaker and resident teachers.

For Your Visit

General Information

Serenity Ridge is located 25 miles south of Charlottesville in Nelson County, Virginia. View map >



Retreat Registration

You may register online for upcoming Serenity Ridge retreats by clicking on your retreat of choice in the Retreat section of the Web site and then on "REGISTER NOW." Out of respect for the teachings, we ask that you attend the entire retreat (or the entire week in the case of the summer retreat) for which you are registering. Partial attendance is not encouraged, and 'day rates' are not available. Pre-registration is required for all retreats.

Financial Aid

For those in need of financial aid, we have a work-exchange program. In exchange for working up to three hours per day at the retreat, registrants receive a 50 percent discount on their registration fee (this does not include accommodation costs). A limited number of work-exchange positions are available for each retreat and positions fill quickly, so please call the Ligmincha office at (434) 263-6304 before registering to ask about availability.

Work-exchange participants must be at Serenity Ridge and ready to work by 4 p.m. the day before the teachings begin; OR, they must be available to work for three hours immediately after the close of the retreat's last teaching, in addition to that day's other work responsibiities.

Financial hardshop alone should not prevent a practitioner from attending a retreat. Special payment plans are available. Please contact the Ligmincha office for more information.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be given, less a $75 processing charge, for all cancellations received before the first day of the retreat.

Serenity Ridge Hours

Our retreat center is open only during retreats and for other publicized events. During retreats, registrants may arrive no sooner than 4 p.m. the day before the retreat begins in order to check into Garuda House or their tent site; and they are asked to depart at the completion of cleanup on the last day of the retreat.


Retreat cost includes meals. We provide a simple menu with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Please indicate with your registration if you require strictly vegetarian or vegan meals. Those with other special dietary needs may need to bring supplemental food in case their needs are not met by our menu.

What to Bring

There will be cushions and chairs available in the teaching hall, but be sure to bring what will make you comfortable, along with notebook, pens, and anything else you may need. Serenity Ridge has a swimming pool open seasonally, so bring a bathing suit and a towel if you wish to swim. If you are planning to tent, please bring along your tent and anything else you might need (flashlights, insect repellent, bedding, towels, toiletries, rain gear, etc.). If you are registered for a room in Garuda House, sheets and towels will be provided, but please bring your own towel if you intend to use the pool.


All retreatants are invited to join in caring for our retreat center by participating in a daily caretaking hour during our retreats. Your participation is encouraged and most welcome.


Children may attend retreats with their parent or guardian.At all times during the retreat, children are the responsibility of and must be attended by their parent or guardian. Maintaining silence in the teaching hall during practices and teachings is important for supporting a contemplative, distraction-free environment for practitioners, as well as for ensuring clear audio-recordings of the teachings and practices. Therefore, children are very welcome at practices or teachings as long as they remain quiet, well behaved, and under their parent's close supervision. We ask parents to promptly remove any child from the gompa who is unable to remain silent and seated during teachings and practices.

Please register the child on the responsible parent or guardian's registration form. Children 15 and under may attend retreats with their parents for a cost of $15/day ($70/week). Teens 16 to 18 pay 50 percent of the adult fees.


The Ligmincha International Bookstore & Tibet Shop, open twice daily during most retreats and also accessible online at, stocks a comprehensive selection of books and many other supports for your meditation practice.