Vajradhara Gonpa Centre for Advanced Buddhist Studies

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Vajradhara Gonpa Centre for Advanced Buddhist Studies
Main School Vajrayana
Sub School Tibetan
Affiliation Siddharthas Intent
Founded 1986
Contact person(s) Jangchub
Spiritual Director Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Contact Infotmation
New South Wales 2474
Country Australia
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Phone (02) 6633 1382
Postal Address PO Box 345, Kyogle, NSW 2474

The Three Year Retreat Program

Three year retreat at Vajradhara Gonpa is a residential program of strenuous contemplative practice according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The emphasis is on intensive experiential training rather than intellectual study. The retreat is conducted within a formal boundary, and retreatants are expected to remain at Vajradhara Gonpa for the entire period of the retreat. Practice is divided into four daily sessions for the duration of the retreat. The actual length of the retreat may be up to three and a half years.

The retreats are conducted in the spirit of the Tibetan Ri-mé (non-sectarian) tradition and are patterned on the 'Eight Chariots' retreat curriculum designed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. Participants undertake the preliminary practices (ngöndro) and then the development and completion stage practices according to sadhanas of the three roots (guru, deva and dakini). Retreats are guided by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche with the assistance of a resident retreat master.

The language of the program is English. Texts and liturgies are provided in English translation. Liturgies are optionally made available in the original Tibetan.

Integral to the three year retreat is the experience of practitioners living together as a yogic community, encouraging development of the lifelong habit of a practitioner's lifestyle. As a yogic community, retreatants share with volunteer staff the responsibility for the care and upkeep of Vajradhara Gonpa.

Vajradhara Gonpa and the Gesar Springs Community

Established in 1986 under the spiritual guidance of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Vajradhara Gonpa has over the years accumulated the blessings of the many authentic Buddhist masters who have taught programs there to audiences of up to 200 participants. Beginning in early 2003 the Gonpa began a process of transition to become a dedicated three year retreat facility. The inaugural retreat began in December 2004 with 28 Australian and overseas participants.

Over time the Gesar Springs lay Buddhist community has grown up in affiliation with the Gonpa and contributed to its development. Today the continued generosity and commitment of the Gesar Springs community and many other local sangha members provides essential external volunteer support for the three year retreat.


As a 200 acre parcel of the 800 acre Gesar Springs community, Vajradhara Gonpa is located on natural bush land north of Kyogle in Northern New South Wales. The Gonpa enjoys a pristine, spacious and secluded environment providing an appropriately peaceful atmosphere for long-term contemplative practice.

Perched high on a hillside, the Gonpa affords pleasing views of the sub-tropical forests of the Border Ranges and is a natural haven for various Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, and a wide variety of birds.


With the main teaching/practice hall as its core, the Gonpa is a complex of buildings serving for training and accommodation.

  • 175 square metre main teaching/practice hall seating up to 200 people
  • Commercial kitchen with walk in cold room
  • Dining room seating up to 100 people
  • Accommodation is a mixture of single occupancy rooms with shared bath/toilet facilities, free standing kutis (small, single room huts without facilities), and fully self-contained retreat cabins
  • Teaching/accommodation venue for visiting teachers
  • 80 square metre yoga training facility
  • Library, medical treatment room, and administrative offices

Due to its remote location, Vajradhara Gonpa generates its own 240v electric power by a combination of solar panels and diesel generator. LP gas is used for cooking and refrigeration, and water is pumped from a natural spring. Thus environmental awareness and conservation of resources is an integral part of life at the Gonpa.