Shambala Mountain Center location of Basic Training retreats
Karuna Retreat

Revised Schedule

KT9 Online Supervision 6/26/21, 8/1/21, 8/21/21


Audio 1

Audio 2

KT8 Deepening Week Assignments

May 23-29, 2021

Compassionate Exchange Project Proposal Template


KT8 – Deepening Week – May 23 - 29, 2021


Audio 1 Opening Evening – Melissa


Audio 1 Buddha AM presentation and experiential – Miriam

Audio 2 Buddha PM discussion – Miriam


Audio 1 Vajra AM presentation and experiential – Melissa

Audio 2 Vajra PM discussion – Melissa


Audio 1 Ratna AM presentation and experiential – Miriam

Audio 2 Ratna PM discussion – Miriam


Audio 1 Padma AM presentation and experiential – Melissa

Audio 2 Padma PM discussion – Melissa


Audio 1 Karma AM presentation and experiential – Miriam

Audio 2 Karma PM discussion – Miriam

Audio 3 Party with offerings


Audio 1 Discussion on project/mentors and closing circle

Additional Cohort Calls (Soft Pause):  2/21 and 3/21 (Sundays, 6-7:30pm ET), 4/25 (Sunday, 2:30-4 pm ET)

2/21/2021:Further Resources on Grief

KT7 Handouts & Assignments: 10/24 & 10/25

Next Cohort Call: Sunday, January 17, 2021 from 5-8pm ET

12/20/2020: Homework Assignments

10/24/2020 & 10/25/2020: Shining the Jewel Handout, Homework assignments

Additional Cohort Calls:  8/30, 9/20, 10/18 – all Sundays, all 6-7:30pm ET

9/20/2020 Assignments: Transitions Contemplation

10/18/2020 Assignments: 5-Hour Project Guidelines

Handouts & Homework Baltimore KT6 Compassionate Presence 2 – August 1-2, 2020 – Virtual

*Post-Seminar Assignments:*

  1. Continue to cultivate absolute bodhicitta: sitting practice at least 2 to 3 X per week.
  2. Continue to cultivate relative bodhicitta: tonglen at least 1X per week.
  3. Continue to do the Four Step Practice: on the cushion, on the spot, and with whatever emotions arise in response to what’s happening personally, socially and culturally. Make it yours!
  4. Practice Compassionate Exchange work in continuity groups where you are the compassionate friend at least one time; practice offering one word exchanges. Next weekend we go further with ‘polishing the jewel’ practice.
  5. Do whatever you have identified to live your Karuna and extend Compassionate Exchange into your daily life.
  6. Explore the Buddha Families in everyday life; take a family for a day or for a week, and perhaps you can coordinate the timing of the BF with your continuity group. What this means is dress in the style of the energy, tune into the element, activities, behaviors, food, music, art—of what you have learned about the family and what you experience of that Buddha family.  Notice your communications. Journal and share your experiences with your continuity group and/or your study buddy.

For example: for Vajra:


Trungpa, Chogyam, The Sanity We Are Born With, Chapters 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20

Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism; an anthology from 25 years of Turning Wheel: The Journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, edited by Susan Moon; 2004 Shambhala

A giant Compassionate Exchange example:

Speaking of Silence: Christians and Buddhist in Dialogue  – Entire book

Contributors The Dalai Lama, Chogyam Trunpa, David Steindle-Rast, Tessa Bielecki, Thomas Keating and others. 2005 Vajradhatu Recordings (available through Kalapa Media)

Chapman, Susan, The Five Keys to Mindful Communication

*Buddha Family Readings that will help in everyday life*

Chogyam, Ngakpa, Spectrum of Ecstasy, Chapters 6 through 10

Fremantle, Francesca, Luminous Emptiness, Chapters 5 and 7

*Other Books mentioned*

Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands 2017 Central Recovery Press

Owens, Lama Rod Love and Rage 2020 Penguin

*Questions for Study and Contemplation*

  1. How do you learn?
  2.  How do you know you are engaged or not?
  3. What is discernment like in everyday life, when do you notice it?
  4. What is mutual about mutual agreement?
  5. What is important about Transitions?
  6. Where do you notice personal issues and strengths with engagement and discernment, then after we explore them, mutual agreement and transition?

Cohort Call – July 12, 2020

The Complete Process of a Compassionate Exchange

Cohort Call – June 7, 2020

Homework: Ngakpa Chogyam, Spectrum of Ecstasy: Embracing the Five Wisdom Emotions of Vajrayana Buddhism; Chapter2 – Hall of Mirrors —  SoE ch 2

KT Seminar 5 Baltimore Homework (April 2020) 

Wheel of Realms .jpg


Chapman, Susan Gillis The Five Keys to Mindful Communication; Intro and chapters 1-2; pages 196-200 “Self Reflection Guide”

If you don’t have the book and don’t wish to buy it, the first chapter is also this article here at Mindful Magazine:

Wegela, Karen Kissel How to Be a Help Instead of a Nuisance; Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16

Kornfield, Jack The Wise Heart, Buddhist Psychology for the West; Chapters 21, 23 & 24

Trungpa, Chogyam, The Sanity We Are Born With; Pages 72-77, 85-89, 170-175; Chapters 10 and 13

Fremantle, Francesca, Luminous Emptiness; Chapters 6 and 7

Ngakpa Chogyam, Spectrum of Ecstasy – Entire Book

Three handouts from Susan: Five Keys, From Ego to Wisdom, Four Limitless Ones

Recommended Readings

Hick, Steven F, Bien, Thomas; Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship – Entire book

Wegela, Karen Kissel, The Courage to be Present: Buddhism, Psychotherapy, and the Awakening of Natural Wisdom – Entire book

Welwood, John, Toward a Psychology of Awakening; Chapters 11, 12

Chodron, Pema Tonglen: The Path of Transformation – Entire book

Link to Still Face video

We watched this in KT2 but Susan would like us to re-watch:


5 KEYS_ 4 karmas

From Ego to Wisdom via elements

4 Limitless Ones

Study/Review Questions for KT 5

  1. How do we awaken bodhicitta in Karuna Training? What does bodhicitta mean?
  2. How do you understand “idiot compassion”?
  3. What does the following sentence mean to you: Maitri (loving kindness) is the ground for Karuna (compassion)?
  4. Describe the different stages of tonglen.
  5. What is your understanding of the practice of tonglen?  Why do we do this practice and how is this related to compassionate exchange? What is your experience doing this practice?
  6. What is exchange?
  7. How do we practice compassionate exchange?
  8. How is compassionate exchange different from the professional therapeutic exchange you might have practiced before?
  9. What are the strengths of compassionate exchange?

KT5 Assignments

  1. Continue to cultivate absolute bodhicitta: sitting practice at least 2X per week
  2. Continue to cultivate relative bodhicitta: tonglen at least 1X per week (in addition to the sitting)
  3. Continue laying the foundation for Compassionate Exchange: practice the Four Step Exercise with whatever emotions arise in response to a difficult image or story that comes to you through the media/personal experience.
  4. Practice compassionate exchange work in continuity groups where you are the compassionate friend at least one time
  5. Practice holding steady with compassionate listening in a real-life situation
  6. Keep track of all of the above in a journal
  7. Attend monthly cohort calls; these will be practice-based calls and an extension of this program, some of which we had to cut short due to it being online
  8. Attend Continuity Groups monthly; these are essential as it will be three months until we meet again

Note on Recordings

Use audio recordings from Susan and Naoko leading Tonglen and sitting if you would like support for those practices. Re-listen to or watch recordings of talks in order to deepen your understanding if desired.

Homework Post-KT4 Pearlstone Deepening Week 1 (Feb 2020):

Spend time until the next weekend program catching up on reading you have not yet had a chance to complete.

Additional Readings:

Trungpa, Chögyam: The Sanity We Are Born With

Kornfield, Jack: The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology

Podvoll, Edward: Recovering Sanity: A Compassionate Approach to Understanding and Treating Psychosis

Fremantle, Francesca: Luminous Emptiness: Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Also recommended but not required:

Somé, Malidoma, Patrice: Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community

Yang, Larry: Awakening Together

Study Questions KT 4:

  1. What is meant by maitri and how does maitri influence your day to day experience?
  2. Which are the five Buddha families? Give examples and connect them with your personal experience.
  3. Why and how is shamatha the basis for Maitri Space Awareness?
  4. Why is equanimity especially important for Karuna Training or in working with others?
  5. How does the understanding of the Buddha families help you to understand who you are?
  6. Please illustrate with examples from your everyday life and use each of the families.
  7. “In every confusion or neurosis resides the hunger for sanity,” please explain.
  8. Describe inner and outer aspects of the five elements. Connect with your personal experience.
  9. In which way are the teachings about container an important aspect of maitri Space Awareness? Think about example(s) from your personal life.
  1. In which way are the teachings about container an important aspect of maitri Space Awareness? Think about example(s) of ritual and how do we work with ritual within Karuna Training?
  2. Why study the elemental aspects of the 5 Buddha Family Mandala? What is the benefit of that personally? How does this study help us in creating our own personal mandala?
  3. What do mandala and container principle have to do with one another?
  4. How are the 5 elements operating in our own body, speech and mind? What rituals do we have in place to communicate with our elemental nature?

Study Questions Working with the Mandala in Daily Ritual:

  1. What rituals evoke space in your life?
  2. What rituals evoke or stimulate your intellect, give rise to reflection, or support you working with your mind?
  3. What rituals ground you, enrich you, support wealth, and practicality?
  4. What rituals evoke play, or connect you to others, or keep you in connection with your heart?
  5. What rituals help you accomplish your aspirations?

KT Seminar 3 Baltimore Homework (Oct. 2019)

Assignments, Study Questions, Suggested Readings


  1. Practice meditation regularly
  2. Practice the Four Step Process (see attachment reviewing the process)
  3. Homework – Cycling through the 6 Realms (refer to attachments on the realms) Look into your life and explore when and where you have experienced these realms. In what realm(s) do you tend to reside? How do you know the feeling of the hell realm in your relationships, household, work and so forth? How does the energy of the god realm feel? … Consider this for all 6 realms. Please prepare an 8 minute presentation in which you show the cycle of the 6 realms in your life. How do they live in your life? This presentation will be made in the deepening week retreat in small groups.
  4. Meet in your continuity groups at least twice before the retreat

Handouts4 Step Practice, 6 Realms, Realm Cycle

Study Questions:

Describe emotion from the perspective of contemplative psychology.

What is your understanding of ‘touch and go’ and how do you practice that?

Describe the four step practice and give examples of how and when to apply it.

What is the difference between a process group and a body speech and mind group?

Suggested Readings:

Trungpa, ChogyamThe Sanity we Are Born With

Trungpa, ChogyamThe Myth of Freedom

Fremantle, Francesca Luminous Emptiness, Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Welwood, John Toward a Psychology of Awakening

Chodron, Pema Taking the Leap

Chodron, PemaWhen Things Fall Apart

Also Recommended

Kornfield, Jack The Wise Heart, A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology

Welwood, John Toward a Psychology of Awakening

KT Seminar 2 Baltimore Homework (July 2019)

Assignments, Study Questions, Readings, Assignments

Practice meditation regularly

Meet in your continuity groups monthly (or more) before the next class

Five weeks of contemplating Skandhas

Contemplation Method:

1.Sit and relax for 5-10 minutes.

2.Ask the question, or read a short pithy statement about the topic.

3.Allow some space to resonate with the question, which you can repeat a few times.

4.Be curious, applying what you’ve learned so far in your exploration.

5.Allow insight to emerge in its own way.

6.Follow up by putting your insight into words, in a journal or in dialogue.

Self Contemplation: (2 minutes for each question)

When you think of part of your body you like, what happens to the sense of self?

When you think of part of your body you don’t like, what happens to the sense of self?

When you think of someone you like, what happens to the sense of self?

When you think of someone you don’t like, what happens to the sense of self?

When you think of succeeding and being praised, what happens to the sense of self?

When you think of failing or being criticized, what happens to the sense of self?

Another SkandhaContemplation:

Take good upright posture with the intention to stay awake and mull over the following questions, and feel how they are resonating in your body, speech and mind. Contemplate each question for 2 minutes and then journal if anything arises on any one of the questions:

First Skandha: First Split; Ask yourself where is the ‘I’ in my body right now?

Second Skandha: Feeling; Notice if the “I” in your body is feeling safe, unsafe or neutral – when you find the answer, what happens in your body?

Third Skandha: Perception-Impulse: Take a tour of your sense perceptions – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling – choose one that is most dominant and stay with it. Through the perception, notice what happens in your body and in your emotions when you sense something pleasurable, aversive or neutral?

Fourth Skandha: Formation: Consider fixated mind, pull up some story line where you feel stuck (you know the one) then feel into the atmosphere of that story and ask yourself; “What is the root fixation? Is this my arrogance, stinginess, pride, poverty, passion, pride… etc?”

Fifth Skandha: Consciousness: What is the textural visceral experience of the worlds you create over and over where you feel claustrophobic?

Study Questions:

What is a skandha, how many are there, what are they called and how do they work in developing a notion of self?

What does the sentence: “the same mind that causes confusion is the same mind that wakes us up” mean to you?

Do we need ego to survive?

Give definitions and explanations of each of the skandhas and how they are working together.

What is a person?


Freemantle, Francesca Luminous Emptiness

Chapter 6: The Five-Step Process of Ego

Kornfield, Jack The Wise Heart

Chapters: 3, 6

Trungpa, Chogyam, The Lion’s Roar

Part 2, Chapter 1: Suffering, Impermanence, Egolessness

Trungpa, Chogyam, The Sanity We Are Born With

Chapters: 6, 8, 9, 10 & 11

Yang, Larry, Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community

Chapter 6: Refuge in a Multicultural World

Other Recommended Books:

ThichNhatHanh,The Heart of Understanding

Andy Karr, Contemplating Reality

PDF Downloads

5_Skandhas_with_Rinpoche_NSS_2019_CommentsYang, Awakening Together (chap 6)

Yang, Awakening Together (chap 6)


KT Seminar 1 Baltimore Reading Recommendations

Required Readings – Books to invest in & readings to support the weekend:

Trungpa, Chögyam The Sanity we are Born With: a Buddhist approach to psychology

Chapter 1 Taming the horse, riding the mind

Chapter 2 Discovering basic goodness

Chapter 14 Becoming a full human being

Chapter 17 Intrinsic health: a conversation with health professionals.

Chapter 20 Is meditation therapy?

Kissel Wegela, Karen How to be a Help Instead of a Nuisance: practical approaches to giving support, service & encouragement to others

Chapter 3 Sitting meditation

Chapter 4 The spectrum of brilliant sanity

Chapter 22 Body-speech-mind groups

Kornfield, Jack The Wise Heart: Buddhist Psychology for the West.

Chapter 1 Nobility: our original goodness; (dg)

Chapter 7 The liberating power of mindfulness. (dg)


PDF Downloads of Readings
Brilliant Sanity pgs 175-194 Walker A Discipline of Inquisitiveness Body Speech Mind Approach
Lions Roar pages 75-85 Trungpa Suffering, Impermanence, Egolessness
R Walker Body Speech and Mind from Brilliant Sanity typed version
Summary of Body, Speech, Mind Practice

Suggested Readings:

Pema Chödrön The Wisdom of No Escape, and the Path of Loving-Kindness, 1991:

Chapter 9 Weather and the Four Noble Truths. (sb)

Ricard, Matthieu Why Can’t “I” Be Happy?, Shambhala Sun – July 2006. (sb)

Baker, John All Together in the Present, Shambhala Sun – January 2006. (sb)

Maintain a regular sitting meditation practice.

Meet monthly in your Continuity Group.

Contemplate your History of Sanity, spending more time on ways in which your unconditional health has carried you through difficult times in your life. Look for patterns of resilience, strength and vitality. Then prepare a 5-minute presentation of your personal history of sanity. This should include specific insights about patterns of basic health that you can identify when you dive more deeply into your life history from this perspective. You will be presenting this in a small group in our next weekend together.

Consider having a “study buddy.”

Contemplate these study questions as you read and discuss:

Study Questions

  1. Why is mindfulness an important aspect of Karuna Training?
  2. What is the role of breathing in meditation and how do we work with it?
  3. How do we work with thoughts in meditation?
  4. What is “being present”?
  5. How do you experience intrinsic sanity?
  6. What are the 3 types of suffering?
  7. If we have inherent sanity why do we suffer?
  8. What are the 3 marks of existence?
  9. Explain your understanding of the purpose of doing body-speech-mind groups.
  10. What is the presenter’s role in body-speech-mind group?
  11. What is the role of the other participants in the body-speech-mind group?
  12. What is the purpose of the “speaking from the heart” group and what is its function in Karuna Training?


Soft Pause, Cohort Call #3 – April 25, 2021


Video 1 Guided meditation – Naoko

Video 2 Grief Talk – Yeshe

Soft Pause, Cohort Call #2 – March 21, 2021


Video 1 Discussion on Deepening Week and Contemplation – Sandra

Soft Pause, Cohort Call #1 – February 21, 2021


Video 1 Discussion on Deepening Week and Grief Talk – Melissa

RESOURCES for further study on GRIEF – see attached.

Seminar 7 – Cohort Call #3- January 17, 2021


Video 1 Recap – Sandra

Video 2 Discussion and Closing

Seminar 7 – Cohort Call #2- December 20, 2020


Audio 1 Guided meditation – Trevor

Video 2 Receiving feedback Talk – Miriam

Seminar 7 – Cohort Call #1- November 22, 2020


Audio 1 Guided meditation – Miriam

Video 2 Trusting your Gut Talk – Naoko

Video 3 Video 3 Pearlstone discussion – Sandra

Seminar 7 – October 24-25, 2020


Audio 1 Guided meditation – Naoko

Video 2 Check in – Miriam

Video 3 Shining the Jewel Talk (Seeing) – Sandra

Video 4 Harvest from Dyad – Sandra

Audio 5 – Guided meditation – Trevor

Video 6  Intro to CE exercise – Sandra

Video 7  Harvest and closing circle – Sandra


Audio 1 – Guided meditation – Miriam

Video 2 Shining the Jewel Talk (Shining) – Sandra

Video 3 Harvest, remarks, closing circle – Sandra

Seminar 6, Cohort Call 3 – October 18, 2020

10/18/20 – Video 1, Video 2

Seminar 6, Cohort Call 2 – September 20, 2020

9/20/20 – Video 1, Video 2

Seminar 6, Cohort Call 1 – August 30, 2020

8/30/20 – Video Recording and Audio Recording

Seminar 6 – August 1-2, 2020 – Virtual

8/1/20: Video 1Video 2Video 3Video 4

8/2/20: Video 1Video 2

Karuna Training – Zoom Call – July 12, 2020

Video Recording

Audio Recording

Karuna Training – Zoom Call – June 7, 2020

Video Recording – Part 1Part 2

Audio Recording – Part 1Part 2

Karuna Training – Call – May 10, 2020

Karuna Training – Seminar 5 – Baltimore, MD – April 2020



Karuna Training – Seminar 4 – Baltimore, MD – February 2020

Karuna Training – Seminar 3 – Baltimore, MD – October 2019

Karuna Training – Seminar 2 – Baltimore, MD – July 2019

Karuna Training – Seminar 1 – Baltimore, MD – April 2019