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Solitary Retreat in a Community Setting

The Tara Temple Retreatplex re-envisions the retreat building near the Sangdo Palri Temple to include a temple to Arya Tara, who ensures the success of all buddha-activity, and a teacher’s residence for visiting teachers. Combining them allows for great cost-savings and efficiency in their construction, rather than planning two separate buildings. More on the project soon. The vision for the Retreatplex remains unchanged, as described in the original project brief below.

Deep retreat lies at the very heart of the Longchen Nyingtik path. Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche has steadfastly upheld this tradition within Mangala Shri Bhuti, ensuring that the practices and vision of the Lineage’s masters continue to pervade and transform the lives of his students here in the West. Truly, without the ability to engage in meditation in extended retreat, it is difficult for the full impact of the teachings to reach deeply into our being. Samten Ling has had students in retreat continuously since its founding in 1993. We are deeply moved and delighted to announce a new building that will expand the land’s capacity for retreat this year.

tara temple retreat plex artist rendering

The Sangdo Palri Temple Project has begun construction of the Tara Temple Retreatplex. This building will be sited about 50 yards south-west of the Temple, in a sloping, shallow meadow that provides both privacy and protection as well as clear views of the San Luis Valley and sky. Consisting of 8 apartment-like rooms with private entrances and decks, the building will offer shared bathrooms and dining for retreatants. In the attic, there will be a teacher’s suite to host visiting lamas. Solar panels will be built into the roof line, minimizing impact on the land, providing green power and heat to the building. The RetreatPlex’s close proximity to the Temple will allow retreatants to support the daily routines at the Temple, including caring for the shrines, cleaning, and light maintenance, as well as group prayers.

For the retreat land and the MSB community, the Retreatplex offers a boon in retreat space: 8 additional rooms (or spaces) a year for retreats from one month to six months. Approximately 40-80 people will be able to undertake retreat each year. Currently, most of Samten Ling’s cabins are occupied by retreatants in either life retreat or retreats of multiple years. This poses a challenge to the vision of Mangala Shri Bhuti, as the importance of retreat sits at the core of the vision and cannot be emphasized enough. As well, Rinpoche has committed to only offer the Dzogchen teachings in the context of retreat, and for them to be carried out only in retreat.

Arya Tara appears in the sky in front;
the unchanging bright purple
light of dawn
Radiates out from the utpala flower she holds.
As it falls upon master and students simultaneously
All our wishes are swiftly accomplished and
We attain the immortal vajra life force.
May we perpetually uphold and propagate the Buddhadharma,
Spreading benefit and happiness to all sentient beings.


white tara

Adjoined to the second floor of the Retreatplex will be a roughly 500 square foot temple dedicated to Arya Tara. Arya Tara is the female buddha who acts to support those who, motivated by compassion, work to bring others ahead on the path of enlightenment through their practice, projects, prayers and aspirations. Known as she who liberates, it is said Tara arose from one of Avalokiteshvara’s tears. Kongtrul Rinpoche has had a life-long appreciation of Tara, and the Tara Temple Retreatplex fulfillis his aspiration to invoke her presence palpalbly as part of the Sangdo Palri Temple project. By combining the Tara Temple with the Retreatplex, the development team can economically realize two aspirations at once: the Tara Temple and additional retreat space (plus visiting teachers accommodations).

Watch Rinpoche’s in-depth comments about the project.

We envision a total budget of $1.5 million and welcome you to make a contribution today. Every dollar you contribute will be used entirely for the construction of the Tara Temple Retreatplex. For years innumerable, your donation will be a beneficial condition in the awakening of those fortunate to practice in the Retreatplex’s rooms. It is traditionally said that sponsors of retreatants accrue merit equal to that of the retreatants themselves, so please consider how enriching it will be to offer support of any size or kind.