The Four Flowers Retreat

How, Where, & When Your Karmic Seeds Will Open

During this 9-day residential retreat at Diamond Mountain Retreat Center, in the secluded high Arizona desert, Geshe Michael Roach will discuss this very simple, yet profound mantra about karma: Ever since we were kids, we heard about how we plant the seeds of karma: “Don’t step on that bug, child!  Something bad will happen to you!”

It felt right, but we didn’t really get any details from our parents about how the karmic seeds were stored in our mind, or how they opened.  If we have millions of karmas stored inside our head, then when does one of them decide to open—to give me a million dollars, or to give me cancer?

What makes the seeds open?  Why is my life happening like this?

This is what we’ll be learning in our next retreat for the Lam-Rim, or “Steps on the Path to Enlightenment.”  We’ll continue our careful study of Pabongka Rinpoche’s Gift of Liberation, one of the greatest books ever written in Tibet.

When we think about how karma opens, most of us think about “you get what you give”: If I’m kind to other people, then people will be kind to me.But every karmic seed opens in three other ways too.  Seeds create our habits: so if we study the details then we can finally start a regular meditation practice, or eat better, or exercise regularly.And seeds create our environment: if we learn the details, we can make macro-changes in our life: help solve global warming, help create intelligent and capable political leaders.

Finally, seeds decide the place we will go to next—after we die.  We need to learn these details now, because we never know how many days or hours we have left to our life.These then are what we call the “Four Flowers,” and we’ll be going deep into them.

During this retreat, we’ll also be going deeper to the next level of the Lion’s Dance Meditation that we started last retreat; you will have a chance to join a wonderful online meditation group that will finally help you get deep into your meditation practice.

We’ll also make an ancient fire offering together; have daily yoga and guided meditation practices and enjoy a special, individual deep-retreat period within the group retreat.  You will get some deep quiet that will help you decide where to take your life next.

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Special Topic - Dance of the Lion

Geshe Michael will also be teaching a special topic during the retreat on the Dance of the Lion, which dives deep into a practice on emptiness and karma. This meditation teaches us how to develop bright, single-pointed awareness and then open a space for seeing the deeper aspects of reality.  Part one was taught in Lake Chapala, Mexico, and we will continue to elucidate this practice and its finer points, along with the study of karma.. Click below to learn more about the first part, and join us for Part II.

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Daily Schedule

Geshe Michael teaches 3 times a day, as well as leads us in guided meditations. Each day, highly trained yoga teachers provide insight into movement practices. Also, in the middle of the program, we take a 2.5 day break to go deep into the practices for a silent retreat in the retreat valley. Finally, near the end of the program, we do a fire ceremony that has a long tradition, dating back about 5000 years in ancient India.

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Gift of Liberation

The main text for this program comes from a 24 day talk given in the 1920s by Pabongka Rinpoche. The transcript. written by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche of this event is known as "Liberation Thrust into the Palm of your Hand." This retreat is the 27th in the series, and is open and accessible to anyone, at any stage of their practice.