Merit & Beauty: Seven Branch Offering Retreat (Summer 2017)
This retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to focus on and amplify all that is positive in a substantive, hands-on approach to the 7 Branch Offerings.
The 7 Branch Offerings are an essential and effective set of practices contained within many texts and pujas of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. They are a fruitful way to generate merit, one of the two accumulations that is necessary to progress towards enlightenment.
The 7 Branch Offerings are:
- Prostration, a gesture of respect which antidotes pride and cultivates humility
- Offering, which cultivates generosity and merit and antidotes attachment
- Confession, which has the effect of cleansing negativity and cultivating purity of mind
- Rejoicing, which antidotes jealousy and cultivates selfless joy
- Imploring the Buddhas to Turn the Wheel of Dharma, which antidotes ignorance
- Requesting the Buddhas not to Enter Nirvana, which antidotes wrong views
- Dedication, which seals the merit of these practices and offers them to all beings
Lama Palzang and faculty will orient and lead retreatants in performing these practices, which include traditional-style water bowl and mandala offerings. You will receive instruction and then activate your intentions through the form of these practices in group sessions.
This retreat may be the first opportunity for lay-people in the U.S. to do the 7 Branch Offerings together in a manner that is traditional to Buddhist monasteries in Asia. It is approximately ¼ instruction and ¾ practice. It consists mainly of the main practice of the 7 Branch Offerings, which will involve prostrations, making offerings, chanting, and visualization practices.
Lama Palzang will create a beautiful, elaborately decorated altar, and excellent practice materials will be supplied. A furnished room and all meals are included. The last day of the retreat, Sunday, November 20, is Lha Bab Duchen, or the Buddha’s Descent from Tushita Heaven.
About the Teachers
Lama Palzang is a Nyingma Lama born in Tibet who received a thorough traditional Dharma education in Tibet and Nepal with respected Buddhist masters. He works on Dharma projects in both Asia and the United States and is the new Co-Dean of the Nyingma Institute, where he teaches courses on traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices.
Lama Palzang will lead the main sessions, with the support of other NI faculty.
A quote from the Pranidanaraja:
With oceans of sounds and rivers of melody,
With oceans of inexhaustible praise,
I celebrate the qualities of all the Victorious Ones,
And praise those gone to bliss.
Why accumulate merit?
As Patrul Rinpoche’s classic, Words of My Perfect Teacher, quotes from the tantras (p.292):
Without any merit there can be no accomplishment;
One cannot make oil by pressing sand.
Merit is one of the conditions that is necessary for progressing towards enlightenment. If one’s practice is stagnant or dry, sometimes generating merit can help. In any case, as Patrul Rinpoche says, never stop generating merit! During this retreat, we focus on the positive momentum that we can create through these practices.
Do I need any qualifications to attend this retreat?
Those who are Buddhist will be most able to benefit from this retreat. We practice in the Nyingma tradition, however the 7 Branch Offerings are not specific to this tradition only. You can practice with Padmasambhava or the Buddha as your focus. If you have any questions, please contact (510) 809-1000 or
This retreat starts at 10 am and ends at 5:00 pm.
This retreat is followed by a public event celebrating the Buddha’s Descent from Tushita Heaven on Sunday. If you’d like to stay overnight, please contact us for pricing.
Learn more about Accommodations, Food, and Transportation
Registration and Cost
Please review our cancellation and refund policy here.
The Nyingma Institute is a non-profit organization run by volunteers. Our founder, Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, emphasizes taking an active role in the world. We emphasize work as a form of spiritual practice.
Please contact or call (510) 809-1000.