Inner Freedom Four Month Retreat

August 26th – December 14th, 2018

Have you ever considered what might be possible with a deep pause? Give yourself an invaluable gift:  the self-discovery that comes from an intensive period of practice and study. The Four Month Retreat is Nyingma Institute’s cornerstone program, a precious opportunity for participants to settle deeply into being.

You will be guided through a progression of meditative techniques drawn from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, in a curriculum designed for lasting impact. Emerge with an expanded understanding of the nature of awareness, a multitude of methods for working with mind, body, senses, and emotions, and fresh insight into the richness and possibilities of being.

If you are ready to make a deep commitment to change and to deepen spiritual values within daily life, this is the program for you.

Tarthang Tulku, founder of the Nyingma Institute, taught the first Human Development Retreat at the Institute in the summer of 1973. This program offers a comprehensive education in how to develop and expand the capacity to know, to be aware through all the senses, and to find new, more positive, ways of being in the world.

Since that time, the Four Month Retreat has become the signature program of the Nyingma Institute. Taught annually by senior students of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche with his guidance and design, the retreat blends meditation, movement exercises, and awareness practices with discussion in an environment that encourages those on retreat to integrate what they learn into daily life through work-practice.

Month 1

Body Touching Mind

Calming mind and opening our senses more fully, we enter an open field of awareness. By cultivating a garden of inner experience, we activate healing energy and discover a hidden vitality. With inner balance restored, we awaken the possibility of befriending all experience.

Month 2

Un-fixing Ourselves

Explore a potent array of meditative practices and contemplations carefully calibrated to illuminate the operation of our sensation, feeling, and thinking. The powerful influences coloring our experience are revealed, and our sense of what is anchoring the reality of our perceptions, feelings, and ideas is transformed.

Opening up to ourselves we enter a new adventure beyond the familiar and restrictive sensory experiences beyond the known characters of our own habitual thinking.

Month 3

Wisdom & Compassion

With unflinching honesty and tenderness, we observe and investigate our own experience. Insights arise that point towards the root causes of unease and suffering. As habitual patterns are penetrated, it becomes possible to release the energy that powers insight and transformation.

Month 4

Transformation & Integration

As we stabilize the unity of stillness and insight, we begin to access dynamic knowledge and our deep creative potential. We make direct contact with our own purpose, and life itself becomes the rich field of inquiry that leads directly into the mystery of being.

*The curriculum of this retreat deals with the grounded, human experience of growth and change on a level that does not require a set belief system. Buddhists and non-Buddhists are both welcome. 

“The practices that I learned created a new baseline for me of well-being, balance and relaxation . . .”

Hear from the Retreatants

” . . .  I’m just starting to glean how [the retreat] radically changed my life.” 

Daily Schedule

Monday – Friday

7:00 – 8:00 AM: Relaxation and meditation

8:00 – 9:30 AM: Breakfast and clean-up

9:30 – 10:30 AM: Instruction session

10:30 – 11:00 AM: Tea break

11:00 – 12:30 AM: Instruction session

12:30 – 1:30 PM: Vegetarian buffet lunch

1:30 – 5:30 PM: Work practice and individual practice/study

5:30 – 6:00 PM: Vegetarian buffet dinner

6:00 – 6:45 PM: Meditation session (optional)

7:00 – 8:30 PM: Evening class session

Saturdays include morning practice and a regular workshop schedule from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 


Long time students of Tarthang Rinpoche and Chadral Rinpoche, Deans of the Nyingma Institute, Lama Palzang and Pema Gellek, offer fresh perspectives on traditional Dharma practices and provide insight into how to develop spiritual values in contemporary life.

Further perspective is provided by a team of long-term Western students authorized to teach by Tarthang Tulku.


Three retreatants on front porch of Nyingma Institute.


The program length is 16 weeks, or 4 months, allowing your experience to deepen and develop over time.

You receive over 638 hours of instruction and practice.

Retreat groups are small, so there is plenty of opportunity to interact with instructors individually.

In addition to the Inner Freedom Four Month Retreat itself, students have access to the courses and workshops offered at the Nyingma Institute as part of the program.

The program fee is extremely reasonable, given the high cost of living in this area of Berkeley, and the inclusion of all teachings, housing and vegetarian meals.

We also offer a beautiful sacred setting, and a caring and supportive faculty team to guide you on your retreat.

This is a life-long investment. Give yourself space and time to uncover your full potential.



“I have a toolbox of different practices now that I can use to help me with emotions and to let go of the need to react.” 


Learn More / Register

For more information, or to register:

Please contact us if you have questions or would like to register for this retreat. Our Front Desk is open 10 AM – 6 PM, PST. We look forward to hearing from you.

Call:  (510) 809-1000


The Four Month Retreat starts on August 26th, 2018. 

The Buddhist tradition teaches that among all possible forms of existence, a human embodiment is the most precious, an opportunity to be treasured and developed as far as our knowledge and circumstances permit. 


From Joy of Being, by Tarthang Tulku. 



Two Month Integration Retreat

Following the Four Month Retreat, two programs are available to provide further support and integration for our retreatants.

A) Continuing teachings offered by Dean Pema Gellek and Hugh Joswick based on Dimensions of Mind by Tarthang Rinpoche; B) weekly interview and check-in sessions with retreat faculty via Skype.

Cost for Two-Month Integration Retreat: $4,600 Residential; $3,400 Non-Residential; $500 via Skype