Opening to Knowledge: Online Retreat

November 25 – 26, 2023

In moments of wonder and great humility, human beings through the ages have felt a different awareness arise naturally within the more familiar ways of viewing themselves and the world.

Knowledge of Freedom

Experiential webinar retreat

Based on Knowledge of Freedom and The Joy of Being by Tarthang Tulku

Led by Abbe Blum, Bram Williams, Angela Bushaway, and Elske van de Hulst
November 25 – 26, 2023

Most of us tend to take the habit patterns and common concepts that frame our day-to-day experience as real. We usually are not aware of underlying assumptions, let alone that we are subject to a limiting regime of mind.

In this 3-day experiential webinar retreat we explore ways in which we can open our hearts, minds and senses to ways of knowing that take us beyond familiar, constricting definitions and concepts.

During this retreat, we inquire:

  • Do we actually see our everyday surroundings?
  • What happens when we relax and soften our gaze?
  • How do body, mind, heart, breath and senses interact?
  • Can we explore their potential more widely?
  • Can we open our senses without immediately labeling the sensations?
  • Can concepts open to knowledge beyond concepts?
  • What is the power of open inquiry?

We will explore the workings of our mind, body and senses in very basic, experiential ways, combining in-depth Kum Nye exercises and explorations from The Joy of Being with reflections, contemplations and meditative exercises based on Knowledge of Freedom.

Both books explore the architecture that structures our daily awareness, inviting us to open up to a wider way of being in their different ways.

We will look beyond the positions ordinary mind routinely takes, investigating closely what is really going on at deeper levels in our hearts, minds and bodies. In doing so, we challenge the need to submit to the ongoing, subtle anxiety that accompanies so many of us day and night.

It is important to attract mind and senses back to their natural home, where we can tune in to our own inner resources for meaning and satisfaction.

Joy of Being

Who Should Take this Retreat?

This retreat is included in the international Knowledge of Freedom program, but can be attended separately by interested students who are not enrolled in that program. Some basic experience with meditation, yoga or Kum Nye Yoga will be expected.

Retreat Schedule

Three 3-hour webinar sessions, held through Zoom, comprise the offerings of the retreat weekend. Each session includes a 20-minute break halfway through.

Participants will be invited to experiment with specific explorations between retreat sessions. Days 2 and 3 will begin with short exchanges about these explorations.

  • Saturday, November 25:  10 am – 1 pm, PT  (19:00 – 22:00 hrs CET)
  • Sunday, November 26:  10 am – 1 pm, PT  (19:00 – 22:00 hrs CET)

Check for your local time zone.

We encourage participants to organize a quiet space for private practice, and to ensure reliable internet access in that place.

Retreat Faculty

Abbe Blum is a long time student of Tarthang Tulku and a seasoned teacher, presenting Kum Nye, Lotus Trilogy and Nyingma Psychology at Nyingma Institute and Dharma College, both in Berkeley. She worked as one of the editors on several of Rinpoche’s latest books. She holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.A. from Cambridge University, England, where she was a Marshall scholar, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Yale University. As an Associate Professor at Swarthmore College, she taught Shakespeare and intensive writing seminars, and she currently teaches in the School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybook University. 

Photo of Santosh Phillip

Bram Williams is a long term student of yoga, dharma and Nyingma. As an experienced Kum Nye student and teacher he’s attended many programmes and trainings in California, as well as annual Kum Nye retreats in Holland and Germany. Bram now practices and teaches in London and Oxford. Currently studying facial anatomy, Bram is also an occasional puppeteer and a qualified Lip-Reading Tutor.

Elske van de Hulst worked in the theatre as an actress, director and author, between 1969 and 1995. She taught at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten and for many years was a member of the Dutch Arts Council. In 1998 she started studying the theatre of the mind, guided by Tarthang Tulku’s books, and has not stopped since. She is now a co-dean at Nyingma Centrum Nederland and teaches Knowledge of Freedom, Revelations of Mind and Lotus Trilogy teachings in Amsterdam and elsewhere.

Angela Bushaway has been practising Kum Nye for many years. She has attended annual Kum Nye retreats in The Netherlands and Germany, as well as training programmes in California. Angela has also participated in a number of other programs based on the books of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, including Skillful Means, Knowledge of Freedom, Lotus Trilogy and Dimensions of Mind
She currently teaches Kum Nye classe in Malvern with her partner Roger.
Angela is a trained acupuncturist and shiatsu practitioner. When not working she enjoys walking their dog in the Malvern Hills.


Knowledge of Freedom and The Joy of Being by Tarthang Tulku are available at