Vajrayogini and the Five Wisdoms in Relationships

12 - 21 June 2020

Sarah Coleman, Mark Nowakowski & Brian Hilliard

Restricted retreat for those who have received the empowerment of Vajrayogini.

The Retreat

“In one of the songs of Marpa, he says that there are hundreds of yidams, but the best yidam is a little red Vajrayogini” ~ Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

In essence, Vajrayogini is Prajnaparamita, the mother of all the buddhas. Her wisdom and warmth is the matrix from which awakened mind and heart are born. We wake up as children in the charnel ground. So what do we do after we say "Hello,"first to ourselves, and then to others?

The most basic human ground is the connection we have with our mothers. We are hard-wired for warm and soft and sweet. All babies seek out the soothing and nourishing milk from their mother's breast. Then we grow up. And we all still want and need human connection, and for it to be warm and soft and sweet.

For one week we will practice, study, and engage with each other within the mandala of Vajrayogini. The five wisdom energies are vividly awake and present within the Vajrayogini Sadhana. We also see how we go astray and mistake wisdom for an object, become attached to that, and chase after “it" -- seeking pain in the guise of pleasure. We will use a variety of skillful means to engage and interact with each other to discover and uncover our habitual patterns in relationships, and find new ways of connecting fearlessly with our brave, raw, naked hearts and with each other.

The retreat will include a daily schedule of physical discipline (lujong), Vajrayogini practice, formless meditation, and aimless wandering, led by Brian. There will be daily teachings and interactive presentations on the Five Wisdoms in Relationship, given by Sarah and Mark.

The Leaders

Sarah Coleman has been a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1972. She served as Trungpa Rinpoche's senior editor for many years. Sarah has been teaching Buddhism and Shambhala Training for over 35 years. She brings a wealth of knowledge to retreats which is based on the tireless application of the essence of the Vidyadhara’s oral instructions and empowerments to myriad relationships.

Mark Nowakowski met the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and has studied with many other Kagyü and Nyingma masters. He is particularly inspired by the Tibetan works of Chögyam Trungpa and his teacher Khenpo Gangshar, and is currently coordinating the translation and publication of a book of Khenpo Gangshar's pith instructions and songs of realization. He has taught many Vajrayogini courses and has led numerous Vajrayogini fire offerings. Mark is a senior member of the Nalanda Translation Committee and a senior teacher in the Shambhala mandala.

Brian Hilliard has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1976, when he met the Tibetan meditation master Kalu Rinpoche. Brian has received extensive teachings and empowerments from the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and others. He completed the traditional three-year retreat at Sopa Chöling, Gampo Abbey in 1997. Brian is a co-owner of Mindfulness Journeys, offering retreats around the world. He founded Casa Garuda, together with Antonella Macconi, in 2003.


Dates : 12 - 21 June 2019

Retreat Price : €825

Registration : Please send an email to

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If you would like to do a private retreat during 2024, please contact Antonella.

If you would like to have a relaxing time, peace and tranquility, in exchange for taking care of the garden and the cat (Pinetta), contact Antonella.

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