Video of the opening of the 8th cycle of the 3-year retreat (May 2015). Video of the entrance ceremony of the 9th cycle (September 2016). Learn more about this profound program.

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Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery and Retreat Center was founded in 1978 by Lama Norlha Rinpoche in the tradition of Kyabje Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche. A fully trained meditation master in the tradition of the Kagyu Lineage, Lama Norlha Rinpoche guides a community of practitioners in integrating the authentic practice of Tibetan Buddhism with every day living. In addition to a regular program of public seminars on diverse topics in Buddhist studies taught by Lama Norlha Rinpoche, ordained graduates of the three-year retreat program and notable Buddhist teachers, there is a daily schedule of study, work and practice.


The main building as it stands today!

Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery ("Garden of the Buddha's Teaching") began as a simple one-story building on seven acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Wappingers Falls, New York.  Inspired by Lama Norlha Rinpoche's unwavering resolve to renovate the main building and construct the three-year retreat facilities, a small group of members worked twelve and more hours a day with him, laying foundations and raising the walls. A few years later the renovations were completed, and the two retreat facilities—one for men and one for women—were ready for the first traditional three-year retreat in North America.

Since its founding, a major focus of Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery has been the three-year retreat program which trains serious students in the core teachings and practices of the Kagyu Lineage. Seven retreats have been completed to date, and the eighth retreat commenced in November 2011.

Many of the traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices and customs are preserved at Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, from the Tibetan design of the main shrine room—painted by Tibetan artist Thinley Chöjor, with the assistance of members of the center—to the daily group practices, chanted in Tibetan and accompanied by the customary rituals and music. Several monthly practices such as Dorje Pagmo, Korlo Demchok, and Gonpo Bernachen and Chadrupa are conducted on the appropriate days of the Tibetan month.

Over the years, Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery has developed into an active Dharma community and meditation center, providing opportunities for students at all levels. In addition to a daily schedule of practice, study and work, the monastery offers weekend seminars taught by Lama Norlha Rinpoche and special courses led by visiting Lamas. Lama Norlha's students who have completed one or more three-year retreats also lead seminars and short retreats and share their skills by offering classes in language, meditation, and traditional rituals.

Members of Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery have been exceptionally fortunate to have a Lama who offers close, practical guidance. Joining his students at meals and attending their work meetings, Lama Norlha Rinpoche infuses routine events with the Dharma. He has stressed that because the Dharma is new to the West, the stability of the Dharma center is essential to preservation of the teachings. Students are encouraged to apply the teachings to their daily lives by training thoroughly in seeing all activity—whether washing dishes, learning Tibetan, or preparing offerings—as an opportunity to accumulate merit and practice mindfulness.