About the Sopa Chöling Three-Year Retreat

Sopa Chöling is the three-year retreat centre at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was envisioned by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and founded by Thrangu Rinpoche in 1990.

Historically, the first three-year retreats were designed and taught by the great Buddhist master, Jamgön Kongtrul, Lodrö Thayé (1813-1899) who continues to be a dominant influence on the practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. The three-year retreat remains one of the most important institutions of Buddhism. This retreat of solitary meditation within a group has tremendous power to clear away the obscurations that prevent the clear recognition of the mind’s essence.

Structure of the three-year retreat

This is the only three-year retreat in the world offered in English

Kyabje Thrangu Rinpoche

Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was adamant that people be able to practice in their own language. He charged the Nalanda Translation Committee with the job of translating all the retreat materials. VV Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche was responsible for overseeing the full English translation.

This retreat is broken up into sections, one year in retreat, alternating with one year out of retreat.

Thrangu Rinpoche followed the wishes of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, as well as Marpa the Translator’s instructions: it is necessary to mix meditation with post-meditation in order to be of benefit in the world.

New Retreat Cycle beginning Fall 2024

One Space Remaining!

Sopa Chöling – a facility built for three-year retreat

The Sopa Chöling retreat centre is a specially constructed three-story facility. It is located in northwestern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, along the famous Cabot Trail. The building is situated high on the red cliffs that overlook the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There is a powerful presence of drala here, and the play of the elements inspires the retreat environment. Dramatic sunsets fill the shrine room with red light on summer evenings. In winter, at the end of the last practice session, you might step outside to find snow sparkling like diamonds under a canopy of stars than you can imagine.

Sopa Chöling is a comfortable place to practice. It is uplifted, well-heated and bright. The building consists of two residential wings each with full amenities with a large shrine room at the top of the building.

Each wing of the building is equiped with the following amenities:

Eight private rooms with meditation box and shrine

One full and one half bath

Kitchenette and eating area

Exercise/yoga room

The kitchenette and eating area which is also used for torma making.

The main kitchen is staffed by a dedicated cook.

The main shrine room overlooks the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Sopa Chöling is the premier group retreat facility within our sangha. In a word, it is simply “perfect.” The environment is completely suited and supportive for the deep training that retreat provides. The energy of the group discipline is very helpful. One has only to inhabit it, and all one’s needs are provided…You have nothing at all to do but to apply yourself to the practice…

Larry Mermelstein, Director of the Nalanda Translation committee

Musical Instruments used in the three-year retreat

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