Sopa Chöling Three-Year Retreat


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

The first three-year retreats were designed and taught by the great Buddhist master, Jamgön Kongtrul, Lodrö Thayé (1813-1899) 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 mind’s essence.


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

Planning is underway for another cycle of the three-year retreat with a possible start date of Fall 2024 or Fall of 2025.

For more information contact [email protected]



The Sopa Chöling retreat centre is one of the hidden jewels of the Shambhala mandala. This specially constructed three-story facility 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.

Sopa Chöling is a comfortable place to practice, uplifted, well-heated, and bright. The building consists of two residential wings, each with:

  • Eight private rooms with bed and shrine
  • One full and one half bath
  • Kitchenette and eating area
  • Exercise/yoga room

In addition, there is a large main kitchen and complete laundry facilities.


Group Orientation in Shrineroom


Kitchenette and Eating area

Musical Instruments used in the Three-Year Retreat

Making Tormas during Three-Year Retreat

Rupa of Gampopa in Shrineroom

Retreatant’s room with meditation box