Yarne Winter Retreat

2020 Yarne Retreat

Led by Gampo Acharya Pema Chödrön

Arrive Jan. 6  |  Depart Feb. 25
(Actual Retreat Dates: Jan. 10 to Feb. 23)

The application deadline for the Yarne Winter Retreat has passed; at this time we are no longer accepting applications. 

Yarne is the traditional monastic “rains season” retreat, dating back to the time of the Buddha. Yarne is a precious time when the monastic community and lay sangha come together to practice and receive teachings. It is open to ordained monastics, includ­ing those of other Buddhist traditions, for no fee (except transportation costs). The program fee for lay persons is $2,700 CAD. Space is limited – please understand that submitting an application does not guarantee your participation.

Yarne is an intensive retreat, so it is open to those who have a good grounding in practice and study. Participants will observe special precepts and boundaries to support the retreat atmosphere. Please see the application for details.

Please send your completed application, along with a letter of recommendation from your meditation instructor, to [email protected] by June 15, 2019. Applications received after this date will be placed on a wait list.

If you are accepted, a deposit of $500 CAD is required to hold your space if you are a lay person; we will provide instructions on how to pay.

Deposits will be refunded up to 30 days prior to the retreat, less a $50 administrative fee. De­posits will be 50% refunded up to 10 days prior to the retreat. There is no refund of deposits for cancellations less than 10 days before the start of the retreat.


More about Yarne

The Yarne retreat has been held annually at Gampo Abbey since 1984. The practice stems from the Indian custom established by the Buddha. At that time the retreat was three months long and done during the summer season of rains. The summer retreat in India was a practical response to the monsoon weather. As well, it was considered not appropriate to travel with the increased likelihood of walking on insects during the rains.

At Gampo Abbey the Tibetan version of 1½ months is practiced. Plus, this “summer” retreat takes place in the winter, which gives rise to hilarity to visiting Tibetans. But there are too many tourists and visitors during the pleasant summer months to close off the Abbey. Thrangu Rinpoche approved this arrangement.

Properly considered, a monastery in the Tibetan tradition has three main commitments:

  • Sojong, the confession liturgy, is performed every two weeks with the new and full moon.
  • Yarne, the seven-week yearly retreat. Yarne is marked by the taking of the eight vows daily as well as a commitment not to cross the physical boundaries.
  • Gagye, the lifting of the restrictions in force during Yarne.


Glimpses of Yarne is a feature length video prepared by award winning documentary filmaker Kent Martin who participated in the 2014 Yarne retreat.  You may also enjoy this article which chronicles the 2015 Yarne retreat.


Last Yarne Retreat: December 21, 2018 to February 4, 2019

Early this year, Acharya Pema Chödrön led the Yarne Winter Retreat for the Gampo Abbey community and monastic and lay guests. This retreat’s theme was the six paramitas, the qualities of compassion and wisdom that form the core of the bodhisattva path. More about Pema Chödrön