Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gampo Abbey is Looking to Hire a Full Charge Bookkeeper/Head of Finance

Gampo Abbey is looking for a full charge Bookkeeper/Head of Finance who will be responsible for handling all the accounting needs of the organization. This position processes and tracks all financial transactions, maintains the chart of accounts, and processes financial reports.  The Abbey has just undergone a comprehensive one-year review and restructuring of its accounting systems and practises.  The successful applicant will be motivated to continue working with the community on the implementation of these new practices and also be willing to maintain good bookkeeping protocol for the clear understanding and tracking in approximately 300 chart of accounts.
Reporting to the Director, the Bookkeeper/Head of Finance is a member of staff who while working with other staff and members of the community maintains the integrity and transparency of the financial services of Gampo Abbey.
The preferred candidate will have 3 to 5 years bookkeeping experience, intermediate to advanced knowledge of Quickbooks, experience processing payroll, be familiar with donations and charity financial guidelines, ability to self-manage and provide supervision to a part-time assistant.
We are looking for someone with excellent attention to detail, strong problem solving skills, is effective at planning and organizing their own workload, and can communicate effectively with a diverse community.
The position provides a monthly salary based upon an average 37.5 hour work-week.  It includes two weeks paid vacation per year, along with one week of retreat time provided in one of Gampo Abbey's retreat cabins.
As a member of the Abbey community, you will be expected to abide by the five Buddhist precepts.
Our preference is for someone who can make a two-year commitment beginning June 15, 2014.
For more details, contact Richard Haspray, Gampo Abbey’s director, at or call 902-224-1517

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Celebrating 30 Years of Life and Friendship at Gampo Abbey

Click on the YouTube link below for a slide show of 30 years at Gampo Abbey. Enjoy!

Looking for 3 Volunteers for Gampo Abbey's Kitchen

Warm greetings from Gampo Abbey! As the days lengthen and the first warm breezes and spring rainshowers melt the long winter's snow and ice, we are beginning to plan the summer season at the Abbey, with its increased activities and visitors.

This is an invitation for 3 volunteers to work in the kitchen: 2 people to serve as cooks from 

May 15 - September 15 and 1 person to serve as cook for the month of June.

Volunteers get free room and board and are expected to take part in the Abbey's schedule, which includes, among other things, about 4-5 hours of meditation practice per day, and about 4 hours of work per day. We ask that applicants have basic cooking skills/knowledge/interest, as well as a willingness to commit to the Abbey's way of life, which includes living in community, focused practice, silence, and much more. Also, as a summer cook, you can look forward to enjoying some of our wind-swept garden's produce, herbs, and flowers.

For more information on life at Gampo Abbey, please visit

For more information on this volunteering opportunity or to apply, please contact:

We look forward to sharing the summer with you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


                                                                 Photo by Alice Haspray

This moose could be the vanguard of the coming Year of the Horse!

Arrival of Gampo Acharya Ani Pema Chodron for Yarne 2014

Dispatches from Gampo Abbey 
From Shastri in Residence Alice Haspray
(Photos by Les St Marie)

On January 7, between wind and snow storms and occasional sun, Ani Pema arrived at Gampo Abbey and was greeted by all of the nuns, monks, and residents.  The flags were flying, conches were blown, and all lined the walkway in the clear, cold air to greet her. She arrived from Halifax, driven by Gampo Abbey's new Director Richard Haspray and accompanied by fellow traveller Meg Wheatley.  Meg has now begun her annual two month solitary retreat in Naropa Cottage.

We then followed Ani Pema into the Abbey's main shrine room for a circle greeting.  Each person--old and new--introduced themselves and the work they are doing at the Abbey.  Ani Pema then began talking about the coming Yarne and the practice of silence.  She said that silence is both a gateway to infinite vastness and openness and also a  clear mirror of the workings of our minds. We glimpse the absolute through silence; and, at the same time, when we refrain from speech, on the relative level, we experience all of the emotions and patterns of our habitual mind clearly.  Absolute and relative. Infinite and finite. Intangible and tangible.  We experience all of these through silence.

Fourteen Yarne guests will arrive on January 11, and we will all practice together until the Year of the Wood Horse begins on March 2.  The Sakyong has given us permission to practice Shambhala Meditation during Yarne, so I will introduce that practice during our first silent week (which occurs during the second week of Yarne). The practice of feeling, being, and touching will infuse the atmosphere of Yarne with tenderness and kindness.  Ki Ki So So

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Monastic Youth Dathün at Gampo Abbey

Gampo Abbey was very pleased to host “Empowering our Lives with Meaning: A Monastic Youth Dathün” from July 13 to August 10, 2013. We had nine participants, ranging in age from 17 to 32 and coming from homes including California, Cape Breton, and the Netherlands. 
Before ...
Seven took temporary monastic ordination for the month, an opportunity more rare in the West than in parts of Asia but a heart aspiration of the Abbey’s founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. 
... and after
The program took place in Söpa Chöling, the Abbey’s long-term retreat facility. The main activity of the dathün was sitting meditation with contemplative meals, movement, and liturgy used as supports.
The dathün was directed by Ani Lodrö Palmo whose talks focused on how the view and forms of monastic life can inform and inspire household practice, such as having a plan for life and a plan for each day involving mindfulness and contentment, joyful discipline, fearlessness, and wisdom as taught in the four dignities of Shambhala. She was assisted by Getsul Loden Nyima who taught the monastic forms themselves with an emphasis on their underlying themes, which apply to our entire dharma path, and who gave guided meditation on bodhicitta. The dathün was warmly and spaciously coordinated by Dawa Lhatso.
The month-long format allowed time to explore these themes as they apply to various aspects of life and practice. The participants and staff alike were grateful for the opportunity to practice intensively for a month and to have this taste of monastic life.
Participants returned home with a strong set of tools for enriching, strengthening, and further establishing their practices. They also took with them a heightened sense of the preciousness of a human life and the ability to help transform the world through a conscious use of intention and interdependent action grounded in meditation practice and inspired by basic goodness, an underlying theme throughout the month. 
This was a deeply joyful and inspiring experience for all. We wish our participants the very best and hope to see them again along their paths!
For more information about monastic youth dathüns at Gampo Abbey, please visit our website
This rainbow auspiciously appeared behind Sopa Chöling on the departure day

Friday, November 30, 2012

Empowering Our Lives with Meaning: A Monastic Youth Dathün at Gampo Abbey, Summer 2013

If you are a practitioner in your early 30s or younger, we invite you to participate in our Monastic Youth Dathün next summer, from July 13 to August 10, 2013. Below you will find information about the retreat. (Note that the application deadline is March 30, 2013.)

In ancient India, at the age of 29, Prince Siddhartha left his life of transient material occupations in search of liberation from the endless cycle of unease and dissatisfaction which no amount of distraction or entertainment could ease. The young prince was searching for deep inner meaning, understanding, freedom, and for a way to help the world around him.
Though times have changed since then, many of us in today's speedy and increasingly troubled world still feel this calling and some will pursue it by becoming monastics.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Gampo Abbey, felt that it would be beneficial to do so temporarily. For younger practitioners it could become a powerful rite of passage. Temporary monasticism can be a way of exploring the possibility of life as a monastic or can be a way of discovering how helpful principles borrowed from the monastic tradition can support spiritual life as a householder. 

It is in this spirit that Gampo Abbey will be holding a Monastic Youth Dathün this summer from July 13–August 10. It will be directed by Shastri Lodrö Palmo and Getsul Loden Nyima. This dathün is part of an ongoing tradition at the Abbey to offer a powerful immersion experience of monastic training to young practitioners for the duration of one month.

The theme of this year's dathün will be "Empowering Our Lives with Meaning" and will focus on how dharma practice strengthens our sense of purpose in life and our effectiveness in transforming our minds and society. As a means of doing this the dathün will include extensive periods of sitting practice, interviews with meditation instructors, contemplative activities, as well as talks and discussions about enlightened society.

This will take place while immersed in the monastic lifestyle of simplicity, contentment, and deep purpose, which includes forms such as daily silence, oryoki, precepts, and communal living in Söpa Chöling, the Fortress of Patience, the Abbey’s long-term retreat facility.

Over the years we have seen the Monastic Youth Dathün playing a poignant role in the paths of participants. As Lodrö Rinzler (author of The Buddha Walks into a Bar) said of his experience of Monastic Youth Dathün:
"Even though I was raised within Shambhala, it was only during the monastic youth dathün that I realized that this meditation path was my own. I fully credit my time at Gampo Abbey as the foundation for my entire spiritual journey. It made me the man and practitioner I am today."
Shortly after their arrival, participants will be given temporary monastic ordination which will last for the duration of the program. This includes shaving one's head, wearing monastic robes, and holding the five basic precepts of conduct for monastics: refraining from taking life, stealing, sexual activity, false speech, and intoxicants.

The dathün is open to practitioners in their early 30s and younger. As a prerequisite for taking temporary ordination and attending the program one must have formally taken refuge or have definite plans to do so. The cost of the program is $1500, which includes housing and meals. We also have some scholarship funding available.

Join us for deep practice and a profound experience of joyful living!

For more information, write to

Visit our website to download an application form.