10-Day Guided Sojong and Lojong Retreat (Completed)

Intensive Teachings and Practice Sessions on Lojong and Sojong

with Venerable Khenpo Pema Wangdak

We will begin each day of this retreat with sojong. “So” means “to restore”; “jong” means “to purify.” As the name suggests, sojong practice has two complementary purposes: First, it allows us to mend our broken vows and it refreshes all that is positive— that is, everything that helps us develop “bodhichitta” (“loving-kindness and compassion”). Second, it helps us clear away our negative karmic propensities – specifically, those patterns of ignorance and dysfunction that undermine our development of bodhichitta. Each morning, as part of this practice, we will promise to live the next 24 hours in accordance with the “Eight Precepts” described below. Khenpo Pema will teach us the meaning of these vows and how to practice sojong in a way that will produce the most benefit in our lives and in the lives of all other beings.

Following sojong, Khenpo Pema will give teachings on the three most influential lojong (or “mind training”) texts:  Parting from the Four Attachments, Eight Verses of Lojong, and the Seven Points of Mind Training.  These incomparable texts provide profound, yet very practical guidelines for putting the wisdom and skillful means of the Mahayana path into practice in our daily lives. To help us grow both in wisdom and skillful means, each day’s schedule will allow time for close reading of the texts, guided meditation, and practice  Please follow the links below to learn more about these key lojong texts.

Retreat Schedule

December 29th, 2018 — January 7th, 2019

December 28, 2018 @7pm

Dharma Talk: Exploring Patience and Its Strength (including Introduction to the Retreat)

*Important: retreat participants are required to fully attend the weekend (12/29-30) programs and the Sojong session on each day during the retreat. However, participation on other sessions on weekdays can be done based on individual’s availability. Everyone, participants of the retreat as well as non-participants of the retreat, is encouraged to observe Sojong precepts for ten days.

December 29th & 30th

7:00 – 8:00 am Sojong
8:00 – 9:30 am breakfast
9:30 – 11:30 am session
11:30- 1:00 pm lunch break
1:00 – 2:30 pm session
2:30 – 3:00 pm break
3:00- 4:30 pm session

December 31st 2018 — January 7th, 2019

7:00 – 8:00 am Sojong
8:00 – 9:30 am breakfast
9:30 – 11:30 am session
11:30 am lunch

  • Retreat registration deadline: 12/21/2018
  • Breakfast & Lunch will be provided. Lunch boxes will be available for to-go on weekdays.
  • Registration fees (suggested: $60 per person) are to cover mainly retreat materials and food costs.
  • Space is limited. Please register early.
  • Work & study opportunities are available. Please contact us at: info@mnsakyacenter.org

Dharma Talk: Exploring Patience and Its Strength

Including: Introduction to the 10-Day Sojong Retreat

December 28, 2018 @7pm

The enduring positive effects of peace, loving-kindness, compassion, and everything else that is good in human nature—its values and ethics, its aspirations and goals—are possible only when combined with the strength and the power of patience. Without that strength, these values, profound and noble though they may be, are often seen to be fragile and frail, and thus are neglected, ignored, and misunderstood even by those who aspire to live by them.

Drawing on the teachings of Buddha, the virtues of patience, in the length and depth of its meaning, will be presented as an indispensable component of and the very key to a successful life, spiritual or mundane, and every meaningful thing we do: at home, at work, in social life, education, health, and all else that is conceivable. Our measure of accomplishment is fundamentally based on a solid foundation of patience.

This talk includes discussion, meditation on the subject of patience, and question-and-answer session. Retreat participants are highly recommended to attend.

Khenpo Pema Wangdak became a monk at the age of 7 and later attended the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Benares, receiving his Acharya degree from Sanskrit University. In 1982 Khenpo Pema was sent by His Holiness the Sakya Trichen to teach in New York City, becoming the first of the younger generation of Tibetan teachers from the Sakya School to settle in the United States. He founded the Vikramasila Foundation in 1989 to support educational initiatives both in the United States and abroad. He received the title of Khenpo from His Holiness the Sakya Trichen in 2007. In recognition of his humanitarian work around the world, Khenpo Pema was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2009. He is the first Tibetan to be so honored. >> Read more.

The Eight Precepts

  • Abandonment of killing,
  • Abandonment of stealing,
  • Abandonment of unclean activities (i.e., sexual activities),
  • Abandonment of lying.
  • Abandonment of alcohol
  • Abandonment of high and large beds, thrones, chairs;
  • Abandonment of food at the wrong time
  • Abandonment of singing, dancing, music, ornaments and ointments


Parting From the Four Attachments

A short teaching spoken by Manjushri to the Sakya patriarch Sachen Kunga Nyingpo.

Eight Verses of Lojong (Mind Training)

Lojong (mind training) is one of the most popular practices in Tibetan Buddhism. It offers a method of transforming adverse circumstances into positive aspects of the path of awakening compassion. 

Seven Points of Mind Training

The Seven Points of Mind Training comprises a complete practice, with instructions and guidance that covers all the essential points of Mahayana Buddhism. 

Related reading:
>> How Lojong Awakens Your Heart by Pema Chodron
>> Eight Slogans to Transform Your Mind by Pema Chodron