The Art of Presence: Diving into Shamatha and Vipassana for Six Weeks

14th February to 31st March
with Geshe Ngawang Thekchok


The retreat is focused on deepening understanding and practice of meditation rooted in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Participants will learn Shamatha meditation, explore Buddhist traditions, and delve into the practices of the Three Vehicles.

The six-week retreat offers a comprehensive range of Shamatha and Vipashyana practices within the Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist Tradition.

It also allows for individual practice and aims to equip participants with the tools to integrate these practices into their daily lives and personal retreats. At the end, there will be self-guided practice days, suitable for all levels of practitioners.

Shamatha and Vipassana

Shamatha and Vipassana are fundamental pillars of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, guiding practitioners towards deep insight and inner peace.

Shamatha, or “calm abiding,” trains the mind in focused attention and tranquility. Through disciplined practice, focusing on objects like the breath or a visual image, practitioners stabilize their mind, calming turbulence and enhancing concentration. It’s not about forcing the mind onto an object but allowing it to naturally rest, fostering sharper focus and mental clarity.

Vipassana, meaning “insight meditation,” complements Shamatha by encouraging profound introspection and wisdom. In Vipassana meditation, the practitioner learns to abide unwavering in their contemplation.

Practitioners keenly observe the impermanence, dissatisfaction and selflessness of phenomena, gaining clarity and liberating the mind from suffering.

Together, Shamatha and Vipassana offer a holistic approach to meditation, leading to clarity, equanimity, and spiritual awakening.

Stages of Meditation (Bhavanakrama) by Kamalashila

Master Kamalashila’s “The Stages of Meditation” is a revered text in Tibetan Buddhism, offering a clear road map for meditation practice. It outlines progressive stages, from establishing a stable foundation to cultivating profound insight; emphasizing mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.

The three volumes of “The Stages of Meditation” delve into single-pointed concentration, concentration with special insight, and ultimately, the special insight itself, guiding practitioners on a journey of awakening and liberation.


During the retreat, the teachings and sessions will gradually ease into the practice, allowing ample time to develop a deep understanding of the meditation technique and its underlying philosophy.

1st Week

Introduction to the purpose and meaning of a retreat.

The importance of motivation

How to generally conduct oneself in a retreat

Introduction to the essence of meditation and its benefits

Exploration of the different types of meditative practices in Buddhism

How to behave or conduct oneself between sessions.

Introduction to and practice of Breath Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation

2nd Week

Introduction to Shamatha Meditation

Exploration of the classical textual instructions and presentations on Shamatha meditative practice

Meditation Sessions with Instructions

3rd Week

Introduction to Vipassana Meditation

Comprehensive teaching on Buddhist Philosophy covering the Four Noble Truths and Interdependent Arising.
Discourse and discussion to establish an understanding of these key Buddhist concepts and how they should inform our practices.

Meditation Sessions with Instruction

4th Week

Introduction to the Stages of Meditation by Kamalashila.

Followed by a detailed Exploration of the Middle Stages of Meditation; establishing the union of Shamatha and Vipassana

Meditation Sessions with Instruction

5th Week

Continued Exploration of the Middle Stages of Meditation by Kamalashila

Sessions without Instruction

6th Week

Meditation Sessions without Instruction

Review of the meditation practices

End of Retreat


Geshe Ngawang Theckchok began his formal studies in Buddhist Philosophy under esteemed masters like Venerable Lobsang Nyima and the late Venerable Namgyal Wangchen. Ordained as a full monk by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama in 1992 at Drepung Monastery, he later pursued and obtained the prestigious Geshe Lharampa degree in 2013.

Following his studies, Geshe Theckchok dedicated a year to studying tantra at Gyuto Tantric Monastery.

He has voluntarily taught Buddhist Philosophy at Drepung Monastery for many years and served on its Examination Board.

Geshe Thekchok has been the resident teacher at Thosamling for over five years, imparting teachings to resident nuns and foreign students on topics such as Mind Training, Stages of the Path, Dialectics, Buddhist Psychology and Shamatha and Vipassana.

Geshe Theckchok’s teachings are valued for their clarity and meticulous exploration of classical textual and doctrinal presentations.

For the course infopack and registration, send an email at [email protected]