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Vajrayana Summer Programs

July 24, 2016 - August 14, 2016

N7WJCFTERE (1)“The Vajrayana lineage and fire happens whenever Vajrasangha gather and practice together… gathering as a Vajrasangha and studying and practicing together are our very dharma life; there is no substitute.” ~ Reggie Ray

About This Year’s Vajrayana Programs

Based on feedback from the Vajrasangha over the past couple of years, we’re restructuring our summer Vajrayana programs to better support our practice and training. As in previous years, following Vajra Assembly we will have three weeks (July 24 — August 14) of Vajrayana retreat; our annual time to gather, practice, and enjoy the deep nourishment of the Vajrasangha.

During the first week, two concurrent programs will take place: a Vajrayana Practice Intensive (VPI) led by David Iozzi and a Meditation Instructor Training (MIT) led by Caroline Pfohl. Reggie will join for weeks two and three to lead the Vajrayana Training Intensive (VTI).

Unlike previous years, all of these programs share one registration. Please read on for important details about each program, including their prerequisites, and how to register for them. 


Crestone, CO


[email protected]

Registration is Closed

Vajrayana Practice Intensive

July 24 – July 31

2016_VPI_210x210_2Led by David Iozzi: The Vajrayana Practice Intensive is an opportunity for simple, focused practice — a time during which we can immerse ourselves in our ngöndro, Vajrayogini, or formless practice. While a majority of the schedule will be practice, the intensive will be led by David Iozzi, and each practice group will be supported by group-specific teaching, discussion, and study (note: vajrayogini teachings, discussion, and study will be self-organized by the vajrayogini mandala).

Vajrayana students who have completed Vajra Assembly but have not yet completed a VTI are required to attend the Vajrayana Practice Intensive in order to deepen their experience in the Vajrayana mandala prior to attending this year’s VTI. Vajrayana students who have attended a VTI in the past are invited to join the practice intensive and deepen their practice as a participant or staff member.

Bodhisattva Training (Meditation Instructor Training)

July 24 – July 31

2015_MIT_210x210Led by Caroline Pfohl: We’re renaming this program “Bodhisattva Training” and enriching it to include additional training not offered in previous MI Training programs.

Acting as a Meditation Instructor is the essence of the bodhisattva way of life. It is much more than guidance in learning meditation. It involves mentorship, direct transmission of the dharma, and support with all aspects of the path.  Above all else, it requires unconditional love.

In this summer’s MI Bodhisattva training, a full week will be spent exploring the meaning of the bodhisattva’s work and how the Dharma Ocean Meditation Instructor embodies it.

As in the past, the foundation of this training is learning how to be with another person, in the most intimate, precise and helpful way. We will also extend it to other parts of our dharma work and into our personal lives. This will be a highly experiential program, with intensive dyad and small group work. In addition, we will practice leading guided meditations, giving dharma talks, and working with groups.

Experienced MIs are strongly encouraged to attend this program, as it has become our lineage’s core training in the Bodhisattva yana, and also because it incorporates the new Bodhicitta teachings that have come along in the last year.

Attendance at a previous VTI is a prerequisite for MI training. Those who have already been trained as an MI in Dharma Ocean but have been inactive or need to refresh or update their previous training are encouraged to attend. 

Vajrayana Training Intensive

July 31 – August 14

2014_VTI_210x210Led by Reggie Ray: The Vajrayana Training Intensive (VTI) is a two-week-long immersion in the view and practice of the vajradharma. Each year, Reggie delivers a new cycle of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s varjadharma as it is unfolding in a living way in our Dharma Ocean mandala. The training includes intensive engagement with our current Vajrayana practice and regular teachings and study periods to deepen our understanding of the “unconventional vehicle.” Community living encourages firsthand appreciation of this profoundly human journey. At this VTI, we will again offer a Vajrayogini Practice Intensive, and Reggie will join the mandala periodically throughout the intensive.

This year, we will be studying and practicing Dzogchen. As Reggie wrote in his recent letter to the Vajrasangha: “Dzogchen is about releasing all effort and simply sustaining the original mind, rigpa or the natural state. Resting within the open, free, spontaneous awareness of rigpa, all of our life appears in its true, fathomless being: miraculous, complete, and fulfilled in each moment.”  

Summary of Prerequisites

Vajrayana Practice Intensive: In order to attend the Vajrayana Practice Intensive, students must have completed a prior year of Vajra Assembly or Vajrayana Training Intensive. Vajrayana students who have completed Vajra Assembly, but who have not yet completed a Vajrayana Training Intensive, are required to attend the Vajrayana Practice Intensive as well as both weeks of Vajrayana Training Intensive.

Meditation Instructor Training: Completion of a previous Vajrayana Training Intensive  is a prerequisite for participating in the Meditation Instructor Training.  This program will take place concurrently with Vajrayana Practice Intensive, and students may only attend one or the other.

Vajrayana Training Intensive: Completion of Vajra Assembly or a previous Vajrayana Training Intensive is required for participation. As noted in the Vajrayana Practice Intensive section, those who have completed Vajra Assembly, but who have not yet completed a Vajrayana Training Intensive, must attend both Vajrayana Practice Intensive and Vajrayana Training Intensive.

Available Registration Options

If you’ve completed Vajra Assembly but haven’t completed VTI, please register for the following:


If you’ve completed a prior year VTI, please register for one of the following options:


Teacher Biographies


Vajrayana Training Intensive

Dr. Reginald “Reggie” Ray draws on four decades of study and intensive meditationReggie_Ray-229-150x150 practice within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to address the unique problems, inspirations, and spiritual imperatives of modern people. He is the founder and Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study, and preservation of the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the practice lineage he embodied. Read full biography.


Meditation Instructor Training

Caroline Pfohl is co-lineage holder of the Dharma Ocean lineage. She chairs the Pfohl-150pxDharma Ocean Foundation board of directors, and holds the health and well-being role of Desung (Protector of Joy) for the community. Her spiritual journey has included three decades of study and practice in Chan, Taoism, and Tibetan Buddhism. Within Dharma Ocean, drawing on lifelong work with healing and the arts, she takes the lead in bringing somatic meditation into the arenas of mentoring, relationships, healing, design, and the arts. Read full biography.


Vajrayana Practice Intensive

David Iozzi has been practicing for over 15-years and training with Reggie since 2004David_Iozzi_150x150. David holds the study and practice of meditation as his primary life commitment. In 2006 he developed a meditation program based on “Meditating with the Body” at a large, non-profit research institute where he worked as a research scientist and engineer. David’s teaching draws on his love of science and a background in Japanese martial arts and explores how the depth of being uncovered in practice manifests in everyday experience. In 2013 David moved to Boulder to serve as Dharma Ocean’s Executive Director.


To register for any of these three programs please click the “register now” link at the top of this page after reviewing the Summary of Prerequisites and Available Registration Options. We ask that participants interested in attending register early as space is limited. Registration will close July 10, 2016, for the Vajrayana Practice Intensive and Meditation Instructor Training, and July 19th for the Vajrayana Training Intensive.

The total price of the retreat ranges from $785 to $1,525 per week, depending on your choice of housing. This includes food, tuition, lodging, and tax.

Scholarship and Work-Study

There will be scholarship and work-study available for this program. If you are interested in this option, please register for the program and fill out an application by June 12, 2016. Click here for more information, and to find the online financial aid application.
You are welcome to apply at any time. Applications will be reviewed shortly after the scholarship deadline.


For general information about traveling to Blazing Mountain Retreat Center, please see the Getting Here page on the Blazing Mountain website.

Dharma Ocean will be offering shuttle service from Moffat to the retreat center for those riding the Black Hills Stage Line from Denver. There are limited seats available for this service, therefore we suggest that you choose this option at registration if you need this service and would like to guarantee a seat. If you need to add this option please contact the Dharma Ocean Registrar ([email protected]). The cost of the shuttle is $30 round-trip.

Retreat Details

Please plan to arrive between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on your arrival day – Sunday, July 24 for Vajrayana Practice Intensive/Meditation Instructor Training, or Sunday, July 31 for the Vajrayana Training Intensive.  Departure will be after breakfast on your scheduled departure day. Departure day for week one (VPI and MIT) is Sunday, July 31. Departure for week two (VTI) is Sunday, August 7, and departure for week three (VTI) is Sunday, August 14.

*If you are staff or work-study for this program plan to arrive a day early. Those doing take-down work-study will need to stay through 5pm on departure day. Please contact Katherine Walker ([email protected]) if you have questions.

Check out our Program FAQ page for other important information about being on retreat at Blazing Mountain. For any further questions please email Katherine Walker at [email protected].

Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for volunteer support for the program including coordinators, protection mandala, practice coordinator, and media support. If you are interested in helping in this way please email [email protected]