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Mar 10
Atlantic Canada, Mandala Projects
The Pema Chodron Foundation

I think the concept of the monastery is always up to date whether it is in medieval times or the 20th century. The monastic tradition has a particular kind of discipline and it displays a natural dignity. Monastic discipline embodies the principals of shila, samadhi and prajna, so that the monastery is in contact with living dharma. Because monastic practitioners are much more in contact with the reality of spiritual discipline, we could say that they are more in contact with the Buddha himself…. The point being that there is some kind of discipline and some kind of natural dignity that the monastic tradition displays.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Gampo Abbey was founded in 1984 by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche as a place to cultivate traditional monastic discipline in the western world. Perched atop a cliff on the northeastern coast of Cape Breton Island, the Abbey began as a fledgling outpost for a few monastic practitioners. It has since grown to include a main monastery complex, a three-year retreat center; a large stupa, as well as cabins for individual retreat. The Abbey is presently under the spiritual direction of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and it’s abbot, the Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Ani Pema Chodron was entrusted by Trungpa Rinpoche to watch over the development of the Abbey, which she has done with great skill and care for the past 25 years. During those years Pema has been teaching, and writing extensively, inspiring thousands of people through her example, her books and the retreats that’s has lead.

Since its inception, The Abbey has grown into a stable, healthy and deeply inspired community, one committed to bringing forth the profound possibly of contemplative community life. The Abbey exemplifies the beauty and profundity that such community can offer the western world, and to all who come in contact with it.

Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Pema has been at the very heart of the Abbey every step of the way, guiding, teaching, mentoring and prodding. After all these years, she now looks forward to spending more of her time in retreat and guiding the monks and nuns at the Abbey in her role as ‘Gampo Acharya.’

Life in a monastery is centered around meditation, study, and training. While individual monks and nuns are often able to contribute to the costs of living at the Abbey, and the Abbey itself is engaged in fund raising on its own, it is impossible for the community to sustain itself without considerable effort from the outside. With the Abbey growing, and with Pema pulling away from public life, the need to establish the conditions for the security of Gampo Abbey into the future has become clear. The Pema Chodron Foundation was established in 2006 to support this commitment and to make the vision of bringing the monastic tradition to the west a living reality. The Foundation’s goal is to raise the money needed to support the Abbey into the future. The royalties from all of Pema’s books and tapes are held by the Foundation. In addition, teaching gifts and honoraria that are not otherwise directed benefit the Foundation.

With the help of the many friends of The Abbey, the Pema Chodron Foundation is now well on it’s way to realizing its mission. Pema extends her warmest wishes and deepest gratitude to all those who have supported the Abbey over these years and for those who may do so in the future.

Visit the Pema Chodron Foundation here.

Watch a video of life at Gampo Abbey with Pema Chodron.

View an interview of Pema Chodron with American broadcaster Bill Moyers here.

Listen to a presentation by the Foundation’s president, Tim Olmstead.

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1 response to “ The Pema Chodron Foundation ”
  1. Good morning.

    You may not get this question every day. :-) A couple of friends of mine are getting married. Both are huge fans of Pema Chodron. They’ve read all her books and, more importantly, live her teachings. My one friend has endured excruciating pain since she had neck surgery and has found Pema Chodron’s books very comforting. Many times, she has had people disappoint her. I admire the way she always show them kindness and gentleness. Her fiance is a lawyer – but not just any lawyer – the sort that speaks for those without a voice – like abused children. Her fiance is also soft-spoken, gentle, and kind.

    I wasn’t sure who to ask – what would be a good wedding gift for two people who, though not Buddhist, espouse the principles of Buddhism? Maybe there are traditional gifts, prayers, or toasts. If you could advise me or know someone who could, please let me know.

    Thank you. Have a nice day!

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