Living Dharma Program

New Living Dharma Program at Tara Mandala

UPDATE 04/05/22: At this time we are not accepting applications to the LDP program. Check our calendar for the latest programming information.


For those passionate about living, learning, and serving in a community dedicated to the Dharma, the empowered feminine and sacred masculine

We invite you to participate in The Living Dharma Program (LDP) – an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in Buddhist history, philosophy, and practice while providing the opportunity to live at Tara Mandala Retreat Center, situated in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado.

More than just a work study program, LDP participants authentically experience a Dharmic lifestyle and pursue personal growth in a vibrant and inclusive living community. With a supportive group of people, you develop flexibility, responsiveness, adaptability to new situations, communication skills, how to apply the teachings to everyday life, and form lasting, meaningful relationships.

Weekly classes are focused on Buddhist philosophy, history, and meditation, with a concentration on Tibetan Buddhism and the balance of the sacred feminine and masculine within ourselves and in the world. There is also free time for rest, study, recreation, and exploration of the natural beauty of Colorado, including the nearby hot springs of Pagosa Springs.

This program is open to all levels of practitioners who have a sincere interest in studying Buddha-Dharma.

The program key components include opportunities to:
  • Immerse yourself in a daily schedule dedicated to your own growth, while being part of a larger community of practitioners dedicated to living a life imbued with the Buddhadharma.
  • Attend weekly teachings in our beautiful Trikaya Tara Temple with Tara Mandala Apprentice Teachers, and Authorized Teachers, and other guest Dharma teachers on key aspects of Buddhist practice, history, and meditation
  • Cultivate a daily meditation practice
  • Study and practice on your own and with your LDP group
  • Attend morning and evening practices in our Tara Temple with the Tara Mandala community
  • Access our Tibetan Buddhist Library with over 2,400 books and other resources
  • Practice the path of of service in the kitchen, temple, housekeeping and land/grounds of Tara Mandala
  • Access to Tara Mandala’s online programs for self study
  • The 2020 program includes the opportunity to attend one Tara Mandala Retreat each session
Service and study as a path to peace

The Living Dharma Program operates five days per week, with service activities in the morning and teachings, meditation and self study in the afternoon. Three days of group study in the afternoon. Two personal days per week are included for rest, study, and other recreational activities. Our property offers hiking trails, vast views, wild horses, and a vibrant community of practitioners. We also enjoy group trips to Pagosa Springs where there are shops, hot springs, restaurants, and a host of cultural events throughout the warmer seasons.

The program is divided into three 8-week sessions with themes of teachings and trainings based on the life work of Lama Tsultrim Allione. Program participants can apply for all or one of the three sessions, scheduled from April to October. While the topics of each session inform each other, they are designed to be self-contained and individuals may apply for the session that best fits their schedule or interests.

A more detailed schedule of teachings and topics will be developed before each LDP session begins. The overall themes for each session in 2020 includes:

2020 Session Descriptions and Dates

Session 1: April 13 – June 8, 2020 This session has been cancelled.

Feeding Your Demons

You will learn Feeding Your Demons®, a five-step process developed by Lama Tsultrim that allows us to offer compassion and understanding to our own inner demons rather than engaging in battle and struggling with them. Guided meditation and self exploration into Machig Labdrön’s four demons. This session ends with attending Chöd: From Chögyal Namkhai Norbu retreat. Feeding Your Demons® is a modern adaptation of Chöd practice and this retreat allows for an integration of eastern and western philosophy from this living tradition.

Session 2: June 8 – August 5, 2020 This session has been cancelled.

Entering the Mandala

This session includes ‘Wisdom Rising’ circle. ‘Wisdom Rising Circles’ are gatherings where participants can create the space to have conversations about their experience with the feminine and masculine energies in society through the lens of the five Buddha families using Wisdom Rising by Lama Tsultrim Allione as a guide. Council is an age-old practice that brings community together to be heard, bear witness, share authentically, and be inspired. Participants agree to share personal experiences and stories, rather than opinions, to speak one-at-a-time, and to listen without judgment. The practice of council recognizes everyone as equals and asks for attentive listening and authentic expression. Facilitated “Journey with the Dakini” meditations and 5 Dakini Mandala practice. This sessions ends with White Dakini Drubchö. Drubchö means Accomplishment Ritual. It is an intensive practice retreat that includes music, chanting, dancing, and group practice.

Session 3: August 8 – October 6, 2020 This session has been cancelled.

Women of Wisdom: Exploring the lives of six Tibetan female mystics

This session includes ‘Women of Wisdom’ book discussion. Reading rich and vivid biographies of six Tibetan female mystics, an inspirational account of women who have attained enlightenment and liberation in a variety of difficult situations. Attend ‘Liberation is Now: Engaging the Mind to Discover It Moment by Moment’ retreat with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo: a special retreat with one of the most beloved and influential female senior Buddhist teachers in the West today, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Jetsunma will give teachings on a text by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye titled Advice Given To Lhawang Tashi. The teachings of this text states that “All of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are your own mind…they don’t arise from anything else in the slightest.”

Living Dharma Program Details

Each session has a specific start date and participants are part of a cohort or group for the session. During Tara Mandala retreats, three vegetarian meals per day are provided to program practitioners; on days off, meals are self-serve from community food that is offered. The program cost covers all supplies including text, journal, and retreat time.


Lodging includes shared yurts or camping.

Program Cost

Program cost is $850 for each 8 week session.

Photo Credit: J. Brownlee


The typical daily schedule is as follows, although variations may occur based on special events and retreats at Tara Mandala.

7:00AM Morning Meditation (indoor or outdoor as seasons change)
8:00AM Breakfast
10AM-12:45PM Service
1:00PM Lunch
2:00PM-5:00PM Teachings, study, interviews, council, practice, group discussions
5:00PM 5 O’clock Practice (optional)
6:00PM Dinner
7:00-9:00PM Personal practice & study
Program schedule is 5 days per week:
  • 4 hours of service per day 
  • 3 days of structured content and teachings and 2 days of self-study or group study
  • 9 hours per week of group practice related to session topics
  • Service hours and days of the week  will vary by participant depending on retreat schedule and area of service
This program is designed for individuals that have a sincere and deep commitment to exploring Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition. Ideally, applicants will meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • Possess a sincere interest in learning Buddhist theory and practice 
  • Have previously attended Buddhist retreats in any tradition or
  • Maintain a regular meditation practice 
  • Have taken refuge or possess a sincere desire to take refuge
Photo Credit: Albert Reed


To apply for the Living Dharma Program, please fill out the following application:

Click Here to Apply

For more information, feel free to contact the registrar here.

Learn More About Tara Mandala

Sangha is an important part of our practice, and we are honored you are considering taking this next step in your path to join us. More information about Tara Mandala, our history, and Lama Tsultrim Allione’s life work can be found using the links below:

Overview of Tara Mandala »
History »
Books by Lama Tsultrim »
Retreats at Tara Mandala »
Our Teachers »
Local Practice Groups »