Teachings, Courses, & Retreats

  • $215.00 to $296.00 – GENEROSITY RANGE
  • $168.00 to $214.00 – SUSTAINABILITY RANGE
  • $121.00 to $167.00 – ACCESS RANGE

Date & Time Details: Saturday, March 25, 2023- Sunday, March 26, 2023 | 8:00am-3:30pm (Mountain Daylight Time)

Location: Online

Suggested Dana Range: $40-$120

The program prices do not include teacher offerings (dana). To learn more about dana and suggested dana ranges, please click here.

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Returning to Our Roots – Voices of the Sacred Feminine in Early Buddhism – ONLINE

With Wendy Garling

March 25 - 26, 2023

Tara Mandala invites you to join us for a celebration of women and the sacred feminine at the roots of Buddhism. This two-day virtual retreat with Wendy Garling promises a joyful immersion in storytelling, contemplation, and practice.  

For too long, Buddhist women—particularly laywomen—have had few role models to turn to for inspiration and guidance. Drawing from early Mahayana and Pali texts from multiple Buddhist traditions, this retreat will offer practitioners from all Buddhist schools the opportunity to learn about our shared foremothers – the first daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives on their spiritual journey as the Buddha introduced his teachings twenty-five hundred years ago, often supported by the wisdom and animated presence of goddesses or yakshis in the natural world.   Until now largely suppressed by patriarchy, these women’s stories flowed through the earliest oral traditions. Like hidden termas, they have re-emerged in our current era, offering a corrective to Buddhism’s contrived androcentrism while bringing healing and ancient wisdom to our troubled world.

Weaving between stories from the ancient texts, Wendy Garling will guide us through themes of women’s agency, accomplishment, leadership, and soteriological purpose as the Buddha founded his ministry, providing a direct view into a more complete and gender-balanced picture of what actually took place. During the retreat, storytelling will mingle with group discussion and shared insights into personal and contemporary meanings. An important component will be time dedicated to individual reflection, allowing for voices from the stories to reveal themselves as tools and guides in our own practice, whatever our gender.

Together, we will encounter the spiritual power of the first Buddhist women and learn from the possibility of community that shaped the first Buddha era. Stories explored in this retreat will celebrate human relationship in spiritual practice, cut through the myth of perfection, and remind us of our inherent Buddha nature in this deeply human embodiment. 

Who Should Attend? 

  • This is open to everyone.

Recommended Reading
Wendy Garling’s in-depth scholarship into the oral histories and impactful lives of the women in early Buddhist history is detailed throughout both of her books: 
Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life and The Woman Who Raised the Buddha: The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati.

It is also recommended for those wishing to thoroughly explore the source material related to this retreat to read First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening by Susan Murcott.

Recording Access: 
All participants will have a 1-year access period to the recordings. 

What is a Tara Mandala Online Program?
Tara Mandala offers online programming via live and pre-recorded curriculum that give you the opportunity to access dharma teachings, engage in guided practice, experience personal retreat and hands-on learning, while connecting with other participants through easy-to-use online platforms and an engaged community network. When needed, the program description and schedule will inform you in advance if and when a specific online session must be attended live if a direct transmission (Tib. lung) may be given. Access to recordings of all sessions will be available for additional viewing for one year. 

Tara Mandala Program Pricing


Choose an amount within this range if you have the financial security and capacity to support Tara Mandala at a higher level. The contributions we receive within this range make it possible for us to offer a below-cost Access Range to those practitioners with a limited income.

 This range is for you if you:

  • Own your own home and live comfortably without financial worry
  • Have investments and savings 
  • Easily have access to money in times of need or emergencies
  • Have the desire to help make the Dharma more accessible to others



Choose an amount within this range if you have the financial capacity to sustain Tara Mandala’s ability to offer high-quality programs. The contributions we gratefully receive within this range enable us to keep our prices low while covering the basic program costs. 

 This range is for you if you:

  • Have the capacity to meet your basic financial needs
  • Make your rent or mortgage and other monthly payments 
  • Are generally able to purchase new items and experiences for yourself
  • Can afford to take trips and go on retreats



Choose an amount within this range if you have limited financial capacity or are currently experiencing financial hardship. The contributions we gratefully receive within this range go toward covering costs and are supported by contributions of those who choose the Generosity Range.

 This range is for you if you:

  • Have difficulty meeting your basic financial needs 
  • Are experiencing housing, employment, or income instability
  • Live paycheck-to-paycheck and and lack money in times of need
  • Face challenges due to devaluation of your currency against the US dollar. 

Offering dana to the teacher: The practice of offering dana, which means “generosity,” is the traditional offering the student makes to the teacher as a symbol of appreciation, gratitude, and reciprocity for receiving the precious teachings. Information on offering dana to the teacher will be provided during the virtual retreat. To learn more about dana and suggested dana ranges, please click here. 

Payment Plans and Financial Assistance
Tara Mandala offers two types of financial assistance: Deferred Payment Plans and Scholarships. You may apply for one or both of these types of assistance. Read the terms carefully as outlined on the financial aid application. Please see this page for further information.

Sustaining Sangha:
If you are currently a member of our Sustaining Sangha, you may apply your Retreat discount to this course.

Click Here for Our Online Programs Cancellation and Refund Policy


Listed times are the online portions of the retreat. All times are Mountain Daylight Time. 
Please use this link to see how this daily schedule translates into your timezone.

Saturday, March 25, 2023:
8:00am-10:00am MT: Opening Gathering & Teaching Session 
10:30am – 12:00pm MT: Reflection and Meditation 
1:00pm – 3:00pm MT: Teachings

Sunday, March 26, 2023:
8:00am-10:00am MT: Teaching Session 
10:30am – 12:00pm MT: Reflection and Meditation 
1:00pm – 3:30pm MT: Teachings & Closing Discussion 


Wendy Garling
Wendy Garling Wendy has a BA from Wellesley College and an MA specializing in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a vajrayana practitioner and dharma teacher in the Lam Rim tradition; her root teacher was Venerable Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden. In 1976, she took…
Learn more about Wendy Garling

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Tara Mandala

PO Box 3040
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Phone: 970.731.3711 Web: taramandala.org

Mission Statement

Tara Mandala offers solo and group practice, study, and retreat inspired by and anchored in authentic lineages of Vajrayana Buddhism, nurturing a complete path to ultimate realization as well as exploring the interface between Buddhist teachings and Western psychology … More »