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Laughter of the Dakinis

Chod Retreat Online with Pema Khandro
In-Person Retreat at Dakini Mountain (for Members of BSI)

May 31-June 2nd, 2024

Laughter of the Dakini’s Chod is a profound method of psychological transformation in esoteric Buddhism.  Chod is a class of meditation that points to the fearless transformation available when trusting our own innate wisdom. The practice opens a space beyond concepts that allows the inner knowing to emerge.Chod means cutting, referring to cutting through fictions to authentic presence. This cutting is not aggressive, yet it is assertive, wise and commanding, drawing from a place in being where one is capable of cutting what needs to be cut to move compassionately beyond self deception.

Morning sessions will begin with practicing the Black Dakini, the profound deity yoga meditation on the black wrathful dakini from the Jeweled Garland of Chod, (the Rinchen Trengwa) that was practiced by the first Pema Khandro and passed down from fourteenth century Tibet. This practice culminates in the generation of one’s own inner wisdom as the Black Fierce Dakini, Troma Nagmo.

In Person & Online
This will be a hybrid event with large group teaching sessions broadcast online. Tsok, Chod dances and Secret Chod small group sessions will be for in-person participants only. Everything else will be available for the online group. Only students who have been accepted to the Vajra Sangha, and members, are invited to attend in person. Space is limited to the first 30 to register.

A Special Reunion
The 2024 Chod retreat is a profound occasion of the sangha gathering in person at the glorious land of Dakini Mountain in the scenic Tahoe National Forest of Northern California. This retreat marks the special occasion of Saga Dawa, the birthday and enlightenment of the Buddha, the most auspicious time to practice together with spiritual community.

The Laughter of the Dakinis Chod Tradition

This is a Tibetan meditation which is a potent, dynamic practice for awakening compassion and facing death. It is a practice of healing through love towards one’s own mind, through releasing the fictive self the dualism that caused the appearance of “other” dissolves and an expansive intelligence becomes available.

Morning sessions will begin with practicing the Black Dakini, the profound deity yoga meditation on the black wrathful dakini from the Jeweled Garland of Chod, (the Rinchen Trengwa) that was practiced by the first Pema Khandro and passed down from fourteenth century Tibet. This practice culminates in the generation of one’s own inner wisdom as the Black Fierce Dakini, Troma Nagmo.

Following this practice, the morning dharma teachings will focus on the Laughter of the Dakini’s Chod, Khandro Geykyang, which is the Longchen Nyingthig lineage Chod cycle practiced by yogis for centuries, all over the world. Revealed by Jigme Lingpa, its haunting, unforgettable melodies guide the yogi to face one’s own mind with loving compassion and fierce clarity.

Small group sessions will focus on the Secret Chod – a path of profound psychological and embodied transformation. It is a direct path to healing through fear done in solitary practice and small community workshops.

The unforgettable Saturday night practice will focus on the full practice of the Laugher of the Dakinis, and the healing Chod practice.

Sunday will conclude with a teaching from a rare twelfth century Dzogchen text called the Black Wrathful Dakini’s Secret Tantra. In striking contemplative poetry, it unites the themes of fierce compassion and primordial knowing. This is an essential text to study for those who follow Chod, the esoteric Tibetan meditations for cutting through fear since it explains and presents the meaning of the Black Wrathful Dakini and explains all the aspects of ultimate reality from a non-dual perspective. This sacred text unites Tantra and Dzogchen in a single stream of contemplative vision of ultimate reality as understand through the Dakini principle. This is important scripture is part of the collection of the seventeen tantras, the early Dzogchen texts that were the major source of the Dzogchen Nyingthig tradition. This the second time we will study this profound scripture with Pema Khandro, whose scholarly research focuses on early Dzogchen.

This weekend is taught by scholar, Lama and Tulku, Pema Khandro. Pema Khandro is a lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions and presents in-depth, traditional study and practice with the expanded perspective that engages the most important questions of our time from a scholar-practitioner’s point of view. Learn more about Pema Khandro here: Pema Khandro will give the transmissions, lead the practice sessions and lead workshops on cutting through fear through the secret chod practice.

About the Teacher

Pema Khandro, PhD

Pema Khandro, PhD

Founder of the Buddhist Studies Institute

Pema Khandro is an internationally renowned teacher and scholar of Buddhist philosophy. She is the founder of Ngakpa International and its three projects, The Buddhist Studies Institute, Dakini Mountain and the Yogic Medicine Institute. In her work as a Buddhist teacher she is an authorized Lama and lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions and was enthroned to carry on the lineage of her predecessor, the first Pema Khandro, an early twentieth century yogini from Eastern Tibet. She has led a vibrant world-wide community since 1999. Through the Buddhist Studies Institute, she also offers a complete curriculum of training in Tibetan meditation and Buddhist Philosophy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a Master’s degree specializing in Tibetan studies, and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Virginia. Her scholarly research focuses on the history of Dzogchen and on Women in Tibetan Buddhism.

Retreat Schedule

Approximate Retreat Schedule – Times listed are Pacific Time

Online: 9am -12pm each day

Fri 9am – 5pm, *The lung (Oral transmission) will be given on Friday morning
Sat 9am – 10pm, Tsok dinner & Celebration
Sun 9am – 4pm, [Meetings, clean-up, hang out]
*All times are estimates and subject to change

Retreat Format

Access all the Online Chod Resources!
This retreat will include transmission and practice of all these methods and will include access to dozens of online self-paced videos on how to practice Chod. Watch the videos in advance to prepare for the retreat or watch them afterwards to continue your learning!

Please book your lodging in nearby Nevada City or Washington. Or, you can stay at the campground  down the road called White Cloud Campground, a few kilometers away on Highway 20.

List of Lodging nearby:

Camping nearby:

Bring food for yourself and for sharing on Friday for Lunch, Saturday for Lunch and a dish to share for Tsok Dinner, and Sunday for lunch.

On Saturday night, there will be a special dinner and the Tsok feast is included. Guests are invited to bring vegetarian food to offer and share in the Tsok.

Please bring clothing layers and plan for both cold and heat. Dakini Mountain weather is unpredictable! You will need clothes you feel comfortable moving in and sitting in for meditation sessions. On Saturday night, everyone dresses up in their beautiful clothing for the Tsok feast and Celebration!

Chod Drums & Bells
Chod is a dynamic practice performed with traditional Vajrayana instruments, the drum, bell and vajra. If you do not have these, you can purchase high quality ones directly from Dakini Mountain. These include five traditional drums filled with mantras brought by Khandro-la from Nepal. Make your reservation for your items in advance, supplies are limited to those who preregister for their instruments.

Seva Day (Optional)
Help us set up! 12pm-4pm PST (Thursday)
Help us clean up! 12pm -4pm PST (Monday)

Contact to help with seva.


In-Person [Open to Vajra Sangha and Members, limit 30]:

  • Early Enrollment Tuition & Date: By April 20, 2024 – $395
  • General Tuition & Date: By May 20, 2024 – $495
  • Last-minute Registration & Date: By May 31, 2024 – $550
  • All Access Pass: $60 facility fee, the rest is $0, included in All Access Pass!

Online Only: 

  • Early Online Price until April 20: $295
  • General Online Price after April 20: $325
  • Apply Member discounts at Checkout

Financial Aid Considerations All course costs are set at a minimum fee already, with financial aid built into all tuition rates. Because we are a non-profit organization, the costs of all activities and overhead of our organization must be covered by the participants of the courses or donations and all courses are offered at below cost. For those who are experiencing genuine financial hardship and wish to enroll in the course, Scholarship applications are available. Applications must be received in advance. Programs are always free for monastics. 

Financial Aid Application:

Monastic Scholarship Application:

Course Content

Texts & Practice Videos
Live Retreat Recordings
Self-Paced Material