Letter from Pema Khandro


Buddhist Studies Institute

Letter from Pema Khandro

Dear Dharma Friends,

First, I want to thank all of you for your profound and continued support for Dakini Mountain. Every donation made an impact and increased possibilities. Thank you for stepping in with these acts of generosity! The sense of community care and collaboration generated has remained palpable. 

We opened Dakini Mountain retreat center right before the Global Pandemic, without any way of imagining we would need to be closed for three years. In the meantime, through fundraising efforts and generous donations from kind individuals, we were able to keep Dakini Mountain alive. However, because our original loan had expired in October, 2022, we had to refinance the property under dire conditions. Thanks to the generosity of a community member this refinance was made possible with short notice. However, since we had only fundraised $40,000 we needed for phase 2 fundraising, we refinanced with a serious increase in the interest rate, making our new overhead untenable. Therefore, unless we receive a large donation in the next few months for $1.24 million dollars, we will be selling the current location of Dakini Mountain and most likely consolidate our two retreats into one center or do some other creative form of restructuring. We have listed Dakini Mountain for sale and it could sell anytime… or the sale could take years, so it is impossible to know what the future will hold. 

Our sangha has grown and flourished online during the pandemic, and I continue to be committed to making Vajrayana highly accessible through continuing online programs. 

We will also still offer a few in-person events each year, hybrid whenever possible. For this season, we are finally gathering in our long anticipated first in-person retreat in June for the Chod retreat at Dakini Mountain. It is our first retreat there since the pandemic started. It will be an opportunity to spend time with dharma friends, do deep inner work, rest and meditate. I love the sound of all our drums and bells resounding together. We will do the concise Laughter of Dakinis Chod, the beloved and precious practice of the Dzogchen lineage. It will also be offered in the hybrid style and online for only our Snow Lion and Sustainer members who can’t travel to Dakini Mountain at this time. 

And it looks like this will be our last retreat at Dakini Mountain. These are profound circumstances to practice Chod together as we turn the page on a major chapter and truly cut through any clinging to relate more fully with what is and adapt responsively to circumstances. We are Buddhists, we draw great power from letting go.

I feel cheerful and optimistic that the dream of Dakini Mountain will live on, even if it needs to reincarnate in a new and improved form in the future. The dream of Dakini Mountain was something I started talking about more than twenty years ago, the dream of a retreat center dedicated to Vajrayogini, the great heroine that represents the liberation of all beings, even liberation for those we would least expect. So much has changed since I began talking about this project all those years ago, and so much more change is needed. That dream of Dakini Mountain will continue, it is a wonderful thing to imagine as we envision a future of beautiful places on earth where indestructible wisdom reigns.

My very best to you always,

A Letter From Janak

Dear Friends,

It’s sad to think of losing Dakini Mountain.  A lot has been put into it by many of us, a great deal of effort, time and money.  But times change and things often develop in unexpected ways.  Certainly, we can be reminded of impermanence by this.  Yes, impermanence can be sad but impermanence can also be about resilience and exciting new possibilities.  Impermanence can help us see our potential to adapt, to improve, to be free, to be happy and to love in new and more beautiful ways.  

I take great solace in remembering the intention with which this project has been undertaken: to more greatly care for beings and the world around us, and to generate increasing knowledge and enthusiasm for the Buddhist methods that liberate us and others from suffering.

Those of you who have had experiences of such projects understand their power and vital importance. Sacred places have a unique ability to supercharge our awareness and bodhichitta.

Click Here to Learn more about Dakini Mountain.

The time and place of the next Dakini Mountain is uncertain.  But the dream of Dakini Mountain will continue and Dakini Mountain will be reestablished.  Why?  Because sacred places for teachings, retreat and inspiration are and have always been vital to the flourishing of Buddhism.   

Yes, we live in an increasingly online world and have benefited from the expanded availability to take teachings.  But in-person contact, in-person teachings and physical places that exemplify and transmit transformative power will always have a key role.

One of my previous teachers said “A smooth life is not a victorious life,” alluding to the fact that great things are not achieved without facing daunting setbacks and challenges.  Let each of us persevere in living to our highest capacity.  Let us continue to do good things to benefit ourselves and the world around us.

If this message strikes a chord and you happen to have the ability to donate part or all of this large sum, $1.24 million, please contact me as soon as possible by replying to this email. You may also email me, Janak, under separate cover at: 

If you would like to donate any amount, please click here: 
Dakini Mountain Fund

Thank all of you for your love, care, effort, donations, and support.  You’ve given and done a great deal.  It has made possible everything that has been accomplished.  Let us continue unbowed, undaunted, and with clear vision.

With a grateful celebration of community,

Janak Kimmel

Director of Fundraising
Buddhist Studies Institute

Chod Retreat with Pema Khandro

At Dakini Mountain, Nevada City, California

June 1-4, 2023

Explore the inner freedom that remains resilient even in the face of difficult circumstances. This retreat offers an advanced study of different Chod practices, exploring the nature of reality and the methods to liberate ourselves. Taught by Buddhist scholar and Lama, Pema Khandro, PhD.

Tsok, Chod dances and Secret Chod small group sessions will happen throughout the weekend, with teachings and transmissions from Pema Khandro. This is the first in-person retreat since the pandemic, you don’t want to miss this profound gathering!

General Registration for In-Person Participants

Online Access for Snow Lion & Sustainer Members Only

Reviews from Past Chod Retreats & Teachings

“Pema Khandro Rinpoche delivers a powerful transmission in the practice, pointing us to releasing our consciousness for a Spacewalk with the Dakinis. We are reminded to always stay tethered safely to the heart-mind while exploring the radiant vast expanse! Another precious teaching from Rinpoche in awakening our true nature!” ~M

“I appreciate and am in deep gratitude Rinpoche offered this as the concise version so that it is easy for busy people like myself to do as a practice, but also the translation and dharma teaching is so powerful it makes the practice that more potent. Chod is such an amazing practice that transforms any unfounded fears and overactive “monkey mind” moments I experience to empty compassion for these states.” ~C

“By visualizing our greatest fear, bringing it love and compassion, and then dissolving everything into the nature of mind – we enter pure presence. If you are feeling agitated or stuck with strong emotions – this practice may be worth exploring. Pema Khandro shares her wisdom with clarity and gentleness – opening safe space for all.” ~A

Register for Dakini Mountain Chod Retreat

Calling All Volunteers!

In-Person and Online Service Opportunity

Dakini Mountain is in need of volunteers for the June 1st Chod Retreat:

  • Support needed in prep work, set up, and clean up

  • Timing tentative: 10-5pm Wednesday & 1-5pm Thursday (retreat starts at 5:30pm on Thursday)

If interested please email volunteer@buddhiststudiesinstitutue.org with “Chod Retreat Volunteer” in the subject line.

Thank you for your service!

Feel the Heart of the Vast Expanse

Listen to Pema Khandro Rinpoche practice Guru Yoga in Laughter of the Dakinis Dzogchen Chod.

Watch Here

2023 Schedule of Events


Daily Meditation Online
Vajrayana Training1st & 2nd Wednesday of each month
Ngakpa Training 3rd Wednesday of each month Feb-May & Sept-Oct
Meditation Instructor Training – Jan 21-Jun 16


May 1-22 – Excellent Path: Bodhisattva’s Way

May 24-Jun 19 – Teaching Meditation in a Multicultural World


Jun 1-4 – Chod Retreat at Dakini Mountain

Jun 3 – Saga Dawa Celebration

Jun 19 – Aug 14 – Ngondro 3 – Mountain of Jewels

Jun 21-Jul 10 – Teachings on Karma


July 15-16 – Meditation Instructor Training Finals & Graduation Online


Aug 3-6 – Annual Dzogchen Retreat: The Choying Dzod with Khenpo Yeshi and Pema Khandro

Aug 21-Oct 16 – Ngondro 4 – Intrinsic Wisdom

Click Here to view the BSI Calendar
*All Times are noted in Pacific Time (PT) – Check your Timezone