The Dharma Fellowship was originally founded in Canada on June 8th of 1973 by personal request of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1923-1981), supreme spiritual head of the Karma-Kagyu Order of Tibet. The Dharma Fellowship began as a small society of Westerners interested in practicing Buddhism and studying the profound mystical Yoga tradition of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. With the arrival of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa to India in the year 2000, the Dharma Fellowship was re-confirmed as a Dharma Center under his personal direction.
Today the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa is a group of Western Buddhist meditation and yoga practitioners following the spiritual direction of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. Our Mission is to share the spiritual tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and meditation in such a way as to be meaningful to Western people. The Buddhist path, treasured for centuries in the East, utilizes the practice of meditation and yoga to cultivate a life of physical and mental improvement, well being, happiness, healing, love, clarity, wisdom, and inner peace. We believe that these gentle and compassionate teachings are deeply relevant to all, whatever their background may be.
The Hermitage Retreat Centre was officially founded in October of 2003 as the practice centre for the Dharma Fellowship. The founders’ vision was a Meditation Retreat Centre that is open to all, inspired by a deeply compassionate Buddhist heart, and founded on sound ecological and environmentalist principles. In the tradition of our primary lineage teacher Kyabje Namgyal Rinpoche (1931-2003), we foster an open, non-dogmatic and universalist spirit of inquiry. While our core values are deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, we believe that all spiritual paths seek more or less the same goals, and we welcome teachers from a variety of meditation traditions.
During our scheduled summer retreats, detailed instruction and talks are given describing the practice of meditation and allied subjects. Always, our primary focus is on practice, rather than on doctrine or belief, and many retreats are silent. Practitioners, following a set ideal originally established by the Buddha, are especially encouraged to meditate alone in the midst of nature. Most programs include yoga, and massage is available upon request.
At present there are three Ka'-gyu monks associated with the Hermitage. With time, we hope to enlarge this small monastic community, building a self-sustaining spiritual life together, based on traditional Buddhist principles (vinaya), while facilitating the Centre’s seasonal retreats as a way of receiving the support that is so important for those abiding in a committed spiritual practice.
The Dharma Fellowship of HH Gyalwa Karmapa is a Public Charity. For donations within Canada: Registered Charity #861746584-RT-0001. For donations within the USA : Registered 501(c) #94-3368717