Program Listings

  • Lodge: Double Occupancy – CAD $1,775.00
  • Drala Cabin: Double Occupancy – CAD $1,700.00
  • Large White Tent: Single Occupancy – CAD $2,225.00
  • Large White Tent: Double Occupancy – CAD $1,550.00
  • Wood Cabin: Double Occupancy – CAD $1,550.00
  • White Hut: Double Occupancy – CAD $1,550.00

Date & Time Details: If possible, arrive before 5 pm on Saturday, August 19. Dinner is at 6:30 and orientation at 7:45 pm. Departure is after breakfast on Sunday, September 3.

Location: Dorje Denma Ling

Address: 2280 Balmoral Rd, The Falls, NS B0K 1V0, Canada

FINANCE CONTACT: Suzy Ulrich [email protected]

GUEST SERVICES: [email protected]

Two Weeks of Meditation: Shamatha-Vipashyana Half-Dathün

with John Rockwell and Matilda Perks

August 19 - September 3, 2023

“In the practice of meditation, you step beyond your hope and fear. You develop trust in the strength of your being and in your ability to extend yourself to others, and you find you have tremendous willingness to do so.”
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


A half-dathün is a two-week, group meditation retreat of shamatha-vipashyana, or mindfulness-awareness practice. This is the basic sitting meditation that goes back to the Buddha, which also includes contemplative practices for cultivating insight and compassion. Practising together as a group creates an atmosphere of courage and wakefulness. This mutual support and inspiration is at the heart of this month-long journey.

The half-dathün is the first two weeks of the full, month-long dathün. As such, it follows the basic schedule developed by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The daily schedule begins at 7am and ends around 9pm most evenings. Sitting meditation sessions are alternated with walking meditation throughout the day. The three main meals are served and eaten in the meditation hall using the Zen contemplative eating practice of oryoki. After lunch, there is a mid-day work period, when participants have light cleaning and kitchen tasks, which are opportunities for meditation in action.

Silence or “functional talking” is practised most of the time. Silence is not regarded as cutting off or isolating ourselves, but as a profound way to open our awareness and senses to ourselves and our world.

The retreat will be led by John Rockwell ( and Matilda Perks, who have a long and strong heart connection to this path of practice. They will be supported by a staff of experienced meditation instructors. There will be regular dharma talks and individual meetings with a meditation instructor to talk with about your practice throughout the retreat.

Recommended Reading

  1. The Heart of the Buddha: Entering the Tibetan Buddhist Path, by Chögyam Trungpa
  2. The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation by Chögyam Trungpa
  3. The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, by Pema Chödrön
  4. Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment and Other Destructive Emotions, by Pema Chödrön

Who Should Attend

If you do not already have a regular meditation practice and study of dharma, this retreat is not appropriate for you. We suggest you consider attending The Shape of Awake  instead.

If you have been practising regularly for some time, and have read books and/or attended classes related to the Buddhist path, this retreat could be very beneficial
for you. Since dathün is an intensive retreat, we require applicants to supply a history of their dharma practice and study,
as well as the name and contact information for an experienced meditator or teacher who knows you and your path of practice.

For More Information 

If you have any question about the appropriateness of this dathün for you, or any other questions
about practice or the program content, please email the Program Manager at [email protected]

If you have questions about accommodations, costs, travel, Covid-19 protocols or other logistical issues,
please email Guest Services for Dorje Denma Ling.


Tuition: CAD $575
Meal Service: CAD $300
Accommodations: Varies by selection. (Options can be viewed on the Registration Page. To view pricing by lodging type, visit this page.)

Scholarships and Payment Plans

Dorje Denma Ling has two scholarship funds available to support those who require assistance to attend dathün: one fund was offered through the generosity of the Pema Chodron and one fund has been made possible through the generosity of Dorje Denma Ling supporters. The Pema Foundation fund is specifically to support relatively new practitioners, BIPOC practitioners, and those under 40.

If you need assistance, please fill out and return the Financial Aid Form or contact our Finance Manager, Suzy Ulrich. These scholarship funds are limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-serves basis, so please apply promptly if you need assistance.

If you don’t need assistance, but would prefer to spread your payments out over a number of months to ease cashflow issues, please contact Suzy Ulrich and she can set that up for you.

Covid Considerations 

Please read the full details of our Covid policy here.

Useful Links

What to Bring & Expect at DDL
How to Get Here


John Rockwell
John Rockwell has been on the path of dharma for 45 years. He met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1975 and studied and practiced the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings for 12 years with him, and in particular worked with him on translating Tibetan texts into English. For ten years, he studied and taught at Naropa University in the Buddhist Studies department. For many years, he served as an acharya or senior teacher for Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and also studied intensively with Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. John’s inspiration is to share the profound and practical teachings that he has received.  Explore John’s…
Learn more about John Rockwell
Matilda Perks
Matilda (Tillie) Perks is a Ph.D. student at McGill University who studies the history of Buddhist modernism(s) and Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet with a focus on the life and works of Tibetan lama, Chögyam Trungpa (1940-1987), and the development of the Vajradhatu community. She was born into the Shambhala community and has been a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for 25 years.
Learn more about Matilda Perks