The Bodhi Path Buddhist Retreat Center

The Buddhist Retreat Center of Bordo lies in the wild Antrona Valley in the Italian Alps, close to  Domodossola. One reaches this picturesque  mountain village by using a centuries-old footpath.

The deep silence in Bordo, and the simple life in its rustic stone houses surrounded by mountains, reminds us of the countries of the Himalaya where Tibetan Buddhism originated.  Bordo’s  remoteness, in the middle of vast forests, makes it easier to deepen the practice of meditation.
For more than 30 years many people have learned about and practiced Buddhism in Bordo.
Since 2006 Bordo has been a member of the Bodhi Path Organisation and is also a member of the Italian Buddhist Union and the Swiss Buddhist Union.

What is Bodhi Path?

Bodhi Path is an international organization of Buddhist centers of the Karma Kagyu Lineage founded by Shamar Rinpoche. The Bodhi Path Centres offer open access to Buddhism. Bodhi Path is open to everyone, whether Buddhist or not, based on the principle that learning meditation is enriching for everyone. Shamar Rinpoche has put together a helpful study and practice program for Western practitioners, the Bodhi Path Curriculum. He emphasized the qualities of the place for deep, authentic meditation during his visit to Bordo 2006.

Dharma Activities

Bordo offers regular retreats and courses based on the Bodhi Path Curriculum. They are clearly marked in the Dharma program. In addition, in consultation with our spiritual masters, we host Dharma-guest courses and retreats led by experienced teachers who have often been coming to Bordo for many years and are connected to the place. Many of them have done one or more traditional three-year retreats at the Kundreul Ling retreat centre in Auvergne under the meditation master Gendün Rinpoche or the lamas trained by him.

From spring to autumn there are daily meditations at 7:30, 17:30 and 20:00, to which everyone in the village is welcome.

Bordo is a place where many people connect to the Dharma for the first time. The daily meditation and Dharma activities, in consultation with Shamar Rinpoche and Jigme Rinpoche, are designed to enable newcomers as well as practitioners with many years, often decades of experience, to practice together.  It is also important to us that interested volunteers receive an introduction to meditation and Buddhism in general.

Personal, intensive individual retreats at Bordo are available for experienced practitioners of all Buddhist directions. Find more information under Retreats.

Room for practice

The Bordo retreat area offers space for individual and group retreats.

Group retreats, for example Shamata and Vipassana, from other Buddhist schools are very welcome.

There are 10 simple single or double rooms available for practitioners in a total of 4 houses. For Dharma courses, rooms can also be booked in the guest area. Single rooms have very limited availability. In addition, there is a large and a small meditation room, a garden with stupa for walking meditation and a kitchen for self-catering. It is also possible to enjoy meals with the community.

It is a pleasure for us to share the space with its retreat house, temple and stupa with other practitioners and to practice and learn together.

Spiritual Leadership

Shamar Rinpoche

Shamar Rinpoche has been connected to Bordo since his beginnings as a spiritual leader. The Buddhist name of the place ‘Karma Dechen Yangtse’ was given by him. In 2006 he visited Bordo and emphasized again the qualities of the place for meditation practice. His wish is that Bordo will remain a place of Dharma practice for future generations. Shine meditation (meditation of calm abiding) and the Lojong practice (training of the mind) should remain focal points in Bordo. He recommended that we do the Chenrezig practice together daily and, where possible, a Milarepa Tsog Puja on full moon days, both of which have a long tradition in Bordo.

Jigme Rinpoche

Jigme Rinpoche, representing Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje and Shamar Rinpoche, is the spiritual director. He oversees Bordo’s Dharma activities and advises those responsible on site. He visited Bordo several times, including in 2004 during the visit of the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. His presence inspires and supports our activities. There is a regular exchange between those responsible for the organization of the Dharma in Bordo and Jigme Rinpoche.

Bodhi Path Teachers:

Trinlay Rinpoche

Trinlay Rinpoche was born in 1975 in Switzerland to French-American parents. He began his traditional Tulku training at the age of 3 years under the direction of Kalu Rinpoche in India. In Europe, Trinlay Rinpoche continued his Buddhist studies while receiving a Western education. He studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris, the School of Oriental Languages in London and at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in Delhi. Trinlay Rinpoche, who is fluent in English, French and Tibetan, is a very experienced and inspiring teacher and teaches in many Buddhist centres and universities worldwide.

Lama Jampa

Shenyen Lama Jampa is Tibetan and comes originally from Yangpachen, the seat of the Shamarpas in Tibet, where he completed 1994 a traditional 3 years retreat. For many years already he is living and teaching in the USA and is the resident teacher in the Bodhi Path Centre Menlo Park. Lama Jampa touches us by his kind and loving attitude, which is deeply routed in the dharma and is of great inspiration to everybody.

Trehor Lama

Trehor Lama has intensive training in studies and practice and today heads the Karmapa Institute in Valderoure near Nice. Shamar Rinpoche has asked him to take special care of Bordo. In his teachings, Trehor Lama connects us in a contemporary and compassionate way with the traditional values of Tibetan Buddhism. It is particularly inspiring that he also practices together with us and thus conveys his practical experience in a direct way.

Lama Tsony

Lama Tsony is one of the earliest students of the great meditation master Gendün Rinpoche and, after a long development phase at Dhagpo Kagyü Ling in the Dordogne, took part in the first traditional three-year retreats at Dhagpo Kündröl Ling in the Auvergne from 1984-1991. For 15 years he was abbot of the monastery there. Today he lives in the US at the Bodhi Path Center Natural Bridge in Virginia, but travels regularly to Europe.

Lama Jungne

From 1998 to 2004, Jungne Baader took part in two traditional three-year retreats at the Kundröl Ling retreat centre in Auvergne and subsequently supported the activities of the place. Since 2008 she has lived near Dhagpo Kagyü Ling in the Dordogne where she regularly teaches and works as a translator for Jigme Rinpoche. As an inspiring teacher she is regularly invited to various Buddhist centres, especially in France, Spain and Germany.

Dharma teacher Astrid Schünemann

Astrid Schünemann is a Dharma teacher, translator for Buddhist teachers and breathing therapist. She first encountered Buddhism in Bordo in the early 1980s. From 1998-2001 she did a traditional three-year retreat and afterwards the Bodhi Path Teacher Training with Shamar Rinpoche. She was asked by Shamar Rinpoche and Jigme Rinpoche to work as a Dharma teacher in the Bodhi Path centers. Astrid lives near Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in France.

Dharma teacher Tengye

Tengye (Irmgard Bauer) came into contact with Tibetan Buddhism in Bordo in 1991. Originally an archaeologist, she participated in two three-year retreats in Dhagpo Kündröl Ling in 2004-2011. In early 2014, Shamar Rinpoche asked her to take care of the organization of the Dharma in Bordo and to secure the future of the place as Dharma Square. In Bordo she introduces the volunteers and other interested people to meditation, teaches the basics of Lojong and practices regularly with those present.

Guest Dharma Teachers:

Lama Jampa Thaye

Lama Jampa Thaye is a Buddhist meditation master and scholar in the Sakya and Karma Kagyu traditions of Buddhism. Born in England he became a student of Karma Thinley Rinpoche at the age of 20 and a year later met the venerable 41st Sakya Trizin.
Today Lama Jampa Thaye is travelling extensively giving teachings and initiations in many countries and also establishing permanent centres and groups. Shamar Rinpoche requested him to visit and teach in Bodhi Path centres worldwide.

Lama Irene (Lama Dorje Drölma)

Associated with Bordo, Karma Dechen Yangtse, from the beginning Lama Irene participated in two traditional three-year retreats with Gendün Rinpoche from 1986-1994. She is a Buddhist nun and an experienced teacher who has been teaching the Dharma regularly since 1994, mainly in Europe. Today she lives near the Möhra Dharma Centre in Thüringen and in Switzerland.

Lama Sherab Palmo

Originally an ethnologist and religious scholar, Lama Sherab Palmo took part in two traditional three-year retreats with Gendün Rinpoche from 1991-1997. She then lived in the monastic community of Dhagpo Kündröl Ling in Auvergne, from where she began her teaching activities. She is one of the founding members of the Möhra Dharma Centre in Thüringen and has lived there since 2005.

Lama Tsültrim Wangmo

Lama Tsültrim Wangmo took part in two traditional three-year retreats with Gendün Rinpoche from 1991-1997. She also lived for many years in the monastic community of Dhagpo Kündröl Ling before moving to Möhra. Today she lives near the Dharma Center there. Her inspiring teachings, especially on Chenrezig practice, are a welcome support to our daily practice.

Lama Teundroup Puntsok

Lama Teundroup has carried out two traditional three-year retreats at Kundreul Ling in Auvergne, one of which was with Lama Gendun Rinpoche, who is her Master. Since 2001 she lives in the monastery at Laussedat. She is regularly teaching in different centres in France and in Italy, where her direct and profound approach is greatly appreciated. In the monastery she has ritual responsibilities and is involved in administrational tasks, following the advice of Gendun Rinpoche to share the experience of practice in daily life. For this she is an inspiring example.

Lama Rabsel

Lama Rabsel has lived in the Auvergne in France since 1996 in the monastic community of Dhagpo Kundreul Ling, founded by Lama Gendün Rinpoche. Between 1998 – 2001 he did a traditional three-year retreat and since 2002 has dedicated himself to the transmission of teachings on meditation and Buddhist thought both in Italy and in France.

Lama Drubtscho

Lama Drubtcho (Susanne Schatz) lived with her family in Bordo for more than 20 years before taking part in two three-year retreats in Dhagpo Kündröl Ling in Auvergne from 2001-2008. Today she lives in the Möhra Dharma Centre. In 2017 she returned to Bordo to teach for the first time.

Lama Öser

At the beginning of his Dharma practice Lama Öser was a student of the Japanese Zen master Taisen Deshimaru (1914 – 82). After Deshimaru’s death he finally turned to Tibetan Buddhism in search of a new master and became a student of Gendün Rinpoche, who is his heart teacher. He has been instructing the Dharma, Mahakaruna Yoga and ‘Kind Heart, Open Mind – the psycho-social and spiritual dimensions of dying’ for many years.

Dominique Thomas

Translator of several Tibetan Lamas, Dominique Thomas studied and taught for about ten years at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi. For more than twenty years, he has been holding courses in Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language at Dhagpo Kaguy Ling in Dordogne and in affiliated centres. His knowledge of Buddhist philosophy offers the possibility of a simple approach to the teachings, through reflection based on Buddhist logic and examples taken from our daily lives.