Serenity Ridge Residency Program Overview

Serenity Ridge Retreat Center is the headquarters of Ligmincha International, a worldwide network of centers and sanghas founded by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. It is a year-round retreat center located in Nelson County, Virginia, USA.

Ligmincha International, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 1992 to preserve the ancient teachings, transmissions, and practices of the Bön Buddhist tradition of Tibet. Ligmincha aims to introduce these traditions in an authentic manner to the Western world, in such a way that they remain beneficial when integrated into modern Western culture.

Serenity Ridge Retreat Center offers a limited number of residency positions to those with a sincere interest in the Bön Buddhist tradition as well as a desire to do service work on behalf of that community as an expression of their own practice.

Residency Benefits

The benefits of the program to the Resident generally consist of the following:

  • A safe and supportive community for spiritual practice.
  • Twice daily self-guided practice sessions.
  • Twice weekly guided practice sessions with Resident Lama (when available) or senior student.
  • Group viewing of TWR LIVE Facebook webcasts with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
  • Free participation in all Ligmincha retreats at Serenity Ridge (that do not have unmet prerequisites).
  • Twice monthly personal instruction and guidance from Serenity Ridge Resident Lama (when available).
  • Housing in bunk rooms.
  • Three vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free meals daily. If there are two or more simultaneous. participants in our Residency Program, five of these meals each week will be precooked by a Serenity Ridge lead cook. Otherwise, Residents will be expected to prepare their own meals with ingredients supplied by Serenity Ridge.
  • 20 percent discount at the bookstore.
  • Use of dormitory laundry machines.


All Residents are required to have some prior experience with the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Bön. To be considered for the Residency Program, an applicant should have the following qualifications:

  • Have participated in at least one retreat at Serenity Ridge with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche or a Resident Lama (3 or more days)
  • Preference will be given to those who have participated in at least one work retreat.
  • Have a strong desire to deepen her or his connection to the teachings of Bön.
  • Have at least 6 months of experience and regular practice following the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. This can include material learned in retreats, from online teachings and through use of his books and CDs.

On a more practical level, Residents must:

  • Be able to lift 20 pounds
  • Stand for extended periods.
  • Work in hot, cold or noisy environments (outdoors, the kitchen, light maintenance and housekeeping).
  • Maintain a channel of communication with their supervisor. This could be through checking their cell phone at least twice daily for messages.

Applicants for the Residency Program who lack one or more of the above qualities may still be considered for the program, but only with the express consent of the Serenity Ridge administration.

Program Structure and Costs

The Residencies may not be less than 30 days and not longer than 12 months. Participants have several options from which to choose with respect to the amount of time they wish to devote to practice or service.

Provisional Residency Period (only applies the first time a person serves as a Resident)

Provisional Residents are expected work 6 hours per day, 5 days per week. They are not expected to serve as “On Call.” They are also expected to provide 60 minutes of community caretaking each week, with this work taking place in “common” areas such as the kitchen, laundry and Garuda House lounge.

The Provisional Residency is meant as a time for both the Resident and Serenity Ridge to get to know each other. While applicants may apply for any length of time less than 12 months, all first-time Residents must begin with a 30-day provisional period. By the 21st day of the provisional period, the Resident and Serenity Ridge staff will meet to discuss how the residency is going and any concerns that have arisen on either side. Both parties then have time to try to resolve anything that has come up and decide if is in everyone’s best interests to continue the residency period beyond 30 days. During the provisional period either party may terminate the relationship for any reason. Following the provisional period, there will be periodic check-ins to make sure the Residency is still working out for everyone, and there will be opportunities to discuss how things might be improved.

Further Residency OptionsFollowing the initial provisional period, Residents have several options from which to choose.

  1. Residents may work 30 hours per week (6 hours per day, 5 days per week), serve as “On Call” one day per week and provide 60 minutes of community caretaking (cleaning common areas) each week. In exchange, they participate in the program at no cost.
  2. Residents may work 24 hours (6 hours per day, 4 days per week), serve as “On Call” one day per week and provide 60 minutes of community caretaking (cleaning common areas) weekly. The cost to the Resident is $200 per month.
  3. Residents may work 18 hours (6 hours per day, 3 days per week), serve as “On Call” one day per week and provide 60 minutes of community caretaking (cleaning common areas) weekly. The cost to the Resident is $300 per month.
  4. Those wishing not to work may apply for a Personal Retreat, not dealt with within this document.

Termination of Residency

The principles of our tradition include respect, kindness and civility to all, at all times. Individuals who find themselves unable to hold to those expectations, or who are in violation of other Serenity Ridge policies, will be asked to leave.

General Program Framework

Daily Schedule of Activities

07:30–08:15: Group or individual practice
08:15–09:00: Breakfast
09:00– 02:00: Work period
12:00–02:00: Lunch/clean-up/free time
02:00–05:00  or
03:00–06:00: Work period
06:00–07:30: Dinner/clean-up 
Evening: Group or individual practice
10:30–06:00: Quiet hours
NOTE: This may not be the schedule of all Residents. For example, being assigned to the kitchen will require a different work schedule. And during the summer months, Groundskeeping may be on a different schedule to reduce exposure to sun and heat. Mealtimes also will be slightly different when Serenity Ridge events are in progress.

Scope of Work

Residents will be assigned a 5-day work schedule, with two consecutive days off each week. Residents will work for a total of 6 hours on each of the days they are scheduled. Generally, this schedule will be kept Monday–Friday, but during retreat periods or when larger numbers of Residents are onsite the work week may be changed to expand across weekends or with longer days. For example, one set of Residents might work Sunday–Thursday and a second set might work Tuesday–Saturday. Residents will receive no less than 2 consecutive days off per week, except during Ligmincha Retreats, when the schedule may be modified.

Residents will be assigned a “primary” area of work activity every month in one of the following areas: kitchen support, office, housekeeping, grounds or light maintenance. The primary area will occupy more than half of a resident’s time in any given week. The remaining time may be allocated to other areas as required. Just before, during and just after Serenity Ridge retreats, residents also may be asked to participate in event management. This may include tasks such as setup and takedown of tables and chairs, preparing the gompa, setting up and taking down the Garuda House tea table, some groundskeeping and housekeeping, and the like.

During Ligmincha retreats at Serenity Ridge, every effort is made to lighten the work schedule and ensure that participation is possible. Residents will attend all teachings, and one practice session each day. In the days immediately before and after retreat, an evening work period may be added so that all obligations can be met and the work reduced during the retreat period.

Each resident also will provide 60 minutes per week of community caretaking. This is not considered a part of the work hours and is akin to keeping one’s one home and environment clean.


Residents will be provided with three meals per day and light snack food (fruit, nuts, etc.) Meal options will be vegetarian/vegan/gluten free according to the needs of the current Residents. Residents will have among their responsibilities preparing and cleaning up their breakfasts and lunches. This labor is not a part of work time. The allocation of these responsibilities may change based on the number of Residents.


Generally cereal, toast, eggs, juice, coffee and tea. Oatmeal and other hot grains are available, and pancake ingredients for weekends.


andwich materials (bread, peanut butter, cheese, hummus, condiments, etc.), a salad and fresh fruit will be the staples of lunchtime meals. Occasionally, and during the winter especially, there also may be a soup.


Serenity Ridge will employ a lead cook one day per week to bring groceries, check on the kitchen, clean out the refrigerator, and oversee the cleanliness and orderliness of the kitchen. If only one Resident is living at Serenity Ridge, that person is responsible for preparing her or his own meals. If two or more Residents are at the center, then the cook will prep 5 dinners, to be cooked and eaten over the coming week, plus a few additional dishes to mix and match. These meals will be almost complete, requiring minimal preparation and cooking by the Residents. Preparation of dinner and clean-up will be a work activity of one or more Residents and may be done on a rotation schedule.


Residents staying at Serenity Ridge for more than 2 months will be assigned their own room (or a room per couple, for couples who apply and wish to share a room), if and when sufficient space is available. The bunk rooms designated for residents, with shared bath for adjoining rooms, are Rooms 110/112, 114/116, 118/120, 122/124 and 126. Residents participating in the program for only 1 or 2 months will be given their own room should one be available, but should expect to share a bunk room with another Resident of the same gender for the time of their stay.

Celebrating 25 Years of Ligmincha! 

TWR LIVE Poster June-August 2017   series DREAM YOGA.001

Visit Rinpoche's Facebook page
View archive of TWR LIVE recordings 



September 16–17, 2017

Special Dzogchen Retreat


with Lama Tashi Gyaltsen RInpoche 

Tapihritsa thangkaYangton Lama Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche will offer teachings on the Invocation of Tapihritsa during this special weekend. The Invocation of Tapihritsa expresses the essence of dzogchen, the "great perfection," with Tapihritsa representing the true nature of reality. Everyone is welcome to join us for this powerful dzogchen teaching from the Yungdrung Bon Buddhist lineage of Tibet.

Learn mor/register



Join us for a series of special teachings and events this fall at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in honor of the 25th anniversary of Ligmincha International. We warmly invite our Ligmincha International sangha to join us at Serenity Ridge in Virginia for this special celebration. 


October 18–21, 2017

TWR meditatingFall Retreat 2017 


with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche 

Learn practices, including meditation, visualization, ritual and healing through nature, to extend lifespan and heal imbalances in your life. This is the first time Rinpoche is offering in-depth teachings and empowerments from Tsewang Rigdzin, ancient Tibetan Bön master known as the "King of Longevity." 

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October 22, 2017

prayer flagsCelebrating Ligmincha International's 25th Anniversary!

Join us on Sunday, October 22, for a celebration of Ligmincha International's 25th Anniversary. Serenity Ridge will host an open house with many free events, including music, visual arts and viewing of the new building. Join Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Ligmincha's resident lamas and other special guests. 

Learn more


October 23–October 24, 2017

Buddhism and Science BScience and Spirituality Conference


with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and expert presenters

Join Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and a select group of top investigators to learn about research and findings related to how meditation and other spiritual practices can bring about healing of physical and emotional pain. Rinpoche will deliver the keynote address, guide meditation sessions and participate in panel discussions. 

Learn more/register


November 2–5, 2017

Trul Khor

Trul Khor Retreat 


with Alejandro Chaoul-Reich

Beginners and experienced students alike are invited to join us November 2–5 for instruction in the ancient practice of Tibetan yoga, from the Bön A-tri Dzogchen tradition. This course can stand alone and also will be the first in a series of teachings to take place over the next three years.

Learn more/register


November 3–5, 2017

trul khor with AleTrul Khor Graduate Training 


with Alejandro Chaoul-Reich and
Honored Guest Geshe Tenzin Yangton

Deepen your training in the ancient practice of yoga (trul khor) from the Bon Buddhist tradition of Tibet as we explore the body's energetic dimensions and integrate the practice with everyday life. 

Open to all who have done Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Tibetan Bon yoga from Ligmincha International since 2002.

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December 27, 2017–January 1, 2018

TWR folded hands

Winter Retreat 2017 


with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche 

The Experiential Transmission series, the centerpiece of Rinpoche's dzogchen teachings, is presented each year at our Winter Retreat. Part 4 focuses on how to overcome obstacles to practice while sustaining and cultivating the results achieved during previous parts of the cycle. Live translation available in Spanish.
Prerequisite: Previous completion of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung series.

Registration is expected to open in late August.

Learn more

Science and Spirituality Conference: October 23–24, 2017


with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Presenters

Buddhism and Science BJoin Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and a select group of presenters to learn about how meditation and other spiritual practices can bring about healing of physical and emotional pain. Rinpoche will deliver the keynote address at this special Science and Spirituality Conference, guide meditation sessions and participate in a panel discussion.  

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of the growing dialog on contemplative science. Invited scientists, researchers and other presenters will discuss their work on the impact of contemplative meditation practices on physical, emotional and mental pain, with opportunities for participants to share in discussions and meals with the presenters.

Previous conferences have drawn well-known researchers from around the country, and this year also promises to be a lively interchange on a range of current topics.

The conference will begin on Monday, October 23, at 9 a.m. and will end Tuesday, October 24, at 3 p.m. Participants are encouraged to come earlier to attend the annual Fall Retreat led by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche held October 18–21. The topic is “The Knowledge and Wisdom of Longevity: Teachings and Empowerment from the Tsewang Jarima.” Also join us October 22 for a free daylong celebration of Ligmincha International’s 25th Anniversary.

In addition to Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International, presenters will include:

  • Alejandro Chaoul-Reich, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Integrative Medicine Program, Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas; Director of Research, Ligmincha International. He will be the conference moderator.
  • Claire Clark, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Utah school of Medicine and part of Ligmincha’s research team.
  • James Coan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Virginia. Coan brings insights from social and affective neuroscience to clinical, business and research audiences around the world.
  • Julieta Galante, Ph.D., Research Associate, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, England, and a Mindful Trust Research awardee. She will present on how mindfulness training builds resilience with youth: a trial with University of Cambridge students.
  • David Germano, Ph.D., Director of the Contemplative Sciences Center, University of Virginia. Germano’s personal research focuses on Tibetan history, with a special focus on contemplative and philosophical traditions.
  • Eric Garland, Ph.D., LCSW, Presidential Scholar, Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor in the University of Utah College of Social Work, Associate Director of Integrative Medicine in Supportive Oncology and Survivorship at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Garland is the developer of an innovative, multimodal mindfulness-based called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE).
  • Michael Gawrysiak, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Delaware State University and Psychology Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Brain Behavioral Vulnerabilities, Addiction Treatment Research Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Gawrysiak will discuss research on The 3 Doors Compassionate Project for healthcare professionals.
  • Sarah Prinsloo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas. Prinsloo’s focus is on neuroimaging during mind-body intervention.
  • Michael Sheehy, Director of Programs, Mind & Life Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, and faculty member at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where he is affiliated with the Contemplative Sciences Center and Tibet Center.
  • Barbara Stefik, Ph.D., and Mark Stefik, Ph.D. Barbara and Mark are co-authors Breakthrough: Stories and Strategies of Radical Innovation. Mark is a research fellow with the Palo Alto Research center. They will present on the effects on pain of a contemplative online course by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
  • Gabriel Rocco, M.A., and Marcy Vaughn, M.A. Gabriel is senior instructor, University of Pennsylvania Program for Mindfulness. Marcy is a retreat and meditation leader with Ligmincha International. Both are therapists in private practice in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, senior students of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and senior teachers with The Three Doors Academy. They will present on The Three Doors Compassion Project and lead meditations from this program.
  • Yangdron Kalsang, Doctors of Tibetan Medicine. Yangdron Kalsang is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who teaches at Stanford University School of Medicine.He will present on the topic "Tibetan Medicine for Mental Health and Spirituality."

You are cordially invited to attend the annual Fall Retreat, on The Knowledge and Wisdom of Longevity, October 18-21 and a special day of activities October 22 commemorating Ligmincha International’s 25th Anniversary.


Retreat Cost (meals and accommodations extra): $215 (student rate $125)

We are pleased to announce that beginning with Fall Retreat, Serenity Ridge will be using new registration software. Please note: The cost of meals will no longer be included in the registration price. If you are staying onsite, the cost of meals will be included with accommodations. If you commute, meals will be an add-on. You may not register for a retreat without meals.   

Meals will begin with dinner on October 22 and end with lunch on October 24. Registration and check-in will begin at 6 p.m. on October 22. 

Important note: Due to the 25th Anniversary commemoration on October 22, NO CARS will be allowed onto the property after 7:30 a.m. on that day, and parking will not be available, until after 6 p.m. You can park on Rockfish River Road near Drumheller Lane, and shuttle service to Serenity Ridge will be available between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

To begin the registration process, click on the blue “Register” button. If you have any questions, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Special Commemoration: October 22, 2017

Ligmincha International's 25th Anniversary

SR fall flags

Everyone is warmly invited to attend a special open house at Serenity Ridge on Sunday, October 22, in honor of Ligmincha’s 25th anniversary. In addition to activities, a new book filled with photos and information about Ligmincha's past 25 years will be released on that date.

We also extend an invitation to consider attending Fall Retreat, which runs from October 18–21, and the Science and Spirituality Conference on October 23–24.

Events During the Day

On the morning of October 22, all sangha members are invited to attend a sang chod ceremony and raising of prayer flags at 8 a.m., tea at 9 a.m. and sangha celebration with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha's resident lamas in the gompa from 10–11:30 a.m.

Beginning at noon and continuing until 4 p.m., Serenity Ridge will be open to the entire Tibetan community and area residents. The open house will include sacred Tibetan mantras and prayers, and viewing of the new multipurpose building that is nearing completion. Food made by the Charlottsville Tibetan community--including momos (dumplings), Tibetan butter tea and sweet tea--will be available for purchase. Ligmincha's Bookstore and Tibet Shop will be open from noon to 4 p.m.

In addition to Rinpoche, resident lamas from Ligmincha's centers will be present during the morning and afternoon events. They include Geshe Denma Gyaltsen from Ligmincha Texas, Geshe Tenzin Yangton from Serenity Ridge (headquarters of Ligmincha International), Geshe Yungdrung Gyatso from Ligmincha Poland, and Lama Kalsang Nyima from Ligmincha Mexico.

Commemorative Book Available

A new book commemorating the past 25 years of Ligmincha will be released on October 22 and will be available in the bookstore. Celebrating 25 Years: Ligmincha International & Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is a look at the past 25 years, from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's founding of Ligmincha Institute in 1992, through the organization's expansion to a vibrant worldwide community of practitioners of Tibetan Bön Buddhism.

In this commemorative book, photos and text tell the story of the origins of the Bön tradition, Rinpoche’s life and teachings, and the growth of Ligmincha into an international organization that includes more than 70 centers and sanghas in more than 20 countries, plus a vibrant cyber-sangha of people around the world who come together for online teachings. 

The book is filled with beautiful photos from Ligmincha’s earliest years up through the present. Rinpoche’s students throughout the world have contributed photos that help tell the story of Ligmincha's formation and expansion over the past 25 years.

Parking Limitations and Shuttle

Please note that on Sunday, October 22, cars will not be allowed to enter or leave the Serenity Ridge entry road or grounds between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. due to the anniversary day activities. Visitors may park along Rockfish River Road (Route 617) near Drumheller Lane. Serenity Ridge's address is 554 Drumheller Lane, Shipman, VA 22971.

A shuttle will be available between 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. to ferry people to and from Serenity Ridge. 

Serenity Ridge Retreat Center


We love having your presence at our event and look forward to seeing you. Please understand that we want to assure your safety as well as the safety of others and request that you accept responsibility for your own conduct while at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center.

In exchange for your participation in events held at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, in Nelson County, Virginia, to the extent permitted by law, we ask that you (hereafter “I”) acknowledge that: “Having read and understood the above, I agree to hold harmless and indemnify Ligmincha International and the Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, along with their officers, directors, employees, and assignees, from liability for any injury, illness, or damage to myself or others which results from any acts or omissions while I am at the Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, headquarters of Ligmincha International, in Nelson County, Virginia.”

I further voluntarily assume any and all risk of injury or illness resulting from all risks existing at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, headquarters of Ligmincha International, including any visits related thereto.





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