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June 11, 2024—June 16, 2024

Becoming Bodhisattvas – The Path of Confidence with Ethan Nichtern


A silent meditation retreat with Ethan Nichtern, Maho Kawachi and Lou Sharma

Many of us are longing for an in-depth, in-person meditation retreat. This is a great opportunity to do so. Like last year, this retreat will focus on practices and teachings related to the path of the Bodhisattva, a body of teachings all about a compassionate and wise way of being in world in turmoil. This year we will focus on the theme of Confidence. This retreat will include three full days of silence practice so that we can go much deeper into our own experience and support each other’s practice in a way we almost never get to do when we’re in our daily grinds. On the last full day of retreat, we take more time to process the teachings interpersonally.

The retreat will conclude with the opportunity to formally take either the Refuge or Bodhisattva Vow, or reaffirm your vows if you have already taken them, on Saturday afternoon. As we will be approaching the vow from the structure of the Tantric Buddhist system, it is required that a student has already taken the Refuge vows if they want to formally enter the Bodhisattva Path.

If you would like to formally take the Refuge or Bodhisattva Vow for the first time (it is generally not recommended to take both simultaneously, but to leave 6 months to a year between the two to work with one before moving on to the next), please email info@ethannichtern.com with your intention. If you do not want to formally take either vow, you are still more than welcome to attend the ceremony and contemplate the intention and practice of making the commitment to awakening in your own way. The vows are fully optional. Buddhist people, Buddh-ish people, and those of us who just can’t stand labels are all welcome at this retreat!

At this year’s retreat, we will focus on teachings and practices from Ethan’s newest book, Confidence: Holding Your Seat Through Life’s Eight Worldly Winds (Pre-Order here). As we contemplate our struggles with confidence, we will focus on the meditation practice of “Windhorse,” along with teachings on “The Eight Worldly Winds” and “The Four Powers of Confidence” from Ethan’s new book, which will be released one week before retreat. There is no expectation that students are familiar with these concepts before attending retreat!

Hope you can join this growing annual community of practitioners.


Recommended Reading

(bring to the retreat, or we will have copies at the Garrison Institute):

Confidence: Holding Your Seat through Life’s Eight Worldly Wins by Ethan Nichtern

(to be released June 4, preorder wherever you get your books!)



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Head Teacher – Ethan Nichtern

Ethan Nichtern is a Senior Buddhist teacher, and is the author of the acclaimed book The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path which was selected as one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2015, and one of Tech Insider’s “9 Books That Define 2015.” He is the author of three other books, and his next book Confidence: Holding Your Seat Through Life’s Eight Wordly Winds (available here for pre-order), will be out June 4 from New World Library.

Ethan founded the Interdependence Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to secular Buddhist practice and transformational activism and arts, and served as executive Director from 2007-2011.

For the past 21 years, Ethan has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology classes and workshops around New York City and North America and Europe, along with working with students privately. He has primarily studied in the Shambhala and other Tibetan traditions, but has also studied Theravadan and Soto Zen Buddhism. He is also an avid yoga practitioner. He served as Shastri, or Senior Teacher-In-Residence, for the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York, from 2010-2018.


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Assistant Teacher – Maho Kawachi

Maho Kawachi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She landed in NYC in 1992 and decided to make the city her home. She encountered meditation in 2000, and studied in the lineage of Insight Meditation and Vipassana until she entered Vajrayana Path in 2008. Her training as a meditation teacher includes Interedependence Project, MMTCP, etc. She teaches at Open Heart Project and assists teaching for Dharma Moon Year Long Buddhist Study. She also volunteered at Rikers Island/s women’s facility. Her new interest is combining meditation and outdoor experience and leading the experience to students.


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Assistant Teacher – Lou Sharma

Lou Sharma has practiced meditation for over a decade, and has studied Dharma within Tibetan Buddhist traditions since 2016. In 2021, she completed Dharma Moon’s Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training. Lou is interested in the ways mindfulness can empower more compassionate cultures of work, inspired by 10+ years of experience as a corporate researcher and brand strategist.


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Yoga Teacher – Heather Shaw

Since 1998, Heather has been a student of yoga and meditation, steeped in the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Western psychotherapy and neuroscience. Embodied practice is at the root of her offerings, which are influenced by her unique background in dance/choreography, combined with nearly two decades of yoga teaching experience, all underpinned by dedicated scholarship in both dharmic philosophy and contemplative psychotherapy.



There are a limited number of partial scholarships available for this retreat. Please visit us here for more information, and to apply. Please do not sign up for the retreat if you have submitted an application. Please wait to hear from us. For questions, please contact us at: scholarships@garrisoninstitute.org.




The health and safety of our guests and staff is a top priority for the Garrison Institute. To attend a retreat or event all guests, teachers, and staff are required to self-test (at home antigen test is acceptable) within the 48-hour window prior to arriving for a retreat on site, and to bring a 2nd self-test kit when coming on site. We encourage everyone to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses before your visit. If you experience symptoms or have a positive diagnosis, please notify us immediately at events@garrisoninstitute.org We will continue to follow any COVID-19 guidelines set forth by our local officials, New York State and the CDC. Please visit this page for more information about the safety protocols in place as well as answers to frequently asked questions.