The Westchester Buddhist Center’s Seventh Annual Retreat

The Wisdom of Emotions

FEBRUARY 17, 2019—FEBRUARY 24, 2019

The Garrison Institute, NY

Led by John Baker, Gene Bobker, Jane Kolleeny, and Derek Kolleeny

Days will consist of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, guided meditations, short dharma talks, readings focused on the techniques, and interviews with the teachers.




While meditation practice and dharma study are important, “retreating” from the speed of everyday life affords a rare opportunity to deepen our experience and understanding. In this intensive meditation retreat, daily talks and guided meditations will focus on how we encounter emotions, both on the cushion and in our daily lives. We will explore teachings flowing from 2,500 years of Buddhist tradition, inspired by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s presentation of dharma to western students

Emotions are a natural and inevitable part of being human. Some (like fear and sadness) we view as “negative”; others (like hope and joy) we view as “positive,” but either way we don’t tend to experience them fully. Instead of encountering them in our bodies and minds with awareness, we are triggered by them and react in impulsive and neurotic ways. We may become depressed or anxious, euphoric or hyperactive, or just plain numb.  We may abuse thought, activities, or drugs to avoid our emotions, but avoidance comes with negative consequences. It’s not the emotions themselves that are the problem; it’s our inability to experience them directly, mindfully. When we do begin to experience them, we find our emotions are workable energies and relating to those energies is the dharma path.

WBC maintains a policy of making our programs affordable to all. Retreat scholarships are available to those with limited income. For more information on how to apply click here.



Days will consist of alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation; guided meditations, short dharma talks, readings focused on the techniques, and interviews with the teachers. The first half of the program will be held in silence until the closing bell in the evening; thereafter in silence until lunch-time. Meals will be served buffet-style and will be primarily vegetarian.  

The retreat will be led by John Baker, Jane Kolleeny, Gene Bobker, and Derek Kolleeny, all of whom are experienced dharma teachers, authorized by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the Kagyu-Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism (see the Westchester Buddhist Center website for bios).  As students of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, John, Jane, Gene, and Derek emphasize experiential Buddhism, which develops as meditation practice deepens, both on the meditation cushion and in one’s daily life. 

Westchester Buddhist Center was formed in early 2009 from the inspiration to share the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist and Shambhala teachings and meditation practices presented in the West by the Tibetan meditation master and scholar, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.





John Baker has been a student of Buddhism for more than 41 years. A close disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he co-founded and taught at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, serving as its CEO for the first three years of its existence, teaching there for five. He also co-founded and co-directed the Karma Dzong Meditation Center in Boulder for the first five years of its existence. He is the co-editor of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom and the author of numerous articles.

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Gene Bobker met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as a student at University of Colorado the summer of 1971. She attended the 1974 Seminary and became a meditation instructor in 1976. In the late seventies, she became a teacher at the New York Shambhala Center and also served as director of the center from 1977 to 1982.  In 1982, she staffed the Bedford Springs Seminary, and later served as Practice Department coordinator in New York. She has been teaching at Westchester Buddhist Center for six years. Gene is an educator in the Westchester public school system, and is a mother and grandmother.


Jane Kolleeny has been studying and practicing Buddhism since the early seventies, when her teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche arrived in Boulder, Colorado. A native Coloradan, she moved to New York in 1990 and taught classes at the New York Shambhala Center for many years, organizing and teaching at the Tuesday dharma gatherings for nine years. She serves as retreats and business development director at The Garrison Institute, producing over 100 retreats a year. 


Derek Kolleeny began his practice and study of Buddhism in 1976 and soon became a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, attending his first of many Naropa Institute summer sessions in 1977. He earned a B.A. from Harvard College in the Comparative Study of World Religions, focused on Buddhism, including study of Sanskrit and Tibetan languages. During a year off from college, Derek was the assistant coordinator of the six-month US tour of HH the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa in 1980 and attended the Vajradhatu Seminary and the Kalapa Assembly in 1981 at Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada.

Questions about the retreat? Contact us!

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