thupten phuntsok
  • GilChrist Retreat Center
  • Retreat
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Southwest Michigan
  • Spiritual Formation

Explore inner peace through meditation during this retreat at GilChrist Retreat Center. You will learn:

  • what is meditation and how to meditate
  • tools to establish a sustained practice
  • bridging the gap between practice and life
  • meditation as a means to connect with yourself and others
  • relationship to mindfulness

About Thupten Phuntsok: A Life Devoted to Buddhism and Meditation

Thupten Phuntsok's journey into Buddhism began over 30 years ago. Starting under the guidance of Kyongla Rato Rinpoche, he later found his main teacher, Sermey Kensur Rinpoche Geshe Lobsang Tharchin, in 1991. Under Sermey Kensur Rinpoche's tutelage, he immersed himself in the Path, both through formal studies at Sera Mey Monastic University and attending teachings by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Born in Haiti and now residing in New York, Thupten Phuntsok's formal education includes a marketing degree from CUNY. His Buddhist studies, however, extend beyond traditional institutions. He received his novice vows in 1993 under Sermey Kensur Rinpoche and continues to be a devoted student of the Dalai Lama.

For over 20 years, Thupten Phuntsok has shared his knowledge and practice through teaching Buddhist philosophy and meditation. He currently conducts classes in Connecticut, Staten Island, and Manhattan, while also traveling internationally to share his wisdom. Balancing his teaching with social responsibility, he serves as the IT Manager for a non-profit organization supporting micro-entrepreneurs.

Retreat Schedule (subject to change)


  • Welcome and Registration: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
  • Orientation: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
  • Guided meditation: 7:00 - 7:45 p.m.
  • Dinner: 7:45 - 8:30 p.m.
  • Dharma talk about the need for meditation: 9:30 p.m.
  • Return to bed: 10:00 p.m.


  • Morning meditation: 6:30 - 7:30 a.m.
  • Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
  • Dharma talk about meditation process and practice 8:30 -10:30 a.m. (with breaks)
  • Tea break discussion: 10:30 -11:00 a.m.
  • Meditation: 11:00 a.m. - noon
  • Lunch: noon - 2:00 p.m. (preparation, setting up, eating, and cleaning up)
  • Break: 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Dharma talk about the relationship between practice and everyday life: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • Tea break discussion: 4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
  • Walking meditation: 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Dinner prep work and dinner with breaks: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
  • Dharma talk about the relationship between meditation and connecting with the world: 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Meditation: 9:00 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Return to bed: 10:00 p.m.


  • Morning meditation: 6:30 - 7:30 a.m.
  • Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
  • Dharma talk about meditation and mindfulness: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. (with breaks)
  • Tea break and discussion: 10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
  • Meditation: 11:00 a.m.- noon
  • Lunch: noon - 1:00 p.m. (preparation, setting up, eating and cleaning up)
  • Open discussion with Phuntsok: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
  • Farewell meditation: 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Registration and Lodging

We strongly encourage service from participants in cleaning, cooking, and other tasks. Saturday night dinner will be made by all participants and Thupten Phuntsok. 

If you want to donate to make this retreat affordable for other participants, don't hesitate to contact us.

Total cost: $540

  • Lodging at GilChrist: $60/night/person (link) (total: $120)
  • Communal area charge: $20/day/person (total: $60)
  • Suggested donation for Thupten Phuntsok ($200)
  • Food ($160/person)

*Minimal financial assistance is available 

To register for this retreat, fill out this form. Harish Ganesh will get back to you about the next steps, payments, and other questions. 

Participants are encouraged to make lodging arrangements at Gilchrist Retreat Center. Once you have registered for the retreat, contact GilChrist to reserve your cabin using the online registration form or by calling the main office at (269) 244-1130 with any questions about lodging. The lodging fee will be paid separately from the program fee, payable by cash or check at the end of the retreat.

Questions about the program?

Email Thupten Phuntsok here

Email Harish Ganesh here


GilChrist retreat center logo with white pine sprig

GilChrist is the public retreat center of the Fetzer Institute. We support the Institute’s mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world by preserving a contemplative environment for healing self, society, and the natural world. We warmly welcome both groups and individuals and people of all faiths and affiliations.


GilChrist Retreat Center

Three Rivers , MI 56265 Day Rd