9 Month Compassion Project – Sept 2018-May 2019

The 3 Doors Compassion Project teaches simple, accessible meditation practices to healthcare professionals, educators, therapists, and those who wish to empower their capacity to serve others and experience the benefits of self-compassion. In this 9-month program held in the Philadelphia, PA area, we will explore how The 3 Doors meditation practices of body, speech, and mind can support personal transformation and the emergence of positive qualities in relation to self, family, and community. Through personal reflection and meditation, you will develop skills to prevent burnout and restore resilience.  This program will support you to:

  • Renew energy and reduce stress levels 
  • Respond to others from a place of presence and compassion
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Recognize and deeply experience everyday moments of joy
  • Process difficult or painful situations with more ease 
  • Learn ancient Tibetan meditation practices from the Dzogchen tradition of Bon Buddhism, taught in a way that is relevant and accessible to all.

Program Details: Currently in Session

TEACHERS: Marcy Vaughn and Gabriel Rocco

LOCATION: Contemplative Arts Studio, Bryn Mawr, PA.

DATES/TIMES: September 2018-May 2019

  • In-Person Teachings are held once a month on Mondays at the Contemplative Arts Studio in Bryn Mawr from 9:00 am-4:30 pm EST. Lunch is included.
    Mondays in 2018: September 17, 
    October 22,  November 12, and December 10.
    Mondays in 2019: January 28, February 25, March 25, April 22, and May 20.
  • Full Day Practice Retreat on Sunday, March 24, 2018.
  • Zoom Video Small Group Practice and Discussion Sessions meet twice a month for 1.5 hrs. Choose times that are convenient for you, one with Marcy and one with Gabriel. Approximately 8 people per group.
  • Individual Mentoring in February, March, and April with Marcy or Gabriel for three 1 hour sessions.
  • LIVE Online Zoom Practice Sessions with all current and past Compassion Project participants, let by Marcy and Gabriel.
    • November 7, 2018 – 12 to 1:30 p.m. EST
    • December 5, 2018 – 12 to 1:30 p.m. EST

COST:  $230 monthly tuition plus an initial $50 application fee. Please contact chelsea@the3doors.org to inquire about our scholarship support.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Health care professionals, therapists, educators, caregivers and others who are motivated by compassion. Previous meditation experience is beneficial, but not required.

PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP: A “Secret Facebook Group” monitored by the teachers provides the opportunity for program participants to share experiences, access recordings of the sessions, and ask questions. Information is kept strictly confidential among participants and is not shared with others.

REQUIRED CLASS MATERIALS:  Readings from sections of 4 books by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche available on Amazon or at the Studio, approximate total cost $60.00. Awakening the Luminous Mind>Awakening the Sacred Body>Tibetan Sound Healing>, Spontaneous Creativity: Meditations for Manifesting Your Positive Qualities.

RECORDED TEACHINGS: Mondays’ sessions will be recorded and the audio made available as a practice support for participants.

Note: Space is limited to 28 and acceptance is by application. You will receive your acceptance into the program and a decision regarding financial aid on a rolling admissions basis, so it is to your advantage to complete your application and request for aid as soon as possible.

If you have questions, please contact chelsea@the3doors.org.


Because I’ve spent most of my life doing and not necessarily “being”, this is a seismic shift in my approach to living – and the benefits are profound… Being able to just be with the things that I struggle with is another level of self-care that I haven’t ever experienced before.

Tami B. - Surgeon

Because my own practice is deepening, it comes into how I teach. Last weekend I did a workshop on cultivating compassion and I could really feel the depth of my own practice supporting how I was able to hold the space.

Aleeze M. - Assoc. Director Mindfulness Institute

I’ve gained more understanding in relationships with my clients and a lot more compassion for the nurses and nursing aides I work with. I’m able to see what they have to deal with and understand a lot better where they’re coming from.

Ted J. - Music Therapist

I find that there is a settling that is noticeable after a few months in the 3 Doors. I am able to trust that just being there is helpful, without the pressure to make the right interpretation and say the right thing. Something is different in me. It is more enjoyable.

Rebecca E. - Psychologist - Director of Clinical Training

Program Agenda

Month one introduces the three doors of body, speech, and mind: stillness, silence, and spaciousness. Through drawing your attention inward and resting your attention on these doors you can find a sense of inner refuge that has qualities of spaciousness, awareness, and warmth. Becoming familiar with this refuge is the foundation of our training, and your capacity to abide within it is deepened and strengthened in all subsequent retreats. We introduce the informal practice of the Three Precious Pills. Recommended reading is the first half of Awakening the Luminous Mind.

Month two builds on the foundation of inner refuge and focuses on the fundamental ways our recognition of the inner refuge is obscured: through aversion, attachment, and ignorance. We reflect on our awareness of these patterns in our life and introduce the practice of the Nine Breathings of Purification (practice of channels and winds) to release these patterns and support a relationship with the sacred body. The source book for these teachings is the first section of Tenzin Wangyal’s Awakening the Sacred Body.

Month three introduces the chakra system of the body and continues to explore the principle of inner winds that hold habitual patterns and obscure our recognition of our natural mind, source of compassion and positive qualities. Through the practice of Tsa Lung (yogas of breath and movement) we increase our awareness of the subtle energy centers in order to clear habitual patterns and connect to openness, supporting us to be able to live life and respond to others in a more authentic way. The source book: Awakening the Sacred Body.

Month four explores the dimension of speech. We engage the power of sound and silence through the meditation practice of the Five Warrior Syllables. We will pay particular attention to the way we experience sound to help clear obstacles that prevent us from being fully present and to support the emergence of positive qualities such as the warmth of well-being and compassion for self and others. The book Tibetan Sound Healing will be referenced.

Month five focuses on personal reflection and identifying patterns of habitual response and obstacles to compassion in relation to oneself. We discuss pain body/identity, pain speech, and pain mind. We explore becoming conscious of these limiting experiences of self and hosting these patterns while abiding in open awareness and through using the nine breathings, tsa lung, and the five warrior syllable practices. We explore how pain becomes our path to compassion, and particularly self-compassion. One important aspect of your journey in the Compassion Project is the completion of nine transformations, three in each of three areas of your life: your relationship to yourself, your relationships with family and close friends, and your relationship to your professional life and community. In retreat number five, we focus on the first area, relation to self. Throughout the next month, using formal and informal practices of the 3 Doors methods, you will be asked to articulate the progression of your practice, reflecting on your obstacles to compassion and any shifts or changes you experience as you bring challenges into practice. We provide a four-step template for this process.

Month six increases familiarity with the transformative power of our practices. We now focus on being present to family pain and challenges in our close relationships. We reflect on the presence or absence of compassion in those relationships, hosting the collective relationship and family pain body as it lives in us. As we connect with its dissolution, we open to the warmth that emerges. This month we identify three pain identities in this area, bring them to practice, and articulate the process through the four-step template.

In Month seven, we focus our reflection and practice on our professional lives and on institutional and societal pain as it lives in us. We look at our relationship to organizations, to media, to information about the collective, and to the visions that we carry of this larger sense of “other.” We recognize our pain body, speech, and mind and practice with this pain as an opportunity or door, exploring how to bring pain to the path and to experience compassion. This month we identify three pain identities in this area of work and society, bring them to practice, and articulate the process through the four-step template.

Sunday, March 24, 2019 is a day of group retreat consisting of three 3-hour sessions of practice throughout the day, deepening our relationship with the practices. The meditation sessions will be guided and there will be opportunity to share experiences that come up. Meditation Intensive Schedule: 7 am – 10 am; 10:30 am – 1:30 pm 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm EST. (Two of the three sessions are encouraged/required; attending an additional session is optional.)

In month eight, we articulate the process of hosting the pain body, speech and mind as we encounter this within our relation to self, family, or institution or group. Choosing one pain identity to stay with for this class, we engage the practice of stillness, silence, and spaciousness to experience the pain and allow it fully. We acknowledge the support of group practice to host our pain with openness, awareness, and warmth, and to be present to its dissolution, recognizing a fresh and new space once occupied by pain. It is the recognition of openness—wisdom—which allows for the emergence of the healing quality—compassion. We explore the power of intention in our meditation practice as we engage the phrase: “In liberating my own being may I benefit others.”

On the ninth and final month, we review the principles of the path of The 3 Doors Compassion Project. We review the basic concepts of the three doors, what the doors access in terms of the inner refuge, what is pain identity, pain speech, and pain imagination, and how pain becomes the path to liberation. We give opportunity to express the fruits of our experiences through our nine month journey. We end by dedicating the merits of our time together, including loved ones and colleagues who are injured, ill, oppressed or forgotten, or who have recently died by bringing them to mind and hosting them in our practice in the warmth of compassion.

Program Commitments

The 3 Doors Compassion Project is a nine-month engagement of focus and energy. You will be invited to make the following commitments:

  • Attend a day-long retreat one Monday each month for nine months, from 9:00-4:30 at the Contemplative Arts Studio.
  • Attend two 1.5 hour interactive small group sessions each month, one with Marcy and one with Gabriel. They provide an opportunity for meditation practice, for sharing experiences, for personal attention, and to ask any questions about the practice that may arise. You may choose among several options to find a time convenient for you.
  • Attend the full day meditation intensive on Sunday, March 24.
  • Participate in three individual mentoring sessions, one per month in February, March, and April with Marcy or Gabriel.
  • Maintain a daily 3 Doors meditation practice and keep a [private] practice journal.
  • Document and work with nine challenges, three in each of three areas of your life: your relationship to yourself, your relationships with family and close friends, and your relationship to your professional life and community.
  • Read sections of the four source books: Awakening the Luminous Mind; Awakening the Sacred Body; Tibetan Sound Healing; Spontaneous Creativity: Meditations for Manifesting Your Positive Qualities.

Teacher Bios

Gabriel Rocco
Gabriel RoccoSenior Teacher
Gabriel Rocco has studied and practiced under the guidance of Tenzin Wangyal for twenty years. Gabriel earned his master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University. His personal meditation practice benefits from intimate study with leading meditation masters, spiritual teachers, and healing professionals from a diversity of healing traditions. In addition to being a Senior Teacher in the 3 Doors Academy, Gabriel is a senior instructor for the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Program for Mindfulness where he teaches Mindfulness-based Stress Management programs, advanced classes in meditation, and leads group retreats. He also served as the Mind Body Specialist at The Wellness Community of Philadelphia for twenty years, where he facilitated programs to support cancer patients and caregivers through the integration of mind, body, and spirit.
Marcy Vaughn
Marcy VaughnSenior Teacher
Marcy Vaughn has been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism for more than forty years and is a senior student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Marcy earned her master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University, where she also taught and performed in a dance ensemble. She has a private therapy practice in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and is co-founder of Contemplative Arts Studio; her husband Gabriel Rocco is the other co-founder. Marcy works in close collaboration with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and has edited his books Tibetan Sound Healing; Awakening the Sacred Body; Awakening the Luminous Mind; and Spontaneous Creativity: Meditations for Manifesting Your Positive Qualities. She is a Senior Teacher in The 3 Doors Academy and teaches throughout the US, Mexico, and Europe for Ligmincha International.