Our Story

Wheel of Bliss: A poetic translation of the Sanskrit Chakrasamvara (चक्रसंवर तन्त्र, Tibetan: འཁོར་ལོ་བདེ་མཆོག, English (literal): Chakra “circle” or “wheel”; Samvara “union” or “collected together”).

Our era is marked by transition.

Technology and social trends have disrupted old religious and spiritual traditions. In the wake of this unpredictable environment, materialism and reductionism have been propped up as weak substitutes for connection to divinity. More than ever, many feel lost, and yearn for something deeper. There is a crisis of meaning, a sickness of spirit. The ultimate intent behind Wheel Of Bliss is to address this problem, but its genesis has even deeper roots.

It all started in 2004 with an event Mai Pham sponsored and organized in Miami for His Holiness The Dalai Lama, “World Peace Through Inner Peace”. Inspired by this event and the support of several High Lamas of Tibetan Buddhism, Mai started Chakrasamvara Center, Inc (CSC), a Tibetan Buddhist and spiritual center that operated in MIami Beach for over 18 years.

Throughout that time, CSC hosted a variety of High Lamas within Tibetan Buddhism and different spiritual traditions including yoga, qigong, Reiki, and more. Three times, CSC brought the Jade Buddha (the largest jade statue in the world) and hosted interfaith festivals in Miami that brought in thousands to join together in fellowship and prayer.

In late 2010, two CSC board members flew to Asheville, NC to find land to create a northern center. Initially, we intended for this new land to serve as a retreat space for our own sangha (community). Longer term, it could also serve as a central location.

A far cry from the hurricanes and flooding that characterize South Florida, Asheville and its surrounding mountains are a safe haven that would give a center staying power that could serve future generations of practitioners.

Enthralled with the beauty of Blue Ridge, as well as the deep spiritual connection of the Asheville community at large, the CSC board voted to purchase land that would serve as a retreat space for CSC in the North Carolina Mountains.

And so it was. In 2012, on behalf of CSC, they purchased the land in Hot Springs and utilized it as a retreat space for their own Sangha (community) as well as some select practitioners.

After running several retreats and witnessing the result in participants, we felt that we needed to share it with the community at large.

So, in 2016, we opened Wheel of Bliss. Since then, we’ve hosted hundreds of retreats. Wheel Of Bliss has now grown beyond our expectations, and as it has, our intent for all who step foot on our space has come more and more into focus

Mission

Wheel Of Bliss Retreat serves as a sacred backdrop for spiritual leaders to host retreats. While its origins are Tibetan Buddhist, the space is offered in fellowship, so long as the practice is focused on connecting participants to divinity. In alignment with Buddhist ethics, our intent is also to only host retreats that (1) do not engage in practices that bring harm to others and (2) do not engage in practices that bring harm to the natural world.

While many religious and spiritual traditions meet this criteria, some do not. Also, often the individual leader is the best measure of whether or not this criteria is hit.

In addition to alignment between retreat leaders and our space, our leadership is aligned with the land on multiple dimensions. Vows with divinities, guardians, ancestral powers, and local & elemental spirits are kept. Regular offerings are made to the different classes of beings by our own leadership as well as our retreat leaders. The intent is to create harmony among all classes of beings that occupy the space: above and below; form and formless; within and without.

The result of stepping into this spiritually rich environment is palpable. Many retreat-holders liken the result of this environment to a spiritual wind on the back of participants. Because of alignment on multiple planes, retreatants have a window to connect to divinity. Deep revelations about one’s path and purpose surface. Participants can then bring these revelations back to home and take action and positively impact themselves, their families and their communities

As we continue on our mission to continue to build on the sacredness of our space, holding this alignment is of the utmost importance.

Vision

Across Asia and Europe, there are many holy sites that have stood for centuries and even millenia. These places of pilgrimage are recognized as gateways to divinity. The mere act of stepping foot in these spaces can open a door to the miraculous.

Blue Ridge is a part of a range of mountains that are the oldest in the world. There is natural power in this space, and these mountains are already sacred.

Our vision is that this sacredness continues to grow and flourish. In doing so, our intent for all who step on our land is that a door to the divine opens up – and practitioners now and in the future benefit.

Giving Back

In creating a sacred space for retreatants, we believe that it is also our duty to be stewards of our 63 acres of land.

As of 2017, we began implementing programs to increase the health and vitality of the forests, waterways, and wildlife on our land. Bliss currently qualifies as a certified Wildlife Habitat under The National Wildlife Federation.

Additionally, our staff is working with local, state, and federal conservation programs as well as private consultants to create sanctuaries for endangered species, protect our forests from man made and natural disasters, and transition to 100% renewable, off-grid energy sources.