Hay River KTC

Visitor’s Guide

The Hay River KTC Meditation Center loves to welcome new visitors – it’s an important part of our broader mission to be an open and harmonious place for people to make contact with the Dharma.

Wondering what we do at Hay River KTC or when you can visit?

Best Times to Visit:

10 a.m. Sundays – Meditation or Chanting, depending on the week

11:00 a.m. Sundays – usually a teaching by Lama Yeshe. Check the calendar to confirm there is a teaching when you want to come.

What to Wear:

Comfortable clothing that is appropriate for sitting cross-legged on cushions. Short-shorts, short skirts and tank tops are discouraged. Note: We also have chairs for sitting, so feel free to use them during your visit!

Where we are located:

The Hay River KTC Meditation Center is located in Ridgeleand, Wisconsin.    Directions here.


The Hay River KTC Meditation Center was organized in 1997 as an affiliate center of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, KTD (Woodstock, NY). Our purpose is to make available to all who are interested the teachings and practices of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Our main teachers are His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa and Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. We are located in rural west central Wisconsin just outside of Ridgeland.

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, right, with translator Jigme.

The property and buildings use environmental best practices and woodland management guidelines in line with the guidance of His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa – read about the green initiatives here.

One of the best ways to support our mission is to become a member!



Click on each of the calendar boxes for detailed descriptions of events. Note: Calendar displays a 24-hour time system (“19:00” is 7:00pm) but the descriptions follow standard “AM” and “PM”.


Spring Highlights

Tuesday Night Classes
Eau Claire Dharma Book Study

The Eau Claire book class with Lama Yeshe continues. The Tuesday night classes are held in the lower level of the UU Congregational Building located at 421 Farwell Street in Eau Claire. The text is “Excellent in the Beginning” by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. There is a monthly, suggested donation of $25, but no one will be turned away due to an inability to pay.

Lama Yeshe in front of the Jackson Correctional Institution.

March 7 and 14, April 7, 14, and 25
“Buddhism for Inmates”

March 25
 “Ease Your Mind While You’re Doing Time”

Lama Yeshe goes into the prison where he used to work, Jackson Correctional Institution, for two upcoming programs: the first is a one-hour program of half meditation and half teaching called “Buddhism for Inmates,” and on March 25, Lama Yeshe will give a program called “Ease Your Mind While You Are Doing Time” that goes from 9am-4pm. Closed teaching for inmates only.

March 9 through April 13
Menomonie Meditation Series (filled)

Lama Yeshe will begin a six week meditation class on Thursday nights in Menomonie, WI. The class will run from March 9 through April 13, 7-8 PM. The class will be held at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op located at 814 Main St. E. You may register through e Co-op’s website at www.mmfc.coop.

May 8 through 10 (Monday – Wednesday)
Forgiveness and Emotional Healing

Lama Yeshe will present a program on Forgiveness and Emotional Healing at the Christine Center near Willard, Wisconsin. Details here.

May 26th through June 4.
Spring Nyungne

Poster and information for the Spring Quadruple Nyungne here.

Ongoing Sunday Schedule

The Hay River KTC has a regular Sunday Practice schedule with Lama Tsultrim Yeshe, when Lama is not traveling.

Lama Yeshe is available for meditation instruction and personal consultation.  This can be set up with him personally; the Lama can be reached at (715) 949-1407 by phone, or at yeshe@chibardun.net.

Our Sunday programs start at 10am whether Lama Yeshe is in residence or travelling.  (Lama Tsultrim Yeshe regularly travels to teaching engagements elsewhere in the United States.)

On the Sundays when Lama Yeshe is in residence, there is usually a talk or a book chat following from 11:30-12:30.  The current book is Dharma Paths by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche.

Hay River KTC is also one of the few Dharma Centers in the US that offers the Nyungne fasting and purification practice on a regular basis.  This is entirely due to Lama Tsultrim Yeshe, who makes this amazing practice available to us.

More about the Nyungne practice at Hay River KTC here.

Lama Tsultrim Yeshe

Lama Tsultrim Yeshe (John Samuelson) has been a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche since 1989. He completed the first three-year retreat at Karme Ling Under the direction of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche earning the title “Retreat Lama.” He took novice monk vows in 1994 from Tai Situ Rinpoche and fully ordained monastic vows in 2008 from Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche.

Lama Tsultrim Yeshe, second from left, with Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, center, and other Lamas with who also did three-year seclusive retreats at Karme Ling Retreat Center in upstate New York. Location of the photo: Namo Buddha, in Nepal.

Lama Yeshe is the resident Lama at the Hay River Karma Thegsum Choling located in Western Wisconsin. He travels throughout the country to other Buddhist centers to teach and lead retreats, as well as holistic learning centers like the Omega Institute.
He worked for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections for 8 years as a prison Chaplain. He continues to do volunteer work in the prison teaching meditation, Buddhism and giving guidance. He has gained valuable experience working with inmates in a medium security prison. Many of them having difficult and abusive childhoods, anger management problems, and high levels of anxiety and stress.

He has a BS degree in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma and did graduate work in Sociology at the University of Minnesota. He taught Sociology 4 years at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

He has also worked doing construction, building new houses and remodeling, and before that, furniture reupholstery. He likes woodworking, building and working with his hands. The Hay River KTC is in a stone building he built, with some help from friends, in 1977 as a shop. It was later remodeled, with the help of volunteers from the center, and converted into its present form.

He has lived at his present location, a farmstead built in the 1890’s, near Ridgeland Wisconsin since 1971.


About the video
Lama Yeshe recently presented a weekend program at the Gainesville KTC on The healing Power of Forgiveness, offered in its entirety here.

This series was inspired by his work as a prison chaplain where he would often hear inmates say “I wish I could forgive myself” or “I wish my family would forgive me.” What the inmates usually left out was forgiving those that had hurt them, their enemies.

These three types of forgiveness will be covered during the program: forgiving yourself, having those you have hurt forgive you, and forgiving those toward whom you have anger and resentment.

The sessions include teachings, meditation, and discussion.

The four meditation sessions are Tong Len practice: loving yourself, forgiving yourself, working with people you want to forgive you, forgiving people who have harmed you.


Emotional Healing: A Buddhist Perspective

About the video

Lama Yeshe took part in a program in Newtown, Connecticut in March of 2013: Sandy Hook Promise: Violence, Loss and Emotional Healing: A Buddhist Perspective at Congregation Adath Israel.

The panel consisted of Lama Yeshe, David Kaczynski (brother of the Unabomber), James Knoll IV (forensic psychiatrist) and Lama Kathy Wesley (3-year retreatant).



I went to Ecuador to teach the Buddhadharma. In Cuenca it looked like they were welcoming me with this sign. It is Spanish for impermanence; one of the basic teachings of the Buddha. All physical things change, including our bodies. All experience changes too. The good times don’t last, neither do the bad times. It …

Visit Us!

Hay River Karma Thegsum Choling

N14085 Ct. Rd. V V Ridgeland, WI 54763   Phone: 715-949-1407