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. 


fall Highlights

Death, Dying, and Rebirth

Sunday September 10th  10am – 4pm.

Explore Death & Dying with Lama Yeshe.  Because we were born, we will eventually die. This program will cover topics including the dying process, why death is not permanent, what happens after death, and what can we do now to influence the process for the best possible outcome. It will be a continuation of the subject matter from the book Karma: What it Is, What It Isn’t, Why It Matters by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche.  Click below to listen to the audio recordings of the first two sessions of this teaching by Lama Yeshe held on March 19, 2017.  The program is from 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, September 10th at the Hay River Buddhist Meditation Center near Ridgeland, WI. There will be meditation instruction and a vegetarian potluck lunch.  Suggested Donation $25 but no one will be turned away if unable to pay.

Click here for audio of 2 previous talks on KARMA



Nyungne is the practice of 1000-armed Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The practice is very good for purification of one’s negative karma and the accumulation of merit. Developing and increasing one’s compassion for all sentient beings is the heart of this retreat.

November 4-20 for all 8 Nyungnes.
There is an option to do single or multiple Nyungnes.  Preference will be given to those signing up for all eight.
*Participants must have taken the vow of refuge.

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.  Please take advantage of this opportunity if you can.  We have no idea how many of these we will be able to offer in the future.

click here for more info on the Nyungne practice


Meditation: Taming the Mind, Unlocking the Heart

September 25-27 (Monday Wednesday) Christine Center in Willard, WI

Join Lama Yeshe for a residential retreat at the Christine Center.

The foundation practice the Buddha taught is meditation. It is a way to tame our minds so they behave better.

There is a big difference between being impulsive and spontaneous. Impulses have elements of selfishness, fear and habit; spontaneity comes from our inherent wisdom, love and compassion.

We start by increasing our ability to stay focused so we are distracted less by fear, wild thoughts, impulses and the chaos of daily life. This is achieved by meditating on an object, usually the breath.

We all have a noble heart full of wisdom, love, and compassion. Tonglen, a compassion-building techniques used with meditation, will help us realize these wonderful qualities.

Click here for registration & additional information.


Six Week Meditation Classes

Menomonie Market Food Co-op

September 14 through October 19
Six Week Meditation Classes
Held at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op

Learn to meditate or deepen your practice with Lama Yeshe, a fully ordained monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  Meditation practice helps develop clarity and stability of mind.  With this we are not as  distracted by fear, wild thoughts, and the chaos of daily life.  We become more aware of our habitual mental patterns and develop strategies for responding to situations with more patience and compassion.

 Lama Yeshe will lead two six week sessions in  Menomonie on Thursdays beginning September 14th.   One class will be held from 4 to 5 pm and the other will run from 7 to 8 pm. The classes will be held at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op located at 814 Main St. E.  Click below for on-line sign-up.

click here to sign up for Meditation Classes.


Tuesday Night Classes
Eau Claire Dharma Book Study

Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Eau Claire, WI

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  The Three Vehicles of Buddhist Practice by Thrangu Rinpoche.  There is a suggested donation of $25 a month, but no one will be turned away if unable to pay.


“Buddhism for Inmates”

Lama Yeshe in front of the Jackson Correctional Institution.

Lama Yeshe  teaches and offers meditation instruction two or three times per month at the prison,  Jackson Correctional Institution, where he spent eight years as a chaplain.   Closed teaching for inmates only.

Ongoing Sunday Schedule

The Hay River KTC has a regular Sunday Practice schedule with Lama Tsultrim Yeshe.  We alternate between Shamata (Calm Abiding Meditation) and the deity practices of White Tara and Chenrezig.

White Tara

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 108yeshe@gmail.com.

Our Sunday programs start at 10am.  On the Sundays when Lama Yeshe is in residence there is usually a talk or a book chat following from 11:30-12:30.   Lama Yeshe will present a series of teachings after practice this fall with a focus on deity practice.  He will cover why they are done and where they fit on the Buddhist path.  He will give practice instruction on both White Tara & Amitabha.  These are two of the deity practices done regularly at the center. Consult the calendar above for more specific information.

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

About 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.

Lama Yeshe 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.

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

Lama Tsultrim 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 108yeshe@gmail.com.


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).


Visit Us!

Visit us at Hay River Karma Thegsum Choling

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

Hay River Karma Thegsum Choling
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