Feb 6 - 9, 2020 (4 days)
Feb 27 - Mar 1, 2020 (4 days)
Apr 9 - 12, 2020 (4 days)
Apr 16 - 19, 2020 (4 days)
May 7 - 10, 2020 (4 days)
About This Center
We help to transform hearts and minds to achieve their highest potential for the benefit of all through contemplative retreat!
As a spiritual community serving the needs of retreaters in all traditions, we are nurtured by the energy of our Tibetan Buddhist founder Lama Thubten Yeshe and our spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche, by our teachers and holy objects, and by the stillness of the California redwood forest.
"Something deeply healing happens when I am able to slow down and connect with the elements of nature and the sanity of mind." Retreat Guest
Venue HighlightsLocated off the grid in a remote forest location within the Santa Cruz Mountains our contemplative retreat center offers private retreat cabins and group meditation retreats . Everyone comments about how quiet and peaceful it is once they arrive and how the mind naturally settles. We have a beautiful Meeting/Meditation Hall that’s been blessed by 30 years of spiritual practice. Beautiful walking trails around the land and a longer hike with views of the Monterey Bay. We are also blessed with a number of stupas on the land. The main one is situated within close proximity to the main building. The others are up on Lama’s Ridge where the private cabins are located. Stupas are symbolic of the unlimited mind of all enlightened beings. Shakyamuni Buddha taught that performing spiritual practices at a stupa would have the same effect as making offerings to the Buddha himself.
AccommodationsOur main lodge building contains:
Women's Dormitory with 14 beds
Men's Dormitory with 12 beds
Two Semi-Private Dorms with 4 beds each
Four Private Rooms with a double bed each
One Private Room with a single bed
Two shared women's and men's bathrooms
We also have seven private cabins situated on a beautiful ridge above the Lodge. There is a shared private indoor bathhouse as well as outdoor showers with a fabulous view of the surrounding mountains. The private cabins have single beds and can be set up for double occupancy with the addition of a cot bed (for our group retreat participants only).
Lastly we have 36 camp sites around the land for you to bring your own tent to. Size of sites vary and can accommodate a 2-4 person tent. (tents are not provided and camping is only allowed while attending a group retreat)
- Free Parking
- Ceremony Space
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
Menu/CuisineVajrapani Institute is renowned for the deliciousness of its vegetarian cooking. Our meals are fully vegetarian and nutritionally balanced to offer you a supportive retreat experience. We can accommodate gluten, dairy, and soy allergies, as well as those on a vegan diet. We also have hot tea, pour-over coffee, and fresh fruit available at all times.
Breakfast: Includes hot porridge, stewed fruit, granola, yogurt, boiled eggs, and toast.
Lunch: The largest meal of the day, includes a grain, vegetable dishes, vegetarian protein, and salad.
Dinner: A lite meal with soup, salad, cheese, hummus, bread, and gluten-free crackers.
DirectionsLocated in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Boulder Creek, CA at the end of a five-mile dirt road on the border of Castle Rock State Park. While secluded, we are relatively close to the San Jose and San Francisco airports. About an hour to an hour and a half drive respectively.
If you are using a navigation system in your car or on your phone we recommend inputting the address of one of our local businesses, The Mountain Store at 125 Pool Drive in Boulder Creek CA 95006. Once your navigation system takes you there, you will drive less than a quarter of a mile on Pool Drive, turn left on Kings Creek Road, and follow Kings Creek Road for 5 miles. You should see occasional signs that let you know the distance left to travel and some prayer flags hanging over the road to let you know you are on the right path!
ReviewsWrite a review - tell others about your experience.
Nicole Zito January 17, 2020
My visit to Vajrapani for the New Year's Vajrasattva retreat was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Everything was wonderful, the retreat leader, Elaine was very skillful in her teaching method and had a very practical approach of sharing the Dharma. The location of Vajrapani was very conducive for retreat, very peaceful and vast, off the beaten path, the land and trails were beautiful. The women's dorm was very comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food was amazing. I would definitely recommend a visit to Vajrapani for a group retreat or individual.
Ali Pef January 08, 2020
This retreat was truly special and transformational. There is a prominent energy shift when you come into the Vajrapani institute grounds. I felt charged with bliss and seriously relaxed. The staff are warm and welcoming and the food was really delicious based on wonderful recipes and made with the freshest ingredients. I had a wonderful time meditating at the stupa's and hiking the peace trail. Elaine, who was teaching the retreat made the mantras and prayers very understandable and her approach emphasized how important it was to focus on visualisation as well as reciting the mantra. After this retreat, I have a better understanding of the purpose of the Varjassatva purification practice and how to build on my own practice. Practising sitting, walking meditation and prostrations I was able to attain a sense of inner peace and blissfulness through the period of the course and saw positive changes in myself and when interacting with others when I left the retreat. Venerable Gyatso, who was assisting with teaching the course explained the translations of the mantras and read us stories about Buddha, which also helped understand the practice better. This retreat impacted me deeply and I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the New Year!! I am so grateful to Elaine, Vajrapani and everyone who made this retreat possible!!
Eliza Hannah January 06, 2020
This is an exceptionally beautiful, peaceful place in the redwood mountains. The retreat leader managed to adeptly address the various needs of a group with varied levels of experience so that everyone felt included and nurtured. Great community feeling! Staff is organized and attentive and food is fantastic.
Tal Abbady January 05, 2020
I just finished five-day Vajrassatva retreat at Vajrapani Institute, under the guidance of Elaine Jackson. It was a remarkable, transformative time. I've come away with a deep sense of renewal and gratitude for the existence of such a facility, its staff, and to Elaine for her profound teachings. Vajrapani is situated in a stunning, wooded area in the mountains - and its purpose is to facilitate the spiritual experience of its guests and affiliates. This was evident in the comfortable lodgings (I stayed in the Women's Dorm), the delicious vegetarian meals, the kindness of staff and the dharma teachings I received there. I feel so fortunate for my time at Vajrapani and highly recommend it to anyone seeking to disconnect and look within - whether in group retreats where you'll meet wonderful people or on solitary retreat. It's a precious gift.
Kyra Wiens January 02, 2020
Grateful to have spent five days in group retreat under the guidance of Elaine Jackson. Vajrapani is both simple enough to allow clear practice, while also catering to every retreater’s need for a comfortable and nurtured experience. Teacher Elaine is truly gifted.
Henry Cleveland January 02, 2020
Private stand alone cabins in the woods. Silent ridge. Rooms spacious enough for yoga practice. comfortable warm, plenty of windows. each has a deck looking onto hillside. Prepared food delivered daily plus cereals and stocked refrigerator available 24/7. Soul warming spiritual aura everywhere. Buddhist temple and sanctuary available. 3rd private retreat there. been there 5 other times in group retreats.
James D. Arena January 01, 2020
This is my 20th year at Christmas retreat. I've seen so many changes in environment and staff, but one thing is the same; the incredible love that the staff always emminate. That's why I come back every year. The Buddha spirit is strong.
Andre Jackson December 17, 2019
I loved the retreat center and my overall experience while I was there at Vajrapani. I wanted and needed a quiet place to reflect, have a practice without external obligations and to kind of reset; I needed time for my going to unravel and allow my head space to be in the moment and to be in a state of complete surrender. I was however a little dismayed by the road condition getting to the center and can only assume that it's very expensive to even gravel it, but it may something to address. Overall, my experience was excellent, i loved Kai's energy and the food was delicious.
Sharon Parker December 17, 2019
I recently attended a meditation retreat at Vajrapani. I found the accommodations to be very comfortable, the setting magnificent, the teacher very knowledgeable and approachable, the material "enlightening".... and the food divine. The staff was warm and welcoming. The entire retreat experience was memorable. I am looking forward to attending additional retreats in the future.
Naomi Tzril Saks December 08, 2019
From the kindness showed to me at drop off, to the exquisite simple perfection of the well appointed cabin, to the lovingly prepared meals delivered nearby each day and most importantly, the deep solitude, my week-long silent personal retreat was beyond-words sublime. The beautiful Vajrapani staff and community have manifested a sanctuary to remember the essential nature of our being. Dear all, I am profoundly grateful for the love and exquisite care that you and consciousness have poured into this sanctuary and land. Thank you, thank you, thank you. With love, Naomi
James Corbett November 27, 2019
I enjoy getting away for a few days at least once a year at one of Vajrapani's retreat cabins to let my mind quiet down and experience the joy of pure awareness.
Losang Tendrol November 04, 2019
I attended the Chenrezig initiation and teachings given by Khensur Rinpoche Losang Jampa and the one week compassion meditation retreat led by Elaine Jackson. Both retreats were unique in the depth of knowledge and level of practice that they offered. Vajrapani offers authentic Buddhist teachings in a serene, low key, sacred space. The Center is professionally managed and the vegetarian food is superb.
Michelle Nguyen October 29, 2019
Stayed in a ridge cabin at Vajrapani for a retreat. Cabin had beautiful views and center is in the center of redwood forests. There are amazing hiking trails, and the course itself was perfectly run. Recommend without reservations
Nadezhda Wein-Duffy October 25, 2019
I am a repeat retreater at Vajrapani Institute and always enjoy my time there. The food is healthy and flavorful, the setting is beautiful and I always feel the staff do their best to thoughtfully design and support beneficial retreats. All the teachers that I have studied with there were impeccable. I would highly recommend this retreat center to anyone with an interest in Buddhist retreats.
Victor Quintanilla October 21, 2019
I am so incredibly grateful for this precious jewel of the Vajrapani Institute, the magnificent and profound teachings of Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche, and the kindness of the community. I would highly recommend the Vajrapani Institute to anyone seeking to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism, particularly those seeking to follow in the footsteps and teachings of the Dalai Lama.
Bill Gimbel September 09, 2019
Just spent a week in group retreat and fell into the seduction of the land, facilities, and people that create of the three kayas of Vajrapani Institute.
David B August 19, 2019
I camped in a tent, they have amazing camping spots in the redwoods. The main building with cafeteria, bookstore, library, and prayer room. The library was one of my favorite places, to read after the meditation and teaching sessions at night. They have lots of tea available at all times.
Anonymous July 29, 2019
I felt cared for and supported by both the Staff and the Land. Attending Family Camp has been one of my best decisions as a mother. Thank you!!!!
Michelle Nguyen July 07, 2019
Rejoice that there is a place like Vajrapani in these times. Imagine a place where the purpose is entirely to help all sentient beings and to promote and support education and wisdom. I just came back from a calm abiding retreat here and cannot say enough how wonderful the experience was. The institute is situated in a redwood forest adjacent to Castle Rock- the setting was so beautiful and peaceful. When not in sessions, I was able to take day hikes which were themselves worth the entire stay. Many thanks to Steve and Wanda who were so lovely.
Leopoldo F Villela July 02, 2019
This retreat or exploration as Glen called quoting Alan Wallace, was excellent. Glen methodical, sequential and easy way to present these topics was wonderful, congruent and engaging. His competency with the material is superb and wide. The meditation part adds an experiential component that is moving and deep. I am thankful for his knowledge and humanity.
Joel Zighelboim July 01, 2019
I attended a 4 day retreat here and found it to be a wonderful, peaceful, beautiful nurturing environment, including the natural location, the facilities and the people involved. All facilities functioned well, including many resources such as library and hot drinks, the meals were fresh, healthy and provided with great spirit. Highly recommend this institute for retreat.
Jennifer Kim July 01, 2019
Their spiritual program is fantastic ... very authentic lineage of Buddhism with knowledgable, caring teachers. Love their land and food as well. The whole place is designed to help foster inner awakening.
Louis Buchetto June 17, 2019
I've just returned from a four-day retreat at Varrapaini; this was my first visit there. From the gracious reception to the warm and appreciative good-byes intention of caring for each other was deeply felt, and the land holds special energy in and of itself. Much Gratitude.