Wielding Manjushri’s Sword: The Wisdom of Emptiness

  • Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture
  • 19950 Kings Creek Road, Boulder Creek, CA, USA
  • Sep 12 - 15, 2019 (4 days)
  • Commuting - $288.00 Camping - $375.00 Women's Dorm - $495.00 Men's Dorm - $495.00 Women's Quad - $528.00 Men's Quad - $528.00 Private Room- Double bed - $681.00 Private Room- Twin Bed - $681.00 Private Cabin - $801.00

Event Highlights

  • Buddha identified wisdom realizing emptiness as the means to cut through the ignorance.
  • Without this understanding, we are bound into cyclical existence and stuck in our unenlightened state.
  • In this group meditation retreat, we will focus on the various techniques for contemplating the wisdom of emptiness, utilizing teachings from a number of great masters of the past as well as accomplished contemporary practitioners.

Schedule

-Morning Meditation
-Breakfast
-Two sessions of teachings with meditations and a tea break
-Lunch
-Break time for rest, hiking, yoga, personal time
-Teaching/ meditation sessions
-Dinner
-Evening Meditation

About This Event

Level

Intermediate and Above

Silence Level

Partial Silence

What is it?

In the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, the Buddha identified wisdom realizing emptiness as the means to cut through the ignorance. Without this understanding, we are bound into cyclical existence and stuck in our unenlightened state. While such stainless wisdom is said to be somewhat difficult to cultivate, masters of the Indian and Tibetan Madhyamika tradition, such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, and Lama Tsongkhapa, have left us a treasure of insightful texts and commentaries to aid us in this process.

In this group meditation retreat, we will focus on the various techniques for contemplating the wisdom of emptiness, utilizing teachings from a number of these great Madhyamika masters of the past as well as accomplished contemporary practitioners. In conjunction with guided meditations on emptiness, we will use the practices of Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga and A Meditation Upon Orange Manjushri to structure our meditation sessions.

In addition to guided meditation sessions, the retreat will also include teachings on emptiness and concentration, as well as brief commentary on the practices being used. No tantric empowerments are required to participate, although it will be ideal if one has studied this topic previously.

Suggested reading

Insight Into Emptiness by Khensur Jampa Tegchok

How to Realize Emptiness (formerly published as Realizing Emptiness) by Gen Lamrimpa

The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Introduction to Emptiness: Tsong-Kha-Pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path by Guy Newland

Additional Information

Please plan on arriving between 3:00 and 5:00 PM on the first day of the retreat

Please plan on departing approximately 2:00 PM on the last day of the retreat

Consider reviewing our accommodations

For more detailed information, please see our FAQ

If you are interested in serving as Course Liaison for this retreat, please apply here.

Fees (includes accommodation, 3 meals a day, and facility costs)

The base fees listed above reflect the true cost of hosting visitors and are higher as a result. If you are financially able, we encourage you to please pay these fees.  That said, we also offer subsidized fees designed to allow as many people as possible to attend. These fees are supported by generous contributions to Vajrapani Institute. You can access those fees by using a discount code that will be provided to you at registration checkout. The accommodations are the same for both options.

10% membership discounts are also applicable for members (please contact the Main Office)

Financial Aid/ Scholarships

We want to make retreat available to everyone. With this in mind, we will gladly work out a payment plan with you.If you need even more assistance, we offer several scholarships. Please note that the scholarship deadline is one month before retreat begins.

For detailed information on setting up a payment plan, please see Financial Aid: Payment Plans

To see if you’re eligible for a scholarship and how to apply for one, please see Financial Aid: Scholarships

If you have additional questions after reviewing the guidelines for payment plans and/or scholarships, please email the Office at (contact info blocked)

Teacher’s fees

Traditionally, spiritual teachings are considered priceless; remuneration of our teachers is not included in the fee information detailed on this page. Instead, we invite you to consider bringing a cash donation with you to express your gratitude for the teachings. Participants get a chance to present a cash offering to the teachers on the last day of the retreat and this is supplemented by a donation from Vajrapani Institute. Please note that we don’t offer a credit card option for teacher’s fees.

"What a special place this is! The energy and space you hold is beautiful!" - Angela L.

Venue Highlights

Located 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.

Accommodations

Our 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)

Amenities

  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Ceremony Space

Menu Types

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free

Menu/Cuisine

Vajrapani 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.

Directions

Located 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!

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
Get full details...

Reviews  
  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • Victor Quintanilla   October 21, 2019

      Retreat a Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture with Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Kampa

    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

      Beautiful Sacred Space

    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

      Peaceful and tranquil

    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.

  • Alison Harre   July 29, 2019

      So Rich

    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

      Peaceful place

    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

      Mindfulness, Selflessness and Compassion

    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

      Wonderful Place and People

    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

      Amazing Place for Retreat

    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

      Wonderful Hosts and Environment

    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.

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Recenter, Rebalance, Renew..... I cannot provide nurture and wisdom to the people I love without the opportunity to fill up my own cup. Diane
 

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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