Deepening Your Practice
- Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture
- 19950 Kings Creek Road, Boulder Creek, CA, USA
- Aug 18 - 25, 2019 (8 days)
- Camping - $831.00 Women's Dorm - $1,097.00 Men's Dorm - $1,097.00 Women's Quad - $1,170.00 Men's Quad - $1,170.00 Private Room- Full bed - $1,510.00 Private Room- Twin Bed - $1,510.00 Private Cabin - $1,776.00
- -Join us in taking an expedition into our minds through the power of teachings, meditations, discussions, and silence.
- -When our minds are relaxed and focused, through meditation, grace arises in us as love, compassion, and all the other noble qualities of our awakened humanity.
- -When we deepen our practice, it becomes an integral part of our life.
- -Develop an open-hearted awareness of whatever is arising in the present moment.
-Two sessions of teachings / meditations and a tea break
-Break time for rest, hiking, yoga, personal time
-Teaching / meditation sessions
About This Event
This retreat can be combined with the Introduction to Meditation retreat that precedes it. We encourage you to come for both and make it an immersive ten-day experience.
What is it?
Do you have a meditation practice? How’s it going? Meditation is supposed to be easy, right? Sit. Relax. Breathe. Watch your mind. Then what?
Maybe you have a consistent meditation practice, but you still long for the peace of “calm abiding,” because you find that your experience in meditation is more like listening to four different radio stations simultaneously. Rather than peace, you find chaos.
Stepping away from the busyness of your life for a few days, cultivating calm-abiding (Samadhi) and insight (Vipassana), you may find a radio station playing something worth hearing. What a relief! To establish an enduring practice, one that will actually lead to lasting happiness, requires sustained effort. When we deepen our practice, it becomes an integral part of our life. We can all use a boost in our practice from time to time.
The real purpose of meditation is to gently tame our mind in order to discover our true nature, to live as harmonious human beings, as a blessing for ourselves and others, and to make our lives as meaningful as possible. As a result of meditation training, we develop an open-hearted awareness of whatever is arising in the present moment. Our mind gives up its wandering and is quite happy to be alert, open, attentive and accepting of the present.
The simple practice of pausing, for the purpose of seeing what is actually true in each moment, works to retrain our minds. When our minds are relaxed and focused, through insight meditation, grace arises in us as love, compassion, and all the other noble qualities of our awakened humanity.
Join us in taking an expedition into our minds through the power of teachings, meditations, discussions, and silence. Learning to be gentle with ourselves, using the loving attention of meditation, relaxed and effortless, we deepen our practice.
For a fully immersive experience, this retreat starts immediately after the previous Introduction to Meditation retreat. We encourage you to consider coming for both and staying in deep retreat space for the entire ten day period.
What to expect?
Our retreat begins in the evening at 7 pm. There will be an introduction in the
main meditation hall given by a Vajrapani staff member, followed by a teaching and retreat explanation. We’ll close around 8:30 PM.
We will gradually slip into full silence while first allowing retreaters to get to know one another. We will begin our silence a day or so after the start of the retreat. Allowing our speech to settle into natural silence, also allows our mind to settle and we will find it takes less and less effort to abide in mindfulness of each moment.
We ask that you leave your connectivity devices in your trunk, away from eyesight. If anyone from outside the retreat needs to contact you because of an emergency, please ask them to leave a message with the main office: (contact info blocked). Allowing yourself to completely unplug–letting go of ruminations over the past or fantasies about the future–creates an environment that allows you to go deeper in your practice.
Sessions will typically consist of three twenty-minute meditations that may be conducted sitting, walking or in the supine position. Some guidance will be offered during the meditations, more in the beginning and less as we progress through the retreat. The following is a tentative and flexible schedule for full days. We will adjust the schedule to suit our needs.
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM Morning Session including daily prayers and motivation
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Breakfast Break
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Session
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Teaching
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Session
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch Break
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Teaching/Discussion/Question and Answer
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Session
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Tea break
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM Session
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Dinner Break
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM Evening Session including meditation and dedication
On Sunday the retreat will close after lunch.
How to Meditate, by Kathleen McDonald.
The Attention Revolution, by Alan Wallace.
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)
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.
"I call it a reboot. A 21st century variation of a retreat. Time to unplug and reestablish the operating system. Clean out old cache. Enable updates to routines and practices for added stability, capability and ease." -Henry C.
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!
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 To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).
Terresa Flower May 23, 2020
Thanks for hosting an incredible opportunity to practice at home with a brilliant teacher. Bummed that I couldn't be at Vajrapani with him and all of you but so appreciate you finding a way to make it work! Sending Big love!
Melissa Angiel May 08, 2020
The zoom platform live streamed teachings as part of an ongoing retreat with Venerable Amy Miller came in clearly - both audio and visual -and allowed perfect access to a teaching I would not otherwise have been able to attend. The zoom meeting allowed for interaction with both the teacher and the other participants. The class was a nourishing and grounding experience. I will continue to attend future offerings. Big heartfelt thank you to venerable Amy Miller for generously sharing her deep understanding of Buddhism in easily digestible bits of insight and practical wisdom. Thank you to everyone at Vajrapani institute for making this healing and restorative experience possible.
Valerie Thomas May 04, 2020
Elaine is the perfect teacher, whether in person or virtually. She has spent the time to internalize the teachings and gladly shares her insight and love.
Om Namo April 28, 2020
This was my first experience with Vajrapani and Venerable Amy Miller created a beautiful experience. Her teachings are grounded in real life how can I make this day more conscious, productive and peace filled. I wouldn't have expected such practical wisdom and insight from a Buddhist Nun and it was spot on. Thank you for the Grace.
Josh Freund February 13, 2020
The Intro to Meditation retreat was really lovely. We were in meditation for about four hours a day -- plenty of good practice to get our meditation muscles in shape. Our teacher Elaine was kind, warm and caring, the food was amazing, the lodging was great, the location was beautiful. Highly recommend!
Carole Rey February 10, 2020
I had a great experience during the 4 days retreat. The logging was very clean and it was comfortable enough. The staff were very friendly. The nature surrounding was beautiful and quiet. I learned a lot about meditation with the teachings, I was able to connect to my true inner peace. The teachers were very loving, kind, compassionate, inspiring. I highly recommend this place.
Lori Michetti February 09, 2020
Just finished a 3 day meditation retreat at the Vajrapani center in Boulder Creek. The facilities were simple and comfortable. The food was primarily vegan and tasty. The staff was welcoming. The resident teacher had a nice voice and teaching style. After the first dinner it was a silent retreat so few distractions from the meditation practice. It was fairly intense but I learned I have potential.
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.