Deepening Your Practice

  • Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture 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

Event Highlights

  • -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.


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

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.


All Levels

Silence Level

Mostly silence

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.

Suggested reading

How to Meditate, by Kathleen McDonald.

The Attention Revolution, by Alan Wallace.

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.

"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 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.


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)


  • Free Parking
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Ceremony Space

Menu Types

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


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.


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...

  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

  • 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:

Rest and inner calm. Karen

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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