Mindfulness, Selflessness and Compassion Retreat

  • Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture
  • 19950 Kings Creek Road, Boulder Creek, CA, USA
  • Jun 22 - 30, 2019 (9 days)
  • Camping - $989.00 Women's Dorm - $1,300.00 Men's Dorm - $1,300.00 Women's Quad - $1,400.00 Men's Quad - $1,400.00 Private Room- Full bed - $1,800.00 Private Room- Twin Bed - $1,800.00 Private Cabin - $2,100.00

About This Event


All Levels

Silence Level

Full silence

What is it?

This 9-day retreat will focus on three core elements of practice – shamatha, vipashyana & compassion. Please see below if you wish to attend part of the retreat.

During the first half of the retreat, we will focus primarily on the shamatha practice, the practice of cultivating mindfulness to develop a calm, clear & focused mind. This will be first introduced through the practice of mindfulness of breathing (rhythm, abdomen & nostrils). Then moving onto observing the mind, resting in awareness, stillness in motion & finally open awareness.

During the second half of the retreat, we will focus primarily on the vipashyana practice, the practice of applying mindfulness to gain insights into ourselves & our world of experience. We will first focus on the insight into impermanence. Then moving onto selflessness, emptiness & finally the nature of mind.

Throughout the entire retreat, both the mindfulness & selflessness (ie. shamatha & vipashyana) practices will be supplemented with compassion practice. Initially, this will be introduced through the cultivation of the four immeasurables of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy & equanimity. Then moving onto exchanging self with others & finally the tong-len practice.

The retreat will be run in silence from the first evening until breakfast on the last morning. This retreat is suitable for both beginners and those already established in these practices.

Attending part of the retreat

Glen encourages everyone to come for the entire 9-day retreat for maximum benefit.  However, we recognize that this may not be feasible for some.  Therefore, you have three options of attending the retreat: 1) attending the entire nine days, 2) attending the first half (June 22- lunchtime on June 26), or 3) attending the second half (June 26-lunchtime on June 30). Please see the ‘Additional Information’ section below for exact arrival and departure times. Please note that only Camping and Dormitory accommodations will be available for those attending half of the retreat.

If you wish to attend only one half of the retreat, please contact our Front Office to register.  If you’re coming for the entire retreat, please click on the Register Now button. You will find our contact information at the bottom of this page.

Additional Information

Please plan on arriving between 1:30 and 3:30 PM on June 22nd (first day of full retreat) or June 26th (first of day of second half).

Please plan on departing approximately 2:00 PM on June 30 (last day of full retreat) or June 26 (last day of first half).

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.

Suggested reading

Mindfulness — Attention Revolution, Alan Wallace.

Selflessness — How to See Yourself As You Really Are, H.H. the Dalai Lama.

Compassion— The Four Immeasurables, Alan Wallace

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 thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Beautiful grounds, kind staff and a warm, serene (contact info blocked)" - Ian W.

Event Highlights

  • -Cultivate mindfulness to develop a calm, clear & focused mind.
  • -Meditate on observing the mind, resting in awareness, stillness in motion & finally open awareness.
  • -Practice applying mindfulness to gain insights into ourselves & our world of experience.
  • -Practice various techniques and meditations on the development of compassion throughout the retreat.


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

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.

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 not provided)


  • 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!

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:

To give my ego a break from all these construction projects. Layth

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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