Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training

  • Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture
  • 19950 Kings Creek Road, Boulder Creek, CA, USA
  • Jun 13 - 16, 2019 (4 days)
  • Commuting - $462.00 Camping - $549.00 Women's Dorm - $669.00 Men's Dorm - $669.00 Women's Quad - $702.00 Men's Quad - $702.00 Private Room- Full bed - $855.00 Private Room- Twin Bed - $855.00 Private Cabin - $975.00

About This Event



Silence Level

Partial silence

What is it?

Explore Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) – A Special Weekend Immersion guided by two senior-level Stanford CCT instructors, Monica Hanson and Robert Cusick. The CCT immersion experience is unique both in its deep focus and the pristine contemplative space in which it is being offered, surrounded by the natural beauty of Vajrapani Institute. CCT was developed by Thupten Jinpa, PhD — English language translator for his Holiness the Dalai Lama for over 30 years — in collaboration with a team of psychologists, scientists and contemplative scholars and practitioners from Stanford University.


In this immersion, you will have the opportunity to develop practical skills for strengthening access to your own compassion and connecting with universal compassion by:

Exploring specifically selected teachings and practices for self-compassion;

Extending compassion to others safely; and

Finding ease in challenging relationships and courage in difficult circumstances.

The weekend will include talks, compassion meditations, small and large group discussions, skills training, self-reflection, and experiential exercises. You will also learn about the research and science-backed benefits of training compassion, and skills for sharing these practices with others. Selected readings will be included from Thupten Jinpa’s book based on this training: A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.

Teachings are appropriate for health care professionals as well as the general public. Health care professionals will be able to incorporate the tools and practices offered in this program in ways beneficial to clients or patients. Learning objectives for this program are listed below:

Learning Objectives: At the end of the program, participants will be better able to …

Describe what compassion is and how it differs from empathy

Utilize mindfulness meditation in order to cultivate compassion

Use mindfulness and compassion practices with oneself and others for emotional regulation in the face of distress

Recognize the physical and psychological feelings of loving-kindness and care, as a preliminary step in the cultivation of compassion and building resilience

Empathize with clients and others through compassionate listening and perspective taking

Apply mindfulness and compassion skills to be present and aware of one’s own inner responses when encountering suffering in others or oneself

Distinguish between empathetic distress, compassion collapse, and burnout – in oneself and others

Recognize judgmental patterns of the mind with oneself and others

Practice self-compassion to mitigate self-critical or self-blaming thoughts in the context of personal and professional relationships

Describe three sources of resistance to self-compassion

Integrate eudaemonic sources of happiness and personal values to support greater well-being and work/life satisfaction

Employ learned compassion skills to expand one’s capacity to meet suffering in personal and professional relationships

Incorporate practices of gratitude and appreciation to shift perspectives of negativity bias and support increased resiliency in personal and professional relationships

Summarize current research on the effects of compassion practice


Suggested Reading

A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, Thubten Jinpa.

The Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) protocol is a course developed in the Center for Compassion & Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, School of Medicine.  Below is a talk given by Dr. Thupten Jinpa at the Science of Compassion: Origins, Measures, and Interventions, that took place July 19 – 22, 2012 in Telluride Colorado. Dr. Jinpa is principal English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, co-founder of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, and main author of the Compassion Cultivation Training program.

For more information see the Stanford CCT website.

Continuing Education

This workshop is eligible for 16 hours of Continuing Education credits.

CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

LCSWs, MFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.

SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.

For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact (contact info blocked). For questions about CE, visit (contact info blocked) or contact David Lukoff, PhD at CE@(contact info blocked)

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 traditionally not included in the fee information detailed on this page. For this retreat though, a supplemental fee for the teachers has been added. Still, we invite you to consider bringing a cash donation with you to express your gratitude for the teachings on the last day of the retreat. This is supported by an additional donation from Vajrapani Institute. Please note that we don’t offer a credit card option for teacher’s fees; bring cash!


"Really enjoyed the facility and service of the staff. The location was a perfect space to retreat from my busy life and reflect on my path towards living a well-balanced life"

Event Highlights

  • -Learn about the research and science-backed benefits of training compassion, and skills for sharing these practices with others.
  • -Utilize mindfulness meditation in order to cultivate compassion
  • -Small and large group discussions
  • -Skills training
  • -Experiential exercises


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

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Why Retreat?

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

Embodied realization. Kaycie

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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