Personal Retreat FAQs

What is the long-term plan for the Yeshe Rangsal retreat land?

Pundarika Foundation, under Tsoknyi Rinpoche’s guidance, established a six-fold land development plan in 2004. The stupa (Jangchub Chorten or Stupa of Enlightenment), shrine to the land protectress, Dorje Yudronma, a residence for Rinpoche (Pundarika Zimchung), a Retreat Support Building and a seasonal teaching tent are already in place. The three retreat cabins and the Lama House now completes this plan.

Who can use Lama House or a cabin for retreats?

These practice places are for students of Tsoknyi Rinpoche throughout the world. To qualify:

  • You must consider Rinpoche one of your main dharma teachers
  • Have attended at least one open retreat and two advanced retreats; or two open retreats and one advanced retreat; or one month-long retreat
  • Have maintained a daily meditation practice for at least one continuous year prior to the retreat for which you are applying.
  • Willingness to abide by the Five Precepts during the retreat:
    • I take as a training precept to refrain from taking life.
    • I take as a training precept to refrain from taking that which is not freely given.
    • I take as a training precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
    • I take as a training precept to refrain from unwise/unskillful speech.
    • I take as a training precept to refrain from intoxication that clouds the mind.

What are Lama House and the Dharmakaya cabin like?

Lama House

In 2017 Tsoknyi Rinpoche blessed this house, which is on the same cul-de-sac as the Pundarika Zimchung where he lives when in Crestone, and gave it the name Lama House. It is within close walking distance to the Yeshe Rangsal retreat land, stupa and the Dorje Yudronma shrine.

Lama House has two bedrooms (each with an altar), a large kitchen, living room with fireplace, laundry closet, one full bathroom and one half-bath. The house is solar-heated. The views of the mountains and valley are more limited than at the cabins. You can drive and park close to the house, unlike the cabins, and there are no stairs to contend with except for flagstone steps from the driveway to the door. There is a deck and plenty of land to find a comfortable spot outside for those who like to practice with a view of the mountains and San Luis Valley. Lama House is available for two retreatants who wish to do retreat together (e.g., a couple) or a single person who wishes to do retreat in the house by themselves.

Retreat Cabins

Our first retreat cabin, the Dharmakaya Cabin, was named and blessed by Rinpoche in 2017 and the second two cabins (still to be named) are also now ready for use. The retreat cabins are located on the Yeshe Rangsal retreat land along a ridge that has expansive views of the San Luis Valley, Mount Blanca and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Each cabin is approximately 400 square feet and has a small kitchen, deck, sitting area, altar, bathroom with shower, a fireplace and electric heat. The Retreat Support Building is a short walk from the cabins and has a washer and dryer, large shower and an additional refrigerator for food storage.

How does one choose between the Lama House and the individual retreat cabins?

The Lama House has easy access, is more comfortable and spacious inside with a large kitchen and bathtub. Because there is only one full bath, the shower/tub is shared.

The cabins are much smaller (about 400 square feet), for one person, and more simple. They are more isolated from other houses, near the Yudronma Shrine and Stupa, and offers a large sky gazing window. Staying in one of the cabins can involve walking on sandy and hilly terrain so this could be quite challenging if you have certain kinds of disabilities.

When are the Lama House and the Dharmakaya Cabin available?

Retreats can be for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of four weeks. Retreats begin on a Sunday and end on a Sunday for the two-week or longer retreat times. During the annual August teachings in Crestone, neither Lama House nor the cabins will be available. They will be used for the Retreat and Land Managers during that time. Applications will be accepted for personal retreats scheduled up to one year in advance. The application process is in place now.

Click here to see a calendar of Personal Retreat Space Availability.

To check on retreat dates, see https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/programs/.

How much does it cost?

We are trying to keep these retreats as affordable as possible. Here is the 2018 fee schedule:

CABINS:

Four weeks: $600
Three weeks: $450
Two weeks: $350

 

LAMA HOUSE:

Single occupancy:
  Double occupancy:  
Four weeks: $900 Four weeks: $800 per person
Three weeks: $675 Three weeks: $600 per person
Two weeks: $450 Two weeks: $400 per person

 

The payment timeline upon approval of the retreat application is:

  • 50% deposit due within 2 weeks of approval
  • Full payment due one month prior to the start date of the retreat.

 

Please note:  We will ask for a $100.00 refundable cleaning fee at the time of your arrival. The check can be made out to Pundarika Foundation. Our Registrar will discuss the “how to clean” instructions in the cabins and Lama House with you at the time of your arrival.

Cancellation Policy

  • $75 for cancellations 1 month or more before the start date
  • $125 for cancellations from 2 weeks to 1 month before the retreat start date
  • No refund for cancellations within 2 weeks of the retreat date

Also, because of unforeseen events, Pundarika reserves the right to cancel reservations, in which case a full refund will, of course, be given.

How do I apply?

Please click here to access the online application materials. In the Application, you will be asked to affirm that you have read the FAQs (this page) and that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the “Retreat Agreement” and “Waiver and Release” documents (also linked to the Application).

Click here to see a calendar of Retreat Space Availability. If you have questions, please send an email to registrar@pundarika.org.

What is the screening process?

Once the application is received, you will be notified that we have received the application by email. Two students appointed by Rinpoche will review the application. Once reviewed, we will send you an e-mail as to whether or not the application is approved so you can plan accordingly. If approved, we will include a payment link for the deposit and fees with a code of conduct and liability waiver for your signature.

How do I prepare for a retreat?

It can be helpful to create a preparation checklist for yourself in advance, including time for the transition going into retreat and out. Because you will be in a remote and somewhat isolated area, it is important to have everything you need before beginning the retreat. Let those close to you know you will be out of touch and how to contact you in an emergency. If you have problems with your phone (Verizon, ATT and T-Mobile work in Crestone, but please check with your service provider to make sure as this changes from time to time), emergency messages can be delivered through Wayne at 719-221-9871.

Here is the link to an interview with Tsoknyi Rinpoche on “How to do Retreat” that you may find helpful: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/12021/an-interview-concerning-retreat-with-tsoknyi-rinpoche/

What if I have an emergency or a non-emergency need for medical care?

This link provides a list of hospitals and medical providers.

Any advice for living in this environment?

Due to Crestone’s high altitude at 8100 feet it is very important to maintain adequate hydration. There are deer, coyotes, elk, foxes, bears, mice, mountain lions and other animals living around Crestone, so please do not leave food outside the cabins, Lama House or in your car. Here is some advice on being with bears: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/safety.htm and with mountain lions: www.mountainlion.org/portalprotectencounters.asp.

Finally, please be aware that there is a high risk for fires in Colorado. To be safe, please do not have outdoor fires, including smoking and use of candles and incense. Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes from your place of lodging. Evacuation procedures can be found in each cabin and in Lama House.

Is there a best time to come in terms of weather and other conditions?

Crestone has four distinct seasons, all beautiful in different ways. In fall and spring you can experience many seasons in one day — sunny skies, intense rain, and hail or snow. Spring tends to be more windy, sometimes fiercely so. From mid-June through early August there is usually a heavy concentration of mosquitoes, making sitting and walking outside decidedly uncomfortable.

The winters are cold and clear. Summers are comfortably warm but you can expect sudden and powerful lightning and thunderstorms. To get a better sense of the historical weather patterns go to: http://www.keno.org/vws/

What are check-in and check-out times?

Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. on the Sunday when you arrive and check-out is 11:00 a.m. on the Sunday you leave.

Check-in: Our Retreat Care Coordinator Susan will greet you at either Lama House or at the Yeshe Rangsal Retreat Land upon your arrival for orientation. See below for directions. Please contact Susan at: registrar@pundarika.org to coordinate your arrival time. In the case of severe weather or late arrival, you may be required to delay your check-in. You can track the local weather at:  http://www.keno.org/vws/ and Colorado road conditions at  http://www.cotrip.org/map.htm#/roadConditions.

Check-out: Please allow enough time on the Sunday that you check out to thoroughly clean your cabin or living space in Lama House (3 hours is a rough estimate of the time required for cleaning, including washing). The availability of people to do a final cleaning for you is very limited, but if you want to try to arrange this in advance, please ask our Retreat Care Coordinator, Susan, for suggestions. Susan will also be meeting you for a short debrief on your last day.

What should I bring?

Here is a list of the things already in each cabin and Lama House:

A twin bed with comforter, sheets and pillows, a large zafu (8” buckwheat fill) and zabuton, chair, altar, camp lantern, kitchenware, pots and pans, fireplace and firewood, double hotplate, toaster oven, small refrigerator, blender, first aid kit, cleaning supplies, soaps (laundry, hand, shower and dish), water, ax, matches and basic condiments. You’ll need to purchase paper products such as toilet paper, etc., when you buy your food.

The altar in the retreat cabins and Lama House will have a Buddha statue, Pundarika chant book, offering bowls, a picture of Rinpoche, the lineage tree and Dorje Yudronma.

Here are some suggested items to bring for the cabins:

  • Medications (Please be sure to bring an ample supply of your medications. The nearest pharmacy is in Alamosa, which is approximately an hour away.)
  • Layered clothing (We can have many “seasons” in one day.)
  • Sturdy shoes and slippers (Closed-toed shoes due to cactus)
  • Extra blankets and/or sleeping bag
  • Rain/snow gear
  • Candles (votive)
  • Practice materials
  • Flashlight/headlamp and extra batteries
  • Incense
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Cash or credit card for groceries
  • Toiletries including lip balm and lotion for the very dry air
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses (even in winter)
  • Water bottle with a secure-fitting lid
  • Mosquito repellent/bite relief cream, non-scented (but only for mid-June/July)
  • Shawl or light blanket for early morning/late evening sitting

 

Please do not bring pets. Also, there is no visiting by friends or relatives during the retreat.

What things will I need to do to keep up the cabins or lama house?

Karma yoga is a daily aspect of every retreatant’s schedule. Keeping the cabin, common spaces or the Lama House clean is an essential part of doing your retreat. There is no housekeeper, so it is solely up to you to leave your space in a beautiful and welcoming condition for the next retreatant. There will be instructions on what to do and cleaning products will be provided.

Laundry can be done at the Retreat Support Building. A schedule will be posted in each cabin for this. Lama House has its own washing machine and dryer.

Who can I get help from with general house or cabin maintenance issues or emergencies?

Please call Wayne Hallstrom at: 719-221-9871 or contact him by e-mail at dakini218@gmail.com.

Who can I contact for retreat and practice advice?

Please call Brady Hogan at: 304-639-9889.

How can I see and hear teachings by Rinpoche?

There will be a hard-drive in each room of Lama House and cabins with the Advanced Membership teachings on them. The hard drive is configured to work on a Macintosh computer to get full audio and video. PCs will only be able to hear audio.

How do I get food and other supplies?

We have two grocery stores in Crestone, one of which is a health food store. If your retreat is lengthy, you can contact Wayne Hallstrom at 719-221-9871 to purchase and deliver food and other supplies that you may need.

What do I do with garbage & recycle?

If staying in the cabins, please store garbage and recycle in separate bags in the Men’s Bathroom in the Retreat Support House. The Retreat Caretaker will show you where the key is.

If staying in Lama House, please put garbage and recycle in the storage shed (keys to the shed will be in the house).

How do I get to the Retreat Cabins and Lama House?

For directions to Crestone, see: https://tsoknyirinpoche.org/retreats/getting-to-and-from-crestone-co/ and click here for a detail of the locations of the Retreat Cabins and the Lama House locations.

Find your way to Moffat on Route 17. From Moffat, drive south and turn left onto County Road “T” toward Crestone (if coming from the south, turn right just before Moffat). Drive about 14 miles toward Crestone and on your right will be a large sign for the Camino Baca Grande, just before you get to the actual town (an Information Kiosk is near this turn).

Retreat Cabins (1181 East Badger Road, Crestone)

Take Camino Baca Grande for about 2 miles and turn left and go up Hilltop Way for about one-third of a mile. Turn left onto Chapparal Way for about 300 yards, and where the road turns right onto East Badger Road, drive straight ahead through the large Tori Gate with the sign “Yeshe Rangsal.” The Support Building is on your left at the end of the driveway.

Lama House (958 Meditation Overlook off Ridgeview Way, Crestone)

Take Camino Baca Grande for about just over a mile and turn left up Panorama Way for about 0.6 miles. Turn right onto Peaceful Way, take your first left onto Ridgeview Way, and take your first right onto Meditation Overlook. Lama House is straight ahead.

Where do I park?

For the time being, long-term parking for the cabins will be in the parking spaces near the seasonal tent. The Retreat Care Coordinator will show you where this is. At Lama House you can park in the spaces off the driveway. If you are in retreat during the winter, please bring a windshield scraper for snow and de-icing spray, and make sure your tires meet ice and snow requirements. If you need to unplug your car battery for longer stays, please see what is required for your vehicle. Should we have significant snowfall, we will have the driveway plowed.

Is there local transportation?

No public transportation is available in Crestone.

Can I own a cabin?

Pundarika Foundation, as a non-profit church, owns the land and buildings on Yeshe Rangsal Retreat Land. There is no individual ownership possible.