♦ What You Will Want to Know About Applying For Your Personal Retreat
1. WHO CAN USE A RETREAT CABIN OR THE LAMA HOUSE FOR RETREATS?
- You must consider Rinpoche one of your main dharma teachers.
- Have attended a minimum of three retreats with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, including pointing out instructions in at least one of them.
- 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.
2. WHAT ARE THE RETREAT CABINS AND THE LAMA HOUSE LIKE AND HOW MUCH DO THEY COST?
• RETREAT CABINS
Our first retreat cabin, the Dharmakaya Cabin, was named and blessed by Rinpoche in 2017 and the second two cabins 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. Below is a slideshow of the retreat cabins and surrounding Crestone area so you can experience what it might be like to be on retreat:
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.
Additional Cabin cleaning fee: $60.00
• LAMA HOUSE
In 2017 Tsoknyi Rinpoche blessed this house located on the same cul-de-sac as Rinpoche’s Crestone residence 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. Here is a short slideshow to give you a feeling for the Lama House interior and exterior:
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.
LAMA HOUSE (2020):
|Single Occupancy||Double Occupancy|
|Twelve weeks:||$1755||Twelve weeks:||$888 per person|
|Eleven weeks:||$1665||Eleven weeks:||$843 per person|
|Ten weeks:||$1565||Ten weeks:||$793 per person|
|Nine weeks:||$1455||Nine weeks:||$738 per person|
|Eight weeks:||$1355||Eight weeks:||$678 per person|
|Seven weeks:||$1225||Seven weeks:||$613 per person|
|Six weeks:||$1085||Six weeks:||$543 per person|
|Five weeks:||$935||Five weeks:||$468 per person|
|Four weeks:||$775||Four weeks:||$388 per person|
|Three weeks:||$605||Three weeks:||$303 per person|
|Two weeks:||$425||Two weeks:||$213 per person|
|One week:||$225||One week:||$113 per person|
Additional cleaning fee Single occupancy: $100/Double occupancy: $150
Upon approval of the retreat application, the payment timeline for both the Retreat Cabins and the Lama House is:
- 50% deposit due within 2 weeks of approval
- Full payment due one month prior to the start date of the retreat.
Please note: Cleaning fees stated above are non-refundable. Please bring a check for the full amount of the cleaning fee upon arrival.
3. HOW DOES ONE CHOOSE BETWEEN THE LAMA HOUSE AND AN INDIVIDUAL RETREAT CABIN?
The Lama House has easy access, is more comfortable and spacious inside than the retreat cabins and has a large kitchen and bathtub. Because there is only one full bath, the shower/tub is shared.
The cabins are much smaller than the Lama House (about 400 square feet), designed for one person and simple. They are more isolated, but near the Yudronma Shrine and Stupa, and offer a large sky gazing window. Staying in one of the cabins can involve walking on sandy and hilly terrain, so this could be challenging if you have certain kinds of disabilities.
4. HOW LONG MAY I STAY ON RETREAT?
Retreats can be for a minimum of one week and a maximum of 12 weeks. Retreats begin on a Sunday and end on a Sunday. During the annual August teachings in Crestone, neither the Lama House nor the cabins are 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.
5. WHEN ARE THE LAMA HOUSE AND THE CABINS AVAILABLE?
6. CANCELLATION POLICY
- $75 for cancellations 1 month or more before the retreat 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 be given.
7. 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 section) and that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions of the “Retreat Agreement” and “Waiver and Release” documents linked to the Application.
8. WHAT IS THE SCREENING PROCESS?
Once your application is received, you will be notified by email that we have received it. Two students appointed by Rinpoche will review the application. Once reviewed, we will send you an email 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.
♦ Once My Application is Approved, How Do I Prepare For Retreat?
- 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.
- It is important for you to have an operating cell phone while in retreat in case of emergencies or to contact our staff. There is no landline on the retreat land.
- Please confirm with your cell phone server before you arrive that your cell phone will have coverage in Crestone. If your cell phone won’t have service here, we recommend that you purchase a trac phone from a convenience store for your stay.
- Emergency messages can be delivered for you through Wayne Hallstrom (our onsite Retreat Caretaker) at 719-221-9871. Wayne will also be available by cell phone throughout your retreat if problems arise.
1. WHAT IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY OR A NON-EMERGENCY NEED FOR MEDICAL CARE?
2. 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.
3. 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 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/
4. WHAT ARE CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT TIMES?
Check-in time is on a Sunday and check-out time is also on a Sunday. Susan, our Registrar, will contact you before your retreat begins to confirm your arrival and departure times.
Check-in: Our onsite Retreat Caretaker, Wayne, will greet you at either Lama House or at the Yeshe Rangsal Retreat Land upon your arrival for orientation. See “How Do I Get to the Retreat Cabins and Lama House?” below for directions.
Check-out: Wayne will meet you for a short debrief on your last day. We ask that you strip the bed and place dirty linens and towels inside the door of your cabin to help facilitate cleaning.
5. 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.
The altar in the retreat cabins and Lama House will have a Buddha statue, Pundarika chant book, offering bowls, incense, tea candles, 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.)
- Water bottle with a secure-fitting lid
- 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
- Practice materials
- Flashlight/headlamp and extra batteries
- Cash or credit card for groceries
- Toiletries including lip balm and lotion for the very dry air
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses (even in winter)
- Mosquito repellent/bite relief cream, non-scented (but only for June through August)
- Shawl or light blanket for early morning/late evening sitting
Please do not bring pets, candles, or incense. Also, there is no visiting by friends or relatives during the retreat.
6. WHAT HOUSEKEEPING THINGS WILL I NEED TO DO AT 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. Cleaning products will be provided for you to keep your retreat space clean during your stay.
Laundry can be done at the Retreat Support Building. Lama House has its own washing machine and dryer.
7. 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 email at email@example.com.
8. HOW CAN I SEE AND HEAR TEACHINGS BY RINPOCHE?
There will be a hard-drive in each bedroom of Lama House and the 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.
9. 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.
10. WHAT DO I DO WITH GARBAGE AND RECYCLING?
If staying in the cabins, please store garbage and recycling in separate bags in the Men’s Bathroom in the Retreat Support building. The Retreat Caretaker will show you where the key is.
If staying in Lama House, please put garbage and recycling in the storage shed (keys to the shed will be in the house).
11. 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 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.
12. 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 Caretaker will show you where this is and will be available to help carry your belongings to your cabin. 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 driveways plowed.
13. IS THERE LOCAL TRANSPORTATION?
No public transportation is available in Crestone.
14. 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.