General Retreat Information

Retreat Accommodations

Prajña Residence Hall

Our residence hall offers 19 rooms on two floors with stunning views of the San Juan mountains to the East and Ekajati peak to the West. The building is beautifully hand-painted with traditional Tibetan flower imagery on the window lintels. The outer plaster is a brilliant golden yellow ochre limestone that matches the Community Building. Our rooms offer beautifully decorated and extremely comfortable accommodations.  We hope that the amenities of the residence hall will allow more retreatants to take advantage of our retreats year-round.

Each double room includes two twin beds, a beautiful granite sink, and closet. In the hallway are separate baths, showers, and toilets. There are two queen bed rooms on each floor that have one queen bed and share a full bathroom between them. All rooms are stocked with high quality sheets and duvets; please bring your own towel.

Prajña Rooms

  • Double Room (two twin beds, double occupancy); hallway bath
  • Queen Double (one queen bed, double occupancy); semi-private bath
  • Single (one queen bed, single occupancy); semi-private bath

Prices are per person and are listed with retreat descriptions.

Dorm Yurt housing (prices are per person)

Dorm yurt accommodations are available in a women’s yurt and men’s yurt. Both are large canvas yurts with 6-10 twin beds in an open clean communal space.  Each bed comes with a comfortable foam mattress, fitted sheet and pillow with pillow case. You must bring your own sleeping bag or blankets. All facilities, including meals and full baths, are in the Community Building.  No food is allowed in or near the yurts.  For the safety of everyone, all personal items must be kept in the cubbies in the Community Building, with the exception of these items only: Clothes, bedding, water bottle, flashlight, paper and pen, bear spray and air horn.  Prices are per person and are listed with retreat descriptions.

Camping (prices are per person)

Camping is an option for anyone coming here during the warm months. Bring your own tent and gear and sleep under the big open sky on Tara Mandala’s beautiful land in one of our designated camping spots.  All facilities, including meals and full baths, are in the Community Building. Camping is free with the retreat fee. Because of the presence of wild animals on the land, no food is allowed in or near your tent. For the safety of everyone, all personal items must be kept in the cubbies in the Community Building, with the exception of these items only: Clothes, bedding, water bottle, flashlight, paper and pen, bear spray and air horn.  Very limited vehicle camping is available in the parking lot for campers and trucks under 20 feet long. Generators are not permitted and there are no hook-ups. Prices are per person and are listed with retreat descriptions.

During colder months (October 1 – May 15), camping is available inside the temple. You will be sleeping on the floor. Bring your own bedding and towel; shared bathing facilities are in the Community Building.

Commuting

Commuting is available for some retreats, please check the program page. In order to hold the container of the retreat, please plan to attend all sessions from 7 am to 9 pm. If you need to miss a session, please contact the Retreat Manager.  Prices are per person and are listed with retreat descriptions.

What to Expect

Most of our retreats are held in the style of a traditional Tibetan summer teaching camp with many teachings and activities held outdoors. Our retreat land, located at 7500-8000 feet elevation, presents varied weather conditions. Summer days are sunny and can reach the 90’s with afternoon thunderstorms likely. Nights may be quite cool in the 40’s-50’s, requiring a warm sweater or jacket. Our large community building houses the bookstore, dining hall, kitchen, and full bathrooms with bathtubs and showers. Teachings are held in the Tara Temple, a short walk from the community building, many tent sites, and Prajña residence hall.

Food

During retreats, we serve three nutritious, wholesome vegetarian meals a day. The Tara Mandala kitchen is able to accommodate non-gluten and non-dairy diets at this time; this special need must be noted on your registration form. The kitchen can not accommodate additional food preferences. We have limited refrigerator space for those retreatants who, for medical reasons only, need to bring supplementary items. These arrangements must be made prior to arrival with the Kitchen Manager. Please note that coffee, white sugar and artificial sweeteners are not provided nor do we have space for personal snacks.

No food is allowed in or near your tent.  For the safety of everyone, NOTHING with an odor is allowed in or near your tent.

Cell Phone Policy

While on retreat, in order to fall deeply into the experience, you will be out of contact with friends and family except in the case of emergencies. We request that all cell phones are left off for the duration of every retreat. Please take care of all necessary business and issues prior to arriving on the land.

What to Bring

Please bring:
• Layered clothing for hot days and cold nights (summer temperatures range from 95-35 degrees Fahrenheit, frost is possible in August)
• Good rain gear (waterproof outerwear and mud boots)
• Hats (for sun and cold)
• Sturdy shoes or hiking boots
• Sunscreen and sunglasses
• Refillable water bottle or thermos
• Non-toxic insect repellent
• Personal items: Towels, personal mug, alarm clock,  soap, shampoo and other toiletries,  etc
• Lantern, flashlight, or headlamp (and batteries)
• Small backpack or bag to carry your texts, notebook, rain gear, water bottle, flashlight, etc.
• Outdoor meditation seating you may want:  Cushion, back-jack, blanket, etc.  We have limited outdoor seating items.
• If needed:  Camping gear, tent with rain fly and/or tarp, waterproof ground cloth, comfortable padding, warm sleeping bag, etc.  For the safety of everyone, NOTHING with an odor is allowed in your tent.
Also, please bring your credit card information to be able to check out Wildlife Safety Equipment for hiking and/or camping.
Tara Mandala is at a high altitude (7,600 – 8,100 feet above sea level) and the climate is very dry, especially in the summertime. Please be sure to prepare for this by drinking more water than usual for 2 – 3 days before your arrival — three to four quarts of water a day is a good guideline. Doing this is a very important step to avoid headaches, irritability, insomnia and other signs of high altitude distress.

 

What Not to Bring

The land has poor or no cell phone reception and limited access to electricity. As you are going into retreat, please be prepared to be without outside communication. Our office phone is available for emergencies. In order to go deeply into your retreat experience, we ask you to leave your outside work at home and turn off cell phones and electronics.

  • Electronics (or turn them off while you are on the land).
  • Please do not bring your own food as there are no individual cooking facilities or storage areas.
  • Please do not bring drugs, alcohol, or weapons onto the land.  Tara Mandala is now a NO-SMOKING ZONE.
  • Please no pets.

Temple Etiquette

  • Please remove your shoes before entering the Temple. Bring Temple-only slippers if you wish.
  • Clothing should be neat, clean, and not too revealing. In the hot summer months light clothing is allowable (such as shorts and tank tops), but please remember that this is a sacred space and dress modestly.
  • Handle practice texts and images with respect. Do not put them on the floor or step over them. This includes outdoor practice. We do not step over puja tables since they contain texts and other sacred ritual items.
  • Refrain from pointing your feet at statues, a shrine, or a lama. This is considered bad manners.
  • It is a traditional sign of respect to stand when the lama enters the room, and to prostrate three times once the lama takes his/her seat. You can prostrate if you wish, but it is not required.
  • Read signs! There are private work and living spaces throughout the Temple.

Transportation

Visit the Getting Here page for detailed information about air and ground transportation.

Retreat Arrival and Departure Times

Please check in at the Tara Mandala land to complete registration between 2 pm and 4 pm on the day your retreat begins. Unless otherwise noted, retreats begin with 5 pm orientation, dinner, and an opening teaching, and end with an optional lunch on closing day at 1 pm. Please plan to attend for the full time specified; late arrivals and early departures must be prearranged, and cannot always be accommodated. Whenever possible, please book departing Durango flights after 4 pm. This will allow time for travel and airport check-in without missing the end of your retreat.

Staying on the land before or after a retreat is not an option unless you are attending consecutive retreats and have authorized payment of the additional fees.  Many retreatants have said that the best way to transition into or out of retreat is to stay in the lovely town of Pagosa Springs a day or two before the retreat begins to rest and acclimate to the altitude, or stay the night the retreat ends and enjoy the famous hot springs before traveling home.  Lodging information is available at: http://taramandala.org/programs-retreats/nearby-lodging-options/

Air and Ground Transportation

We are 90 minutes from the La Plata County airport in Durango (DRO) and 4 1/2 hours from the Albuquerque airport. Our retreat land is a 25 minute drive from Pagosa Springs. You are responsible for arranging your own transportation. There are several options for ground transportation including professional shuttle services and rental cars.  Please visit our Getting Here section for many more travel details. Visit the Transportation page for more info.

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga (work service) represents time offered to support the needs of the retreat and is an intrinsic part of spiritual practice at Tara Mandala. All retreatants participate in one hour of karma yoga daily. We greatly appreciate your willingness to help in this way during your stay at Tara Mandala.

Medical Care

Tara Mandala does not provide a medical staff person on the premises. The town of Pagosa Springs has a new, full service hospital approximately 25 minutes from the retreat land.

Retreat Fees

Retreat fees are per person and include the cost of the retreat, meals, practice texts (except Drubchen), and full use of the facilities from check-in on the first day of the retreat until it ends.  Accommodations and meals are not available between retreats.  The retreat fees do not include teacher dana, unless otherwise specified.  Our Sangha members can receive a 5%-25% discount.  Click here to become a Sustaining Sangha Member 

Scholarship Donations

When you donate to the scholarship fund, TaraMandala is able to offer limited, partial scholarships to many retreats. The Evada Fund was established in 1996 to extend the concept of dana (generosity) to members of the sangha who find themselves in financial need and who would not otherwise be able to attend a specific retreat. There is now a separate place for these donations on the Registration Form.  Your generosity makes a difference, however large or small!

Financial Assistance

Tara Mandala offers two types of financial assistance: deferred payment plans and scholarships. You may apply for one or both of these types of assistance. Read the terms carefully as outlined on the financial aid application.

Payment Plans -Deferred payment plans are available based on financial need. You must fill out an application and work out a payment schedule with the office. If approved you must provide post-dated checks or your credit card number for prompt payment.  

Evada Scholarship Fund – The Evada Fund is designed to assist those who, due to financial hardship, may not otherwise be able to attend our retreats. These funds are available to cover up to 50% of camping retreat fees for programs at Tara Mandala.

For more information and to apply for Financial Assistance, click here.

Dana

Dana is a Pali word meaning “generosity.” As one of the six paramitas or “perfections,” the practice of generosity is an integral part of the Buddhist path. Dharma teachings are traditionally offered on the basis of dana, so our retreat fees are in place to cover food, facilities, staffing, and other overhead costs. Below the course price, we list a suggested dana amount in an effort to give participants an idea of what a traditional offering might be for each retreat, but this is simply a suggestion and is in no way a required fee. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a concept of tendrel or “auspicious interdependence” which gestures to the special relationship that is formed between a teacher and their students in many ways. Traditionally after a transmission or teaching, in order to create good tendrel, and to reflect appreciation for the preciousness of what they have received, offerings are made on the part of the student to the teacher. The teachers for our programs offer their time and teaching and are not paid. They are only financially compensated by what participants offer at the end of the retreat. Most teachers dedicate their lives to teaching and often have no other source of income. Many donate all of their dana to Dharma activities. There will be an opportunity to make dana contributions at the end of each retreat to the teacher or teachers with a white scarf called a khata which represents pure mind.

Registration Procedures

Space is limited, so please register early!

  • Please go to http://taramandala.org/program-category/tara-mandala-colorado/ and select the retreat you want to attend.  Please read the program page before you register. 
  • If you have a membership at TaraMandala, enter your discount code in the box provided.
  • Use the “Additional Information” section for anything you want us to know that is not on the form (roommates, physical needs, etc.)
  • If your preferred housing choice is sold out, please register for your second choice and put a note in the Additional Information box to be put on a waitlist.
  • Your space and accommodations are reserved when the Retreat Fee is received.  At that time, you will be sent a confirmation of registration, providing instructions on arrival and check-in procedures, what to bring, and other pertinent information.
  • Your space and accommodations are guaranteed when the full Retreat Fee is received.
  • There is a $50 fee for all returned checks.
  • Please see our Retreat Cancellation Policy. (below)

Refund/Credit Policy for Cancellations or Retreat Changes

Please understand that last minute cancellations are extremely costly for us. The staff time, food ordering and budget committed to each program is based upon the number of people who have registered. In addition, you may have contributed a portion of your program cost to the Evada Scholarship Fund. These contributions cannot be returned because others are then affected.

1. Cancellations or Change Requests must be received in writing for a refund or credit to be issued. We recommend that you send an email to registrar@taramandala.org with the subject: Retreat Cancellation Request.

2. Refund/credit amounts are dependent on the timing of the written request.

3. If we receive your written Cancellation or Change Request 31 days or more before the retreat starts, you will receive a full refund, minus a $100 processing fee and minus any scholarship funds donated.

4. No refunds/credit for Cancellations or Change Requests received 30 days or less before the retreat start date can be considered.

5. Cancellations or Change Requests cannot be accepted by phone.

6. There is a $50 fee for all returned checks.

In the unfortunate event that Tara Mandala makes substantial changes to the content of a retreat or cancels a retreat altogether, you will receive, upon your written request, a full refund or credit towards another retreat.

Thank you for planning your retreat time carefully. We look forward to having you this year!

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Tara Mandala is licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a continuing education provider (#3260). CEUs are offered for marriage, family, and child counseling (MFCC) and for social work (LCSW). The number of CEUs offered is listed below programs for which credit is available. Please sign up for CEUs at the time of registration; a $20 fee applies.

Work Exchange

We have a limited number of work exchange options available on a per retreat basis. Applicants for work exchange can earn $50 for one extra karma yoga during the retreat (in addition to one regular retreatant karma yoga, for a total of two karma yoga’s).  Please contact the registrar if you wish to apply for work exchange.

Policy for Children at Tara Mandala

Historically, Lama Tsultrim’s vision for Tara Mandala has been to create a retreat environment that is open to families with children. This provides children, our future, with the opportunity to develop a positive relationship with the Buddhadharma.

Please follow this link for our Policy for children at Tara Mandala

Special Needs

Retreats are not meant as a substitute for psychotherapy. We recommend that if you are currently undergoing psychotherapy you inform your therapist of your intention to participate in a retreat. Retreats can be emotionally demanding and physically strenuous. If you have a health condition or are aware that you may require medical supervision, we recommend that you not participate in a retreat. We do not have the appropriate staff or facilities to accommodate unusual needs.

Smoking

Tara Mandala is now a NO-SMOKING ZONE.

Pets

Unfortunately, we do not allow pets of any kind on the land. There are places in town where you may board them. Below is a listing of pet boarders in town. Please note that we do not specifically endorse any of them. Pagosa Pet Parlor and Palace: 970-264-5923 Pagosa Veterinary Clinic: 970-264-2148 Elk Park Animal Hospital: 970-731-6400

Visitor Policy

You are welcome to join us at the retreat land to visit our community. Unless we are in the midst of a closed retreat, we are happy to host visitors to the land throughout the summer. Prior arrangements must be made to make sure we have a host available to escort you. Contact us at registrar@taramandala.org or 970-731-3711.