The Divine Abodes, or Brahma Viharas, are ancient Buddhist heart meditations and related practices that reveal and awaken our deepest nature’s heart qualities. During this retreat, we will be learning these meditations and practices and exploring common resistances to Equanimity (Upekkha) and Empathetic Joy (Mudita).

This retreat will be the first of a two-retreat series on the Divine Abodes offered in 2021 at Cloud Mountain. The second retreat will take place from July 9 – 16 and will focus on Compassion (Karuna) and Loving-Kindness (Metta). Entering into the Buddha’s heart, our deepest heart, through Equanimity allows a foundation to be established of connection and acceptance for whatever is in our perception or experience. This foundation of acceptance is broadened through cultivation of Empathetic Joy, by relaxing the perceived boundaries of separation and softening any sense of isolation. Turning next to Compassion allows us to draw upon the deep acceptance of Equanimity and the undivided connection of Empathetic Joy to find within us an ability to extend an inclusive holding for our suffering and the suffering of others. Finally, we turn to expressing Loving-Kindness which is an expression of boundless love for ourselves and all beings. Loving-Kindness can then be expressed from the deep acceptance of Equanimity, the connectedness of Empathetic Joy and the deep holding of Compassion.

We will focus in this retreat on Equanimity and Empathetic Joy. Beginning with Equanimity supports a deep acceptance of reality just as it is coupled with a relaxing sense of soothing ease. Turning next to Empathetic Joy allows us to expand our undivided connection with others as we soften any sense of separation through unrestricted joy for another’s happiness.

Equanimity is a heart feeling-tone of perfect balance. It is a knowing, a trust, that everything we witness is unfolding perfectly within the wisdom of the universe. Empathetic Joy is the unrestrained, unqualified joy for another’s happiness and success.

This retreat will be based upon Stephen Snyder’s new book Buddha’s Heart, which was published in November 2020 and is available on Amazon. Participants are asked to obtain and read the relevant chapters of the book prior to the retreat.

The format of the retreat will include talks on True Nature’s heart qualities, instruction on the meditations and practices related to Equanimity and Empathetic Joy, group discussion on the common resistances to these heart experiences, and one-on-one interviews with Stephen.

Attendance will be capped at 24 participants. Each participant will have a single room, and personal “safety bubbles” will be created in accordance with the current covid-19 conditions at the time to maximize individual and group health. Please follow this link to better understand the practical details of our covid-19 health and safety protocols.

The following attendance prerequisites are currently in place as of this writing in order to provide the safest possible retreat environment under covid-19 conditions. In order for your registration to be accepted, we require that you:

  1. Currently follow all covid-19 health and safety protocols recommended by the CDC, including mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene.
  2. Agree to abide by all covid-19 health and safety protocols in place at Cloud Mountain.
  3. Have already successfully attended at least one silent, residential meditation retreat of any length at Cloud Mountain OR at least two silent, residential meditation retreat of any length at two different retreat centers.
  4. Are willing to closely coordinate your travel plans with Cloud Mountain, so we can provide you with the best options based on covid-19 travel restrictions in place.

We reserve the right to amend these prerequisites and policies according to changing covid-19 conditions.


Cloud Mountain continues to take endemic covid-19 seriously as a public health risk in the retreat environment. Masking and rapid testing requirements are in place.


Scholarship funds are available on all retreats to assist those with financial challenges. For more information, read the Scholarship section of our overview information.


Generosity Tier : $630 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Base Tier : $560 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Subsidized Tier : $490 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Following in the Buddhist tradition, none of your registration fee will go to the teacher(s). Please consider offering teacher dāna at the event to support their livelihood. (Dāna is a term for generosity, or freely offered giving. You can find more information about this way of offering the teachings and the "economy of gifts" on our Donation page.)


To learn more about a teacher, please click on their photo.