We don’t need to tell you how the pandemic has turned the familiar world upside down. Now, as we begin to emerge from some of the constraints, we have the opportunity to rethink the many things we’ve taken for granted, including how we think about and approach retreat. We’ve gone without in-person sangha for a year. We’ve learned to meet and meditate with Zoom. Home has become the place for seemingly everything. These have been big changes and we continue to move into an uncertain future.

Now that safe, in-person retreats are possible again, what kinds of retreat best support our needs and the Covid-educated people we’ve become? What have we learned from on-line retreats and retreating at home? What is most special about retreat as we again gather with shared physical presence at Cloud Mountain?

This retreat offers an open, flexible structure for reconstituting and reconsidering retreat. It provides a chance to both practice together and experiment individually with retreat form—a mix of sangha and independence. We offer this space for meditators with past retreat experience and a regular at-home practice. Facilities and possibilities available on this retreat include:

  • Indoor & outdoor meditation halls for sitting meditation at any time of day or night
  • * 2 full-group sitting meditations daily (morning & evening)
  • Individual rooms & spacious grounds, paths & benches, for meditating alone
  • Daily Qigong (shibashi)
  • Daily Chanting (Pali with translation)
  • Reflections on Retreat & Refuge
  • Santikaro will share his experiences living at Suan Mokkh, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s “Garden of Liberation” in southern Thailand
  • * Open Forums on “Practice” on and off cushion: mindfulness with breathing, brahma-viharas, elements, and more
  • One-on-one practice consults with Santikaro
  • Healthy meals
  • Woods & trails
  • A break from screens

*The non-optional daily events are the 2 full-group sittings, open forum, and meals. (People choosing to take all eight-precepts are not obliged to have dinner.) There will be one required teacher check-in at the start of the retreat.

This retreat structure is similar to the style of life and shared practice space developed in forest monasteries that welcome non-monastic guests. You are encouraged to make the most of these options. While not required to attend everything, the retreat is for those who are interested in trying most of them. Retreat attendance is limited to 24. Each participant will have a private room.

Santikaro will be available to support all of the above, happily sharing his 35 years experience with leading retreats, 15 years of forest monastic living under Buddhadasa Bhikkhu’s guidance, 17 years co-creating Kevala Retreat in Wisconsin with his wife Jo Marie Thompson, and his study of early Buddhist teachings. He has been guiding retreats at Cloud Mountain for almost 20 years.


  • Previous residential retreat experience: at least one retreat of 5 consecutive days or two 3-day retreats.
  • Regular home practice of at least 4 thirty-minute sessions weekly.
  • Taking complete responsibility for one’s own discipline and practice.
  • A sense of humor.



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.


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.

We reserve the right to amend these prerequisites and policies according to changing covid-19 conditions. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ABOUT OUR COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS.


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


This retreat is intended for experienced students.


Subsidized fee : $420 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Sustaining fee : $480 plus dana offerings to teacher(s) and staff

Supporting fee : $540 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.