ABOUT MEDITATION RETREATS

Retreat is an extraordinary opportunity to disengage from the rhythms and habits of our daily lives and bring ourselves wholeheartedly to meditative practice. As we engage periods of sitting and walking meditation, daily meals and Dharma instruction, we observe and investigate what is happening in our minds and hearts to see and welcome the deepest truth of all that arises. In this way we can explore the roots of our suffering, as well as our potential depths of peace, compassion and wisdom. Through this noble practice we may get a taste of the radical freedom of being present with what is and to fully realize the teachings of the Dharma.

Our maximum group size is 44 retreatants. Retreats are usually led by one or two teachers. We wish to maintain a group size that feels intimate and personal, where no one feels like “just another face in the crowd.” We wish to provide each participant with opportunities for both group and one-on-one practice discussions with teachers. We wish each individual to feel a sense of belonging within the community. From this sense of belonging, it is our hope that each retreatant experience both being the recipient of the support of the group energy and also the privilege and feeling of sacred empowerment in helping to provide support for the well being of the group as a whole.

Whatever your level of meditation practice, we are confident that you will find a suitable retreat on our schedule. If you have any questions about whether a retreat would be a good fit for your particular experience and aspirations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Cloud Mountain office. It is an important part of our mission to help students find the most appropriate avenues for spiritual deepening. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have about choosing a retreat.

RETREAT FORMAT

Retreats are conducted primarily in silence, commonly referred to as Noble Silence. This offers a rare and precious opportunity to simplify one’s daily routine, quiet the mind and cultivate an inward focus of attention. The Five Precepts are observed by everyone at Cloud Mountain: retreatants, staff and teachers alike as the foundation of our behaviors.

Each individual engages his or her own mind during retreat. The environment is held and maintained to allow space, support and acceptance for that process to unfold gently and organically. At the same time, retreat is also a collective and collaborative process. Energetically, what unfolds individually also takes place within a larger relational field. Along with silence and stillness, the integrity and cohesion of the activities of the group as a whole form an invisible but palpable support for the practice of each individual.

To deepen and strengthen this relational field, retreatants are expected to follow, with mindfulness and sincerity, the retreat schedule and guidelines established by teachers and staff. We ask each retreatant to accept personal responsibility for their contribution to creating an environment intended to support each and every participant equally. Arriving and departing on time, following the retreat schedule, fully participating in working meditations—all of these elements help us to keep practical retreat operations flowing smoothly, but also contribute in real ways to creating a strong and seamless container from which the group as a whole benefits

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

May I arrange a personal retreat at Cloud Mountain?

Unfortunately we do not offer personal retreats.

For unguided personal retreats, you might contact Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, WA. For personal retreats with guidance available, you might contact Kevala Retreat (formerly Liberation Park) in Wisconsin or the Forest Refuge in Barre, MA.

Can my meditation group rent your facility to hold our retreat?

Regretfully, we no longer offer facility rentals to outside groups.

You will find other retreat centers listed on the internet that can provide these kinds of retreat rental opportunities. You might contact Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, WA.

For directories of retreat facilities offering personal retreats or rental options, you may try:

A TYPICAL DAILY RETREAT SCHEDULE

This schedule is a sample of a typical day on retreat at Cloud Mountain. The schedule and content for each retreat are decided by the teachers and may vary from what is displayed below. However, you can expect any retreat schedule to feature three daily meals and meal breaks, working meditations, alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, meditation instructions, and Dharma talks focused on aspects of the Buddha’s teachings or on Dharma practice.

5:45 am Wake-up
6:15 Sitting Meditation
7:00 Breakfast & Morning Working Meditation Tasks
8:30 Meditation Instructions & Sitting
9:30 Walking Meditation
10:15 Sitting
11:00 Walking
11:30 Sitting
12:00 pm Lunch & Afternoon Working Meditation Tasks
2:00 Sitting
2:45 Walking (or practice discussions with the teacher)
3:30 Sitting
4:15 Walking (or practice discussions with the teacher)
5:00 Dinner & Evening Working Meditation Tasks
6:30 Sitting
7:00 Walking
7:30 Dharma Talk
8:15 Walking
8:45 Sitting
9:30 Sleep or continued practice

 

WHO COMES ON MEDITATION RETREATS

Our retreats are attended by a wide variety of individuals. All are welcome at Cloud Mountain; we feel privileged to support you in your spiritual practice regardless of your nationality, ethnicity, race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, age, physical ability, political affiliation or even religion. You do not have to be a Buddhist to benefit from the universal and practical teachings offered on retreat.

Unless specifically noted, all of our retreats are suitable and appropriate for individuals of all degrees of meditation experience, from complete beginners to experienced practitioners.

We have several retreats throughout the year specifically offered for beginning meditators. These are short, weekend retreats designed to provide an introduction to foundational Buddhist teachings and meditation practices.

We also offer retreats that are designed to serve the needs and interests of more experienced meditators. These retreats are specifically noted as suitable only for experienced students and each will have specific prerequisites. If you are applying for a retreat that lists prerequisites, please include in your registration materials a list of your practice experience in adequate detail to verify you meet the experience requirements.

Whatever your level of meditation practice, we are confident that you will find a suitable retreat on our schedule. If you have any questions about whether a retreat would be a good fit for your particular experience and aspirations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Cloud Mountain office. It is an important part of our mission to help students find the most appropriate avenues for spiritual deepening. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have about choosing a retreat.

PLEASE NOTE:   Meditation retreats are not necessarily suitable or beneficial for everyone. Individuals with trauma histories or with acute or chronic psychological issues should consult a mental health professional familiar with meditation practice to determine whether intensive meditation practice is appropriate. Please visit our Health and Safety section for additional information.