Meditate at the Vajrapani Institute

Kaya Lindsay

October 30, 2019
Vajrapani Institute

The Santa Cruz Mountains hold many secrets. Spend a lifetime wandering the silent green paths and you’ll still be discovering it’s treasures after many years. The Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture is a meditation and retreat center, tucked away in one of the many hidden corners of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Retreat offers a situation where it’s possible to fulfill our basic human potential and develop all the positive qualities within ourselves.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche
vajrapani institute entrance

Founded in 1984, the Vajrapani Institute was the teaching site of Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. This retreat center offers guidance through group retreats in the quiet and serene Santa Cruz Mountains. Cell phones are put away, silence is embraced, simple vegetarian meals are served and contemplation is encouraged in the visitors of Vajrapani. 

Vajrapani Institute

Group retreats can be as short as a few days, or as long as several weeks. These retreats focus on teaching meditation principles, clearing the mind to make space for compassion, and group discussions on mindfulness. Retreats can be held in full silence, partial silence, or no silence. Full silence is for a deeply immersive experience with total silence from the moment you start your retreat to the moment you end it. Partial silence means guests will spend half a day in silent contemplation, while the other half is spent in session with the retreat teacher. No silence is a retreat meant for those looking for quiet meditation guidance. The no silence group retreat may encourage quiet conversation, but silence is not required except for during working meditation times. They have monthly group retreats focused on forgiveness, happiness, compassion and more.

Vajrapani Institute

During group retreats guests live in simple dwellings such as tents, shared dormitories, or private cabins. Meals are vegetarian, but they also have gluten free and vegan options for those with dietary restrictions. The Vajrapani Institute has private outdoor showers, which overlook the Santa Cruz mountains and are renowned for their spectacular views of the wilderness.

vajrapani institute main building

The Meeting Hall at Vajrapani has been blessed by 30 years of meditation practice and is where guests will join their teachers for group meditations. The surrounding wilderness is accommodating for those who would wish to hike and enjoy the tranquility of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

vajrapani institute lodging

The Vajrapani Institute also offers private retreats for those who would like to take time for themselves in solitude. Private retreats include communal kitchen access, shared but private indoor bathhouse access, and nearby hiking trails. 

vajrapani institute sign

A visit to the Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture is a tranquil and deeply meditative experience. You can immerse yourself in the quiet solitude of the Santa Cruz Mountains with guidance on meditation practices and contemplation. 

Kaya Lindsay
Kaya Lindsay

Kaya Lindsay is a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.  In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next grand adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels

More Discoveries

Quail Hollow: Santa Cruz Mountains Shangri-La

06 | 12 | 2019

Located between Ben Lomond and Zayante, Quail Hollow Ranch County Park sits in a small, amphitheater-shaped valley ringed by sandy, teardrop-shaped ridges. At roughly 300 acres, it is home to a startlingly diverse array of plant communities, including revitalized grasslands, rare Santa Cruz Sandhills, and a mysterious pygmy redwood forest. From Awaswas hunter-gatherers to influential…

Hakone Gardens — Tranquility in the City

09 | 22 | 2018

On the edge of Silicon Valley, nestled among state and county parks in Saratoga, lies Hakone Gardens the oldest Japanese estate and gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Enjoy a tranquil journey to ancient Japan’s storied past through…