How Retreats are Organized
Space is limited on retreats and there is a lot of background work involved with arranging food, rides, etc. - which is why we require pre-registration at least 10 days prior to the retreat start date. For longer retreats, pre-registration is 2 weeks in advance.
You'll receive an email with details about the retreat about a week before it starts. There'll be a separate email with carpool/driving details.
Payment, Registration, and Donations
Like all SFBC events, retreats are offered on a sliding scale to make them accessible to as many people as possible. We ask that you pay the highest amount that you can afford. Your contributions help others come on retreat at a lower rate, cover some of our related program and administrative costs, and, depending on the event, pay for airfare and lodging for visiting teachers. Payment plans and reduced rates are available, but must be arranged before the registration deadline (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
During the retreat you may make a donation toward supporting the retreat leaders, all of whom volunteer their time to teach. The tradition of making offerings to teachers is called dana, which means 'giving' in the Pali language.
If you are registering before the deadline, you can assume there is room at the retreat.
We go on retreat at three main locations:
- Jikoji retreat center in the Santa Cruz Mountains (1+ hour drive from San Francisco)
- Camp Double Bea in the Santa Cruz Mountains (about 2 hours drive from San Francisco)
- Dharmadhara in Lake County (about 3 hours drive from San Francisco)
We do our best to organize and arrange carpools for retreats. However, our transportation resources are limited. If you have access to a car and can drive others, please do. Riders are expected to offer to pay for gas costs. If you are carpooling, you will be notified a few days before the retreat who you're going with.
Food and Work
All food is provided and is vegetarian, vegan optional, and mostly organic. When dairy products or wheat are served, alternatives are provided. Since we cannot cater to each person’s individual food preferences, we ask you to eat the meals that are served. However, you may bring a limited amount of supplies to supplement our meals - a small amount of refrigerator space and a microwave are available. If you have medical dietary restrictions, please let us know at least 3 weeks before the start date of the retreat.
On weekend retreats we usually provide a light dinner of soup and salad the first night – you’re welcome to bring snacks to add, or let us know if you plan to arrive after dinner.
Retreatants sign up for a small amount of cooking and/or cleaning each day which is an opportunity to practice mindfulness through work (a traditional Buddhist practice).
What to Bring
Most indoor areas on retreats are 'no shoe' zones. You'll make life easier if you bring some shoes that are easy to take on and off.
- (Camp Double Bear only) If you can bring your own meditation cushions, please do and let the retreat organizer know
- If yoga is being offered on the retreat, a yoga mat
- Sleeping bag or bedding and a pillow
- Blanket for meditation hall.
- Journal, pen
- Wristwatch and alarm clock
- Ear plugs (especially if you are a light sleeper)
- Comfortable layered clothing
- In summer, bring sunscreen if you need it, and bug repellent
- In seasons other than summer, bring warm socks, a hat, and slippers for inside when you're not wearing shoes.
- Walking shoes
- (Camp Double Bear only) Swimsuit (optional) for hot tub
- Personal check or cash for retreat fee.
- Personal check or cash for donation to retreat leaders (all of whom are volunteers).
What Not to Bring
- distracting things like work, computers, music, or cell phones
Note About Fees and Donations
Unless otherwise stated, all fees and donations go toward operating costs of the San Francisco Buddhist Center, a nonprofit organization. Teaching at this Center is done by volunteers.
For events with a sliding scale, please pay what you can afford within that range, or contact us in advance to arrange a further reduced rate.
The suggested donation given for most of our regular events is there as a guide and you should feel free to pay more if you can and less if you need to. Make checks out to the "FWBO" (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order - this is still our bank account name). Please give your name and the reason for your donation. Thank you! To pay online please use PayPal.