Winter Silent Meditation Retreat

December 23 to 30 2023

Saturday, December 23, 2023 - 5:00pm to Saturday, December 30, 2023 - 11:00am

This retreat is now full, with a waiting list. 

If you have missed this one we hope to see you on our Summer Retreat, or next Winter

Openness, Clarity and Kindness

A silent meditation retreat led by Prasadachitta and Padmatara

Thus a person who by having taken refuge
  has become the site for spiritual growth
Will cultivate their mind
  for the welfare of those who are alive
By letting the flower of compassion
  blossom in the soil of love
And tending it with the pure water of equanimity
  in the cool shade of joyfulness.

(Longchenpa's verses on the brahma viharas)

In this week-long retreat we will practice and contemplate the 4 brahma viharas - Love/Kindness, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. These qualities gently encourage the heart and mind to open, supporting our vulnerability and allaying our fears.  They transform the suffering caused by our sense of separation and we begin to feel more free to be who we are and allow others to be themselves. 

To support our meditation practice there will be regular periods of simple qigong - a mindful movement practice that helps our energy to flow freely and helps to heal any places that are stuck. It can be adapted to be comfortable for all abilities. 


This retreat is for people who are familiar with Mindfulness of Breathing, Metta Bhavana, and Just Sitting meditation practices. You should feel comfortable being in silence around people for long periods of time. It is helpful if you have been on a previous retreat.  If you are not sure whether this retreat is right for you please email us.   


After the first day the retreat will be in silence except for teachings, meditation reviews, mindful movement and some mindful communication in the shrine room. There will be a note jar for questions, and the organizer will be available for anything urgent. It's a rare chance to take a break from making conversation and to see what happens when we really let ourselves be. We will provide an emergency number so that you do not need to check your phone.  If you don't feel comfortable putting your device/s aside please consider not attending. 

Health and Safety

We highly recommend being vaccinated and boosted against COVID 19 but this is no longer required.

We ask that you take reasonable precautions to protect against infection in the days leading up to the retreat. Please check all our requirements here.  

If you consider yourself at increased risk you should not attend.

We recommend that you don't travel long distance since there is always the risk of cancelation or illness in these uncertain times, but if you do, please be sure you have refundable tickets and/or a back-up place to stay.

Food and Work Periods 

All food is vegan, with eggs and dairy options on the side. To simplify cooking and cleaning in silence we have a cook to organize lunch and dinner, and everyone on the retreat chooses a task that they can do every day - either preparing breakfast, chopping vegetables, or cleaning dishes. If you have a preference please let us know in advance. There is also a clean up session that we all share at the end of the retreat. 

Free Time

There will be plenty of free time to hike or stroll around the area or relax. 


Dharmadhara is a rustic residence with a very beautiful shrine room, located  in Lake County – about 2.5 to 3 hours North of San Francisco. The main building has a kitchen, dining room, sitting room with wood burning stove, 7 small dorms, some with 2 beds, some with 3 beds, 3 indoor toilets and 2 showers. There are no private rooms. If you do not feel comfortable sharing a room with others we may be able to find space in the living room or shrine room, depending on numbers attending, so please get in touch about this before you register.  There is also the option to camp, although it will be cold, and possibly raining or snowing. 

Travel and Carpooling

We encourage carpooling. If you need help organizing a ride please let us know and we will do our best to get you there. If you are driving and can offer rides, please also let us know. Thank you! 

I'm sorry that we cannot arrange airport or train station pickups. 

Timing and Cost

The retreat is seven nights, beginning 5pm Saturday Dec 23, and ending Saturday Dec 30 at noon.

The cost is $570 to $770.

Registration and Payment

This retreat is now full but please email if you would like to be on the waiting list. (There's a fairly good chance of a space freeing up.)

The sliding scale is $570 to $770.  If you have registered but have not paid the deposit please do so now. Since the retreat is now full deposits will become non-refundable soon so please let us know if your plans have changed.  You can pay the deposit through PayPal ( or Venmo (@SFBuddhistcenter) or Zelle, or you can drop off a check or cash or use your credit card at one of our events. 

Please pay the highest amount you are able within the range of $570 to $770. This helps us to cover the cost of the retreat leader, the cook, and others needing help with costs.  

Retreat Requirements: 
Order Members
Booking Deadline Date: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Event Type: 

This event is no longer open for bookings