Annual Retreat FAQ
When and Where Is the Meditation Retreat?
Friday, November 1 – Sunday, November 10, 2019 at Diamond Mountain in Bowie, Arizona. Bowie is about 2 hours east of Tucson, AZ and 3 hours west of El Paso, TX. Tucker and Upasaka Upali will be teaching the retreat.
So, What’s A Meditation Retreat?
It’s a break from the world during which we focus exclusively on meditation. We will not use phones, internet, or the like, and our time will be almost entirely devoted to caring for our bodies (eating, showering, exercising) and meditation.
Can I Really Do This For Ten Days? Me?
Yes. Though if you have any physical or mental health conditions you’re concerned might alter my pre-fab “yes”, please ask!
So What Is Diamond Mountain, Anyways?
It’s a retreat center affiliated with the Asian Classics Institute and the Gelugpa lineage of Geshe Michael Roach, and it’s the former site of a 3-year retreat. However, we are not affiliated (or affiliating) with that lineage, just renting a facility they own.
How Much Will It Cost?
Please see the registration page for how much Diamond Mountain charges based on your choice of accommodations. They have offered us extremely affordable prices.
What Costs Aren’t Included In the Fee to the Retreat Center?
One is “dana,” which is payment to the teacher. The intention of dana is to be as generous as you are realistically able to, and of course this amount varies greatly among students. Traditionally, students pay dana following the end of the retreat.
In the past, we have been able to use retreat fees to subsidize round-trip transportation from Tucson to Bowie such that it costs only a few dollars per person or is free. However, as we can’t accurately estimate transportation costs in advance (since we don’t know how many people are coming, how many have cars, etc.) and we don’t want to just charge everyone the highest possible estimate, there might be an additional cost for this.
OK That’s Really Cheap, but I Still Can’t Afford That Price + Travel & Dana
Diamond Mountain has said that if someone could not come at their stated price, they would permit you to buy and cook your own food. We will be over 50 miles round trip from the nearest supermarket, so both the retreat center & we would discourage this except in the case where the fee for meals would truly prevent you from attending.
You can also apply for a need-based scholarship through the Open Dharma Foundation. Deadlines are Jan 15, Apr 15, Aug 15, and Oct 15, though if you’re applying for $300 or less, you can apply anytime.
I’ve Got Some Extra Money. How Can I Support People Who Want To Go On Retreats But Can’t Afford It?
Thanks for asking! You can make a donation to the Open Dharma Foundation, a 501c3 organization (meaning this donation is likely tax-deductible in the US).
I’d Like To Come But Would Need To Leave Early. Is That OK?
Yes, but only if you really couldn’t come otherwise. It’s of course best to do the entire retreat. If you do need to leave early, you will probably need your own car to get back to the airport.
Can I Come Late?
Probably not, though you’re welcome to contact us about possible exceptions.
How Do I Get There?
We’ll try to arrange a carpool from Tucson to Bowie and back, and we’ll be in touch when the retreat gets closer about specifics.
When Should I Arrive in Arizona?
We’d like everyone to be in Tucson by 1 PM on Friday, if possible, and to fly out of Tucson no earlier than 2 PM on Sunday. If you’d like to fly to Phoenix to save money, you can take the bus to Tucson; please arrive by 9:30AM or earlier on Friday if you’re coming to Phoenix.
Will The Retreat Organizers Provide Lodging in Tucson the Night Before and After?
We will help arrange an Airbnb for people wanting to arrive on Thursday or leave on Monday. Please email Upali if you’d like to get in on this.
The night that the retreat ends is the All Souls Procession, Tucson’s best annual event, in case you were able to spend Sunday night.
How Do I Register?
What If I Still Have Questions?