“…in the footprint of the Buddha…”
Samatha Concentration Retreat
With Venerable Tomas Dhammadipa
December 5 – 12, 2021
Blue Sky Retreat Center @ San Geronimo Lodge, Taos, New Mexico
Update on TMH’s COVID – 19 Protocol
It is our deep hope that the August, November, and December 2021 retreats will be held in-person. However, as you all know, it is hard to predict the future. We want to make sure that everyone participating at a TMH retreat will be safe. We will continue to seek guidance from our NM department of health and the CDC as well as from our Board, teachers, and staff. If you apply for one of these 3 aforementioned retreats, you will be asked to submit a copy of your vaccination card, agree to wear a mask when in a space with other people, and agree to follow certain guidelines that will help us all stay healthy. We are still in the process of figuring out how to work with our small meditation hall spaces. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you again for your support of TMH and for your patience and understanding.
This Mountain Hermitage Week-Long Samatha Concentration Retreat offers a unique and supportive space of solitude and silence for anyone who is interested in the Buddhist teachings and meditation practice…this process of purifying the mind and body. This retreat will offer an introduction into the process of learning and acquiring mastery in Samatha-Concentration meditation via training in Anapanasati-Mindfulness of Breathing, which promotes one-pointed concentration and is the basis for wisdom in all the great schools of the northern and southern Buddhist traditions.
Venerable Tomas Dhammadipa will also introduce the yogacara perspective of the practice, giving students a better understanding of how the coupling of Samatha and Vipassana
There will be two Dhamma talks each day. The morning talk will focus on the practicalities of the meditation practice. The evening talk will focus on theoretical aspects of the practice from both the Theravada and Mahayana
The retreat will be held in Noble Silence, and will consist of alternate periods of sitting and walking, instructions, Dhamma talks, Q & A opportunities, individual practice meetings and a daily 30 minute Qigong practice session. The small group size at this Hermitage retreat helps to create a more intimate experience and easier access to the teacher.
A scholarship fund has been established to offer partial financial aid to those who would otherwise not be able to attend. There is no fee for monastics.
Applications and deposits are requested by November 1, 2021. Late applications will be considered on a space available basis. Space is limited so apply soon! Printable forms are at the bottom of this page.
PREREQUISITES FOR THIS RETREAT
This retreat is open to anyone who is interested in the Buddhist teachings and meditation practice…this process of purifying the mind and body.
Please let us know details of any previous retreats, including teachers’ names, dates, location and length of the retreat, on the application form.
ABOUT THE MOUNTAIN HERMITAGE
Yogis are encouraged to maintain sustained and continuous practice during their participation in this Mountain Hermitage retreat. Teaching support for this retreat will consist of daily morning practice, instruction or reflection or guided sit, small group and one-on-one practice meetings as scheduled by the teacher and group chanting of the Refuges and Precepts, a Dhamma Talk or Q&A each evening.
This Mountain Hermitage retreat offers a unique practice opportunity. In order to benefit from this environment, applicants need to be largely self-sustaining in their practice and be comfortable in unbroken silence and solitude. All participants must be mentally stable and physically able to care for themselves. Everyone must have health insurance or be able to cover their expenses in case of illness or medical emergencies. Any special needs must be discussed and agreed to in advance, as the staff is very small and cannot accommodate high levels of support for any individual.
It is asked that retreatants commit themselves fully to their retreat. All business and family obligations should be taken care of prior to the beginning of the retreat so that practice can be uninterrupted.
Venerable Dhammadipa (lay name Tomas Peter Gutman) was born in Czechoslovakia in 1949. Since his graduation from Prague Karl University in 1969, where he studied Chinese Literature and Philosophy, he received various degrees from universities in Jerusalem, Berlin, Paris, and India. In 1986, he went to Japan and studied under Zen Master Harada Serrei Roshi of the Caodong school. He was given a Dharma name Xing-Kong (meaning Nature of Emptiness).
In 1987, with the encouragement of Venerable Athurugiriye Nyanavimala Mahathera, Venerable Wijayasoma Mahathera, and Venerable Dikwelle Mahinda, he ordained as a monk in Meetirigala and was given a Dharma name as Dhammadipa (island of Buddhism or Dharma). He received the full Theravada Bhiksu ordination in Sri Lanka where he practiced meditation under the guidance of his preceptor, Venerable Nanarama Mahathera. In 1989, he received the Three Fold ordination as a Mahayana Monk in Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles and began Dharma teaching in US, Germany and Taiwan.
In 1996, Venerable went to Myanmar to practice meditation with the contemporary master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and was recognized by the Sayadaw to be first of the Sayadaw’s Western disciples qualified to teach meditation. He has since been teaching Samatha (tranquil mental states) and Vipassana (direct seeing of the Dharma) meditation at monasteries and universities worldwide.
Venerable Dhammadipa speaks Czech, French, German, English, Russian, and fluent Chinese. He reads and translates Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit. Over the years Venerable has presented dharma teachings and led meditation retreats around Europe, North America, Taiwan and mainland China, India and Southeast Asia.
Venerable teaches that knowledge of the Buddhist way should be applied in practice and verified first hand through direct experience. One should make a great vow to tread the way and realize the dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. For more information about Venerable Dhammadipa, please click this link to his website: https://www.dhammadipa.cz/en/recordings-texts/
The staff of this week-long retreat will consist of the teacher, a retreat manager (the point of contact in case of any difficulties), a cook, and an administrative person.
POSSIBLE DAILY SCHEDULE
The general retreat schedule will consist of alternate periods of sitting and walking, instructions, Dhamma talks, Q & A opportunities, individual practice meetings and a daily 30 minute Qigong practice session
6:00 a.m. – Group sit and Metta chant
6:30 a.m. – Breakfast
7:15 a.m. – Work period
8:15 a.m. -Refuges & Precepts – Group sit – Instructions or Dhamma reflection
9:15 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Walk & sit alternate hours- Practice interviews as scheduled
12:00 Noon – Lunch
1:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Walk & sit alternate hours, 30 minute Qigong practice session
5:30 p.m. – Tea
6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Sit & walk
7:15 p.m. – Dhamma talk, guided meditation, or Q & A as scheduled
8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Walk or sit
THE RETREAT FACILITY
Blue Sky Retreat Center @ San Geronimo Lodge, Taos, NM is situated among fruit trees along the banks of the Acequia Madre, and provides the privacy, quiet, and sense of harmony that is most conducive to intensive practice. There is a beautiful meditation hall and indoor and outdoor walking areas.
The Mountain Hermitage will have exclusive use of Blue Sky Retreat Center during the one week period of this Samatha Concentration Retreat. Each room is spacious enough to allow for both sitting and walking meditation for those who wish to practice in a more secluded setting.
The meditation hall, walking spaces, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms are all within one building. There are two wheelchair accessible double bedrooms, to allow for an attendant, if needed.
Fees are on a sliding scale to allow you to pay according to your means. Our actual cost for this week long retreat per person is $945. A portion of our scholarship fund is being allocated for this retreat to allow us to offer the low range on the sliding scale. Please pay as much as you are able, in order to allow others to attend who need to pay less. Any amount above the actual cost will be gratefully received and treated as a tax-deductible donation.
$ 745 (low) $ 945 (actual cost) $ 1181 (benefactor)
If you need more scholarship support, some additional funds are available. Please fill out a scholarship application form and send it with your application form, specifying how much you feel you are able to pay. There is no fee for monastics.
The Mountain Hermitage will gratefully receive donations to our scholarship fund to enable those in financial need to attend this retreat. Donations are tax-deductible and should be marked ‘Scholarship Fund’.
DANA, an ancient Pali word meaning generosity, giving, or gift, is central to the 2,600-year-old tradition of Buddhism. The teachings of the Buddha are held to be beyond any price and have been offered freely since the time of the Buddha. This retreat is offered in that same spirit.
The early teachers received no payment for their instruction. In Buddhist countries, traditionally, it has always been understood that the lay community, through their voluntary generosity (their dana), provide physical support – the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medicine – for the monks and nuns. In turn they were/are offered guidance and teachings in their own practice by this monastic sangha.
This practice of dana has been a very significant pillar in keeping the Dhamma (teachings) alive. The generosity of the laity towards the practical support of the monastic community since ancient times, is what has kept the Dhamma spreading through the world. Western teachers have continued this tradition of offering the teachings freely. In our culture, where no real training exists in living generously, it is a new practice for us in both offering and receiving the Dhamma.
Dana is not only a practical matter; it also plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of a Dhamma practicioner. Generosity is the first of the ten paramis, or qualities of character, to be perfected in spiritual life. The very act of giving is of immeasurable benefit to the giver, for it opens the heart, lessens self-absorption, and serves the well-being of others.
The Mountain Hermitage fees for this retreat only cover basic expenses and operating costs. The teacher(s) offer the Buddha Dhamma without any set fee, and depend on the generosity of students for the support of their daily life needs. Giving to the teacher, from the heart, whatever feels appropriate, is the practice of Dana. You may also wish to offer Dana to the staff, or to the Hermitage itself to support operating expenses or future scholarships.
All Mountain Hermitage retreats offer participants an opportunity to offer Dana to specifically help cover the cost of meals during the retreat – for an entire day or for individual meals. The suggested amount for each of these will be posted at the retreat next to the Meal Dana basket.
HOW TO MAKE AN OFFERING
At the end of the retreat, dana envelopes will be provided. Cash or checks on US funds may be used. All dana checks should be made out to The Mountain Hermitage. The Mountain Hermitage is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charitable organization. All dana offered to The Mountain Hermitage for use in supporting the teacher, scholarships & general expenses are tax deductible. Donations to staff are not tax-deductible. If you would like to offer dana by credit card, please ask the Retreat Manager for more information during the retreat. OR ask Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org before the retreat.
USE OF FEES
Your fees for the retreat will be used to pay for: rental of Blue Sky Retreat Center and attached expenses; other general retreat expenses; a retreat cook; a small stipend for the retreat manager; a small parsonage to the teacher to help cover ongoing home expenses for the duration of the retreat; and teacher transportation.
The deposit will not be banked until your registration is confirmed and will be applied to the total fee for those accepted to attend. The deposit will be returned in full to those not accepted, or to those who are on a waiting list at the time that the retreat begins.
The full deposit must accompany your application, even if you are requesting scholarship funds. No monies will be banked until you are accepted into the retreat. The balance of the retreat fee is due when you arrive for the retreat, or you can mail the balance to us in advance. If possible, we appreciate you paying the full fee (deposit plus balance) at the time of application or on acceptance, as this improves our efficiency. However this is not necessary.
Please pay by check or money order in US funds, drawn on a US bank. We cannot accept foreign cash or bank drafts, but we can accept international money orders in US dollars. Checks/money orders should be made payable to THE MOUNTAIN HERMITAGE.
Cancellation fees apply to all confirmed registrations.
Cancellations received on or before October 31, 2021: your deposit will be returned minus a $25 cancellation fee.
Cancellations received on or after November 1, 2021, including non-attendance at the retreat: your deposit cannot be refunded. If you have already paid the balance, then that balance will be refunded minus the $275 deposit/cancellation fee.
CANCELLATION FEES WILL BE APPLIED TO THE MOUNTAIN HERMITAGE SCHOLARSHIP FUND (after the cost of the retreat is covered).
In the event of specific, unusual emergency circumstances, the cancellation policy can be discussed with The Mountain Hermitage Office Manager after the retreat is concluded. If you attend the retreat but for some reason decide on your own to leave early, the deposit and balance you have paid cannot be refunded to you.
Anyone interested in attending the retreat must have read this document. Then, complete the Application Form and Waiver of Liability, attach your deposit, and mail to: The Mountain Hermitage, PO Box 807, Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557.
Applications and deposits are requested by November 1, 2021. Late applications will be considered on a space available basis. Applications will be accepted only by mail, not by phone, fax, or e-mail, because they must be accompanied by the appropriate deposit.
Incomplete registrations, including those without sufficient deposit, will be returned for completion.
Each application will be carefully reviewed. In some cases, a personal or phone interview will be conducted with the teacher prior to determination of suitability for this type of practice. All applications are processed by date received. We will respond within four weeks from receipt of your application.
If your application is not accepted for this retreat, your deposit will be returned.
Places are limited so early application is advised. Once the retreat is full, you will be notified and placed on a wait list, and we will contact you if a place opens up. If it does not, then your deposit will be returned.
If you are placed on the wait list and you then cancel your registration before a space has become available, your deposit will be returned.
If you are placed on a wait list and are unable to attend the retreat, please let us know immediately. As long as your name remains on a list, we assume you wish to attend. If a space becomes available, we will automatically confirm your registration. Once you are confirmed for a retreat, you are liable for applicable cancellation fees if you subsequently cancel.
Printable Documents and Forms
- Special Flyer