Manifesting Spiritual Aspiration by Deepening Practice:

People of Color Retreat for Experienced Students

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 Teachers:  Gina Sharpe & Larry Yang
August 16 – 25, 2015
at the Columbine Inn in Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Co-sponsored by New York Insight and the East Bay Meditation Center (Oakland, CA)


This retreat for Communities of Color will be the first such retreat of 10 days’ duration, for those who have been undertaking study and practice for at least four years.  Accompanying the instructions for retreat practice will be deep exploration of what constitutes authentic personal expression of the traditional teachings and what bridges the contexts of practice between the Buddha’s time and our present day cultures.  We will examine the relationship of the personal and the collective in reflection and practice.  We will also explore how to live in the relative world with transcendent understanding and how to apply transcendent values to living immanently in the relative world.  We deepen practice to live with integrity, kindness, attention and true service in our vulnerable world.

There will be ample scholarship support available for this retreat.  Please feel free to contact the Hermitage office if you have questions.


We invite People of Color who have been undertaking study and practice for at least four years and have sat three or more 5-7 day retreats to join us for this retreat. You will need to complete an application for the retreat, and it will be reviewed by the teachers

Please be sure to fill out the application sections asking for any meditation and retreat experience, as this information will be helpful to the teachers.  Where applicable, include details of the retreats, including teachers’ names, dates, location and length of the retreat.

The retreat will be limited to 17 practitioners, so early application is suggested. It is asked that retreatants commit themselves fully to their stay. All business and family obligations should be taken care of prior to arrival so that practice and study can be uninterrupted.


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Gina Sharpe was born in Jamaica and immigrated to New York at the age of 11. After retiring from the practice of law, she co-founded New York Insight Meditation Center where she serves as Guiding Teacher.  She has taught at Retreat Centers and other venues around the United States including a maximum security prison for women.  She has been teaching the Dharma since 1995 and is particularly inspired by the potential and application of Dharma to transform and illuminate interpersonal and multicultural relations.





Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry has practiced extensively in Burma and Larry Yang 2Thailand, with a six month period of ordination as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of Ajahn Tong.  Larry is on the Teacher’s Council and the Board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, is one of the core teachers of East Bay Meditation Center (Oakland), and is the Guiding Teacher and on the Board of the Insight Community of the Desert (Palm Springs). He is part of the coordinating team developing future community dharma teachers in Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program. His website is at: and his Huffington Post blog is at:  In addition, Larry is trained as a psychotherapist and a consultant in cultural competency—giving workshops and presentations in diversity and multicultural issues.

Larry’s article, “Directing the Mind Towards Practices in Diversity” was included in Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities, by Thich Nhat Hanh; this article is also being used by different groups based in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. His essay “Family Tree Practice” addresses how meditation and contemplative practice has directly influenced his experiences with racism, heterosexism, and oppression. Larry is a co-editor of Making the Invisible Visible: Healing Racism in Our Buddhist Communities, a booklet developed for building inclusive communities within spiritual practice. He has contributed to the groundbreaking anthology, Dharma, Color, and Culture, by Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquín—a volume that provides a unique perspective from practitioners of color across the spectrum of Buddhist traditions.

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The Columbine Inn, in Taos Ski Valley, is a comfortable timber- frame lodge situated among tall pines at 9000 feet elevation in northern New Mexico’s beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  The Mountain Hermitage will have exclusive use of the Columbine Inn during the period of this retreat, enabling us to provide the privacy, quiet, and sense of harmony  most conducive to intensive practice.Columbine entrance

There is a lovely meditation hall,  indoor and outdoor walking areas,  and full dining room.  All of the rooms at the Columbine Inn include a private toilet and shower. Many of the rooms are spacious enough to allow for sitting and walking meditation for those wishing to practice in a more secluded setting.

Information about transportation and what to bring will be sent to those accepted into the retreat in time for making travel arrangements and packing.Meditation hall2



Fees are on a sliding scale to allow you to pay according to your means. Our actual cost for the week-long retreat per person is $994. 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 $994 will be gratefully received and treated as a tax-deductible donation.

Sliding Scale Fees:    $744  (low)     $994  (actual cost)     $1244  (benefactor)

There will be ample scholarship support for students wishing to attend this retreat. Please fill out a scholarship application form and send it with your application form, specifying how much you feel you are able to pay.

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’.

  Kitchen and dining6DANA

The retreat fees only cover basic expenses and operating costs. The teachers offers the Buddha Dhamma without any set fee, and totally depends on DANA – on the generosity of their students and benefactors – for the support of their daily life needs.

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 have been offered freely since the time of the Buddha. There was and is no way to put a price on the teachings of the truth – they are valuable beyond any fee one could set.

At the end of the retreat, envelopes will be provided for you to offer Dana to the teachers. 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.

Another way to support the Hermitage is to donate all or part of the cost of a meal during the retreat.


Your fees for the retreat will be used to pay for: rental of the Columbine Inn and attached expenses; other general retreat expenses; a retreat cook; a small stipend for the retreat manager; a small parsonage to the teachers to help cover ongoing home expenses for the duration of the retreat; teacher transportationYogi jobs3


Please send your deposit with your application. The deposit  for non-scholarship applicants is: $300.  The deposit for scholarship applicants is: $200.

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.

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The full deposit must accompany your application, even if you are requesting scholarship funds. No monies will be banked until you are accepted on 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.  Sorry, but we are currently unable to accept credit cards.

Checks/money orders should be made payable to THE MOUNTAIN HERMITAGE.


Cancellation fees apply to all confirmed registrations.

Cancellations received on or before May 31, 2015: your deposit and any additional payment will be returned minus a $50 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received between May 31, 2015 and June 30, 2015: your deposit will be returned minus a $125 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received between June 30, 2015 and July 30, 2015: your deposit will be returned minus a $200 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received on or after July 31, 2015  (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 $300 cancellation fee/deposit.


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 Walking 4Taos, NM 87557.

Applications and deposits are requested by May 31, 2015. 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.Yogi practicing outdoors 2

Each application will be carefully reviewed. In some cases, a personal or phone interview will be conducted with one of the teachers 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 limiteColumbines several blued to 17 practitioners, 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

Introduction (print-friendly version of this page)

Practice Guidelines


Waiver of Liability

Scholarship Application & Information Sheet

Special Flyer