Wise Attention & Opening the Heart – February 2012

Wise Attention & Opening the Heart:

One-week Retreat with Greg Scharf & Andrea Fella
February 10-17, 2012
San Geronimo Lodge in Taos, New Mexico

There are still a few spaces left in this retreat… but you should apply soon.  Write or call with questions: hermitage@mountainhermitage.org or (575-758-0633)


San-G-winter-snow-treeInsight, or Vipassana meditation is the simple direct practice of moment-to-moment observation of the mind/body process with relaxed, open and careful awareness. By learning to observe our experience from a place of spacious stillness and balance, we begin to access a natural clarity of mind and openness of heart. As our practice unfolds, we respond to the inevitable joys and sorrows of life with increasing sensitivity, stability and love. Loving kindness or Metta meditation develops the heart’s capacity for patience, acceptance, and forgiveness as we connect with and care for ourselves and others.

This Vipassana and Metta retreat will emphasize how the unfolding of wisdom through present moment awareness opens the heart to the beautiful qualities of love and compassion The retreat will take place in Noble Silence, and the format will include instruction in both Insight and Loving-kindness meditation. It is suitable for both beginning and experienced students of meditation.


We invite invite anyone with a sincere interest in the Buddha Dhamma 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 20 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.


Greg-ScharfGreg Scharf has practiced with both Asian and Western teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1992, including training as a monk in Burma at Panditarama and Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centers. His teaching emphasizes the natural unfolding of love and wisdom through the cultivation of mindful awareness. Greg has been teaching residential retreats in the USA and abroad since 2007.

AndreaFellaAndrea Fella has been practicing Insight Meditation since 1996, and was quickly drawn to intensive retreat practice, training in both the U.S. and in Burma, including a period as a nun with Sayadaw U Janaka.  Andrea has been teaching residential retreats in the U.S. and abroad since 2006. She also has a weekly sitting group, and teaches classes at the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) in Redwood City, California.  She is especially drawn to the wisdom teachings of the Buddha. Her teachings emphasize clarity and practicality.

Besides the teachers, the staff of this one-week Hermitage retreat will consist of a resident retreat manager (the point of contact in case of any difficulties) and a retreat cook. There will be three nutritious vegetarian meals per day.

THE RETREAT FACILITYTuan's-photos-SnS-2010-065

San Geronimo Lodge 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 San Geronimo Lodge during this week-long Four Noble Truths Study Retreat.  The meditation hall, indoor walking spaces, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms are all within one building.  There is one wheelchair-accessible double bedroom 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 the week-long retreat per person is $655. A portion of our scholarship funds 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 $655 will be gratefully received and treated as a tax-deductible donation.

$555 (low)   $655 (actual cost)  $755 (benefactor)

If you need more scholarship support, 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 will be a mix of single and double rooms.  Anyone paying below actual cost may be sharing a room.  Single rooms will go to the first 10 registrants paying at actual cost or above.

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’.


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.Sunflower-inner

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 Four Noble Truths Study Retreat will be used to pay for: rental of the San Geronimo Lodge 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 transportation.


Please send your deposit with your application. The deposit is: $275

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 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.

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


Cancellation fees apply to all confirmed registrations.

Cancellations received on or before December 7, 2011: your deposit will be returned minus a $50 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received between December 7, 2011 and January 4, 2012: your deposit will be returned minus a $125 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received between January 4 and January 27, 2012: your deposit will be returned minus a $200 cancellation fee.

Cancellations received on or after January 27, 2012, 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 cancellation fee/deposit. 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 December 7, 2011. 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, San-G-Meditation-Hall-Peoplincluding 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 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 limited to 20 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.

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