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It's All About

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Dharma Retreats in

North America and Asia

Why silence makes a difference? 

When we stoop talking, different portions of our brains become more active.


"Broca's area, located in the frontal lobe of the left hemisphere of the brain, is responsible for speech production and articulation."

"Neuroscientists believe that, in humans and mammals, the cerebral cortex is the “seat of consciousness,” while the midbrain reticular formation and certain thalamic nuclei may provide gating and other necessary functions of the cortex. Your cerebral

cortex, also called gray matter, is your brain’s outermost layer of nerve cell tissue. It has a wrinkled appearance from its many

folds and grooves. Your cerebral cortex plays a key role in memory, thinking, learning, reasoning, problem-solving, emotions, consciousness and functions related to your senses."

When we function on "the everyday autopilot" we mostly use overactive front lobe, but when we spend some times contemplating or resting in silence, we activate our gray matter, or improve all of our senses. Our brain is very flexible,

it has ability to regenerate and shows neuroplasticity. The more time you spend in silence, the more you will be able to see

& hear your own thoughts, as they begin arising. You will recognize what emotions cause certain thoughts and what actions

they lead to. You will have much better control of what is beneficial in your life an what thoughts are not. You will begin noticing how other people act and think, you can learn how to read others better. This process will eventually become your

"new autopilot", and silence would not matter much, you will be able to do it in any ordinary situation: on the bus, in the car,

in the store, in the kitchen, etc. I spend about 4 years in nearly complete silence. I communicated with a sticky notes and emails.


Ananda Dharma Center

3888 Balcom Road,

San Jose CA 95148

Zen Garden

Jikoji Zen Center

12100 Skyline Blvd,

Los Gatos, CA 95033


Pema Osel Ling

2013 Eureka Canyon Rd,

Watsonville, CA 95076


Karmê Chöling

369 Patneaude Ln

Barnet, Vermont 05821

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Drikung Meditation Center

29 Mohawk Street,

Danvers, MA 01923


Vermont Zen Center

480 Thomas Rd,

Shelburne, VT 05482


Ithaca Zen Center 

56 Lieb Road
Spencer, NY 14883


 Sati Saraniya Hermitage

1702 McVeigh Road
Perth, ON K7H 3C9 Canada

Garchen Buddhist Institute

9995 E Blissful Path,

Chino Valley, AZ 86323


City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

12100 Skyline Blvd,

Los Gatos, CA 95033


Vajrapani Institute

19950 Kings Creek Rd,

Boulder Creek, CA 95006


Sky Meadow Retreat

63 Winchester Rd,

Greensboro Bend, VT 05842


Pema Osel Do-ngak Choling

322 Eastman Cross Rd,

Vershire, VT 05079


Samye Hermitage New York

412 Glimmerglen Road,

Cooperstown, NY 13326


Rochester Zen Center

7 Arnold Park,

Rochester, NY 14607


Dai Tong Lam

690 Chemin de la Rivière Rouge  
Canton D'Harrington, QC J8G 2S7 Canada


Land of Medicine Buddha

5800 Prescott Rd,

Soquel, CA 95073


Milarepa Center

1344 U.S. Route 5 South

Barnet, Vermont 05821


Natural Dharma Fellowship

253 Philbrick Hill Rd,

Springfield, NH 03284


Palyul Retreat Center

359 Hollow Road
McDonough, NY 13801


Dorje Denma Ling

2280 Balmoral Rd,

The Falls, NS B0K 1V0, Canada

Cave Explorer

The Dangers of SublimalSelf ~ Programming

While in retreat I realized many people can experience many negative emotions & reaction. Bluntly to say, people can go crazy from the Wrong Self-Programming, especially alone. I think many problems with mind recovery & mind altering practices can lead to the wrong path, if people entering retreat without proper knowledge. How it really works on psycho scientific level.  How does this work? 

When we are first born we don't talk, or comprehend either visual or verbal terminology. We are taught all of these by other people: parent's siblings, relatives, friends

& enemies. Through all of our lives, if you think about this.


You can not know anything unless somebody else will

teach you. How you see the world will depend on your surroundings & people in it. But we also do the same for them. We teach them back. How to take care of us, how

to raise us, how to stay patient, etc. Life is a constant process of verbal & visual interactions.


Our brain responses primarily depend on these interactions. This is how we gain & grow our intellect.

So, when a person or a child gets traumatised, for one reason or another, physically or emotionally, he has to

re-program himself. Sometimes coping mechanisms force us into silence, and sometimes, into excessive outer self-expression. Both can be emotional & physical. People can get violent or silent.


So, when in retreat they use alternative methods, sometime in the foreign language, in order to rewire

their brain for more positive response to trauma & recovery. However, beginning to read ANY text requires comprehension of what you are reading. Not necessary why, but definitely what. This is where it gets tricky.

Mind has a tendency to get stuck, on both the positives

& negatives, & , sometimes, this prevents the further progress, by creating very dangerous alternative reality

for the person. It's like feeling of orgasm, you are trying

to repeat, but keep getting wrong partner to try it with.


People can get addicted to feeling calm & completely detached from everyday reality. It can simply affect their formal private lives in a negative ways, as well. 



Eat light diet

When you are in retreat fast or eat less fat diet.

Try being vegetarian for 2 weeks and see how you feel. You do not absolutely have to do it, but most retreats avoid meat dishes.  TRY THESE DISHES as an alternative for your regular meat cravings.

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Safety First: location, location, location

The best way to get the most of your retreat is to find

the suitable & safe location. Of cause you can just do retreat by camping, but when you doing it in the organized community it is much safer. Make sure you

feel comfortable staying in this location for the whole time. Otherwise, what they call, "cabin fever" may set

in and you can "snap off the handle".

If this is a drupchen type retreat when you are not allow

to break the mantra count or when you have to chant 24/7 you have to make sure you get enough rest between your session if you don't do it 24/7. I lasted 96 hours without any breaks, after than, I needed to sleep.

I chose the night session next and slept through the day. It is ok to stop when you feel you are falling off your feet. This is not the point of the drupchen, to die prematurely. Use common sense above anything.

Make sure you like the setting you are retreating in.

Hotels & resorts can be a great setting to retreat, if

you can, of cause, afford it. Walking along & across

the Central Park, for example, can be simple, cheap & fantastic way to relax  & enjoy nature in the busy city setting. 


Amulets & Accessories for Retreat

Some people use traditional items while others prefer personal spiritual tools. If you follow specific tradition I

am sure you know where to get these things. 


These are many online places, were you can buy an affordable traditional tibetan amulets & accessories.

 I have a list of the most authentic or beautiful HERE.

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Make sure you are Ready

Do not go into retreat because it is popular or "your friend just went." Retreat is not a fashion statement.

It is a heavy mental work. On yourself. Make sure you

are ready & doing it for the right reasons.

Don't allow yourself to lose control of reality & mistaken

the enemies for a friend. Just because someone is

smiling does not meat he lost his knife. Sometimes people express their aggression in a "very joking way",  but this aggression unfortunately does not vanish, &

will, one day, manifest as a "fist on the face, rather then back." Sometimes people lose their minds in retreat & "assume they have a special abilities, like "transferring their minds into the cats & lay on the laps of their female partners" (end of quote);  "have been a Queen Marie Antoinette ... in the past life" (end of quote) or "have

been ran by HH Dalai Lama by the car in India near his home" (end of quote). It is always good to check your

own sanity state. Stay aware. My personal experience was only weird dream and daytime hearing issues: I heard mantra I never heard before during my recitation,

I asked one of the retreat elders what it means  and he said it was strange form of "21 Taras speech". Later the same day I saw the dream, of cutting someone else's head off, with light sword. Woman's head I cut off, turned into light and multiple snakes came out crawling on the ground from her neck. White light blinded me after that. This was my esoteric experience  during and after this retreat. Then I woke up in my tent, from the mosquito bite. Just a weird dream. This was a 10 days Cittamani Tara retreat. In the Summer of 2012. No esoteric awakening and no special abilities, a lot of mantra recitations and service in retreat. People who expect some special events are looking for a wrong thing.

I grew up with couple of strong family phrases that stick around and influence subconscious, but they helped me

in life more that anything else:

  • "Keep your friends close, but your enemies, closer"

  •  "Friends ~ are the time thieves"

  • " When I eat ~ I am deaf & silent"

  • "My home ~ is my  Fortress"

  •  "Quality vs. Quantity"

When you meditate on your past traumas the most important thing is to never concentrate on the "Why?" Rather think how to act different, considering how you

feel now, what emotions you feel when you are in the same setting, how & what you feel in the current situation in your life. Otherwise, if you constantly keep going back to "why" ~ you will go crazy. It will make you re-traumatised daily. Worst possible path to recovery. Best balance is:

don't dwell too much on the past, but don't go too far into the fantasy of future. The world did not change, but you did. 



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Prepare for the unexpected: weather changes

Make sure you plan ahead for possible weather changes.

Get supplies you need for an Emergency, including extra battery, shut off cell phone & compass with light & heat.

It does not matter if you retreat in a tent or a dorm, this

will never hurt to have. As long as you are capable of not touching cell phone, unless it is an Emergency.


Get a set of clothes for all seasons.  I thought Arizona does not have a snow. I was wrong. It snowed & got below 30, in Chino Valley, AZ in November, 2013. 

I was in the "15 Days Vajrakilaya Drupchen" when it happened.  Not the best weather for a summer tent. 

Be prepared for unexpected. I developed hypothermia one night, because I did not expect either winter wind

or snow in a desert Arizona...


After you Finish Finale

After you come back from the retreat, depending on

your faith you should continue to practice, at least a little, in your every day reality. Listen to the spiritual music

that makes you elevated, avoid too much stress or connections with things or people, that cause you emotional distress, that lead you to retreat on the first pace. Do not be afraid to cut all ties & start fresh, without looking back. Otherwise you will never truly recover. Keep your mind free of past mistakes gutter & move on.


Your pride is nothing but uncured trauma. Once you realize what happen to you, pride will no longer be needed. So, do not dwell on what the book had told you to do, if this does not fit your reality. You do not need a building with monks or nuns to have a faith.  Most likely after the long retreat, 1 year or more, you will not want to engage in too much talking with people. I spent almost 4 years in silent retreat. By "silent" I mean people around me talked, but I didn't. I learn how to simply pay attention and listen.  Even when you fully come back to the society you will not want to engage in "bar talks". Ever. Your general perception of reality will change.

Final & The Most Important thing to remember, no matter what level abuse you had to encounter, no matter what emotional struggles you overcame ~ the most Important fact: Your Mind is the Light that Illuminates this Reality. It is All Up to You. 

Interview Mini



  • Beef /Meat

  • Shiitake Mushrooms

  • White Kidney Beans

  • Ginger

  • Celery

  • Onion

  • Potato

  • Carrot

  • Nutmeg

  • Cardamom

  • Coriander

  • Cloves

  • Black Pepper

  • Garlic

  • Olive oil Ghee for sauteing 

  • Handmade flat noodle

For the HANDMADE NOODLES you will need to combine flour, water and salt to form a dough. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin or hands, then​ shape the dough into anything your prefer. 

Boil meat together with spices.

"Butter braise" all vegetables, including shiitake mushrooms, and mix together with the beef/meat broth. Add noodles 20 minutes before soup is done.  Serve with fresh parsley or dill with scallions mix sprinkle.




  • Barley

  • Mushrooms

  • Onions

  • Celery

  • Scallions

  • Celantro

  • Dill

  • Bay leaves

  • Carrot

  • Nutmeg

  • Cardamom

  • Cloves

  • Black Pepper

  • Garlic

  • Ghee for sauteing 

  • Salt

"Butter braise"  all vegetables, including mushrooms, before mixing it with steamed or boiled barley. You can serve plain yogurt or sour cream  with fresh herbs on the side.


Shiitake Mushrooms

MUST have for TUKHPA



MUST have for BARLEY




  • Cinnamon sticks 

  • Fresh Ginger

  • Cloves

  • Nutmeg

  • Green cardamom pods

  • Black peppercorns

  • Fennel seeds 

  • Unsalted Butter

  • Organic Raw Sugar

  • Black Ceylon Tea

  • Milk

  • Butter

Boil milk, add all spices together and lower the heat to the minimum.

Continue to boil and mix for 25 minutes on the lower heat until the color of the tea turns solid "coffee cream" color. Drain all remaining spices and serve, either hot

or cold.




  • Thai basil

  • Lemongrass

  • Bamboo shoots

  • Red bell pepper

  • Green curry paste

  • Makrut lime leaves

  • Coconut milk

  • Fish sauce

  • Organic Raw or Brown sugar 

  • Boneless skinless chicken or tofu

  • Chicken broth

  • Eggplant

  • Ghee for sauteing

Saute: curry paste, basil, lemon grass, coconut milk and bamboo shots together with coconut milk, until it thickens. Add chicken and remaining ingredients together and let it shimmer on the low heat until chicken is fully cooked. Add green leaves and serve with steamed rice.



MUST have for CHAI


Red Curry Paste





  • Russet potatoes

  • Onion

  • Carrot

  • Green Peas

  • Cilantro

  • Garlic

  • Ginger 

  • Olive oil/Ghee

  • Lemon juice

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Coriander Powder

  • Crushed Chilies

  • Cumin Seeds

  • Curry Powder

  • Fennel Seeds

  • Garam Masala

  • Garlic Flakes

  • Salt & Ground Black Pepper

For the DOUGH  you will need to combine flour,  carom seeds (Ajwain seeds)butter and salt. Use deep fryer

or boiling butter to cook it.




  • Red curry paste 

  • Coconut milk

  • Chicken meat or tofu

  • Chicken broth

  • Fish sauce

  • Celery

  • Thai basil 

  • Red Pepper

  • Mild dried chilies

  • Spicy dried chilies

  • White peppercorns

  • Eggplant

  • Scallions

  • Celantro

  • Brown or raw sugar

  • Nutmeg

  • Garlic

  • Shallots

  • Lemongrass

  • Galangal Root(it is not ginger)

  • Makrut (kaffir) lime

  • Ghee for sauteing 

  • Salt

Saute: curry paste, basil, lemon grass, coconut milk and bamboo shots, red pepper and eggplant together with coconut milk, until it thickens. Add chicken and remaining ingredients together and let it shimmer on the

low heat until chicken is fully cooked. Add green leaves and serve with steamed rice.



MUST have for SAMOSA





Places to Hide from the World

There are many fun hideaway locations you can find in the mountain regions.

Sometimes , we need complete seclusion for one traumatic reason or the other. 

These are some places, that can be great hideaways.


Pacific BC Lakes

Loon Lake Lodge Retreat

14500 Silver Valley Road,

Maple Ridge, BC V4R 2R3, Canada


Deep Western Hills

Boulder Creek Retreat

372 Denali Ln,

Bonners Ferry, ID 83805


Old Western Style

Country Cabins Inn

21 7th St,

Mountain View, WY 82939


Midwestern Amish Charm

Secret Haven Singing Hills 

54864 Co Rd 33,

Middlebury, IN 46540


Pennsylvania Gloomy Calm

Miller's Mountain Retreat

222 Buffalo St,

Coudersport, PA 16915


Southern Waterfront

Carolina King Retreat & Marina

2498 Belser Road

Summerton, SC 29148


Upstate New York

Slateville Retreat Cabin

181 Little Burch Hill Rd,

Granville, NY 12832


Magical Forest

Skamania Lodge

1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way

Stevenson, WA 98648


Forest Resort

Mountainside Retreats

3965 Star Meadow Rd,

Whitefish, MT 59937


Canadian Border Lakes

Poplar Creek Retreat

11 Poplar Creek Dr,

Grand Marais, MN 55604


 Icy Lakes

Fresh Coast Cabins

13051 M26,

Eagle Harbor, MI 49950

Midwest Forest Charm 

Retreat at Crabtree Falls

11100 Crabtree Falls Hwy,

Tyro, VA 22976

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Country River Fun

Towaliga River Retreat

5539-5541 Juliette Rd,

Juliette, GA 31046


Destress in Vermont 

Sterling Ridge Resort

155 Sterling Ridge Dr,

Jeffersonville, VT 05464


Snowy Mountains

The Chalet at Mt. Baker

The Chalet at Mt. Baker

Deming, WA 98244

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Glacier Lakes

The Montana Cabin

754 Madden Lk Rd,

Rexford, MT 59930

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Wisconsin Cheese Lakes

Birch Cabin Retreat

10843 Birchwood Dr,

Sister Bay, WI 54234


Midwest Country Luxury

Cherry Ridge Retreat

22097 Cherry Ridge Rd,

New Plymouth, OH 45654

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Southern Country Luxury

Blue Hollow Lake Retreat

4407 US 49,

Hattiesburg, MS 39401


New Brunswick Borders

Rustic Retreat Lodge

42 Maggie drive,

Perham, ME 04766

Christians Retreats in

North America 


Clearwater Lodge

8513 WA-211,

Newport, WA 99156


Cowboy's Rest

435 Jiggs Hwy Unit 4

Spring Creek, NV 89815


Light of the Prairies Retreat 

22115 Mun 51 N, Lorette,

MB R5K 0E1, Canada


Light On the Hill

209 Blake Hill Rd,

Van Etten, NY 14889


Pathfinder Studio Sanctuary

12473 NY-38,

Martville, NY 13111


The Lodge Ministries

107 Bible Hill Rd,

Claremont, NH 03743


Highlights Foundation 

392 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443


Covenant Village Retreat

535 Tr304,

Clearville, PA 15535

St Francis Springs Center

477 Grogan Rd,

Stoneville, NC 27048


Thomas the Apostle Retreat 

34 Thomas the Apostle Rd,

Cody, WY 82414


St Gertrude's Spirit Center

465 Keuterville Rd,

Cottonwood, ID 83522


Mount Saint Francis Center

101 St Anthony Dr,

Mt St Francis, IN 47146


St Joseph's Dwelling Place

141 Wright Road

Ludlow, VT 05149


St. Margaret's  Retreat 

47 Jordan Road,

New Hartford, NY 13413


Eastover Estate Eco-Village

430 East St,

Lenox, MA 01240


Francis House of Prayer

84 Walnford Road,

Allentown, NJ 08501


Loyola Retreat House

9270 Loyola Retreat Road 
Faulkner, MD 20632


Ignatius House Jesuit 

6700 Riverside Dr,

Sandy Springs, GA 30328


TerraVista Retreat 

18165 Midland Blvd,
Nampa, ID 83687


The Christine Center

W8303 Mann Rd,

Willard, WI 54493


Christ the King Retreat 

500 Brookford Road,

Syracuse, NY 13224


Easton Mountain Retreat 

391 Herrington Hill Road,

Greenwich, NY, 12834


Yoder's Retreat Center

19130 PA-954,

Smicksburg, PA 16256


Art of Living Retreat Center

639 Whispering Hills Rd,

Boone, NC 28607

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help 

3989 S Moon Dr,

Venice, FL 34292

Woman Walking in Forest

West Coast Retreat Locations

If you need to overcome addiction or serious trauma, going into universal retreat is one of the best options

to begin healing. Non-denominational non-religious or faith based silent retreat may be the best option. I listed   the places along the West Coast I personally attended.


They offer clean energy housing, no air conditioners & solar power generators; hot water & clean toilets; offer traditional spiritual retreats, mostly within Tibetan Dharma Tradition; offer Karma Yoga, as a partial payment option, with both, indoor & outdoor (tent in a camp site), accommodations.


Castle Locks, OR/Bridge of Gods is simply a very secluded area, great for any retreat & recovery. 15 to 30 days is the best duration for recovery retreat. 7 days will have a minimum effect. 

Performance Art

Be careful

NEVER attempt Silent Retreat, especially unattended,

if you are suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder & never go into retreat for more than 7 days. 


Your mind will not be ready for this & you can have an unrecoverable mental break down. In retreats I have seen people who truly believe they are historical figures of the past, Templars, Marie Antoinette, Jesuses Daughter from Marie The Magdalene, Kurukulle in Flash , etc. False believe in the state of  the mental euphoria, sometimes, are normal. Depending on circumstances of these thoughts. However, continue believing this, after the retreat  ~ is a mental disorder.


Why? In retreat, you may be required to do acting, in order to release certain emotions. When returning to normal life, it is highly recommended to stop acting. Never stop taking your medication in retreat, your chemical in balance will not be cured by just meditation practices or reading scriptures. This practice is only appropriate for fully mentally stable people.

Asian Water Garden

And more 

How does it work? 


While disconnecting yourself from all Electronic & Media Influences, at least temporary, you will be left with nothing, but your own thought to sort thing out. No cell phone, no TV, no music, except acoustics, if you chose, no electricity at night, candle light or solar lantern.


When you left alone in silence your mind bring out on the surface everything that was previously silenced, by the outside influences, like media or other people. You can begin discovering why you do what you & how to proceed. You not being destructed with problems of upcoming reality. You just have to find a way to remain in the present. Everything else

will come to you. 


Doing Karma Yoga, meaning working in the kitchen or cleaning during the breaks, helps to stay connected to physical realty, when you meditate too much. It helps to keep mind stable & destruct yourself from thinking completely, while you washing dishes or serving food, still in silence. Being silent helps to pay attention to physical reality in details. Your brain activates different region this way, when you stop talking. It gets re-wired new this way, fresh.




Silent Mind

When you return to your everyday reality, you will begin perceiving things different. This is definitely a fact.

Many people mistakenly think they need to receive initiations or blessings before they can learn how to meditate. Your Mind is the only REAL thing you need to hear your own thoughts. Just make sure you create enough silence.

Can you spend  at least 15 days alone with yourself in the conditions like this? 

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