Upcoming Retreats

  • Men's Dorm CP – $300.00
  • Men's Quad CP – $330.00
  • Private Cabin CP – $480.00
  • Private Room CP - double bed – $390.00
  • Private Room CP- twin bed – $390.00
  • Women's Dorm CP – $300.00
  • Women's Quad CP – $330.00

Date & Time Details:

  • Check in time is from 2:00 to 4:00pm Thursday.
  • Check out time is 2:00pm Sunday.
  • Meals are served at 8:00am, 12:00pm, and 5:00pm.

Location: Vajrapani Institute

Address: 19950 Kings Creek Rd, Boulder Creek, CA 95006, USA

Program is fully booked

Experience of the Heart [Sutra]

Don Handrick

July 28 - 31, 2022

Program is fully booked

We are thrilled to announce Vajrapani’s first *in person* retreat in over two years! Don Handrick has kindly accepted our request to gather in the redwoods for a heart-centered, immersive experience lacking inherent existence.


All Levels

Silence Level

Partial silence

In person or Online?

In Person! If you cannot attend in person, and would still like to join us, we are offering two evening meditation sessions on Friday and Saturday via zoom. Register here.

Retreat Description

“Since the I that exists is merely imputed, there is nothing to cherish, nothing to cling to. Good-bye to depression, worries and fears.”
—Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The Buddha taught that the only way to cut the ignorance that is the root of all conditioned existence, is the wisdom realizing emptiness: the true nature of reality. Among all the teachings on that subject, the Heart Sutra is renowned for the way that it conveys the essence of the teachings on emptiness in a brief and yet powerful manner. In this retreat, by using passages from the Heart Sutra, as well as other sources from both ancient and contemporary masters, we will explore how to gain an experience of this profound topic so that we can go beyond mere philosophical knowledge and bring emptiness to life.

Sessions will include guided meditation and practice, discussion, lecture, time outside in nature, and group exercises. In order to best make use of your retreat, come with an open heart and your questions. Time will be set aside for question and answer, discussion, and private sessions with Don (should you be so inclined), to discuss your personal practice and questions.

This is a rare and precious opportunity to explore the nature of reality and ourselves with an experienced teacher, in a casual environment. Take a break, take a breath, and come join us for a physical, mental, and spiritual reset in the redwoods.

Tentative Schedule

2:00-4:00pm: Arrival and Check In
4:45pm: Welcome Talk in the Gompa
5:00-6:00pm: Dinner and Clean Up
7:00-8:30pm: Session One

Early Morning: Open Practice in Gompa
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast and Clean Up
9:00am-12:00pm: Session Two (with tea break)
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
1:00-2:00pm: Karma Yoga and Private Sessions with Don*
2:30-5:00pm: Session Three (with tea break)
5:00-6:00pm: Dinner and Clean Up
7:00-8:30pm: Session Four

Early Morning: Open Practice in Gompa
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast and Clean Up
9:00am-12:00pm: Session Five (with tea break)
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
1:00-2:00pm: Karma Yoga and Private Sessions with Don*
2:30-5:00pm: Session Six (with tea break)
5:00-6:00pm: Dinner and Clean Up
7:00-8:30pm: Session Seven

Early Morning: Open Practice in Gompa
8:00-9:00am: Breakfast
9:00am-12:00pm: Session Eight (with tea break)
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
1:00-2:00pm: Check Out and Departure

Additional Information

Teacher’s fees

Traditionally, spiritual teachings are considered priceless; remuneration of our teachers is not included in the fee information detailed on this page. Instead, we invite you to consider bringing a cash donation with you to express your gratitude for the teachings. Participants get a chance to present a cash offering to the teachers on the last day of the retreat and this is supplemented by a donation from Vajrapani Institute. Please note that we don’t offer a credit card option for teacher’s fees.


Staff, guest, and teacher safety is of utmost importance to all of us at Vajrapani. Holding the motivation of being beneficial to others is at the heart of our existence as a center. Our policy is therefore to follow the guidelines provided to us by the experts, so we can all take care of each other as best we can. Our policy, just like everything else, is subject to change. As of now, these are the rules:

    • You must show proof of a negative covid test taken within 48 hours of your arrival to Vajrapani. No exceptions, unless you are a Bodhisattva.
    • If you feel sick, please do not come. If you get sick while you are on the land, let us know, and kindly make your exit.
    • You do not need to wear a mask, unless you would like to.
    • Vaccinations are not required, although all staff at the center are vaccinated.
    • We do not provide covid tests- you will need to make your own arrangements.



Don Handrick
Don Handrick is a touring teacher for the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), sharing the Dharma with centers and study groups in North America and other parts of the world, both in-person and online. Don’s study of Buddhism began in 1993 after reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. Over the next two years he practiced with Sogyal Rinpoche’s organization, until he began attending classes in 1996 with Venerable Robina Courtin at Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco. Don left the Bay Area in 1998 to attend the FPMT’s Masters Program of Buddhist Studies in Sutra…
Learn more about Don Handrick