Upcoming Retreats

  • RV/Camper Van – $200.00
  • Women's Dorm – $200.00
  • Men's Dorm – $200.00
  • Women's Quad – $200.00
  • Men's Quad – $200.00
  • Private Room- Double bed – $200.00
  • Private Room- Twin Bed – $200.00

Date & Time Details: October 27 - November 5, 2023

Location: Vajrapani Institute

Intro to Buddhism and Meditation – A Kopan West Lamrim Retreat

Geshe Tenzin Legtsok

October 27 - November 5, 2023

This Kopan West retreat is an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. As such it will provide a concise yet complete overview of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice. During this course, Geshe Legtsok will explore the stages of the path to enlightenment, a genre of Buddhist teaching known as the Lamrim, and give practical instruction in order to help you apply this ancient, yet timeless wisdom to increase peace, happiness, and compassion in your daily life.  This retreat will include time for teachings, discussion, and meditation. Meditation practices will include concentration meditation to focus your mind, visualizations, and analytical meditation on Lamrim topics.  


Topics include:

  • The Life of the Buddha
  • The Four Noble Truths
  • The Mind, Emotions and Karma
  • Concentration and Analytical Meditation
  • Love and Compassion
  • Wisdom – The Nature of Reality


The body of the course is composed of Buddhist teachings supported by discussion and meditation sessions, all within a retreat environment at Vajrapani Institute.  This 10-day immersive experience culminates with two days of intensive meditation giving participants a chance to gain insight into the topics covered in the teachings and to apply them to instill a deeper level of transformation.


Who is this for?

Students of any experience level will have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow from this course.  People encountering Buddhism for the first time will benefit from the concise overview of the entire Buddhist path and the ample opportunities to ask questions.  More experienced students will find it a valuable way to deepen their understanding and practice.  This course is an excellent complement to the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition) Discovering Buddhism (DB) Course and satisfies the lamrim retreat requirement.


Note to Discovering Buddhism (DB) Students

We have confirmed with the education program leaders that this course satisfies the lamrim retreat requirements for DB students wishing to complete their certifications.



Partial Silence  – there will be specific times where strict silence is kept, and other times allocated to facilitate discussion and conversation for students to bond and learn together.


Course Schedule

  • Day 1 – Check in, welcome talks, course introduction
  • Day 2 to 7 – Meditations, teachings, and discussion groups
  • Day 8 and 9 – Dedicated guided meditation days of practice
  • Day 10 – Final talks, Q&A, Teach offerings, Final group lunch and checkout
  • Please note  that as Nov 4 is Lhabab Duchen there will be special opportunities for additional, optional participation in tsog offering and Guru Buddha Puja.

This is a Pay It Forward Retreat!

There are no fees for this retreat.

That’s right. No fees. The retreat is offered to anyone who participates. It’s an experiment we started at 2012’s Kopan West- Lam Rim retreat in the spirit of making the Dharma (Buddha’s teachings) freely available to all.


If it is being offered, who pays for my retreat?

Your retreat has been sponsored by someone who came before you and by past benefactors. Because it’s a gift, you can’t pay them back – but you can pay-it-forward by making a contribution that will allow future retreatants to experience the same generosity.


How does this donation system work?

At the end of the retreat, you will have the opportunity to make a donation based on what feels right in your heart. 100% of the proceeds will go towards supporting future retreatants to keep the generosity going. No pressure or questions asked. Let your heart decide what you would like to offer.


Is there a deposit?

A $200 deposit is required to reserve a space. Your deposit will be refunded as long as you attend the retreat in full. No refunds for cancellations.


How do I choose the accommodation?

Once you start the registration process, you’ll see details of the accommodations that are available from camping, dorms, or private rooms. All accommodations are made available on a first-come-first-serve basis.


Teacher’s Offerings

Traditionally, spiritual teachings are considered priceless; remuneration of our teacher(s) 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.


Additional Information




About Varjapani Institute

Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture was the first Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Center in America.  Vajrapani aims to provide a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities to learn and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha, and connect with other Dharma practitioners.  Located on 70 acres of secluded land within the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains, Vajrapani Institute has been an immersive space for people of all backgrounds to find and deepen their spiritual practices, with the main goal of bridging the gap between the head and heart of practice.


About Retreat Fees (includes accommodation, 3 meals a day, and facility costs)

The collected registration fees include all accommodations, 3 nutritious vegetarian meals a day, and general facility/operating costs.  Retreat registrations help support the center to keep everything operating, allowing us to invite so many precious teachers, and to hold this precious space of 70+ acres of secluded redwood forest to allow guests to have the quiet, contemplative space to continue spiritual growth.


Financial Aid/ Scholarships

We want to make retreat available to everyone. With this in mind, we will gladly work out a payment plan with you if needed. If more assistance is necessary, we offer several scholarships. Please note that the scholarship deadline is one month before retreat begins.

Our utmost goal is to helps as many beings as possible to have the gift of retreat. If you have additional questions after reviewing the guidelines for payment plans and/or scholarships, please email the Office at office@vajrapani.org




Geshe Tenzin Legtsok
Geshe Tenzin Legtsok has recently graduated with his Geshe degree from Sera Jey Monastic University in South India where he completed his full course of studies in classic Indian Buddhist treatise and their Tibetan commentaries in the tradition of ancient Nalanda University. He has been ordained as a Buddhist monk since 2001. Born in Virginia, USA in 1973, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College in 1995.  The question, “What makes for the most happy and meaningful life,” which compelled him to major in philosophy during college gradually led to his study of meditation and philosophy with teachers…
Learn more about Geshe Tenzin Legtsok