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- Twin Bed – $200.00
  • Private Room- Double bed – $200.00

Date & Time Details: February 24-March 2, 2024

Kopan West: An Introduction to the Path to Enlightenment and How to Establish a Consistent Meditation Practice

Venerable Amy Miller

February 24 - March 2, 2024

In-Person Retreat


Course Description

While Kopan Monastery in Nepal may be too far for you to reach, enjoy our beautiful redwood setting for this Kopan-style meditation course and retreat.


The week-long program will provide a concise yet comprehensive overview of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, practice, and meditation. During this course, Venerable Amy will explore the stages of the path to enlightenment (Lam Rim), and give practical instruction to help you apply this ancient wisdom to increase peace, happiness, and compassion in your daily life. This retreat includes teachings, practical exercises, discussion groups, and meditation. Meditation practices will include periods of concentration meditation, visualizations, and analytical meditation on specific topics to open our hearts and minds.


Topics include:

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


This week-long 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 insight.


Who is this for?

Students of any experience level will have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow from this course. Newcomers to Buddhism will benefit from the concise overview of the entire Buddhist path and have ample opportunities to ask questions. More experienced students will find it a valuable way to deepen their understanding and practice.



Mostly Silent – 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. Silence is a wonderful, and rare, opportunity to help move these new concepts from head to heart.


Course Schedule

  • Day 1 – Check-in, welcome talks, course introduction
  • Day 2 to 4 – Meditations, teachings, and discussion groups
  • Day 5 and 6 – Dedicated guided meditation days of practice
  • Day 7 – Final talks, Q&A, Teacher offerings, Final group lunch and checkout


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




Venerable Amy Miller
Venerable Amy J. Miller (Ven. Lobsang Chodren) first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in the spring of 1987 during a course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since then, she has spent a great deal of time engaged in meditation retreats, study, teaching, and Buddhist center management throughout the world. Prior to meeting the Dharma, Amy was a political fundraiser in Washington, DC and also worked for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco, California. Amy also trained as an emotional support hospice counselor during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco and offers courses and retreats on death and dying and…
Learn more about Venerable Amy Miller