Who is it for?

Young adults (ages 18-30’s) are invited to register.

How is it set up?

Wise Heart Young Adult Retreat combines the elements of a retreat — meditation, contemplation, formal teachings — with the playfulness and fun of summer camp. This is an opportunity to join a community of like-minded peers for an extended weekend of self-exploration. Join us as we discover together how we can make our lives better, from the inside out!


Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend Wise Heart Young Adult Retreat?

No prior experience or knowledge of Buddhism is necessary to enjoy and benefit from this retreat. Those who belong to another religion and/or spiritual path are also very welcome. There are many aspects of Buddhism that people from other religious and spiritual backgrounds can take away and incorporate into their lives without giving up their personal spiritual path. As this retreat is based on Buddhism, it is important though, to bring a mind that is curious and interested in Buddhist thought and practices.

I’ve never been to a retreat before. Are beginners welcome?

Yes! This is a great way to get a feel for what a retreat is like, especially if you have never done anything like this before.  This is a space ideal both for curious newcomers and more seasoned retreaters.

What is a retreat?

Retreat involves taking time out and leaving behind our busy, often materially oriented lives for a while so we can ‘go deeper’ and explore what is going on in our inner lives. The retreat space allows us to know our minds better and see ourselves with more depth and clarity. It provides an opportunity to reflect without distraction. It offers many different benefits, for all sorts of different people and it is especially relevant and useful in today’s busy, agitated world.

Throughout history, people have gone into spiritual retreat in order to:

  • Engage with the larger questions about life’s purpose
  • Develop mental qualities such as peace, clarity, and devotion
  • Master religious or psychological techniques
  • Connect with their inner beauty while healing aspects that need healing
  • Return to the world replenished and able to share the fruits of retreat with others

What does a typical day at Wise Heart Young Adult Retreat look like?

The day begins in silence around 7:15 am with a morning guided meditation followed by breakfast. Silence is maintained until about 10:30 am. After breakfast we gather to listen to thought-provoking and topical teachings from a qualified teacher. This is followed by Q&A and discussion groups. After a delicious lunch at midday we have free time to kick back and relax. Fun things to do in your free time could include taking a hike in the redwood forest, napping, hanging out with new friends, reading in the cozy library or checking out the legendary outdoor showers on the ridge. In the afternoon we might do walking meditation, an art project and body movement (yoga, Chi Gong etc). After dinner we engage in fun evening activities (movie night, guest speakers etc), followed by a social hour before the day ends.

What are the accommodation options?

There are two main dorms with bunk beds fitted with individual curtains for privacy: one dorm room houses women, the other dorm room houses men.

There are also semi-private dorms (fewer bunk beds), and in addition there are private rooms. All accommodations share bathrooms.

If you wish to camp out under the stars you can bring your own tent and sleeping gear. Fully equipped bathrooms are available for all campers.

Are meals included? What’s the food like?

Yes, meals are included! Vajrapani Institute, the retreat center where Wise Heart events take place, offers a fresh, wholesome, nutritionally balanced vegetarian diet. Breakfast options always include hot porridge, stewed fruit, granola, boiled eggs, and toast. Lunch is the largest meal, providing a variety of tastes and flavors, with a different menu each day.  Dinners are kept simple, with soup, salad, cheese, bread, and gluten-free crackers. We always have hot tea, pour-over coffee, and fresh fruit available.

Do you cater to people on restricted diets?

For those who need it, we can serve vegan menu options and we can also offer food suitable for those with gluten, dairy, and soy allergies. For the sake of simplicity, our policy with regard to guests with more complex/extensive food allergies than those listed above, is to offer a large bowl of steamed brown rice and a large bowl of mixed steamed veggies.  No protein is offered to people who fall in this category, as experience shows us that those with complex allergies often cannot tolerate vegetarian proteins.  Please note that the kitchen is not able to accommodate specific vegetable substitutions or vegetable preferences for those choosing the rice and steamed veggies option.

Also, please note that although our kitchen caters to specific food allergies, we do not guarantee there will be no cross contamination.

Retreaters that have specific protein needs (paleo diets, etc.) are welcome to bring supplemental protein with them, so long as these items do not require cooking. Appropriate supplemental proteins might include a can of tuna, beef jerky, protein powder, etc.

If you need any of the special dietary arrangements listed above, please email kitchen@vajrapani.org a week before your arrival, specifying what your needs are from the list of options we offer.

What do I need to pack?


  • Those staying in shared or semi-private dorms need to bring a sleeping bag or blankets. Sheets and pillows are provided.
  • Those staying in private rooms or cabins have all their bedding provided.
  • If you are camping, be sure to bring everything you need (tent, mat, blanket, pillow, etc.)

Essential Items to Bring:

  • Flashlight
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Towel
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Easy on/off shoes
  • Warm jacket and layers: Weather is variable – it can be cool in the mornings and evenings and very warm during the day. (A shawl is also nice to have.)
  • Refillable water bottle

Suggested Items: Travel alarm clock, books, journal and pens, vitamins and medicines.

You may also want to bring cash, checks, or a credit card with you so that you can purchase items from our bookstore. Items on sale include books, batteries, chocolate, cards, earplugs, and miscellaneous gifts.

Is there anything I shouldn’t pack?

Our electricity is generated by solar panels and the system is not strong enough to support appliances using heat elements. Please leave appliances like hair dryers, electric blankets, heating pads, space heaters and electric kettles at home.

We ask retreat participants not to wear perfume or other scents since some of our guests may have chemical sensitivities or allergies.

Is there something we didn’t get to?

Send us a note…

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