Tricycle readers name their favorite U.S. retreat centers.
San Francisco Zen Center, City Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center northern California
300 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
SFZC is one of the largest Buddhist sanghas outside Asia. It has three practice places rooted in the Soto Zen tradition: City Center in San Francisco; Green Gulch Farm in Marin County; and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, inland from Big Sur. One survey respondent writes, “When I go on retreat at a place like Tassajara or Green Gulch, I love sinking into the formalities of sitting in a real zendo where countless hours of meditation and ceremony have taken place. It is both an escape and a push out into the world.”
Shambhala Mountain Center Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
4921 County Road 68-C
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
Located on 600 acres in northern Colorado, Shambhala Mountain Center has offered programs on Buddhist meditation, yoga, and other contemplative disciplines since 1971. The center is affiliated with Shambhala International, a network of urban and rural communities. One Tricycle reader says, “The setting is breathtaking. I was in a tent on the side of the mountain. The quiet day was the best—the animals came out freely. Unfortunately they left as soon as we were free to gab. But still, there was so much to learn about myself and my fellow participants.”
Southern Dharma Retreat Center Hot Springs, NC
1661 West Road
Hot Springs, NC 28743
Southern Dharma is an interfaith retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. It hosts retreats representing a variety of spiritual traditions. “I found my experiences at Southern Dharma to be rejuvenating, enlightening, challenging, and important,” one Tricycle reader tells us. “They helped me to grow in essential ways, and helped me to learn to live in the here and the now.”
Spirit Rock Meditation Center Woodacre, CA
5000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Woodacre, CA 94973
Spirit Rock is dedicated to the teachings of the Buddha as presented in the Vipassana tradition. Located in California’s west Marin County, the center hosts a full schedule of ongoing classes, daylong programs, workshops, and residential retreats.
Zen Mountain Monastery Mt. Tremper, NY
P.O. Box 197
Mt. Tremper, NY 12457
Set on 230 acres of forest preserve in New York’s Catskill Mountains, Zen Mountain Monastery is the main house of the Mountains and Rivers Order. Since its inception in 1980, it has offered a wide range of retreats and residential programs within the context of authentic, full-time Zen monastic training. As one Tricycle reader explains, “The atmosphere is so intense—a real kick in the pants to my so-far lax tendencies— and yet it was inviting, too. I took the clarity and resolve I found there home with me.”
Did Tricycle readers miss your favorite center? Let us know in the comments below.
Buddha photo: © Bobby Neel Adams; Blue Cliff Monastery: © Bruce Nichols; Tassajara Zen Mountain Center: © Alison Bank