Manifesting Our Mandala

NDF NEEDS YOUR HELP

Support the Future Flourishing of Our Refuge

Sanctuary and seedbed for these times

At a sacred nexus of earthly existence – water, sky, mountain, tree, human – Wonderwell Mountain Refuge calls forth and nurtures presence and deep listening among all who live and visit here.

We have recently been blessed to expand the Wonderwell property to include our neighbor formerly known as Faraway Farm – 170 acres of fields and forests, wells and wildlife, and a beautiful historic dwelling place. As a sanctuary and seedbed, the new Wonderwell mandala honors our interdependence with the living world and encourages presence, wonder, gratitude, and insight within it. Through the magical display of technology and connection to a spiritual home, this refuge reaches beyond physical space encompassing sangha near and far. 

Generous sangha members have made an initial commitment possible. Manifesting Our Mandala seeks to complete the funding for the land purchase, create new practice opportunities, and continue to steward our precious main building and its porch.

It seems we were called to this special place as practitioners and as stewards of awakening presence and compassion in these difficult times. We invite you to embark on this adventure with great thanks for your company in these blessings and possibilities.

For more detailed thoughts about what may emerge here, see the Opportunities section below.

Manifesting Progress

As we create this path together toward our goal, our Mandala becomes more vibrant. As each leaf blossoms, we grow closer to supporting the current needs and future of our Dharma Vessel.

The Story So Far

The Path to This Moment and the Path Forward

A vibrant open field and quaint, yet sprawling, yellow farmhouse, grace the property adjacent to Wonderwell, our retreat center’s historic main building. For many years, retreatants out for walks could only marvel at this beautiful, open landscape from the road. And now the Farm has merged with our mountain refuge along with low wetlands and extended wooded areas along both sides of Philbrick Hill Road.

In the late summer of 2023, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented itself when the children of Wonderwell’s beloved neighbor, the late Alice Nulsen, invited NDF to purchase their neighboring farm. We realized this offer was not just rare, but that it would allow us to deepen into our core mission of stewarding a mandala of peace for the benefit of a growing sangha. It resonated with our growing recognition that we are stewards of refugia, meaning a zone of sacred interdependence that embodies sane living for our time.

Our appeal to the sangha for emergency loans and gifts to enable this addition of 170 acres to our refuge was met with an outpouring of trust and generosity. Repayment of these loans is a financial milestone that NDF must reach to fully engage the opportunities we envision.

 

At the birth of our mountain refuge back in 2011, the blossoming Natural Dharma Fellowship sangha purchased not just the historic Wonderwell building and land, but a sacred circle of interdependence. Our access to silence – one of the original intentions in creating a retreat center — has been accented by a symphony of birdsong, crickets, and mountain breezes. We became stewards of a thriving natural ecosystem. This recent expansion of farm, field, and wood enables us to embody our Ecodharma values by conserving, nurturing, and learning from this treasury of nature surrounding us while protecting our refuge from encroaching development. Our aspiration for this land is to bring benefit to our sangha and our community well beyond any physical boundaries.

Taking on this challenge also means honoring our responsibility for stewarding our original retreat center. In particular, Wonderwell’s well-used and deteriorating rear porch needs rebuilding. This precious place – to rest in the view of mountains and sky or gather in community – epitomizes the indescribable Wonderwell Mountain Refuge experience. It is welcoming. It is tranquil. It is alive. It is saturated with lineage.

Opportunities

Protect Our Refuge

Keeping development from encroaching in perpetuity through conservation easements and efforts that remain in harmony with our Ecodharma values and vision.

Nurture Connection and Community

This expansion can respond to the sangha’s frequently voiced request for solo retreat cabins and outdoor meditation spaces.

Expand Our Capacity

The beautiful farmhouse has room for teachers and staff, freeing up space in the main building for more retreatants. The open space will provide additional camping options.

Meandering in Meditation

The opportunity to commune with the land and nature on contemplative trails and open fields that lie just out the back door.

Expand Our Teachings

Dharma Teachers and Interns can be in residence in the farmhouse for extended periods providing more opportunities to enhance programming locally and online. Ecodharma and related programs will thrive here.

Preserve Our Beloved Porch

This space has served throughout the years as a front-row seat to the awareness-shifting sunsets, open sky, and grounding mountains.

Ways to Support
this Beautiful Endeavor

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
~ Rumi

A mandala is beautiful and mesmerizing because its many shapes, colors, and adornments join in interdependent harmony. Likewise, our process of manifesting requires many types of gifts and support. While the current need for financial support is primary, you can make an impact in many ways, now and in the future.

Here are some examples:

  • Make an annual financial commitment (see contact info below)

  • Spread the word to your network – those who would support what you love

  • Examine how your usual giving could stretch to help meet this unique milestone this year

  • Volunteer to share your skills that are in harmony with our opportunities

  • Have fundraising experience? Join our fundraising team!

  • Our normal operating needs continue as attention is focused on Manifesting Our Mandala. Please check out our Volunteer Opportunities page.

If you have questions regarding donations or support that require more detailed discussion, or if you would like to offer your time to help with fundraising, please email .

Stay in the Loop &
Explore What's Happened

We will share the excitement as we progress toward our goal and as opportunity bears fruit. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our newsletter (at the bottom of the page) and follow NDF on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss the latest news.

Most Recent Update (goes here)
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Manifesting Our Mandala
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October 2023 - The Announcement
In October of 2023, we announced the purchase of property and a farmhouse on land adjacent to Wonderwell. Read the initial announcement titled, “NDF Takes a Big Step to Protect the Present and Flourish in the Future“
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