Entering the Vajra World (Residential)

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Entering the Vajra World (Residential)

Lama Liz Monson, Kathe McKenna, Ron Thomas, Maureen McGee
June 11, 2024 - June 18, 2024

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This is the RESIDENTIAL component of the retreat. If you’d like to register for the ONLINE component, please click here

This retreat enters practitioners into the sacred world of the Vajrayana – a world replete with the colors, textures, and shifting energies of the awakened state. Together we will practice the Vajrayana practices, engage in Tantric ritual, and explore the terma teachings given by Padmasambhava to his consort Yeshe Tsogyal, as these are expressed in the work, Treasures From Juniper Ridge. Among the topics we will investigate from that text are discussions of the ‘intermediate states’ of living, dying, and death as these are understood within the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana tradition. Together, we will also embark on a journey to understand the difference between distorted view, created through our misperception of phenomena, and pure view, the experience of the unification of primordial purity and spontaneous presence – the heart of awareness itself.

The retreat will also review and renew the main practices and orientations of the Vajrayana path – a path of expedient skillful means deeply useful and necessary to us in this day and age, when so many of the elements of this life that we have relied upon are being stripped away and radically altered. How can we learn to live well with ourselves and for others in this tumultuous time? Vajrayana practices, prayers, rituals, transmissions, and mindful foci were formulated to respond to exactly this time and place. In particular, we will have an opportunity to recognize the constantly changing and ephemeral nature of this idea we call a self. By training to relax and remain aware through all our physical, emotional, and spiritual states, we fortify our ability to find freedom in the realities of change and dissolution. We discover that at the heart of being human lies our natural condition – naked, aware, and fully responsive to life as it is.

To help us to explore these practices and teachings more deeply, this retreat will include Dharma talks, practice sessions, breakout groups, ritual practices, and close reading sessions of the powerful Vajrayana text, Treasures from Juniper Ridge. Practitioners should plan to purchase this text before the retreat.

This retreat is open to NDF Vajrayana practitioners enrolled in the 2024 program.

Typical Retreat Schedule

(All times are Eastern time zone)

First Day — Opening session begins around 7:00 pm.

Full-Day Schedule — Morning meditation 7:00 am; Breakfast break 8:30-10:00 am; Lunch break 12:00-2:00 pm; Dinner break 5:30-7:00 pm.

Last Day — The closing session typically ends by 12:00 pm.

These times are just for reference. An expanded schedule will be provided in pre-retreat information emailed during the week prior to the event.

Important Covid Information

The NDF Health Committee continues to monitor evolving public health conditions and trends, as we keep the safety of our Sangha at the forefront of our decision-making. At this time, COVID-19 testing is no longer required. Masks are optional and encouraged if you are at higher risk.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge strives to offer retreats in a manner that is inclusive for persons of all means. If the full retreat cost would create an undue financial burden, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship. Please visit this page on our website learn more about financial aid.

Depending on the type of work that you do, you may be eligible for a Hemera Contemplative Fellowship. Please click on this link for more information.

Please do not apply for financial assistance until after you have registered for the retreat.

Cancellation Policy

Wonderwell charges a $75 cancellation fee for residential (onsite) retreat cancellations more than 4 weeks before the start of a retreat. Any cancellations between 4 weeks to 11 days prior to the program are charged a $150 cancellation fee. For any cancellations 10 or fewer days prior to the start date of the program, no refunds are offered.

However, if you are feeling ill or feel you might have been exposed to the COVID virus, please cancel your attendance at any Wonderwell retreat even at the last minute. In this case, we will provide a full refund of your payment.

If you decide to transfer from residential to online attendance, any cancellation fee will be determined based on the time remaining before the start of the retreat.

Access to Recordings

NDF offers unlimited access to recordings, which are accessed in your user dashboard (more information about user accounts provided in a pre-retreat letter). If you have a user account, please register with the same email you use to log into your dashboard. If not, an account will be created for you using your registration address.

Availability will vary depending on the type of event and the backlog for our precious resource volunteers. Thank you for your patience.

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge Full Calendar


June 11-18, 2024. Check-in at Wonderwell is between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on the day of arrival. On the final day of the retreat, we ask that people leave Wonderwell by 2:00 pm so staff can finish their work and get home themselves.


If the type of room you require is sold out or no rooms at all are available at Wonderwell, you can email to be placed on a waiting list in case there are cancellations. You also might want to consider the commuter option. A list of nearby accommodations (including some with sangha members and friends) can be found by clicking on the More Details link under the Commuter option.

A limited number of hearing assistance devices are available at Wonderwell. Please indicate in the comment box on the registration form if you would like to reserve one of these devices. Devices reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Full access to all recordings and retreat materials through your user account.

  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Ensuite Bath - $1,400.00
  • Shared Room w/Ensuite Bath - $946.00
  • Women's Dorm - $732.00
  • Shared Room w/Hall Bath - $867.00
  • Private Room w/Twin Bed & Hall Bath - $1,276.00
  • Private Room w/Queen Bed & Hall Bath - $1,276.00
  • Men's Dorm - $732.00
  • Suite/Benefactor - $1,796.00
  • Camping/Self-Contained Vehicle - $545.00
  • As Commuter - $545.00
  • Camping/Tent or Vehicle - $655.00

About the Teachers

Lama Liz Monson

Lama, Managing Teacher, Spiritual Co-Director
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Kathe McKenna

Dharma Teacher, NDF Board President
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Ron Thomas

Meditation Teacher, Vajrayana Study Coordinator and Mentor
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Maureen McGee

Visiting Teacher
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