During Your Retreat
If this is your first private retreat at Tara Mandala, a support staff will check in with you personally on the second or third day of your retreat, if desired. After that, written communication will be checked once a week throughout your stay. If a meditation teacher is available and you would like a teacher to visit you, this may also be arranged upon your arrival. Once you are in the cabin, please do not leave the land, but maintain your retreat without visits to town or the office, except in an emergency. In the same way, in order to preserve the quality of silence, it is strongly requested that you do not use a cell phone or play audio with the exception of practice materials you may be using.
If you’re not familiar with using a wood stove, be sure to ask for instructions on how to keep the stove warm and safe. Wood and an axe will be provided; you will make your own kindling. General guidelines include using a lighter wood (such as pine) for kindling and fire starter. You can also collect dead twigs and branches for kindling. After a base of coals has been established, oak may be introduced. Newspaper and plain paper make excellent fire starters. Burning cardboard, colored paperboard (cereal box material), or colored paper is not recommended. When burned, colored inks release toxins.
All cabins have water catchment systems. This water can be used for washing but not for drinking. Each cabin has a high quality water filtration system for you to use with the catchment water and/or snow. You may bring bottled water if you prefer.
All of our retreat cabins have a private outhouse or composting toilet.
All of the cabins have limited solar electricity. Depending on the amount of sun, this may be adequate for powering a laptop, but high wattage appliances will not work. We recommend bringing your own solar-powered battery charger.
Pagosa Springs has limited recycling and does not recycle plastic bags or glass. Place recycling in the large container by the Community Building when you leave. We encourage you to limit your trash output as much as possible, and take any materials Pagosa Springs can not recycle home with you if your local recycling program is more inclusive.
If you will be in retreat long enough to send and receive mail, please use the following address: P.O. Box 1983, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Phones and other electronics
Phone service is unpredictable everywhere at Tara Mandala. As part of the grocery service, we will mail letters for you and deliver any letters or packages that arrive while you are in retreat. You will need to provide your own postage. We will not charge phones or other electronic devices for you.
Keep in Mind
- Keep garbage can firmly closed and indoors at all times.
- Do not leave food lying around outside (even scraps) to keep from encouraging rodents, bears, etc.
- Never leave candles unattended.
- Do not leave mattresses outside in case of sudden storms.
If you would like an interview (private meeting) with Lama Tsultrim Allione while you are on retreat, please request this at the time of your reservation. Lama Tsultrim is not always available for interviews.
Tara Mandala is located in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains at 7,600 – 8,100 feet. The year-round weather varies tremendously. We recommend checking a weather website (look for a trip planner) to learn about weather patterns for the time you are in retreat. The coldest months of the year are December and January, with highs in the 10’s – 30’s and lows below zero. Snow cover is typical December – mid-March, and large storms of up to 3 feet of snow are not unheard of. We have over 300 sunny days per year. Summer months are warm, with highs in the 90’s and lows in the 50’s. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in August and September.
You will be supplied with a radio for life threatening emergencies. Instructions for use will be given at check-in and written instructions are in each cabin.
If needed for an urgent medical condition, you may use the phone in the upstairs office of the main building to dial 911. Pagosa Springs has a small hospital with an Emergency Room, ambulance and air lift services, as well as a Primary Care Clinic. It is about a 30 minute drive from Tara Mandala.
Pagosa Springs Medical Center: (970) 731-3700
Clinic: (970) 731-9545
95 S. Pagosa Blvd, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
If you would like to give an emergency phone number to friends or family, please use (970) 731-3711. This line is checked regularly M-F.
As You Depart
Please review and complete the check-out form before you depart. You will receive this form when you arrive on the land. We welcome your comments and feedback on your retreat experience.
Please consider offering a donation to Tara Mandala for the continued maintenance of the retreat cabins and general support of our mission. Tara Mandala is a nonprofit organization. Our lifeblood is the donations of those who are inspired to support us. Please consider becoming a member of Tara Mandala by joining our Sustaining Sangha.