If you would like to come for an overnight visit, just call or write to make a reservation.
Try to reserve early. Particularly for a long retreat of a week or two it’s a good idea to reserve 4 to 6 months in advance. For shorter visits of just a few days, there is more chance of an opening on shorter notice. Usually, there are five to twenty visitors at any one time. Summer is the high season despite the hot weather.
First-time guests are allowed to stay a maximum of two weeks.
There are no scheduled retreats at the Monastery as there are at most meditation retreat centers. Rather, the Monastery is always in “retreat” mode, and visitors drop into and out of the routine according to their own schedules. All visitors are asked to observe the Eight Precepts and to participate fully in the daily schedule of the Monastery.
We don’t charge for room or board, or, of course, teachings. Everything is provided in the spirit of generosity by the monks and supporters of the Monastery.
Our accommodations are very simple. There are 8’x 8’ wooden platforms in the shade of the avocado orchard where tents can be pitched. Each platform has an accompanying walking path for meditation. There is also a dormitory-style 8-room guesthouse. The rooms are private and have a sleeping platform with some storage and a space heater, but no air-conditioning. The guesthouse has 2 full-baths and a half-bath.
The tent-dwellers have bathroom and shower privileges in the guesthouse and bathhouse, and space to keep some toiletries. There are almost always some vacant platforms and walking paths in the orchard for the guesthouse-dwellers to use for meditation.
If you’re not sure which, stay on a platform. If you can’t camp in San Diego, you can’t anywhere. See the page on the weather.
The sixth of the eight precepts basically limits overnight visitors to one meal per day. If you have a medical condition or other compelling reason to be exempted from this precept please call to alert one of the monks to your situation.
The food at the Monastery is not vegetarian as is sometimes assumed. The monks respect the generosity of all the laypeople and do not refuse any offerings of food. The food available to lay visitors is the same as what’s first offered to the monks. If you have special dietary needs due to illness or allergies, please call to confirm that the kitchen will be able to accommodate them. Lacto-ovo vegetarians do well enough as long as they’re not set on absolute purity. The Monastery cannot accommodate vegan diets as it’s proven to be too disruptive.
It is best to arrive between dawn and midday, however anytime during daylight hours is acceptable. Out of consideration for the other guests, please don’t arrive after dark except with permission from the guest monk or in an emergency. During the mid-afternoon the Monastery can appear deserted; if you need orientation just be patient until you see somebody you can ask.
Departing is easier and less disruptive than arriving. Really anytime day or night is fine as long as it can be done reasonably quietly. Some find driving the unlit, mountain road at night intimidating, but that's a personal choice.
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