Personal or Solo Meditation Retreats
Set in the wild beauty of a mountain canyon, the Cochise Stronghold Retreat Center offers a contemplative, natural environment for personal meditation retreats, under the guidance of Upasaka Culadasa. While Buddhist meditation forms the backbone of our practice, we embrace all spiritual traditions, as well as secular practice. Meditators from every tradition, or from none, are welcome.
Cochise Stronghold Retreat Center is located on 5+ secluded acres, high in the historic Cochise Stronghold Canyon of southeastern Arizona’s Dragoon Mountains. Coronado National Forest trails are easily accessed from the property.
Most Sunday mornings, members from the local community and Tucson gather for teachings by Culadasa, silent sitting meditation, walking meditation, and a potluck lunch. Solo retreatants are welcome to join in the group’s discussion and meditations if they wish.
All retreatants at Cochise Stronghold observe noble silence during retreat. The community is well-versed in supporting retreatants in their practice of silence.
As a solo retreatant, you will work with Culadasa to establish a daily schedule that meets your needs and respects the needs of other retreatants. Schedules normally include time for sitting and walking meditation practice, rest, exercise, meal preparation, meditation interviews, work service to the land and community, and personal time.
Solo retreats are required to be a minimum of seven days / six nights. The quiet here is conducive to retreats of multiple weeks or even months!
Meditation Interviews and Guidance
Culadasa is available to all solo retreatants for practice advice. This is an excellent opportunity for you to take advantage of personal guidance from a true master with extensive experience guiding meditators from a diversity of backgrounds.
It is customary to offer Dana (Pali for “giving” or a “gift”) to the teacher if you choose to use this option. As a guideline, Dana offerings average about 50% of the retreat fees paid for accommodation. Those who can’t afford this give less, while those with greater means give more. Dana is usually offered at the end of the retreat.
All buildings have electricity, and all the residential buildings have hot and cold running water.
The Meditation Yurt
The meditation yurt is dedicated solely to the practice of meditation. “Uposatha” observances are held there on Sundays, featuring group meditation and Dharma talks by Culadasa.
The “Cook Shack”
The “cook shack” is a self-contained kitchen for the use of solo retreatants and gatherings of the Dharma Treasure community. It has all the equipment you would need to store food and prepare meals. An outdoor dining area, adjacent to the cook shack, provides shelter from the sun and rain. Warmth in the winter is provided by a wood stove.
The Casita Manzanita
The Casita Manzanita is a completely independent residence with a full kitchen and private bathroom. Fully furnished with two queen-size beds and a single futon, it can house up to four retreatants. One bed is in a private bedroom. There is space here for yoga or meditation as well.
The Agave Suite
The Agave Suite is an independent residence with a kitchenette and private bathroom. Fully furnished with a king-size bed and sofa sleeper, it can accommodate up to two retreatants. There is space for yoga or meditation as well.
Dedicated to housing retreatants for a portion of the year, this 700 sq. ft. yurt accommodates up to five residents. With pine floors and a high ceiling, it’s a lovely place to stay during a retreat. Here, you are close to nature; the exterior wall, constructed of architectural fabric, lets in the sounds of birds, and the round dome skylight allows a view of the stars at night. Read more.
Space is available on the center’s property for retreatants who wish to camp during their stay. Campers have use of the meditation yurt, toilet and shower facilities, and the cook shack.
All solo retreats are self-catered. Retreatants bring food with them when they arrive. Advance planning on your part will help meal preparations go smoothly. Those who use the cook shack are asked be mindful and maintain noble silence, respecting other meditators who may share the space. Cooking simple meals and always cleaning up after yourself are essential. Users show consideration for others by being even cleaner than “normal” when using community spaces. Those who stay in the Casita Manzanita do all their cooking in the Casita. Once a week, retreatants can provide funds and lists for their groceries to be purchased locally or in Tucson.
The Cochise Stronghold Canyon is a high-elevation desert woodland where summers are warm and winters can be cold at times. It is typically cooler in the summer than the surrounding valley and low desert. The difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows is often dramatic. Check local weather here.
Work Service to the Dharma Treasure Community
Solo retreatants are requested to donate an hour of work service per day while they are in residence. This amount of service dana is considered part of the actual retreat. Work service may include cooking, cleaning, grounds maintenance, and will be assigned by the center staff.
Rates and Payment
Fees help defray the expenses of the center, while making the retreat experience as accessible as possible to all who sincerely wish to practice. Retreat fees do not include Dana for the teacher. They are as follows:
Camping: $25 per day (plus tax) plus work service.
Dharmatory: $35-$45 per day (plus tax) plus work service, depending on length of retreat (minimum 1 week stay).
Agave Suite: $70-$110 per day (plus tax) plus work service, depending on season and length of retreat (minimum 1 week stay).
Casita Manzanita: $55-$110 per day (plus tax) plus work service, depending on season, length of retreat, and shared or single (minimum 1 week stay).
In the future, Dharma Treasure hopes to establish a scholarship fund through donations, but until then, we have established a limited work exchange rate for those who are willing to put in an equivalent value in time and effort in the form of other work: $17 per day for camping (depending on length of retreat). Applications for the limited number of work exchange openings are considered on an individual basis.
What to Bring
Clothing: Bring loose, comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes, and older clothing suited for “the woods”. In the summer, bring a wide-brimmed hat. Always bring layers as it can be hot during the day, but can get cool at night.
Other: Bring the toiletries and medicines you will need. You will also need bug repellant in the summer months, as we do get mosquitoes when it rains. Bring sunscreen when you visit any time of the year.
We are 90 miles SE of Tucson. Directions for reaching Cochise Stronghold Retreat Center are a must if you’re coming in your own vehicle, and will be sent once your arrival time is finalized.
Pick-up from the Tucson airport or a shuttle from the Phoenix airport can be arranged, as we go to Tucson regularly. If you fly in on Saturday, there is often someone from the Tucson Sangha available who can pick you up, host you for the night, and drive you to the Stronghold for the Sunday morning “Uposatha” observance. Sangha members often graciously host retreatants arriving from farther away.
Email to cochisestrongholdretreat@
A pdf of the text above is available here.