If you haven't been to a retreat with CTS and SCDG in the past, you might find a little early information helpful.


The schedule is set by the teacher or coordinators. Everyone who participates must stay for the entire retreat unless there is an unforeseeable emergency. Usually that means that you'll arrive by the time that the first teaching/introduction begins (maybe as late as 6:30 PM) and will stay until after the clean-up at the end (could be as late as 3 PM, and generally not earlier than 1 PM). There is usually a morning practice at 6:30 or 7 AM, and a final session at night ending around 8:30 PM, but this can vary. Please talk with someone in advance if there is some problem with the schedule.


Radiant Mind Retreat Center is located about 12 miles south of St. George, SC. If you're using a GPS, the address to find is 141 Spotted Horse Trail, St. George, SC 29477. If you're not using a GPS, let us know where you'll be coming from and we'll send directions. The last part of the main road in (Old Spell Road) is well-maintained dirt road, but the last mile on Spotted Horse can be rutted and have fairly deep holes, so drive that part carefully. See the attached map for the layout of buildings on the property. Kailash House, at 141, is where we eat and most of us sleep

If you're familiar with the outdoors in SC, St. George won't be a surprise. It is definitely hot in summer and fairly cool to cold in winter, but spring and fall, when we have most retreats, are usually pleasant. Check weather ahead of time and bring some layers. The meditation hall currently has no climate control, so it can be very cool in early morning (meditation time) even on a warm day, and hot in the late afternoon, unless it's cool outside. We have fans and heaters, so you won't be miserable, but having a range of clothes can help. That said, please dress modestly in the meditation hall (cover legs to knees and cover shoulders).

The meditation hall, Compassionate Heart, has cushions and practice tables and also chairs. You are welcome to bring your own cushion, chair, stool, etc., if you want. You're welcome to do your own meditation in the hall when we have free time, or you can read, or you can walk on the property. NOTE: we will be walking back and forth from the house where we eat to the meditation hall, and you may also be walking to your tent or sleeping place. It's possible that there could be wet grass, mud, or fire ants, so substantial shoes might be good. You will remove shoes, though, to go into the meditation hall.


You may sleep in your own tent, but again, be aware of the weather, and arrive before dark to have time to set up. There's a tent platform in the woods and a couple of porches that you can use if you don't need to stake your tent. If you must set up with stakes, there's lots of open land near the houses. You will need to use the bathrooms in the houses, and we will have a sign-up list for showers in each bathroom.

If you're not using a tent, you'll probably be sharing a room and sleeping on a cot or inflatable mattress. When you sign up, please let the coordinator know of any sleep issues or preferences for places to sleep. If you snore or use a CPAP, or if you can't sleep in noisy rooms, we'll need to try to locate you appropriately!

You'll be sharing a room with others of the same gender, but bathrooms are usually shared by all, so also let us know if this is a problem.


Things you MUST bring with you:

· Sleeping bag or sheets and blankets

· pillow

· towel, washcloth, toiletries

Things you MAY bring with you if wanted or needed:

· hat and sunscreen

· insect repellent

· Dharma books

· meditation cushion(s)

· yoga mat

· special food and/or tea

· substantial shoes


If you've been to retreats in other places, this will be familiar. Generally, remember that you're sharing close quarters with others who are there for spiritual reasons, so be thoughtful.

· No smoking of any kind on retreat property

· No alcohol or other substances (except chai!)

· No long, loud phone conversations

· No music that can be heard by others

· No loud conversations in shared areas

· Be considerate of roommates with light and noise

· Respect the property and natural environment--don't leave trash around

· Don't let phones, etc., make audible notifications

Many retreats are silent. This means no talking except when necessary for cooking, arranging rooms, solving other logistical problems, etc. We usually begin the silence after the first meal together and end it before the last meal together, so you'll have a chance to talk. The leader will often discuss the reasons for silence, but in general, it helps us focus on the topic of the retreat. Not all retreats are silent.

For most retreats, it's a good idea to turn off electronic communications, but if you must be notified of possible emergencies, check your device quickly and quietly, away from other people, even for non-silent retreats.


Many retreats have teachers--Geshe Topgyal or a visiting teacher. That teacher makes all decisions about topic, schedule, silence, etc. Some retreats are student-led, and decisions are made by coordinators. In either case, you should have some information about the topic, so ask if you haven't received anything.

For teacher-led retreats, we stand when the teacher enters and leaves the room, and we let the teacher tell when it's appropriate to ask questions. Of course, we don't talk or leave the room while the teacher is talking, unless unavoidable. For most teacher-led retreats, we will be in the meditation hall, so you might want to bring some of these things:

· any special cushions, stools, etc., for long teaching and meditation sessions

· pens and notebook

· mala

· shawl or extra jacket or scarf

· insulated cup for tea


Various people may be cooking--GesheLa may cook for his own retreats, for example, while students may cook at others, or we may have pre-prepared main dishes. We can usually accommodate vegetarian, vegans, and gluten-free diets, but can't promise to suit everyone's dietary needs. Please let us know of your particular needs, but you may need to bring some food for yourself in some cases.

We try to have eggs and oatmeal with fruit, bread, coffee, and tea for breakfast, but eat after the early morning practice. Lunch may be as light as sandwiches or may be the main meal; supper may be as light as soup and salad or may be the main meal instead of lunch. Usually cookies, fruit, tea, and coffee should be available all day, and we try to take tea to the meditation hall for breaks.


We all share in the work of preparing food, cleaning up after meals, and final clean-up of the whole site. There will be sign-up sheets so you should be sure to find them and sign up to do the required number of jobs, especially the final clean-up. Usually these sheets are in the kitchen of Kailash House, the main house. If you have an emergency and need to leave before final clean-up, let the coordinator know, but otherwise, everyone should take part.


Most people who attend retreats (and teachings of any kind) usually like to show gratitude by leaving a donation call "dana" for the leader (GesheLa or another Buddhist teacher). There will be an envelope or folder or basket available for this at the end of the retreat. Whatever you want to give is fine, and if this is not a time when you can give, that's also fine. We usually make a cash donation to keep it anonymous, but you can also give dana via the donation links at the CTS and SCDG websites, and the treasurers will make sure it is added to the dana. NOTE: No dana for student-led retreats--only for teachers!


One person will be designated at each retreat to help new attendees figure out how things work. You should be notified of that person when you register--if not, contact whoever sent you the retreat information to find out who will be available in case you need information.



NAME ______________________________________________________

ADDRESS ____________________________________________________


Phone___________________________ Email____________________________

ANY SPECIAL FOOD CONSIDERATIONS ______________________________________________________________


ANY SPECIAL SLEEP OR HOUSING CONSIDERATIONS __________________________________________________


$ ______ fee: HOW PAID: ____ check enclosed ____check left at Dharma Center ____Donation made at CTS website ( and scroll to bottom of page. Be sure to select "Student-led Retreat" in box.)

____Need partial scholarship

Cost for the retreat is $______. This includes 6 meals, lodging and teachings. If you want to attend but find the cost beyond your means, please email, call or text 803-467-7759, or speak with Nancy Kreml or John Valentine.

Please bring pillow and sleeping bag (or sheets and blankets), towel, bath soap, insect repellent, flashlight, and any personal care items you may need. If you wish to camp, there are plenty of good spots, but please let us know if you'll use a tent. Please note that you will be sharing a room with others if you stay in one of the houses.

You may leave this completed form in the donation basket at the Dharma Center or mail it to:

South Carolina Dharma Group

PO Box 50357

Columbia, SC 29250

If you have questions, please email, or call or text 803-467-7759.

The retreat begins at 5pm on Friday, ___________, with the setting up of the altar and moving into rooms. We will eat dinner at 6 PM followed by the introduction to the retreat at 7 PM. The retreat ends at 1 PM on Sunday, _______. It is not necessary to be there for the setting up of the altar but try to arrive on time for the introduction at 7 PM and let us know if you will NOT be there for supper on Friday. Please refrain from arriving late and leaving early during the retreat.



(will be added here)

CH=Compassionate Heart Meditation Hall SH= Sheila's House, 125 Spotted Horse Trail

KH=Kailash House, 141 Spotted Horse Trail TG=Tibetan Gate

TP=Tent platform (in woods) CC= Caretaker Cottage


· No smoking of any kind on retreat property

· No alcohol or other substances (except chai!)

· No long, loud phone conversations

· No music that can be heard by others

· No loud conversations in shared areas

· Be considerate of roommates with light and noise

· Respect the property and natural environment--don't leave trash around

· Don't let phones, etc., make audible notifications

· Please observe silence when retreat is listed as silent