Frequently Asked Questions

Santa Cruz Insight Retreat with Dawn Neal

June 20-23, 2024 ISC retreat at Jikoji Zen center

What is the COVID protocol? 

All participants are required to show proof of a negative Covid antigen test, taken within 24 hours of their arrival.  If you become symptomatic during the retreat, you will be expected to check in with the manager. Anyone who is displaying respiratory symptoms is asked to stay home. If respiratory symptoms develop during the retreat,  those affected will be asked to mask indoors and take a COVID test. 

What are the costs for this retreat? 

This retreat is given to you – offered freely at no cost to anyone who participates. This is an experiment. We’d like to do it more! ISC hopes that this is the beginning of more Dana retreats in the future.  

The Insight Retreat Center (IRC) offered financial support for this retreat.  

IRC’s and Insight Santa Cruz’s ability to continue to offer all-Dana retreats is based on donations that participants offer at the end of retreats. Retreat participant generosity is what allows others to participate in the future. 

Near the end of the retreat, participants have the opportunity to offer a donation  to the teachers and for Retreat Expenses. 

∙ Teachers serve without compensation. 

∙ Retreat Expenses cover operating costs of running the retreat, including renting the retreat center, and food and supplies. 

The address of Jikoji Zen Center is:  

12100 Skyline Blvd, Los Gatos CA 95033.  

How do I get there? Is there parking? 

Jikoji Zen Center is not near any public transportation. Everyone coming will need to use a car. 

Parking is very limited. Carpooling is strongly encouraged! If you are accepted into the retreat and need or can offer a ride, please contact the registrar, Denise:, to be sent a group email with others interested in carpooling. 

What number do I give out in case of emergencies?  

In case of emergency, family members can leave a message on Jikoji’s phone at (408) 741-9562. Messages are checked during their regular business hours. No one answers this phone– it is for messages only. 

What should I bring? 

Self-reliance: Bring whatever you need. We are not able to shop for items you may have forgotten. Please bring: 

NO Scented or Fragranced products! Bring unscented, fragrance-free toiletries and personal care products.  There are retreat participants who experience asthma and other health issues from fragrance exposure! ∙ Do not use fabric softeners or scented detergent in clothing worn on retreats. 

∙ Water bottle: Bring your water bottle to help reduce glass washing. 

∙ Ear plugs.

∙ Watch or portable clock (please don’t use your cell phone or have watch alerts/beeps on). ∙ Clothing for all weather: There can be large temperature swings between day and night so bring appropriate layers. 

∙ Footwear: Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Ideally, closed-toe shoes in case your work meditation is in the kitchen. For some, it can be helpful to bring indoor shoes or slippers. 

∙ Poison Oak: there is some poison oak on the property, though it’s mostly contained. Long-sleeved shirts,  long pants, and Technu Soap can help protect you if you are sensitive to it. 

∙ Ticks: There are ticks in the area. Please see this page for information on prevention and what to do if you get one. 

∙ Bedding: twin sheets and pillow case (Bringing your own if you have them is helpful.) ∙ Towels: Bath and hand towels and washcloth (Bringing your own is helpful.) 

∙ Medical and personal supplies: please bring all prescription drugs! Tylenol/aspirin, cough drops, eye drops, and lip balm… 

∙ Sunglasses and sunhat for walking outdoors 

∙ Shawl or wrap for the mediation hall 

∙ Indoor “slipper” shoes or extra warm socks (No shoes in meditation hall) 

∙ Flip flops for shower room 

∙ Flashlight or headlamp (and batteries) 

∙ Umbrella and rain gear in the fall and winter months 

∙ Meditation Cushions and Mats (Zafus & Zabutons): Zabutons (mats) and round cushions are provided in the meditation hall, but feel free to bring your own. 

∙ Cushioned chairs are available. Please let the registrar know in advance if you will need a chair. ∙ The meditation hall floor is uncarpeted. 

∙ Hair Dryers: If you bring a hair dryer, please only use it at times when it won’t disturb others, typically right after meals. 

∙ Please bring layers. It can get quite cold at night. 

is there cell phone reception? Will there be a place to charge my cell phone/device? There is no cell phone reception at Jikoji. 

We ask that everyone commits to not using their cell phone or other devices for the duration of the retreat. If possible, consider leaving your device at home. There is not a private charging area available, nor is there a private place to use devices. 

What is the center like? 

Jikoji is a rustic mountain retreat established in 1983. It is a Soto Zen Buddhist temple. It provides a unique opportunity to practice in a rural seƫng. At 2350 ft. elevation in the Santa Cruz mountains, the grounds comprise  13.26 acres.  

The property has many unique features, such as a large pond (or small lake), places to pitch a tent (in addition to hostel-type accommodations), and miles of hiking trails in the surrounding 1800 acres of Midpeninsula Regional  Open Space District. 

Jikoji is maintained by a group of resident practitioners and non-resident sangha members. The facilities include an institutional kitchen, and community space (living/dining room, bathrooms). 

What are accommodaƟons like? 

Jikoji has separate men’s and women’s dormitory rooms accommodating 6 or more. Accommodations are simple and rustic. Sheets and some pillows are provided 

There are several camping sites available for those who have their tents. Campers will share the communal bathrooms, a short walk from most campsites. 

Is it accessible to those with disabilities? 

Jikoji’s meditation hall (zendo) is accessible. There are limited accessible accommodations, including a communal accessible bathroom. 

How do I register for this retreat? 

The June ISC retreat opened for registration on April 8 and closed on May 7. To be added to the waitlist after May 7,  click here

Retreat lottery 

All applications that come in during registration were entered into a lottery. There is no advantage to applying immediately when registration opens. 

∙ Results of the lottery are communicated by email May 8-11. 

∙ Those not selected in the lottery, or who register after the lottery, are placed on the waiting list. How do I know if I’m accepted into the retreat? 

You will receive an email confirmation upon receipt of your registration form and deposit. We will inform you if you have been accepted to the retreat within a week after the lottery deadline. If the retreat is full and you registered before the lottery deadline, you will be placed on the waiting list. If you do not have email access, the  Registrar will contact you by phone. 

Can I re-register if I have already canceled? 

Yes, if there is room. But, if the retreat is full, you will be placed on the waiting list. 

Refundable registration deposit & cancellation policy 

Credit card information was collected, however, your credit card was not charged. 

Your credit card will only be charged in two instances: 

∙ You are accepted into the retreat and cancel after the cancellation deadline, which is three weeks before the start of the retreat (in this case, May 30). 

∙ Or, you are accepted into the retreat and do not attend. 

Can I attend a retreat as a commuter? No commuters are permitted for this retreat. 

Can I register for a self-retreat? No, we do not have the facilities to accommodate self-retreat