Retreat Information

Chrystal Mountain Society for Eastern and Western Studies - Chrystal Mountain Society for Eastern and Western Studies - Chrystal Mountain Society for Eastern and Western Studies - Chrystal Mountain Society for Eastern and Western Studies

Information on attending retreats sponsored by Crystal Mountain Society

Consideration on attending the

2022 Jewel Ornament of Liberation In-Person Teaching and Retreat 

With Lama Yongdu Chokyi Gyaltsen (Lama Mark Webber) 

Location: Galiano Island, BC

Dates: In-person retreat begins March 2, 2022 and runs to May 20, 2022

Your AspirationEntering into retreat is a positive practice for the cultivation of wisdom and compassion. With correct aspiration or intention, changes and transformation will naturally occur, building confidence in awakening. This happens most easily when you arrive without fixed ideas of what may or may not occur.

During the retreat, we ask all the participants to follow the five precepts and the Bodhisattva vow as their constant practice. These disciplines, which are common to all schools of Buddhism, are standard for meditation retreats and are to help support the development of fluid, easeful presence, coupled with bright interest and awareness. Those who have not received these vows are asked to practice a high level of moral and ethical conduct. This includes a basic understanding of the five precepts, even if you have not been given formal teachings:

1.      no inappropriate sexual activity

2.      no taking that which is not freely given

3.      no careless or harmful speech

4.      no imbibing of intoxicating substances

5.      no actions that result in any loss of life

If you would like teachings on the five precepts, please request them from Lama Mark.

Accommodation and Crystal Mountain Retreat Centre: The Crystal Mountain retreat center is located in a rugged area with paths on uneven ground, dangerous cliffs and no outdoor lighting. You will be responsible for your own safety if you choose to explore the grounds. For this retreat you will be staying at rented accommodation and attending teachings on private property. You will be expected to follow any requests from the landlord and be responsible for any damage you incur to the rented property. has more information under “About the Retreat Centre.” You are expected to be respectful of the needs of your housemates in shared spaces if applicable.

Health: The retreat site is located on a remote island serviced by a small clinic and emergency ambulance service only. Please be sure you have adequate medical health insurance if you are from out of province or out of country. Please realize that a retreat is not psychotherapy. All participants need to be in a reasonably balanced emotional state. If you are on any medication, or were on medication immediately prior to the retreat, you are asked to disclose this information as this can help Lama Mark understand your situation. By attending the retreat you are agreeing to follow all public health measures and processes as set by the retreat organizers. You are also agreeing to provide proof of full vaccination preferably with a booster and to complete a Covid screening prior to the teachings.

Kitchen/Cooking/Diet: If you have dietary requirements for health reasons, we will try to accommodate your requests when shopping. However, part of practicing Buddha Dharma involves cultivating equanimity and learning to accept what comes up and that especially includes food. If you do have special needs, please make sure you have put that information on the registration form—including any allergies you may have.

Dana for the Teacher:  In keeping with traditional practice, Lama Mark does not charge a fee for teaching but lives by Dana (the generosity of students). Dana is a Buddhist teaching about giving and receiving, about generosity and thankfulness, and the interdependence of all beings. It is not a tip or gratuity but is often the teacher's only source of livelihood. It is left up to the participants to assess their own circumstances and to give accordingly, as generously as possible. A suggested amount is $30 per day; this is only a guideline. Envelopes will be provided if needed, and it is customary to offer Dana the day teachings commence.

Retreat Fees:  Are paid to cover expenses incurred to provide the retreat. No payments are made to volunteer staff, board members or to the Teacher.

Refund Policy:  Is implemented in accordance with Crystal Mountain Society’s existing “Refund Policy.” A copy of this policy is available upon request or you may download it from

Practitioner Support Fund:  The Practitioner Support Fund was created to financially support individuals to attend retreats. Information on how to apply to the fund can be found on under Retreat Fees. Please consider adding a donation to your retreat fees as an act of generosity. Donations can be made on the website or sent in with your retreat fees.

Use of cell phones and laptops will not be permitted during retreats:  These must be deposited with the retreat manager at the start of the retreat. Family emergencies can be phoned into the retreat coordinator or the emergency numbers on your information form.

Release of Liability: Upon arriving at the retreat you will be requested to sign a Release of Liability Form. This form will release Crystal Mountain Society, its teachers, agents, volunteers or members from responsibility or liability for any injury or illness which may occur on CMS property and release any claim against any of them which may arise from any such injury or illness. A copy of this form can be forwarded prior to arriving, upon request or downloaded from our website: Retreat Information - Release of Liability

Download the PDF HERE sign and return to our registrar. Contact info below

Should you require any additional assistance with your registration package or have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our registrar,

Barb Shields at or 250 921-9612


The Crystal Mountain Study and Retreat Centre were established in 1980. The Centre is a rustic, forest-style retreat facility with simple amenities, located in a beautiful secluded valley at the north end of Galiano Island – a setting ideal for contemplative pursuits. In December 1999, responding to a growing interest in retreat activities, Crystal Mountain acquired additional land and tripled in size from 20 to 61 acres. Our programs currently run only during the summer season. All programs, building, maintenance and organization, in keeping with the teachings of the lineage, rising from a base of generosity, are run on a volunteer basis. Donations to support the work on the land are always appreciated.

Tent sites are also available on a first come first serve basis (please bring your own tent). Offsite accommodation: It is highly recommended that all retreat participants stay on the Crystal Mountain Retreat site. There is NO cost to stay on the Crystal Mountain land. If someone is considering renting off-site accommodation, to please check with the registrar prior to making a commitment, as this requires prior approval.
PLEASE NOTE: The retreat centre has no electricity. The kitchen, fridge and stove are run by propane as does the hot water tank. The shower room has a hot water shower. Volunteers form the heart of each and every retreat held on at Crystal Mountain Retreat Centre. The cooks, shoppers and daily maintenance jobs are all volunteer positions. If you feel called to help in this way, please contact the registrar.

We have an open-air, roofed kitchen facility with propane stove, oven, fridge and sink. There is an adequate supply of plates, cutlery, pots, pans, and tea and coffee pots. Every attempt is made to locate a volunteer cook for each course. Please contact the coordinator if you are willing to apply. Course fees can be reduced. We are usually fortunate to have people step forward willing to focus their meditation on the generous act of service to others. If no cook is found, a cooking schedule will be made between participants.

As well, a shopper or two is needed each course. The Lama will seal the retreat site at the beginning of the course and entrance will be restricted. A designated shopper will purchase kitchen supplies and personal items for special needs. Please bring cash, there is no bank on the island. Please anticipate your needs and bring as many personal items you anticipate you will need for the full retreat.

There is a small washing room with sink and shower. Please bring your own toiletries, towels and BIODEGRADEABLE soap. Toilets are non-flush, drop loo style. (outhouses!)

Washing and drinking water is pumped from a ground well. We are fortunate to have an adequate supply of very good water even in dry summers.

There are no washing machines as there is no electricity, but there is a clothes-line on which to hang your hand washed items to dry.

Weather in the Pacific Northwest is unpredictable and can quickly change. Bring layers of clothing, including warm outerwear & rain-gear.

Shared Spaces:
Though we will all have private rooms/tents, we will be sharing public spaces. Please be respectful of your fellow retreatants: keep talk to a minimum and practice awareness & generosity. It can be uncomfortable at first to avoid eye contact as it goes against our socialization; with practice you learn the benefits. Please remember those working in the kitchen are in retreat too. Direct your questions/needs to the retreat manager.

Recommended Arrival time:
The start date of the retreat is July 3, 2021 and retreatants must arrive on Galiano Island no later than one day before this date. You are welcome to arrive up to 5 days early, as there is much to be done to prepare the land for the summer retreat. Accommodation will be free and food is incorporated into the cost of the retreat. Let us know if you will be arriving early. Arriving a day or two before the start date will allow everyone to be ready and prepared to receive the teachings from Lama Mark Webber (Lama Yongdu Chokyi Gyaltsen). Arriving on time and getting settled before the teachings begin is a gesture of respect towards the Lama and the teachings we will receive, and is much appreciated. Please register your arrival date. Please also register your confirmed departure plans (i.e. ferry reservations, plane ticket reservations, etc.). This allows for less disruptions to all retreatants once you are in retreat. Once again, as a gesture of respect, please make departure plans for the last day of retreat.

Ferry from Vancouver: The Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal is a 45-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver. The ride on the “Southern Gulf Island Ferry” to Galiano Island is about 50 minutes. Please note: there are a limited number of ferries sailing from Tsawwassen to Galiano Island in the summer. Please check the schedules at or call 1-888-223-3779. It is critical to make reservations with BC Ferries if you are bringing a car. No reservation means you may not make the ferry as the summer months are heavily booked. Foot passengers do not require reservations, although arriving early will ensure there are tickets available.

Ferry from Vancouver Island: The Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal is a 40-minute drive from downtown Victoria; about 10 minutes from the Victoria International Airport. The ferry to Galiano Island is 65 minutes if it is direct, so check the schedules at

Driving to the Retreat Center from Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island: From the ferry terminal at Sturdies Bay, follow Sturdies Bay Road to the junction at Porlier Pass Dr. (just past the Hummingbird Pub about 2 km) turn right and continue on Porlier Pass Dr. to the North End of the island (approx. 25 minutes from the ferry). You will pass Madrona Lodge on the same road (approx 15 minutes from the ferry) and Bodega Resort is about 3 minutes from Madrona, at Cook Rd. Once you’ve passed Cook Rd., keep an eye out for Spotlight Rd sign on your left. The handcrafted wooden “Crystal Mountain” sign is just past Spotlight Road on your right. Follow the dirt road all the way up to the oval parking area.

Please contact our registrar with arrival days and times. She will coordinate pick up at the ferry for those without a car. Barb Shields at or 250 921-9612.

PAYMENTS are to be made after your registration has been accepted.

Retreat Payment Options:
1 WEEK $410 early bird or $445 regular
2 WEEK $820 early bird or $890 regular
3 WEEKS $1230 early bird or $1335 regular
4 WEEKS $1640 early bird or $1780 regular

Pay in full by June 1st and qualify for the Early Bird fee. If you require financial support to attend this retreat please apply to the Crystal Mountain Practitioner Support Fund. Information and application forms can be found on the Crystal Mountain website (

1. Payment can be made by PayPal. If you are using PayPal, once your Retreat Application is submitted via email to the Registrar you will receive a PayPal invoice and it will link you to PayPal.
2. Payment can be made by Cheque. If you are paying by cheque(s), once your Retreat Application is submitted via email to the Registrar, send your cheque to: Gisele Sabourin Please make the cheque payable to: Crystal Mountain Society

Note: If you are Paying by Installments (PayPal or Cheque)
Installment dates are May 1st, and June 1st. After June 1st, please pay regular fee.

If you are in need of some financial assistance for course fees please see the Practitioner Support Fund application process at or ask the Registrar for more information.

Included in Fees charged by Crystal Mountain:

The fees charged by Crystal Mountain cover expenses to provide the Teaching. This includes all the meals, services to provide the meals (propane, etc.) and sundry supplies to run the retreat centre for the month. The fees are not payment for the Teaching itself.

Dana for the Teacher:
In keeping with traditional practice, the Teacher does not charge a fee for teaching but lives by Dana (the generosity of students). Dana is a Buddhist teaching about giving and receiving, about generosity and thankfulness, and the interdependence of all beings. It is not a tip or gratuity and is often the teacher's only source of livelihood. It is left up to the participants to assess their own financial circumstances and to give accordingly, as generously as possible. A suggested amount of $30.00 per day can be considered. This is a guide only. Please bring the Dana with you when you come to the retreat. You may give your Dana to the onsite course coordinator at the beginning of the retreat. In addition, a bowl will be available to receive donations / Dana for the teacher in the Meditation tent and for teachings at the Lama’s house. If there is a Wongkur, donations are welcomed.

Not included in the fees: Dana for the Teacher, your travel costs, any books or text that is required by Lama Mark


REFUND POLICY Revised January 19, 2022

All refunds are issued at the discretion of the board/course registrars on an individual basis. Decisions may be Appealed for reconsideration. 

Any portion of a fee that is deemed non-refundable will be eligible for an Income Tax Deduction Receipt if no value of services is received by the donor, as per Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations.

NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSITS: Non-refundable deposits are non-refundable. No refund is given.

REFUND OF COURSE FEES: Course fees are refunded, as possible, on the following basis: 

  1. Any portion of fees that have been spent for their intended purpose (i.e. housing, food purchase etc.) may not be refunded. i.e. – if a contract for housing has been entered into by CMS on the retreatant’s behalf, the fee paid for housing will be deemed non-refundable.

  2. If REASONABLE NOTICE  of withdrawal is given to the course registrar all attempts will be made to fill your spot and refund a maximum amount of the fee paid.

  3. NO SHOWS: if less than one week’s notice of withdrawal is given to the course registrar, a maximum of a 50% refund will be issued, if funds are available as per 1 and 2. 

  4. Refund decisions may be deferred until the conclusion of the retreat as excess funds may allow for a greater refund possibility.

  5. Apologies to the Lama does not constitute notice to the registrar.

  6. Consideration will be given for emergencies.

  7. If a refund is granted, a fee of $50 will be deducted for administration services.


  1. DONATION OF MEMBERSHIP: CMS by-laws state no refund of membership funds will be given.

  2. DONATIONS are NON-REFUNDABLE as per CRA regulations.


Crystal Mountain Society is not a business. The Society exists as a vehicle to support the study and practice of the three cycles of Buddhadharma. All courses are offered by the generosity of  the Teacher and the volunteers who provide support, with no paid staff. The success of any retreat is dependent on the co-operation and participation of everyone attending. Fees are calculated to be as reasonable as possible. No profit is built into any fees. 

Crystal Mountain is a non-denominational charitable and educational society Registered in British Columbia in 1981 Founded to promote the development of the wholesome, clear, interested mind through study, meditation, and compassionate work.

Name: _________________________________________________________________________________
Address: ________________________________________________________________________________
City: ____________________________ Province: ____________________ Postal Code: _____________
Phone: __________________________________ Email: ________________________________________
Emergency Contact: _____________________________________ Relationship: _____________________
Phone #1: __________________________________ Phone #2: ___________________________________

I hold harmless Crystal Mountain Society, its teachers, visiting teachers, attendants, volunteers and board members from any claims, demands, damages, actions, or causes of actions due to loss, injury, or damage to my person or property which may arise from my attendance at a retreat or any other function on Crystal Mountain Society’s property on Galiano Island, British Columbia.

My participation in any and all activities is strictly voluntary and therefore, I freely accept and fully assume the possibility of personal injury (whether physical, mental or emotional) or any loss resulting therefrom. I hereby acknowledge that I understand that Crystal Mountain Society Retreat property consists of dramatic or potentially dangerous shifts in terrain, steep cliff faces, narrow ungroomed trails or other issues that may be considered hazardous. I acknowledge this as a camping style environment with no outdoor lighting.

I understand that Galiano Island is a remote island serviced by a small clinic and emergency ambulance service only. Should I attend a retreat or classes at Crystal Mountain Society or be invited to their property for any other reason, I will have adequate medical health insurance, including if I am from out of the province or a resident of another country. I agree to notify the retreat manager, board member, or resident teacher and/or their attendant immediately if I become ill or injured and understand that they will take the most appropriate measures possible to care for me until I reach medical care.

I have read this document carefully and understand that signing this document will affect my legal rights, including the right to sue now or in the future. This includes consequential losses I may suffer or that my next of kin may suffer on my behalf, and is binding upon my heirs, next of kin, estate trustees, executors, administrators, and other personal representatives.
Signature: _____________________________________ Date: _____________
Witnessed by: __________________________________ Signature: ___________________________

Download the PDF here

● watch or clock
● flashlight and extra batteries
● recommended reading, if any
● notebooks and pens
● clothing, layers for warmth, loose comfortable for sitting and exercise, rain gear and shoes
● toiletries, biodegradable soaps, mosquito repellant, sun screen, enough *personal items to last the full retreat
● towels, face cloth
● umbrella, sun hat, etc.
● any musical bells, bowls or drums appropriate for Wongkur
● Dana, (cash or cheque)
● Mala
● Emergency Fund cash, just in case

● tent, sleeping bag, etc. (contact the registrar if you have questions about camping supplies required)
● napkin with a ring (to save trees by not using paper napkins)
● hot water bottle (for cold nights)
● insulated travel mug
● slippers 
● yoga mat
● sun shower

Things NOT to bring:

● pets
● laptops
● radios
● reading material (other than suggested materials by Lama Mark)
● musical instruments
● cell phones

Emergency Numbers:
There will be a cell phone on the land for any emergencies that may arise. If anyone needs to contact you while you are in retreat there are a number of people on Galiano Island who can get a message to us on the retreat site. Emergency #'s will be provided to you prior to the retreat


As a meditator living in the heart of Vancouver, I can’t express how fortunate I feel to join others in this beautiful environment to regain my sense of equilibrium and refresh my commitment to a compassionate life.  Renata Healy