Chamma Ling Bon Tradition: Crestone Colorado

Two Person Cabin InteriorOur Cabins, we have been told, are very well designed and comfortable, and provide all amenities. One retreatant called them “the Cadillac” of retreat cabins. The cabins are beautifully finished with hardwoods and Southwestern stucco exteriors. All have porches, views and can be converted into a sealed, dark retreat. Many very well known Teachers, including Crestone residents, have chosen Chamma Ling cabins for their solitary and dark retreats.


About Our Cabins

Chamma Ling of Crestone exists in order to provide a solitary retreat cabins for practitioners in the Bön tradition, as well as meditators of other spiritual traditions.

If you would like to rent a cabin, we provide all the information here to plan and apply for your retreat.

When are they available?

The cabins are open year round. We are accepting applications now for retreats up to 18 months in advance.

Who can apply?

Two Person Cabin Exterior Deck

Any practitioner is encouraged to pursue solitary retreat as part of his or her path, regardless of length of experience. There are suitable retreat practices for every level of practitioner. One should have already received instruction from an acknowledged teacher on the meditation methods to be used during the retreat. While we recognize that people have received practices from many honorable traditions, this retreat center’s primary purpose is to support practices from the Bön Buddhist tradition, however we warmly welcome applications from practitioners of other traditions when we have available cabins.

What services are provided?

We provide three levels of retreat support: the Independent Practitioner, the Closed Retreat and Dark Retreat. For an explanation of what services are provided for each type of retreat see our section on Retreat Support

What does it cost?

The fees vary according to the type of retreat support services you need and how long you will be staying. The minimum stay is one week. For a complete explanation of costs see our fees section.

What are the cabins like?

Three of our retreat cabins are designed for a single person, being 21 by 12 feet, including a small kitchen and bath. A fourth cabin is about 30% larger, has a double bed, closet and larger kitchen and dining area.The cabins include a bed, clothes storage, desk, chair and shine and practice area. The kitchen is equipped with a basic set of pots, pans, plates, cups and utensils. Click Here For more details see our section describing the cabins. The cabins are solar heated with a south facing trombe wall, with electrical baseboard backup heat. All cabins are on the public water supply, have flush toilets, hot showers, sinks in the bath and kitchen, and a 3/4 size fridge with freezer. Be sure to check out the photos of our cabins to get a clear idea our cabin design.

What do I bring? How about food? How do I get there?

Single Person Cabin Shrine Area

For answers to all these questions and more see our Logistics Page. How do I actually reserve a cabin? For details on the process of applying for and reserving a cabin for a specific set of dates refer to our page on the Application Process. Still have unanswered questions? If you review all the information and still have some questions drop a line to us at Chamma Ling.  We’ll get back to you shortly. We hope to be able to support your retreat soon!

Our first four cabins are clustered together and are connected by a footpath to the parking area. Retreatants have access to the full 51 acres of Chamma Ling’s surrounding property, which border national forest lands that extend across the Sangre de Christo mountain range.


Three of the cabins are nearly identical, and designed for a single person’s use. The fourth cabin is about 30% larger, and includes a double bed, small closet, and a larger kitchen and deck. It is well suited for couples to practice together.

The floorplan is here, but also be sure to check out the photos of the cabins in the photo gallery. We are confident that you will find our cabins to be very comfortable, and warmest welcome!


Chamma Ling P.O. Box 608 Crestone, CO. 81131
CLinfo @
red.garuda @


The third cabin with prayer flags.


What Trauma? Who? Me?

i thought any trauma i might have experienced was probably trivial … and not worth worrying about …. best to “get on with life” that’s what most of us do isn’t it?

an important extract from the book …. first chapter, under “capacity”
Two influences affect capacity significantly: profound rest (positively) and major trauma (negatively). Profound rest, like the organism itself, is physical and psychical. Fasting provides primarily physical rest; darkroom retreating, primarily psychic rest. These can be used together or separately depending on capacity. Capacity is experienced as a sense of ease in doing something.

get the book.

What trauma? I mean the routine brutality of our lifeway, which touches virtually everyone from before birth. I mean not just the bad things we condemn, but common atrocities we mistakenly accept. I mean offenses to nature, as if it hadn’t already worked out every detail of a happy existence from the beginning of time.
I’m going to list common examples of the plague of polite violence I refer to. My editor, a deeply wise and loving man, has warned me I will lose readers by doing so. I see no way around it. Here’s hoping you can take it.
* unintentional conception and ambivalent pregnancy
* birth intruders (doctor, midwife, priest, etc)
* post-partum attachment failure (through exhaustion, physical separation, and emotional unavailability)
* vaccination, circumcision, formula-milk, illegal public nursing
* absent, pushover, smothering, and abusive parents
* nannies and day care
* cribs, playpens, strollers (the worst designs of all time. They crystallize alienation in the nervous systems of billions.)
* television, computers, games (screen technology causes not mere atrophy, but lifelong damage to the imaginative faculty when much used at critical phases of development.6)
* factory food (including unripe harvesting, chemical farming, genetic modification, irradiation)
* and finally, the last nail so big it splinters the coffin: school.
The violence of job, military, hospital, the street, and prison go without saying.
Of exactly what brutalized you, you may already have some idea. I invite you to find out for sure for yourself in darkness, where you have a real chance to recover from it. Between retreats, the depth psychologists mentioned below can also help provide words for what you are going through.

image credit:

My 5 Day Retreat in Guatemala…

About three years ago, I discovered Dark Room retreating while surfing one day on YouTube. I was immediately fascinated and a little apprehensive about the possibility of doing such a retreat, but gradually found myself inexorably pulled toward it. I’ve been practicing Spirituality for 40 or so years now and have passed many milestones on the journey and at a certain point, realized that I was going to take the jump. I researched the various offerings of facilities on the internet and eventually settled on one in Guatemala, as this was the closest to my home in Brazil.

I found the first twenty four hours of darkness the most difficult part…Several times during this time, I almost came out as the sheer boredom and isolation were extremely hard to bear. Basically, I clenched my fists and teeth and just made a strong determination to continue…no matter what. Sometimes, the passage of time (or what seemed like it) was agonizingly slow and at other times it felt to be passing quickly. I knew the intervals at which meals would be delivered, so this gave me some connection to time, although not completely. At times, I was almost “sweating” on that meal arriving and at other times, the bell rang unexpectedly. I never got completely used to finding my way around the room when I had to use the bathroom or shower and try as I did to feel my way along the wall, I always seemed to be bumping into things. The disorientation in darkness can be very strange, as sometimes I knew where my suitcase was and at other times, I could not find it and had to crawl around the floor on hands and knees looking for it.

The second and third days were fairly routine, with nothing much happening save the constant onslaught of thoughts. Late into the third night, however, things began to happen. I awoke from sleep to see a television screen on the wall in front of me. It had no picture, just an empty blue screen. It seemed so real, I immediately thought, “Oh, there was a T.V. in here that I didn’t notice when I first went in and now, somehow, it has been turned on”….I closed my eyes for a few moments and opened them again and…..the screen was gone!…In that moment, I realized it was an hallucination….I closed my eyes again, waited for thirty seconds or so and again opened them. This time there appeared a wooden picture frame on the wall and inside it was a picture of an old, bearded man, who started talking. He said only a few words and the image disappeared and I can no longer remember what those words were.

These were the only hallucinations I had and I fell asleep again. Early in the morning of day four, however, something altogether different happened. I awoke with the usual stream of thoughts in the mind and as I lay there on my mattress, all those thoughts suddenly started to slow down, like an engine coming to a stop, until there was a completely thought free space inside my head. Along with this came an extraordinary sense of relaxation and lightness in the body and this was soon followed by an expanding sense of perfect inner peace and tranquility. These feelings intensified, until I entered a state of ecstasy that I later named “The Blessing”. Soon after this, there appeared a vision (not hallucination) of a lake with a kind of Greek temple standing in the middle of it. I’m not exactly sure how much time passed as all this happened, but I guess it was about two or three hours. Eventually, I drifted into a deep and satisfying sleep and awoke the next morning feeling a sense of total refreshment and wonder as well as deep gratitude for what had been revealed.

The last two days were uneventful and during the evening before the morning of coming out, I began to feel the anticipation of being “in the world” once again. What would I take away from this retreat, if anything at all?…I wasn’t sure. As I felt my “womb of darkness” opening into the natural setting outside, I felt quite vulnerable and a little unsteady on my feet, yet my senses were alive to all the colours and sounds I was suddenly immersed in once again.

Two days later, I was in the main airport in Costa Rica, en route to Brazil. The cacophony of the airport was not easy to bear and I sat in a coffee shop to get some peace and quiet. Sitting directly opposite me was an American woman, very obese, with three relatively “normal” looking adolescent children. They all ordered large quantities of  hamburgers, french fries and cokes……

Welcome to the “real” world,

Korken Alexander: 10 Days of Illuminating Darkness

childAnd as I opened the door at the end of the 10th day and walked back out into this great beautiful world, I realized it had forever changed in my eyes.  Yes, I was extremely grateful to be able to see all the colors, plants, and incredible sights all around me, but it was the eyes of my heart that really brought me to my knees in one of the most unforgettable moments of pure bliss, happiness, and immense gratitude I had ever experienced.

Continue reading