Cloud Mountain Retreat Center in Washington state is offering new scholarships for young adults 18 through 34, due to the kindness of two generous donors.
This scholarship has made a huge difference for Mark Bruno, 26, a Portland educator who has been practicing meditation for years.
Bruno, who had worked at Cloud Mountain three years previously, noticed the new scholarships while looking at Cloud Mountain Retreat Center’s website.
He was delighted.
“I knew it was time for deeper retreat. Returning to Cloud Mountain worked well with my existing plans,” he said. “When I saw the young adult scholarship offer, I immediately registered. As a new teacher at a private school, without benefits, I make enough to get by as a single person in the city, but not enough to save for special events such as a retreat at full cost. This scholarship means that the extraordinary opportunity of retreat is possible within the modest lifestyle of a young person in America who values meaningful work over material gain.”
The special scholarship for young adults goes beyond Cloud Mountain’s standard scholarships of up to 50 percent, said Laura Hauer, manager of Cloud Mountain.
All the scholarships are specifically for awareness or mindfulness of mind teachings in the tradition of Burmese teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and which follow the open format of his teaching approach.
Currently four retreats on the Cloud Mountain 2014 schedule meet these criteria, three with Steve Armstrong and one with Andrea Fella.
“Mindfulness helps in everyday life,” note the donors. “We hope these retreats will plant seeds and support young people.”
While the donors wished to remain anonymous, they did explain their motives.
“We noticed a majority of people at retreats are older and, like us, often retired. We didn’t learn about the dharma [teachings] until we were in our mid-50s,” they said in a statement. “We asked ourselves what it would have been like to have started earlier, before our thought patterns were so deeply ingrained.”
They realized young people often face more financial pressures in the current economy, and decided Cloud Mountain was the perfect choice to receive their generous grant.
“We love Cloud Mountain. Retreats there are lower in cost to begin with than many retreat centers,” they said, adding that the center is strategically located between Portland and Seattle, in Castle Rock, Wash.
Andrew Addessi, 26, is another person who has a strong interest in meditation and who has benefited from the scholarships.
After volunteering at a Zen center in Santa Fe, Addessi and his fiancé moved back to the Pacific Northwest. He works at a variety of jobs, tutoring students for college entrance exams, physics, and statistics, as well as working as an office assistant at an acupuncture clinic in Portland.
“I saw Steve Armstrong had a retreat in June, and I then I saw there was a scholarship available,” Addessi said. “Cloud Mountain is incredibly beautiful. It’s small, and intimate. You can spend more time with a teacher.”
To learn more about these scholarships, go to www.cloudmountain.org.