Lama Zopa Rinpoche having lunch at Vajrapani Institute with staff, members, and others, California, US, November 2015. Photo by Ven. Sherab.

Vajrapani Institute, an FPMT retreat center, is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Boulder Creek, CA at the end of a five-mile dirt road on the border of Castle Rock State Park. Being entirely off-grid has been an ongoing challenge for a busy operation like Vajrapani Institute’s. The logistics in terms of production and distribution of power, water, gas, and communications are complex. After forty years of managing with this difficult infrastructure, last year an overhaul of these systems commenced. Everything is being redone and the entire project is costing approximately US$800,000.

Construction at Vajrapani Institute. Photo courtesy of VPI.

Construction at Vajprapani Institute. Photo courtesy of VPI.

For example, last year five miles of conduit was installed underground. According to director Fabienne Pradelle, this is the biggest construction project the center has undertaken but essential for the future growth and safety. Fabienne explained, “Once the new infrastructures are in place, there’s a level of emergency and stress that won’t longer be there. Much more reliable. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved on a shoestring budget all these years. Our carbon footprint is impressively small.” 

The Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund invested in the electricity wing of this considerable project. Please rejoice that this important retreat center is able to make these improvements to the infrastructure which will benefit students, teachers, and staff for years to come.


Lama Zopa Rinpoche Bodhichitta Fund enables Rinpoche’s compassionate service to others to flourish. All the offerings from the fund are used toward the creation of holy objects and extensive offerings around the world; sponsoring young tulkus, high lamas and Sangha in India, Nepal, Tibet and the West; supporting FPMT centers, projects and services; sponsoring Dharma retreats and events; funding animal liberations and blessings, and many other worthy projects.