I’ve been blessed to live so close to Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, a Buddhist retreat center in SW Washington. I drive up the crunchy gravel road to this rustic, woodland center and breathe deeply of quiet, green, and home. The Center offers primarily vippassana retreats, with a smattering of other Buddhist and spiritual lineages. This Theravada tradition is what I call “the Buddha’s basic teachings without a lot of cultural overlay”, which flowered in Southeast Asia after leaving India centuries ago. Retreats consist of 45 minute sitting and walking meditation periods, chores, total silence, excellent Buddhist “sermons” or dharma talks, and enjoying the center’s hilly, forested, fern and pond-filled lands. Retreats are amazingly affordable, with rustic accommodations, good vegetarian meals, and dedicated staff who quietly go about taking care of all needs. What a delight to spend hours and days there in humble, challenging, spacious, “noble silence”.