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SDRC keeps per diem rates as low as possible in order to make retreats as affordable as possible.
Thanks to the generosity of friends and donors, Southern Dharma offers scholarships to people unable to attend retreats without financial assistance. Scholarship retreatants commit to working two hours daily during retreats in exchange for reduced registration fees based on personal financial situations.
To apply for a scholarship, register for the retreat of interest and pay the $35 scholarship registration fee instead of the standard deposit. Southern Dharma has been awarded a grant from the Hemera Foundation to offer financial support to educators to attend retreats.
To apply for a Hemera Fellowship at Southern Dharma, please register for the retreat of interest and pay a $35 fellowship registration fee instead of the usual deposit. Southern Dharma has been awarded a grant from the Hemera Foundation to offer fellowships to health care professionals who have not previously attended a residential retreat lasting longer than a weekend. To apply for a Hemera Health Care Fellowship at Southern Dharma, please send an email to Southern Dharma Retreat Center requesting a CFHP application form. All registration deposits are forfeited for registration cancellations received less than thirty days before a retreat begins. The center appreciates being informed of decisions to cancel as early as possible so that space in retreats can be made available to others and the appropriate amounts of food and other supplies can be purchased. All Southern Dharma retreats incorporate periods of Noble Silence as a way to support going inward and cultivating the inner life. The lodge houses fourteen people in double and triple rooms on the second floor, and ten people in a third-floor dormitory.
The center does not take reservations for particular rooms or types of rooms, but does make every effort to accommodate special needs and requests. Beginning with the 2016 retreat season, individual cabin assignments will be made at the discretion of the center. Southern Dharma serves three meals daily, which are vegan with egg and dairy options available as sides.
Planning to arrive late for a retreat or leave before the final day requires approval of the teacher(s). All teacher-led retreats begin with an SDRC orientation at 6:15 pm on the first day of the retreat, followed by supper. Located about a one-hour drive northwest of Asheville, NC, Southern Dharma is easily accessible by car.
Two weeks before a retreat begins, SDRC emails a confirmation letter containing details of what you need to bring.
Southern Dharma prohibits the use of hair dryers, incense, candles, alcohol, and all recreational drugs.
Southern Dharma's General Policy includes a Code of Behavior for Retreatants based on the Buddhist precepts.

Beginning in 2016, SDRC will no longer accept reservations for our three one-person cabins.
SDRC will continue to reserve tent platforms for retreatants planning to bring their own water repellant tents and camping gear. A grant from the Hemera Foundation will provide Contemplative Fellowships for Educators in 2016. SDRC will continue to provide need-based scholarships to applicants requesting financial support to help pay registration fees. Heather Sundberg, Michael Grady, and Ward Simmons will be teaching at Southern Dharma for the first time in 2016. Directions to Southern Dharma Retreat Center, a non-profit educational center that offers affordable, teacher-led retreats.
Although our mailing address is Hot Springs, NC, our physical location is 10 miles south of the town of Hot Springs, 2 miles off of Route 209 in the tiny community of Spring Creek (too small to have its own zip code). From the South approaching Asheville on Route 26: From Route 26 West, at the merger of Routes 26 and 40, take the Route 240 exit to Asheville. From Route I-40 heading toward Asheville from the EAST: Take Exit 53 off Route 40 onto Route 240 heading toward Asheville. From I-40 heading toward Asheville from the WEST: From Route 40 take Exit 24 in North Carolina. From Knoxville via Hot Springs, or points north passing through Hot Springs: Take I-40 East.
From Atlanta (188 mi to SDRC from intersection of I-85 and I-285 on the North Side): Take I-85 North to Exit 113, I-985. The center expects those requesting financial aid to be honest in their self-evaluation of need and to pay as much of the registration fee as possible with the understanding that SDRC’s scholarship fund is limited. SDRC will then email guidelines and a brief application form for you to complete and return.
The Hemera Contemplative Fellowships for Educators (CFE) program provides retreat scholarship support to people who currently work full-time (in any capacity) in pre-K or K-12 education, or are enrolled in a Master’s degree program in education. CFHP awards may be applied to registration fees, but not to costs associated with travel, dana contributions, or continuing education units or credits. The remainder of the deposit is refunded upon request provided the center receives notice of a registration cancellation at least thirty days prior to the start of the retreat.
Tent platforms must be requested at the time of registration, and tenting retreatants must plan to bring their own water repellant tents and camping gear.
When the center receives cancellations, people on waiting lists are contacted to fill the vacancies. Upon request, SDRC will try to arrange carpooling between the airport and the retreat center.
Participants help with various projects such as painting, cleaning, and general maintenance of buildings and grounds.

Personal retreats can sometimes be arranged by renting one of the private cabins in the Practice Community adjacent to Southern Dharma, but neither meals nor use of Southern Dharma’s facilities are included with Practice Community rentals. Instead, all indoor lodging assignments (including cabin assignments) will be made at the discretion of the center with consideration given to gender, mobility concerns, physical limitations, medical conditions, snoring proclivity, and other relevant criteria.
Hemera’s CFE program helps fund retreat registration fees for applicants working full-time (in any capacity) in pre-K or K-12 education, and for applicants enrolled in Master’s degree programs in education.
Accordingly, we invite all retreatants to consider practicing generosity by making voluntary financial contributions to support the center and the work of retreat teachers—who serve without pay. Your scholarship application fee will be refunded if your funding request is denied or if funding support is unavailable at the time your application is received. Applicants new to meditation and those who have never attended a retreat longer than a weekend are eligible for full funding.
Snoring habits, dates of registration, and personal preferences are also considered in room assignment. To be placed on a retreat waiting list, complete the online form that appears when you press the "Retreat Wait List" button on the Table of Retreats page or on any Retreat Description page.
Work Weekends are conducted in Noble Silence with morning and evening sitting meditation periods, morning and afternoon working meditation periods, and an evening talk or discussion led by staff or guest teachers. Most lodging in 2016 will continue to be in shared rooms with shared bathrooms and showers. Depending on their prior retreat experience and any previous funding support from the Hemera Foundation, qualified applicants are eligible to receive either full or partial registration fellowships.
Socks, slippers, or bare feet are acceptable in the Meditation Hall, which has a wooden floor that can be slippery. A nominal, nonrefundable registration fee is charged (but no per diem), and all Work Weekend participants are required to register in advance by submitting the standard Retreat Registration Form.
Make sure to move over to the left lane well in advance of Exit 3A since the exit is to the left and traffic can be heavy.
We provide Zafus, Zabutons, meditation benches, chairs, and "sticky" yoga mats—but you are welcome to bring your own. Take 209 South for about 10 miles, going over the mountain and through the Pisgah National Forest.
Bring work clothes and shoes for working meditation, as well as outdoor gear for inclement weather. The center's Behavior Code for Retreatants requires modesty in dress—which means not wearing clothing or sleepwear that others might find revealing or distracting.
Continue on Route 209 North for another 4.3 miles, carefully keeping track of your mileage.

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