Why do we need funds?
When Guhyaloka was purchased on Urgyen Sangharakshita’s behalf in 1986 there were three buildings – a dilapidated house called El Morer (The Mulberry Tree) – which was to house the community, a small casita which was to become ‘Bhante’s Bungalow’ and a ruin which became Almendra. Immediately a community of volunteers set to work to construct the retreat centre facilities using very simple – often salvaged – materials. Conditions at Guhyaloka were, and still are, challenging. In 1986 the road from the coast, 35km away, was rough and narrow. Eventually a modern road was build to the nearby village of Sella and recently it has been surfaced to within 5km of Guhyaloka but we it is still necessary to negotiate a very rough track that tends to be washed away in the annual storms. Other challenges are the lack of water, the lack of electricity, and fairly primitive washing and toilet facilities.
Today there are over twenty buildings at Guhyaloka and four more at Uttaraloka – many of these were put up quickly and cheaply and are in urgent need of replacement, or extensive renovation. Some of the bedrooms – the so called Yeso Huts are actually built from onion bags filled with earth. They are well loved and have lasted thirty-five years but they unfortunately do need to be replaced. There are also calls to accommodate more men on Ordination Courses and to do this ideally a larger shrine room would be needed, and certainly it would be necessary to upgrade the kitchen and construct a better bad-weather dining space. The main store rooms at the retreat centre are built from pallets and hardboard – miraculously, with continual fixing, they have lasted thirty years – but they are now very much at the end of their days. Most community members live in simple unheated wooden huts which works OK but the common space – the kitchen and sitting area in Bhante’s Bungalow is drab and needs renovating. Over the years some solar generated electricity has been installed but the supply is woefully inadequate and unstable. In the past showers were considered something of a luxury that one had only on very special occasions, now many men coming on retreat feel they need more than one a week – but all our water is collected from rainfall or has to be shipped in by truckers who complain endlessly about the condition of the road. The bad road also ensures that we are unable to have any deliveries to Guhyaloka – so all shopping has to be done by someone driving to the coast, and all visitors have to be transported to and from the end of the surfaced road.
The small community tries to keep all these facilities maintained and has even managed to make gradual improvements but they also have to service retreats and solitary retreats and deal with inevitable emergencies. In 2020 we had a storm that blocked the road and blew down two hundred trees – and closely avoided a forest fire a few weeks later. Guhyaloka is wild, it is demanding, but it is also a deeply satisfying place to live and community members take a real pleasure and pride in supporting men to come on the various courses and solitary retreats.
One consequence of the demands of living this kind of life in the wilds of Spain – with only very poor internet reception as well – is that the community is not in a position to seriously engage in fundraising. We do receive occasional gifts and a few regular donations, but Guhyaloka has come to the position where it desperately needs help from the many hundreds of men who have – or will in the future – benefit from this unique magical sacred place.
We need to develop a team of fund-raisers – men who feel sufficiently strongly about Guhyaloka to organise a serious program of fund-raising for developments which are no longer simply desirable but actually essential to the continued functioning of Guhyaloka both as a place for solitary retreats and the ordination Courses. We know that Guhyaloka has a rare place in the hearts of many hundreds of men – and we now need your help.
Over the coming months we are preparing a major program of renovation and development for Guhyaloka. It will require quite a big injection of funds and we will need help to raise this money. Can you help us with either a big chunk of hard cash, a regular donation, or expertise in fund-raising? In thirty-five years – since the original purchase – Guhyaloka has never launched a fund-raising drive and we have managed to tick over with a hand to mouth budget but things now need to change. Please help. Please contact Vajrasiddhi or the Guhyaloka Office or make a donation above.