Mission & History

Mission Statement

Map of Pre-Invasion Tibet.

For a thousand years, Tibet was called the “Land of Medicine” by its neighbors. It is in this spirit that we named our center Menla, which is Tibetan for “Medicine Buddha.” Menla’s mission is to offer a world-class spa and integrated healing system, combining the best of Western integrative medicine with elements of Tibetan medicine, Ayurveda, and other holistic traditions.

Menla Property History

375 million years ago, before dinosaurs and when the Catskill region was under a shallow sea, a half-mile-wide meteor crashed here, creating the oldest known meteor impact crater on Earth. The crash was the equivalent of several hundred million tons of TNT and pulverized the bedrock, leaving a 6-mile-wide crater. Over millions of years, different layers of sediment were deposited on top of one another, and with erosion caused by rainfall and the Ice Age, Panther Mountain as we now see it was gradually formed.

On a topographical map, Panther appears to be a nearly perfectly circular mountain, surrounded by two rivers, one flowing north and the other south. The crater is approximately 1.5 to 2 miles beneath the surface of the earth, and due to lack of solid bedrock, the gravitational field here is 0.2% less than in the surrounding areas.

The local Native American peoples, including the Esopus and Mahicans, regarded this valley and region, with its enormous first-growth hemlock trees, as especially sacred, a place of the spirits. They never settled here and only used the valley for ceremonial purposes.

With the arrival of the Dutch and other European settlers, the land was purchased by Irish immigrants who set up a farm about 160 years ago. The valley was used as farmland until the turn of the twentieth century, when it became the site of the Woodland Valley School for Boys, where young boys would come to live, work the farm, and study in a private boarding environment. The only remaining buildings from that era are the barn and the Delos Inn dining area with its original fireplace.

In the 1950s the land was acquired by Rose and Siggy Goldner and turned into a hotel called the Woodlands, which was a retreat for adults until 1972, when the property was obtained by a channeler and psychic named Eva Pierrakos, who started the Center for the Living Force. After Eva’s marriage to John Pierrakos, the founder of Core Energetics, the center became the Pathwork Center, a nonsectarian spiritual community and retreat center that became widely known to thousands coming in search of deeper self-awareness. After Eva’s death in 1979, the Pathwork underwent a difficult retraction but continued to attract many people. By the end of the 1990s, the Pathwork Center, which had been developed into a stunning facility with many houses, lodging facilities, and a large new conference center, had to sell the property.

Photo Sonam Zoksang
Guest enjoying Menla’s pristine views. Photo Sonam Zoksang

A nonprofit called the Aesclepius Foundation purchased the land and started to renovate and upgrade the buildings with the intent of creating a healing center, modeled after an ancient Greek healing tradition. People with illnesses would travel to the Isle of Delos in the Mediterranean, hoping to have a dream of Aesclepius, the Greek god of healing, in which he would appear to them and reveal both the root causes of their illness and the cure. Phase one (of three) of the renovations was complete when the patrons of the foundation very generously decided to donate the property to Tibet House US in 2002 with the understanding that it would continue to be a healing center.