Tibet House US was founded in 1987 at the request of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who at its inauguration stated his wish for a long-term cultural institution to ensure the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture in exile, whatever the political destiny of the six million people of Tibet itself. As the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Cultural Center in the US, Tibet House is committed to preserving Tibet’s unique culture at a time when it is confronted with extinction on its own soil. By presenting Tibetan civilization and its profound wisdom, beauty, and special art of freedom to the people of the world, we hope to inspire others to join the effort to protect and save it.
In 2002, Tibet House US was donated the magnificent Menla property, as an upstate retreat and spa location for deeper immersion in Tibetan cultural teachings and practices, with a special focus on Tibetan medical and healing arts and sciences.
Tibet House US is part of a worldwide network of Tibetan institutions committed to ensuring that the light of the Tibetan spirit never disappears from the face of this earth.
“I feel that Tibetan culture with its unique heritage –born of the efforts of many human beings of good spirit, of its contacts with Mongolian, Chinese, Indian, Nepalese and Persian culture, and of its natural environment – has developed a kind of energy which is very helpful for cultivating peace of mind and a joyful life. I feel that there is a potential for Tibet to help humanity, and particularly our Eastern neighbor, where millions of young Chinese have lost their spiritual values. In this way, I feel very strongly that Tibetan culture will have a role to play in the future of humanity.”
– His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
Named after the Tibetan Medicine Buddha, Menla was founded by Tibet House US to establish an upstate retreat and spa dedicated to bringing authentic Tibetan mind-body healing arts and sciences to the West. Our vision is to draw from Tibetan wisdom sciences to reinforce the new wave of holistic integrative medicine now emerging in Western societies. The Dalai Lama has expressed his enthusiasm for Menla, as he believes Tibetan medicine is one of the greatest contributions of Tibetan Buddhist culture. In 2006 the Dalai Lama visited Menla for a Health & Longevity Conference and to bless the land. He believes that Menla, which was given to him and the Tibetan people as a gift, will continue to become a thriving resource for health, healing, and spiritual evolution for many years to come.
Toward this end, Menla offers numerous individual and group retreats, featuring a variety of classes, yoga, meditation, wellness and fitness programs, nature experiences, as well as Buddhist teachings on a wide range of subjects. Our Dewa Spa specializes in rare Tibetan therapies, as well as offering a full menu of Eastern and Western massage therapies and services, including Ayurvedic treatments, herbal baths, and saunas and steam rooms. Our eco-friendly guest rooms are decorated with Tibetan accents and provide a restful atmosphere for your stay during residential programs.
Daily meals are served with sustainable, locally-sourced healing foods, including bounty from our organic garden and pure drinking water throughout the property directly from our mountain springs. Menla’s incredible unspoiled natural surroundings nurture inner growth and provide an ideal environment for healing, rejuvenation, and personal transformation—a spacious yet intimate place to be physically nourished and spiritually inspired, where meaningful connections are forged.
375-400 million years ago, before dinosaurs and when the Catskill region was still 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 literally 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.
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.