UK Physical Retreat – September 2023
September 22 - October 2
General information for retreats with Delson Armstrong http://suttavada.foundation/physical-retreats-suttavada/
Location: Bonhays, West Dorset (Bonhays Meditation & Retreats)
- Maximum number of People: 16 (plus 2 reserved +2 reserved for monastics)
- Cost: Eur 1200 / £1000 for single room and Euro 900 / £750pp for double room sharing. Price inclusive of accommodation and food, and contribution to Delson’s airfare
- Note we charge in Euros (given SV is based in the Netherlands)
- Sharing double room with friend of family member from same sexe is allowed – please indicate on registration form
- Deposit Euro 300, required for registration to be confirmed, you can pay using Paypal (credit card only supported) or direct Bank Transfer
- No en-suite facility and shared bathroom for all participants.
- Six people max for shared rooms as there are three double rooms.
Food: Meals are prepared by Sophie and her staff. The menu includes both vegetarian (non-vegan) dishes and main dishes with meats and fish. Gluten-free options are available. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Two meals are served daily at 7:30 and 12:00 noon. They include either vegetarian or meat/fish entrees with a gluten-free options. Hot and cold beverages including tea, hot chocolate, and coffee are available 24/7. Refrigerated food storage is available to those with special dietary needs (please inform us on the registration form)
Cancellation Policy: We please ask that if you must cancel, do so at May-1 , so that other meditators can register with enough time to plan and reserve flights. After this date there will be no deposit refunds. Thank you.
Interacting with Delson and Monastics
Physical contact: Refrain from shaking hands or hugs.
Greeting: The traditional greeting is to have both hands held together in an attitude of prayer.
Entering a room: Please be seated before starting a conversation. Stand up when the teacher enters or leave the room to demonstrate respect. Remain standing until he or she is seated or has departed.
Attentiveness: Please do not cross your arms or legs during the conversation. It is considered rude to point the soles of your feet at a Buddha image, monk, nun or lay teacher.
Timeliness: Be present and seated at the scheduled starting time and plan your questions in advance, to respect the end time.
Conversation topics: Though you’re welcome to have enjoyable conversations about the dhamma and the practice, refrain from asking personal or potential non reverent questions. As an example, this includes asking for value statements about other practices or religions, about individual attainments or about potentially controversial topics (i.e. COVID).
Generosity: Donations (dana) at the end of the retreat is gratefully accepted. Delson lives by the Dhamma. Your generosity directly supports his ability to teach. Though physical gifts appreciated, they are impractical while he travels.
Simplicity and Renunciation
Meditation retreats offer a sacred space that is protected and removed from the world. They allow participants a rare opportunity to look deeply inside, quiet the mind, and open the heart. Often the most beneficial and rewarding experiences of spiritual life happen at a meditation retreat. The sheltered and quiet setting is a key element that enables participants to develop patience, steadfastness, loving-kindness, generosity, joy, and wisdom.
These are the seeds that grow insight, compassion, and happiness. Participants are requested to let go of concerns for daily life and embrace an attitude of simplicity and renunciation by adopting a traditional spiritual practice that is called “taking what is offered.”
Taking What is Offered
- Taking any Residence – whatever quarters are offered. We ask participants to happily accept the accommodation assigned and continue to practice in this spirit throughout the retreat.
- Taking Food that is Offered – Happily accepting food that is offered is part of the practice. The cook lovingly prepares tasty and nutritious meals. Gluten-free alternatives will be available for those with medically required dietary restrictions. Participants with other special dietary needs may arrange with the retreat manager to bring supplemental food items with them to the retreat. Food items are prohibited in rooms and the meditation hall. The kitchen is restricted to St. Francis staff.
- Silence – In fostering an atmosphere of contemplation and meditation, participants are expected to embrace the practice of silence during the retreat. Living in silence is the practice of observing within and not communicating with others. This includes reading or writing, using telephones, computer, email, or text messages. Talking is permitted during the evening dhamma talks and teacher interviews when questions are encouraged. Inquiries about the retreat may be directed to a retreat manager or whenever necessary in the case of an emergency.
- Serving the Community – Participants may volunteer for community duties as a daily period of meditation in action. This activity acquaints participants and helps the retreat function move smoothly. A sign-up sheet for daily retreat jobs will be available at registration.
There are currently no COVID-19 public health safety state or local mandates. There is no vaccination requirements, but highly recommended. As a precaution, we ask that participants home-test prior to arrival. As an additional safety measure, please consider taking another home test on the morning of the second and third day of the retreat. Masks will not be required in meditation areas or dormitories unless mandated by state or local public health safety laws at the time of the retreat. Registered participants will be notified if mandatory requirements change.