Retreats – Frequently Asked Questions

How many participants can attend the retreat?

There is a maximum of 14 participants for retreats. The reason for that is to allow sufficient time for the teacher to interview each participant individually daily.  In addition, there is a limited number of rooms available.

How many hours a day will I be meditating?

The day begins at 5:30 a.m. with taking the precepts, followed by individual mediation, interspersed by breakfast, lunch, your interview and the Dhamma talk. There is no fixed meditation schedule. There is a minimum of 30 minutes of sitting meditation, and we find most meditators will naturally extend that to a longer period within a couple of days.  It is recommended for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of meditation daily.  This is your opportunity to deepen your practice.

What language is used in the dhamma talks?

English. The evening Dhamma talks are in English, and no translation is provided.  You can always ask for a translation of further explanation if you don’t understand. Interviews will be in English as well, and if you prefer, translation can be arranged.

I can’t sit cross legged. Can I meditate?

Certainly. There is no magic in sitting on the floor, and chairs are provided.  We find most meditators use the chairs, especially for longer sittings.

How can I be sure I am capable of doing the meditation?

For a person in reasonable physical and mental health who is genuinely interested and willing to make a sincere effort, meditation (including “noble silence”) is not difficult.  If you are able to follow the instructions patiently and diligently, you can be sure of tangible results.  The day’s schedule is neither too severe nor too relaxed. Moreover, the presence of other students practicing conscientiously in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere lends tremendous support to one’s efforts.

Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend the retreat?

No. People from many religions and no religion have found retreats helpful and beneficial.

Can I leave the retreat early?

You should fully intend to participate in the weekend or 10-day retreat. Suppose you encounter any difficulties while on a retreat; please raise it in your daily interview with the teacher.  Please do not leave without consultation.

Why is the retreat conducted in silence?

We follow the 8 precepts, and all students attending the course observe “noble silence” — that is, the silence of body, speech and mind.  They agree to refrain from communicating with their co-meditators.  However, students are free to contact the management about their material needs, and to speak with the teacher during the interview and to ask questions during the daily Dhamma talk.

Walking isn’t meditation. Why should I do it? I would rather sit.

Walking IS meditation. You can get into all of the jhanas even when walking.  It’s even easier for some people.  Walking also gets the blood going and keeps you more alert when you sit.  If you walk and then sit you might have a better sitting.

Lodging

I’d like to have a single/double room, what is the process?

There will be multiple room types available for the various retreats. Different prices will apply and you will be able to select your preferred room type during the (future) booking process. 

We book as a couple, can we stay in the same room?

No.  Partners will need to stay in separate rooms during the retreat.

What should I bring?

  • Comfortable Enough, loose-fitting, modest, “somewhat baggy” clothing for the duration of your stay: pants or skirts that cover your knees when you are meditating (when sitting either on a chair or on the floor).  These guidelines allow other students to focus on their meditation more easily.
  • All needed toiletries, non-scented personal hygiene articles, etc.
  • Water Bottle
  • Any prescribed medication you are taking. Please make sure you bring enough for the entire course
  • Indoor footwear slippers
  • A shawl or light blanket other than your sleeping blanket for use in the meditation hall.
  • Any meditation cushions that you may need.
  • writing materials to take notes during dhamma talks.

Do not bring

  • electronic equipment such as personal computers
  • musical instruments
  • personal food items
  • tobacco in any form
  • non-prescribed drugs (you may bring supplements and vitamins)
  • perfumes or strongly scented toiletries
  • jewelry or other unnecessary valuable

How much does the retreat cost?

The price of meals and accommodation will be indicated per retreat. Teaching is provided for free, and you are welcome to donate (dana) at the end of the retreat.  Envelopes will be provided.

Monastics attend for free. If the cost of the retreat is prohibitory for you to attend, please get in touch, and we will see how we can make it work for you.

What food will be served?

Both breakfast and lunch will serve healthy and nutritious vegetarian/vegan food in a buffet style.

I’m on a special diet. Can I bring my own food?

If your doctor has prescribed a special diet, let us know, and we will see whether we can provide what you need.  If the diet is too specialized or would interfere with meditation, we might have to ask you to wait until you can be more flexible. We’re sorry, but students are required to choose from the food provided to them, rather than bring food for themselves.  Most people find the choice is ample, and they enjoy the simple vegan or vegetarian diet.

Can I arrive or leave late?

No. Schedule is built up in such a way that your mind will benefit most if you attend the full retreat. We will also make arrangements for the hotel or retreat center, which includes the arrival and departure window. Please do let us know if you have a specific travel schedule, as then we can see how we can accommodate.