What is a Buddhist Retreat?
A Buddhist retreat is a chance to get away from the noise and complexity of modern life in order to deepen your experience of yourself and of the world around you.
What happens on a Buddhist retreat?
There will be periods of meditation, talks on aspects of Buddhism, as well as Buddhist rituals. As the retreat progresses there will be more meditation sessions and longer periods of silence to allow for reflection. There will also be small groups led by a team member in which you can discuss your experience of the retreat.
Do you need to be a Buddhist?
Although this is a Buddhist retreat, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to participate. Nor do you need any previous experience of the meditations we teach at the London Buddhist Centre and other Triratna centres – they will be introduced from scratch to those who are new to them. Although we run Buddhist retreats, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to participate. On our introductory retreats, you do not need any previous experience of meditation practice – we will introduce two meditation practices from scratch to those who are new to them. On our intensive retreats, you will need to have been regularly practising the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana in a Triratna context – we typically suggest for at least six months, though in some cases it needn’t be that long.
Are our retreats suitable for you?
It is important that you let us know if you have any access requirements, serious health issues or any diagnosed or suspected mental health issues – particularly if you are on medication. Please email email@example.com or call 02087099978 and through discussion we can establish if the retreat is suitable for you. Likewise, please get in touch if you or anyone you are booking for is under 18 years of age. Please bear in mind that all of our retreats feature extended periods of silence and the challenge of engaging with our minds, our habits and the big questions of life and death. Although it is a very supportive environment, we cannot offer any therapeutic help, so if you’re in an emotionally unstable state and unsure how you’ll manage on retreat, please get in touch.
Living communally is an important and enjoyable element of our retreats. We eat together and accommodation is in shared single-sex rooms. We do our best to also cater for gender-diverse people according to individual needs – just contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the accommodation options that could work for you. We require couples to stay in separate rooms from one another. If you have a strong reason to ask for a single room, let us know early and we’ll do what we can – please bear in mind that this is frequently not possible to arrange. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat themselves – in order to keep the retreat running smoothly, we ask everyone to help out with some simple chores. Outside of an emergency, we expect everyone to commit to attending the full period of the retreat in order to maintain the integrity of the retreat community. Our retreats are known for being friendly and harmonious - we ask retreatants to cooperate with one another and to refrain from harsh speech or anti-social behaviour. Whilst this should also probably go without saying, please don’t bring any pets!
Technology, alcohol, drugs and smoking.
During the retreat we will ask you to turn off all mobile phones and not to contact anyone outside the retreat. The same goes for laptops, tablets, smart watches and e-readers. We will provide a number when you book, which you can give to anybody who might need to contact you in an emergency. We also ask that you don’t bring news media with you or work to do. Please don’t bring alcohol or any recreational drugs onto the retreat. Smoking and vaping is allowed only in designated places.
What to bring
You’ll need to bring toiletries such as shampoo/shower gel and a towel; enough clothes for the whole retreat, including warm layers; a pen and paper; a raincoat; clean indoor shoes and separate outdoor shoes like walking boots. Although we will ring a bell in the morning you may also wish to bring an alarm clock. All bedding and meditation gear (including the option of a chair) is provided, as are mats and other yoga equipment (for yoga retreats). All (vegan) food will be provided.
For most of our retreats, we offer a return coach from the London Buddhist Centre. You can add a coach ticket (if available) when you book your place on the retreat. Almost all of our retreats take place at Vajrasana, which is located at Potash Farm, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk, IP31 3AR (on Google maps here). Regular trains run from London Liverpool Street to Stowmarket station. You will then need to get a taxi from the station to Vajrasana, which we advise booking in advance. For more information on how to get to Vajrasana including taxis, check our document here.
For the Winter Retreat at Adhisthana, transport information can be found here.
See our booking policy here