‘The hour has come when energy and pure love are needed.’ On this year’s Winter Intensive retreat, Kusalasara and Prajnamanas will be leading an exploration of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the famous Buddhist instructions for the progress of a person’s consciousness after death. The usual securities are stripped away, the text says; fortunately for us, Buddhas also appear. Do we know how to move towards them?
As well as delve into this mysterious, mythic world, this retreat offers a chance to work more concertedly on your meditation practice – including with one-to-one meditation reviews in the midst of a longer period of silence. The retreat is for those who are consistently deepening their Dharma practice with the LBC and have at least six months of experience of regular meditation. Ideally you would also have prior retreat experience.
Our retreats are run by experienced teachers who set the programme and guide the retreat. They are supported by a team who look after the practical aspects of the retreat and the cooking. Everyone on the team, including the retreat leaders, is a volunteer, offering the retreat out of a desire to share the benefits of being on retreat with others. The team helps create a harmonious community atmosphere that others can join in with.
A Buddhist retreat is a chance to escape the noise and complexity of modern life and deepen your experience of yourself and of the world around you. It’s not a holiday or a spa, however most people come away refreshed and inspired.
Do I need to be a Buddhist?
You don’t need to be a Buddhist. On our introductory retreats neither do you need any previous experience of meditation – we will introduce two practices from scratch to those who are new to them. To attend intensive retreats we ask that you have been practising the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana regularly and in a Triratna context for at least six months.
What actually happens on a retreat?
Retreat life is simple, with a daily programme to follow. 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. On most retreats there will also be small groups led by a team member in which you can discuss your experience of the retreat. 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.
Are retreats always suitable for everyone?
Not always. Bear in mind that all retreats can be challenging and most feature periods of silence. On retreat we experience ourselves more directly; feelings come alive, both welcome and unwelcome. Although it is a supportive environment, a retreat is not a substitute for therapeutic help. If you are experiencing grief or any other strong or upsetting states of mind please consider if this a retreat is right for you and whether there are other supports you need in your life. It’s also true that going on retreat at a time when we’re facing difficulties in life can be very fruitful.
Our retreats are known for being friendly, good natured and enjoyable. They also involve living communally, which is an important aspect of being on retreat. We ask retreatants to cooperate with one another – including in some simple chores that help keep the retreat running – and to refrain from harsh speech or anti-social behaviour. Simply turning up to events on time and engaging wholeheartedly with the practices has an inspiring and supportive effect on others.
Food & Accommodation
Our retreats cater for up to 60 people. Most accommodation is in shared single-sex rooms. We require couples to stay in separate rooms from one another. If you are part of a single sex couple and you are both on the retreat please let us know so we can allocate you to separate rooms. If you have a strong reason to ask for a single room, let us know early and we’ll do what we can – however please bear in mind that this is frequently not possible to arrange. There are three freshly prepared communal meals a day. All food is vegan. If you have dietary restrictions many of these can be accommodated if you let us know in advance. Drinks are available, self-service, at all times.
Book a place
If financial constraints prevent you from booking a retreat, please see our help to get on retreat page.
Please see our booking policy page for information on cancellations and payments.
If there are no places left, click on the button below to express your interest
How to get there
BOOK RETURN COACH FROM LBC
We provide an optional return coach from the LBC to Vajrasana, which you can add for an extra £50 when you book.
Alternatively you can read about other ways to get to Vajrasana below.