The monastery offers several semi-residential retreats with the accommodation we have (about a dozen beds) available for those wishing to stay at the monastery with the option for people to come during the day – or part thereof – and return home in the evening. Those who can commit to the full retreat time or who are traveling some distance to the monastery are given priority for accommodation.
Please note the difference between these structured, group retreats and coming to stay as a guest. We aren't able to offer self-guided retreats.
If you wish to stay at the monastery overnight, either as a guest or retreatant, please read the guest information
Retreats are quite open and you can come for all or part of the scheduled time; a day or part day.
Accommodation may be available for just part of a retreat but is sometimes shared.
Please be sensitive to those who are already here when you arrive and join the Noble Silence. If there is sitting meditation in session it is best if you wait until it has finished. The end of that period would be a good time to introduce yourself to the monk leading the retreat.
- There is no set charge for retreats. You are welcome to make a donation.
- Remember that there is no evening meal at the monastery.
- We have our daily meal at 10.30 and you would be welcome to join us for this.
- If we are meditating in the hall please wait until the session finishes.
- If there is a talk or discussion in place you may enter the hall and quietly take a seat.
- The standard for everyone at the monastery is the eight precepts
The underlying theme in the monastery is one of restraint and renunciation. The movement to silence is important so please leave phones, tablets, laptops and any other distracting things at home. Even books... we will be reading from the book of the mind. An area of special practice is the kitchen. As alms mendicants we take only what is offered. There are no special diets, we don't help ourself to things in the pantry or fridge and beverages are only available at set times.
Teachings and guidance are given throughout the retreat and there are opportunities to meet with the teacher. The schedule allows some free time but is structured to create a relatively full day of sitting and walking meditation. We maintain silence for most of the time so there is almost no social interaction. The silence, the schedule and the precepts allow very little scope for distraction so what you are largely left with is your own mind; the investigation and understanding of which is the work of meditation. This can be very unfamiliar and uncomfortable for some. This is not to put you off but to encourage you to spend time studying this tradition and its teaching and, ideally, to make a visit and meet with monastics
Retreats through the year are generally as follows:
After four years
- Queen's Birthday W'end - 1st Monday in June
- Vassa - 3 months; July to Sept. details below
- Labour Day W'end - 4th Monday in October
- August - during the vassa. 10 days
- New Year - Boxing day + 7 days
of working with this inherited format and with more monks looking to be here Ajahn Kusalo and the sangha are reviewing possible alternatives. More retreats? Regular weekends; Friday night to Sunday? Daylongs; Saturday or Sunday? A week of evenings; with homework for the next day? There is scope for experimentation.
Queen's Birthday 2018
June - 7pm Friday 1st until 3pm Monday 4th. "Defining Reality" - as a verb, as distinct from attempting a noun, definition. Mostly we experience a version of reality; shaped and moulded by various layers of conditioning, perceptions and opinions. A direct, undistorted, unfiltered seeing or cognizing is rare. Where and how do we approach the possibility? "When in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized... Just this is the end of suffering." Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1.10
Labour Weekend 2018
Friday October 19th, start 7pm, to 3pm Monday 22nd. "A matter of Life and Death" There are various ways of defining both life & death and we have some choice as regards both. The retreat will explore both definitions and the scope of choice.
"A single day lived in awareness... of the transient nature of life
is of greater value than a hundred years... lived unaware of birth and death." Dhammapada
The short musing above is still under consideration. Possibilities in 2018 came to little but the thought is still a work in progress. If there is the interest and commitment we can extend the retreat offering to suit. Watch this space.
New Year 2017-18
Tuesday 26th December – Wednesday 3rd January. "The End of the World." Not an Armageddon prophecy but an exploration of just what constitutes the world, what is it and how do we bring an end - to suffering. This will include a new year's eve ritual/celebration; letting go of the old and welcoming the new – release and renewal – forgiveness and aspiration.
BOOKING A RETREAT
: Guest Booking Form
Please add the comment (form bottom) "booking for retreat name
retreat" to make it clear.
Retreats begin at 7pm on the first date and finish at 3pm on the last.
The daily schedule for most retreats:
|Morning meditation in the hall|| 5.45|
|Meditation in hall||8.30|
|Meditation - walking and sitting until 5pm||1.30|
|Meditation in hall||7.00|
July, August, September (dates vary each year)
This is a special period of about three months in the monastery calendar when the schedule is reduced to a basic minimum to allow the maximum time for residents to focus on their personal meditation and study. It is a traditional time for the monastic community with guidelines set down by the Buddha. We invite lay friends to join this retreat period. The main role is helping coordinate the daily meal. A willingness to support this and other occasional duties is essential.
- A commitment of one month is preferred. There is flexibility for regular monastery visitors.
- It is expected that you have residential experience with this tradition.
- that your meditation practice follows the Theravadin style,
- that your physical and mental health are stable,
- that you have no dietary needs outside the food offered.
If you are interested in this you can enquire at any time of the year.