Due to the many limitations on travel and assembly being imposed as of 25.3.20 we are not receiving residential guests. It is unsure how long the limitations will be for but, looking ahead, it seems that the June retreat will most likely not be held this year.
The monastery offers several residential retreats with accommodation available at the monastery. The option is available 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-directed 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. We try to offer single accommodation but it sometimes requires sharing.
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 primary 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 mostly be reading from the book of the heart. 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 free time but is structured to optimize 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 calming, 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 begin at 7pm on the first date and finish at 3pm on the last.
The daily schedule for most retreat days:
|5.45||Morning meditation in the hall|
|8.30||Meditation in hall|
|1.30||Meditation - walking and sitting until 5pm|
|7.00||Meditation in hall|
July, August, September (dates vary each year)
This is a special period of about three months in the monastery calendar when the schedule is much reduced to allow the maximum time for residents to focus on their personal meditation and study. The 'rains retreat' is a tradition established by the Buddha to create an annual monastic retreat and we invite lay friends to join this. The main (shared) role is helping coordinate the morning meal. A willingness to support this and other occasional duties is essential. There is plenty of time for personal practice with many other possibilities depending on the length of stay.
- 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 is compatible with the Theravadin style,
- that your physical and mental health are stable,
- that you have no special dietary needs outside the food offered.
If you are interested in this you can enquire at any time of the year.