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.
June & November
This is a change from the long-weekend-retreats of previous years. You will come on Friday evening, follow the daily format with closure at 3pm on Sunday. At the time of booking, you would have opted to stay on in self-retreat mode for up to five extra days beyond Sunday. These days would involve group morning meditation, meeting one of the monks at tea time and group evening meditation allowing almost the whole day without structure. This requires a degree of discipline and maturity and is an excellent opportunity to develop one's practice with very little external distraction.
This format is an experiment with two main ideas in mind; easier scheduling (no long-weekend required) and the extended self-led opportunity. As regards the first we can easily add extra weekends if the interest is there.
New Year 2019-20
Wednesday 26th December – Thursday 3rd January. No theme as yet.
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 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.
- 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 dietary needs outside the food offered.
If you are interested in this you can enquire at any time of the year.