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:
- 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
After four years 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? It may end up staying much the same. Or... not?
Queen's Birthday 2016
3rd - 6th June. "The Moment of Awakening". You are sitting quietly and a dog barks. You awaken to that... and then the internal evaluation and discussion. You wake in the morning... there is consciousness that is unformed... and then the creation of a person and a day. Such moments are manifold and often brief and, in the context of a busy life, too subtle or too easily passed over. A retreat brings an extended opportunity to recognise and sustain, to stabilise and make-normal the light of awareness.
August 2016 – 10-days X
This has been tried for the last 2 years with enough interest for both. However the sangha has thought not to do it this year. You are encouraged to join the group retreat at the start of vassa; July 23-30. Accommodation will be very limited so book early. It will be much the same as a regular retreat but with a bit less formal structure.
Labour Weekend 2016 X
Cancelled. The main reason is that Ajahn Kusalo will be attending the 10th anniversary of Tisarana monastery in Canada at this time.
New Year 2016-17
Saturday 26th December – Tuesday 3rd January. 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 around 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|
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, ideally at Bodhinyanarama.
- 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.