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Bodhinyanarama: Retreats
Calendar Teaching Retreats Books_Audio
Monastery Retreats
Dhammapada

   Verse 264

Shaving your head
does not make you a renunciate,
if you are still full of
recklessness and deceit.
How could someone possessed
by craving and lust
be considered a renunciate?


General

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

Retreat Guidelines:
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.
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.

Beginners.
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

Retreat Schedule

Retreats through the year are generally as follows: 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? There is scope for experimentation.

Retreats

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

In betweens..?

The usual retreat schedule will change in 2019 to a series of regular weekend retreats; come on Friday night and follow the usual retreat format with a closing point at 3pm on Sunday. Retreatants would then be welcome to stay on in self-retreat mode for some days. This would involve group morning meditation, checking-in with one of the monks at tea time and evening meditation. The idea being that this leaves almost the whole day without structure. This requires a degree of discipline and maturity. An opportunity to experiment without external distraction. We will try a few, see what the level of interest is, how well it works, etc. More detail early next year when dates will be set.

New Year 2018-19

Wednesday 26th December – Thursday 3rd January. Ajahn Kusalo will be in Thailand early this year and Ajahn Sambodhi has kindly agreed to lead the retreat. Do take advantage of this opportunity. It is such a delightful way to see in the new year with many opportunities for developing our spiritual qualities.

BOOKING A RETREAT: Guest Booking Form
Please add the comment (form bottom) "booking for retreat name retreat" to make it clear.

Schedule Outline

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
Breakfast7.00
Meditation in hall8.30
Lunch10.30
Meditation - walking and sitting until 5pm
1.30
Evening tea6.00
Meditation in hall7.00

Vassa

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. If you are interested in this you can enquire at any time of the year.