What to bring
Toiletries, towel, comfortable clothes to meditate in. You may want to bring a notebook and pen. The countryside around where we will be staying is lovely – so you’ll need suitable clothing for going on walks and maybe some boots if it is wet.
Do you need to be a Buddhist?
You don’t need to be a Buddhist to go on one of our retreats. Nor do you need any previous experience of meditation. Meditation will be introduced as part of the retreat. If you have already learnt meditation at the London Buddhist Centre, or another Triratna Buddhist Community centre, there will be opportunity to deepen your practice and receive more guidance in meditation.
What happens on retreat?
There will be periods of meditation, talks on aspects of Buddhism, as well as Buddhist devotional rituals, called ‘pujas’, which you are welcome to participate in if you wish. As the retreat progresses there will be more meditation sessions and periods of silence to allow for more reflection building up to a few days of silence. There will usually be small groups led by a team member in which you can share your experience of the retreat.
We try to provide a peaceful context that is free from distraction and interruption We therefore ask you to turn off all mobile phones, laptops, and so forth, and not to contact anyone outside the retreat. You may give friends or family members the emergency phone number for Vajrasana for the time that you are on retreat: 01359 259 067 (but we ask that this is used strictly in emergencies only). In order to meditate effectively one needs to maintain clarity of mind, we therefore ask you not to drink alcohol or use any recreational drugs during the retreat.
Living communally is an important and usually enjoyable part of the retreat. Accommodation will be in shared single-sex rooms and we will eat together as a community.
Living communally means caring for each other. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well; they are not paid staff. So we ask you to help out with simple chores. A team member will oversee these daily tasks. Working together is a good way of getting to know each other, and it also helps us keep the cost of retreats to a minimum.
Our retreats are known for being friendly and harmonious; we ask retreatants to cooperate with each other and to refrain from harsh speech or anti-social behaviour.
Our food on the retreat will be vegetarian. Vegetarianism is part of the Buddhist commitment to non-violence. The cooks on the retreat are voluntary helpers and will be on retreat themselves. This means that we will not be able to cater for special diets unless for medical reasons. If you do need a special diet for medical reasons then we need to be notified as soon as possible and at least one week before the retreat starts.