What is a Buddhist retreat?
A retreat is a chance to get away from the noise and complexity of modern life in order to deepen your experience of yourself and of the world around you.
What happens on a Buddhist retreat?
There will be periods of meditation, talks on aspects of Buddhism, as well as Buddhist rituals. There will be small groups led by a team member in which you can share your experience of the retreat. On longer retreats, 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.
Below is an outline of the programme that our retreats follow. Please bear in mind it vary, but will follow this rough structure:
8.45am Breakfast (followed by free time)
11am Meditation or workshop in shrine room
1pm Lunch (followed by free time)
7.30pm Talks in shrine room and/or meditation and ritual
Do you need to be a Buddhist?
Although this is a Buddhist retreat, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to participate.
Are our retreats suitable for you?
It is important that you let us know if you have any disabilities or serious health problems, or any clinical mental health problems – particularly if you are on medication. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and through discussion we can find out if this is a suitable retreat for you. Please do this either before booking.
Technology, alcohol, drugs and smoking...
During the retreat we will ask you to off all mobile phones and not to contact anyone outside the retreat. The same goes for laptop, tablets, e-readers and so forth. Do not bring alcohol or any recreational drugs onto the retreat. Smoking is allowed only in designated places.
In case of emergencies, family and friends can call Vajrasana on 01359 259 067 if they need to reach you.
Living communally is an important and enjoyable part of the retreat. We will eat together as a community and accommodation will be in shared single-sex rooms (we require couples of the same gender to stay in separate rooms. No pets are allowed on the retreat. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well; they are not paid staff. Part of the retreat is helping out with simple chores. 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.
Please note that we don’t have permission from the local authorities to include camping places on our retreats, so at present we cannot allow camping on any of our retreats.
The food on the retreat will be vegan (however cow's milk is optionally available for breakfast and hot drinks). 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 restricted diets unless for medical reasons. If you do need a restricted diet for medical reasons then we need to be notified as soon as possible and at least one week before the retreat starts, please email email@example.com.
What's included in the cost?
The cost of the retreat includes all food, accommodation and bedding. Transport is not included, but you can pay for a seat on a coach to the retreat (occasional retreats excepted) or make your own way there. See above section for more.
What to bring
Toiletries and a towel, indoor shoes (you may also want to bring walking boots), warm comfortable clothes, a raincoat and a pen and paper. There will also be a well-stocked bookshop so you may want to bring some money. All bedding and meditation/yoga gear is provided
Location & travel (Vajrasana)
Vajrasana is at Potash Farm, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk, IP31 3AR (on Google maps here). For most of our retreats at Vajrasana, when you book the retreat you can also book a return journey on a coach from the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) to Vajrasana. For coaches to weekend retreats, you're asked to be at the LBC at 5.45pm on the day for a prompt 6pm departure. The coach will leave Vajrasana again at the end of the retreat at 3pm. These timings will be different for longer retreats – please consult the page for the retreat itself for more.
If you're making your own way to Vajrasana, we recommend a train to Stowmarket station (regular trains run from London Liverpool Street). There is a taxi rank at Stowmarket station, but TKO Cars (07739 365 555), based in Walsham le Willows, is usually cheaper. Download full travel advice here.
Location & travel (Adhistana for Winter Retreat)
If you are traveling by car there is a car park for you to use and the full address is: Adhisthana, Coddington Court, Coddington, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1JL. The nearest train station to the retreat centre is Colwall, Herefordshire.
On 22nd December and 27th December we will run a regular minibus service between 3pm and 5pm from Colwall station to the retreat centre. If you are planning to arrive outside of these times, you will need to arrange a taxi and we strongly suggest you do so in advance.
At the end of the retreat we will arrange transport from the retreat centre to Colwall station, but cannot guarantee to get you to the station in time for a particular train. Therefore we suggest that you purchase an off-peak return as this gives you the greatest flexibility. If you are coming from London then we recommend the route from London Euston via Birmingham.