What is a Buddhist retreat?
A Buddhist retreat is a chance to get away from the noise and complexity of modern life in order to live communally and 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 and Buddhist rituals. There will also be small discussion groups led by a team member in which you can share your experience of the retreat. There may be some periods of silence (on intensive meditation retreats these could last for several days).
Here is a typical programme for a retreat day:
8.45am Breakfast (followed by free time)
10.30am Meditation or a workshop
1pm Lunch (followed by free time)
7.30pm Talks and/or meditation and a ritual
Do you need to be a Buddhist?
Although this is a Buddhist retreat, you don’t need to consider yourself a Buddhist to participate.
Living communally is an important and enjoyable element of the retreat. We will eat together as a community and accommodation will be in shared single-sex rooms. We require couples to stay in separate rooms from one another. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well, not paid staff. In order to enable us all to live together comfortably and to keep the retreat running smoothly, we ask everyone to help out with some simple chores. Our retreats are known for being friendly and harmonious; we ask retreatants to cooperate with one another and to refrain from harsh speech or anti-social behaviour. It is also important that retreatants commit to attending the full period of the retreat to maintain the integrity of the community and atmosphere.
Please note that we don’t have permission from the local authorities to offer camping places on our retreats.
The food on the retreat will be vegan. Please don't bring any meat, fish, egg or dairy with you. We can only cater for specific dietary requests if there are medical reasons for them. If you do need a special diet then we must be notified as soon as possible and at least one week before the retreat starts - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are our retreats suitable for you?
It is important that you let us know if you have any disabilities, serious health problems, or any clinical mental health problems – particularly if you are on medication. Please email email@example.com before booking and through an early discussion we can identify your access needs and do our best to meet them. Likewise, please get in touch if you or anyone you are booking for is under 18 years of age.
What's included in the cost?
The cost of the retreat includes all food, accommodation and bedding. Meditation mats, cushions and blankets are provided (you could also mediatate on a chair) and there are some yoga mats and blocks available to borrow. Transport is not included, but you can pay an extra £40 for a seat on our coach from London (occasional retreats excepted) or make your own way there. See below for more information.
What to bring
Make sure 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 is a well-stocked bookshop so you may also want to bring some cash.
What not to bring
During the retreat we ask you to turn off all mobile phones and not contact anyone outside the retreat. The same goes for laptops, tablets, e-readers, smart watches and similar devices. Please do not bring alcohol or recreational drugs onto the retreat. Smoking is allowed only in designated places. Also, please don't bring any pets on retreat with you.
In case of emergencies, family and friends can contact you by calling Vajrasana on 01359 259 067.
Location & travel (Vajrasana)
Vajrasana is at Potash Farm, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk, IP31 3AR (on Google maps here).
For most of our retreats, when you book you can also book a return journey on a coach from the London Buddhist Centre (LBC) to Vajrasana. For coaches to weekend retreats, you'll need to be at the LBC at 4.45pm on the Friday for a prompt 5pm departure. The coach will leave Vajrasana again on the Sunday at 3pm, arriving back in London at about 5pm (traffic permitting). These timings will be different for longer retreats - please consult the retreat page for more information.
If you're making your own way to Vajrasana you can find comprehensive travel advice here.
Location & travel (Adhisthana for the 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 that 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 ticket as this gives you the greatest flexibility. If you are coming from London then we recommend the route from London Euston via Birmingham.
There is more travel information on the Adhisthana website here.