These retreats are suitable for those who have a regular meditation practice and who regularly attend retreats, a centre or a group within the context of the Triratna Buddhist Community. You will also need to be familiar with, and happy to participate in, Buddhist devotional practice and ritual (puja) and be comfortable with extended periods of sitting meditation and days spent in silence.
Awakening the Bodhicitta – 10-Day RetreatWith Prakasha
March 14-24 | £455/425For Order Members and Triratna Mitras.
On this retreat we will be arousing the heart of wisdom and compassion through the practice of mindfulness and Tonglen. Tonglen means receiving and sending. As we breathe in and out, we turn towards our experience with awareness and this becomes the basis for a profound transformation of heart and mind. It is a simple and effective way to cultivate love and compassion towards ourselves and others amidst the challenges of everyday life. Through this method we can work with our habitual self-orientation and begin to turn adversity into opportunity. This retreat is also an introduction to the teachings of ‘The Seven-point Mind Training’ of Atisha. These profound teachings integrate mindfulness, reflection, imagination and the qualities of the four Brahma Viharas into a comprehensive approach for awakening the Bodhicitta. The retreat will include puja and ritual with supportive silence and meditation reviews.
Please note: This retreat is only suitable for Order Members and Triratna Mitras.
Prakasha has been ordained since 1977. He has lived at the Vajraloka, Padmaloka and Guhyaloka retreat centres and currently lives at a hermitage in North Wales. He has been leading meditation retreats for the last 20 years. He is much appreciated for his confident, relaxed style and clear exposition of the Dharma.
Awareness to Insight – Meditation WeekWith Vajradevi
March 31 - April 07 | £340/310
Mindfulness has the potential to transform our lives. The magic of the present moment experienced through our senses can deepen the colour of a blue sky or heighten the quality of a magnificent concert. It can enrich and enliven our experience, bringing a second by second joyfulness. But, if that is all it does, we have missed out on the vast potential inherent in awareness: that is, as a support to wisdom. Practising with the Buddha's words from the Satipatthana Sutta and using mindfulness and right view, no more is asked of the moment than to recognise clearly whatever is happening in the mind with simplicity and openness. With continuity of practice, a deeper understanding of the way things are is naturally revealed. The retreat will mostly be in silence with input and meditation reviews.
Vajradevi has been meditating for 30 years and was ordained in 1995. She regularly leads meditation workshops and retreats based around the Satipatthana Sutta and has explored approaches to awareness with the Burmese teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and with Joseph Goldstein.
Vajradevi's blog: uncontrivedmindfulness.net
Heart of PracticeWith Atula, Paramananda & Mandarava
April 21-28 | £340/310
An opportunity to benefit from the teaching of three very different and experienced Buddhist practitioners on one retreat. The retreat will explore the relationship between formal meditation practice and communication with others. Our aim will be to experience Sangha in its fullest sense, where we can be with our own experience and be in real relationship with others, both on the cushion and off. Paramananda will lead the morning sessions, which will focus on guided meditation practice. In the afternoons Atula will gently lead us into a fuller relationship with ourselves and others through group work. In the evenings Mandarava will create rituals and images to help us imaginatively connect wholeheartedly with practice.
Radical Embrace – 5 Night Mid-Week RetreatWith Singhasri & Balajit
May 7-12 | £210/190
A special low cost mid-week retreat in which we will explore how to abide with the paradox of meditation. When we first learn to meditate, we inevitably bring with us expectations about what we think might happen. But at some point we realise that, to take the practice further, we are going to have to drop our expectations and step more fully into the unknown. Join us as we explore coming into a more direct and real relationship with what is actually happening in our meditation. We’ll begin with practising meeting ourselves where we are, with appreciation and curiosity, inviting all our disparate selves into a space of acceptance and deepening concentration. From this foundation we’ll look at our direct experience, seeing more clearly into our false views and how they hold us back. We will gently encourage a more vulnerable and authentic experience, resonating with our natural ability to connect deeply with ourselves and others and respond more creatively to our day-to-day experience. With meditation reviews, reflection, devotional ritual and periods of silence.
Please note: This retreat starts on Sunday evening and runs until just before noon on Friday.
Balajit lived and worked at the Vajraloka retreat centre in Wales for many years where he also led retreats. He is currently based in Birmingham where he combines work as a SHEN therapist with leading Buddhist retreats and events across the UK. Singhasri previously taught at the San Francisco Buddhist centre and she currently works for the Breathworks mindfulness programme in the UK.
Gravity & Grace – Exploring Mindfulness and the ImaginationWith Vidyamala & Nagasiddhi
May 19-26 | £340/310
Vidyamala and Nagasiddhi are excited to be joining forces in this new retreat in 2017. Combining their passion for mindfulness, love, myth and ritual, they will invite you on a journey that plunges into the paradox of being human: the falling quality of gravity and the lightness of grace; the beauty of both darkness and light; a diving into the depths where luminosity resides. The retreat will be an immersive experience involving the body, heart and mind along with all the senses, creativity and courage. Together we can come to rest in the truth in all its vivid magnificence and wonder.
Love Without Limits – The Four Immeasurables – Meditation WeekWith Vessantara
June 9-16 | £340/310
During this retreat we’ll explore all four of the Immeasurables, (less commonly known in the Pali Canon as the Brahma Viharas). These are love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. We’ll look at what holds us back from experiencing them and how to set up conditions so that they come more naturally. We’ll find out whether we need to make an effort to develop them or if it’s possible to simply open our hearts and relax into them. We’ll also look towards the horizon of our practice, to feel how it would be to fully experience them and live from them. An opportunity, with the support of Rivendell with its beautiful gardens and special atmosphere, to open our hearts as wide as the sky.
The Path of PurificationWith Atula, Mandarava, Viryapuspa & Nagasiddhi
June 29-July 07 (8 Nights) | £385/355
Atula returns to guide, with great skill and kindness, a group of individuals into a congruent relationship with both themselves and one another. This retreat involves group work in which with honesty and sensitivity we explore our patterns of communicating and relating. We will develop a deeper awareness of how our inner experience is impacting and affecting our interactions, and come into a more compassionate relationship with ourselves and others. All this takes place within a ritual context of meditation, devotional Vajrasattva practice and periods of silence. A profound retreat that has been known to help manifest lasting changes in the lives of the participants. To attend the retreat you will need to have been regularly practising within the Triratna Buddhist community for at least two years and be willing to allow others to see you, and to see others, in all our own glorious imperfection.
Please note: This retreat starts on Thursday evening and lasts 8 nights.
Imagining Awakening: Exploring the Pure Land SutrasWith Ratnaguna
August 4-11 | £340/310
On this retreat Ratnaguna will guide us on a journey into Amitabha's Pure Land, Sukhavati - a mythical realm where the ground is golden, trees are made of jewels, heavenly musical instruments play ravishing music, and magical birds sing the Dharma. It is an 'illumined image' - a symbol of the beauty and joy of the spiritual life. The three Pure Land sutras invite us to imagine this radiant realm, and so imagine the Awakened Mind.
Ratnaguna has been ordained for forty years. He is the author of three books - The Art of Reflection, Great Faith, Great Wisdom: Practice and Awakening in the Pure Land Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism, and, in his civil name, The Little Mindfulness Workbook. He lives in Manchester, where he teaches and trains others to teach.
Where Love Meets WisdomWith Kamalashila
October 20-27 (Half-term week) | £340/310
A meditation retreat based on the four Brahma Viharas. This retreat offers several new perspectives on the meditation practices of abiding with goodwill, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity. When we look carefully, we see that the barriers to greater love are simply wrong notions of separateness, and so are the focus for the ‘seeing through’ of wisdom practice. To weaken the barriers involves both the clarity of seeing, and opening towards suffering - both ours and others'. The willingness to do so calls on us to develop "Courageous Compassion". Working in both of these ways takes us to a very alive, fertile and fascinating place: the place where love meets wisdom.
Kamalashila has been meditating for over 40 years and is a highly respected retreat leader and meditation teacher. He helped establish Vajraloka Buddhist Meditation Centre and is the author of Meditation - The Buddhist Way to Tranquillity and Insight.
Simply BeingWith Tejananda
November 24 - December 01 | £340/310
‘Simply being’ points to a quality of awakeness and receptivity that we can recognise at any moment, both in and outside formal meditation. It is an openness to full presence in our being - in our body, senses and awareness. It suggests opening to what we really are, beyond conceptual fabrication, inseparable from nature itself, which is undivided and ungraspable. In opening to the steadiness and spaciousness of experience here and now (shamatha), we may sense or glimpse a timeless awareness-emptiness that is inseparable from loving, compassionate energy (vipashyana). We’ll explore these qualities through the five ‘undivided-knowings’ (jñanas) which are the essence of the mandala of the five Buddhas. These offer a simple and very practical ‘map’ of our immediate experience which points us back to ‘just this’ - what is here already, unnoticed: simply being.
Tejananda has been honing his practice and teaching of meditation for many years whilst living at Vajraloka Buddhist Meditation Centre in Wales and is the author of The Buddhist Path to Awakening.