I like to do yoga (or other practices) may I continue practicing during the retreat?
The reason we do not allow yoga or other practices during the retreat is because we would like you to experience the benefits of Vipassana meditation on its own, and because when you mix practices, it is difficult for the teacher to monitor your progress and make recommendations accordingly.
What do I need to bring?
You should bring a sitting cushion, comfortable white or light coloured clothing (e.g. jogging pants, t-shirts, sweaters, etc) and toiletries. We will provide you with towels and linens.
Do I need to be a Buddhist to come?
No. Many meditators are not Buddhists, but highly benefit from the teachings of the Buddha.
I have never practiced meditation before. Will the retreat be too much for me?
This retreat is intended for beginners to take part. For many people, this will be their first exposure to meditation practice. Your teacher will adjust the retreat according to your level of comfort. If you have any concerns during the retreat, each student meets with the teacher daily, when they may ask all questions and voice concerns.
Is talking permitted during the retreat?
During the retreat, we will be observing “Noble Silence.” This means that talking is permitted but it should be restricted to useful speech, i.e., speech associated with necessities of circumstance (e.g. when organizing meals or for other logistical reasons) and when discussing your practice with the meditation teacher. You may also engage in limited pleasantries such as “good morning”, etc.
How much should I donate?
We charge a registration fee to offset the costs of accommodation and food provided at overnight retreats. The fee is significantly lower than the combination of our direct expenses for operation of the centre and market rates for accommodation. It does not include any payment for the teaching. Therefore, our additional expenses must be made up from donations. We are unable to put a price on the value of the Buddha’s teaching and, as a rule, we will not give you advice or any suggestion on how much to donate. If you choose to make a donation, the amount is entirely up to you.
What is your refund policy?
Due to limited space at our centre and the need to ensure its financial sustainability, we regret that we are unable to accept refund or rebooking requests later than 1 week before the start of your retreat.
Do you offer scholarships? Can I stay at the centre for free if I volunteer?
At present, our centre is small. As registration fees do not cover the costs, your retreat accommodation and food is currently subsidized by the teachers and small number of senior meditators. To help students with the costs, we are offering 5-day retreats instead of requiring all students to complete the 15-day basic course first. Also, we reduce the price of 15-day courses by 15%. To ensure financial sustainability of the centre, we regret that at this time we are not in a position to offer scholarships or accommodation in return for volunteer time.
Do you offer retreats shorter than 5 days, evening sessions or non-retreat instruction? Can I leave the retreat early?
At the moment, we are encouraging students to register for 5 day retreats. This helps us organizationally with regards to cleaning and preparation of rooms and to keep the centre financially sustainable so that we can continue to offer this practice to our community. Also, and importantly, it ensures that students have enough time to progress in their practice which is particularly applicable to students who are working on the basic course. We do hope that you will be able to make arrangements in your schedule to join us for a 5 day course
Can I reserve a single room?
We have one smaller single room that we have to use to balance out the genders. If there is an odd number of women then we assign it to a woman and if there is an odd number of men then we assign it to a man. Once we know the gender of the person who would go in the room based on the other bookings, it’s a question of whether any of the students are returning students and when they first started practicing with us. If they are all beginners than we assign the single room randomly between them. Students wishing to guarantee their own room, may pay for a second spot and would then have a double room to themselves.