Day retreats take place mostly in a setting of companionable silence, including during the lunch period. There will be a chance for a chat with a cup tea at the end of the day and during the day there will usually be time for questions and discussion with the teacher. Silence offers an opportunity to attend to one’s own experience without the need to be anyone for other people.
You will be asked to sit quietly for periods of up to 30 minutes, with varying amounts of guidance. These sittings are interspersed with periods of walking and movement.
We recognise that this level of silence may be challenging for newcomers and is not always suitable for everyone at every time. If you have any concerns or wonder whether a retreat is the right thing for you at this time, you are welcome to get in touch with us.
Some retreats do require attendees to have some prior meditation experience. If this is the case it will be stated in the retreat description. Given the level of commitment required for our retreats we feel it is important that retreatants, after reading the information about a retreat, book a place on their own behalf. We do not offer retreat places as gifts from friends or colleagues.
We welcome volunteers to help on the day, if you would like to help in this way please contact us.
We charge a retreat fee to cover costs of venues, teachers’ expenses, ongoing administrative costs and maintaining a Retreatant Support Fund. We offer a standard , supported, and sponsor rate. A freely given rate is also available so that no-one is excluded.
Dana can be translated as cultivating generosity or giving. The teachers who lead our retreats receive their travel costs and ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses but do not receive any payment for their teaching. However they are happy to receive voluntary contributions from participants in the events they lead. These offerings are traditionally called dana. Most of our teachers depend on dana for most or all of their livelihood.
Our teachers are following an ancient tradition, offering teachings freely just as they received them freely from a previous generation of teachers. In this way the dharma (the teachings of the Buddhist tradition) is not made an object of commerce, and the relationship between teacher and student is based upon trust, freedom, and mutual generosity.
If you attend one of our events and appreciate what the teacher has offered, we warmly invite you to make whatever contribution you feel appropriate. If you do so, you will be making a vital contribution to their livelihood and helping them to continue teaching on this generous basis, particularly in situations where people cannot afford to pay anything.
More information about the principle of generosity in the Insight Meditation tradition on the Gaia House website.
What you said…
‘The weekend retreat was excellent with a nice venue and facilities, clearly explained talks and guided meditations. There was a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and both days went well.’