Personal retreats are available to BDF members and to those known to us for personal retreats at the discretion of the Abbot.
To apply to make a personal retreat or to stay and help at The Forest Hermitage or Bhavana Dhamma please read through and complete this Application Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No organised retreats are envisaged for the time being.
About the Retreats
These focus very much on the development of our formal meditation practice. As walking and sitting meditation take up most of the day, these demanding retreats enable us to go much deeper into our practice than is usually possible. For more information on the meditation practice taught here see below.
Meditation Retreat Routine Example:
5:30am: Wake-up bell
6:00: Morning sitting
7:00: Tea, wash etc.
8:00: Work period
8:40: Meditation (walking and sitting) and Dhamma Talk
11:00: Meal, clean up, break
1:20: Meditation (walking and sitting with a tea break)
5:40: Break and hot drink
6:40: Meditation (walking and sitting)
8:00: Evening sitting and Dhamma Talk
9:30: Free time
EVERYONE ATTENDING IS EXPECTED TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE RETREAT
We are always very grateful for help running these retreats. No help – no retreats! If you can help us in the following ways please get in touch:
1. Preparing before a retreat; 2. Cooking; 3. Managing a retreat. Please look under ‘News and Notices’ on this page for more information.
To apply online please complete this Application Form and email it to email@example.com or alternatively print this Application Form and post it to The Retreat Manager, The Forest Hermitage, Lower Fulbrook, Warwickshire, CV35 8AS.
Accommodation is mostly shared rooms. There are one or two single rooms which can be requested upon application. Retreatants are required to participate fully in the daily routine and in keeping with the true forest tradition only one meal a day is eaten. Meditation instruction will be given and there will be opportunities for questions, apart from this, silence is maintained unless there is an important reason to talk. Reading is avoided.
The practice here is that of Samatha-Vipassana – concentration and insight. During sitting meditation we focus our minds on the breath (anapanasati), and during walking meditation we concentrate on the the sensations at the soles of the feet as we walk from one end of the walking meditation path to the other. At all times we try to develop the four foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana), being mindful and aware of our body, our feelings, our mind, and of the Buddha’s Teachings.
Retreat participants live by the eight precepts, these are to abstain from: killing; stealing; unchaste behaviour; lying; using alcohol and drugs; eating after noon; listening to music and entertainments, and wearing jewellery and makeup; and using high and luxurious seats and beds.
There is no charge for attending retreats. However, participants are welcome to offer donations as it is through these that we are able to keep both the Forest Hermitage and Bhavana Dhamma going and provide these retreat opportunities.
If you can bring a sleeping bag and pillow case please do. We can provide if this is a problem. You will also need towels and toiletries; waterproofs just in case (including reasonably shower proof footwear); comfortable shoes for doing walking meditation in; decent socks (shoes aren’t worn indoors); comfortable and loose fitting clothing to meditate in; and a torch.
These must be handed in on arrival. They will be kept safely and returned at the end of the retreat.
Chairs are not used in the shrine room. There is a variety of cushions and kneeling stools which suffice for most people’s needs. If you really cannot sit on the floor we can provide a cushioned backless stool. If you feel that you might require this please state so on applying.