Meditation and Dharma Weeks

Meditation and Dharma Week Long Retreats

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.

2017

Where Love Meets Wisdom

With Vajradevi (Not with Kamalashila as previously announced)

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.

Vajradevi has been meditating for over 30 years and was ordained in 1995. She regularly leads meditation workshops and retreats around the UK and beyond at, amongst other places, Rivendell, Taraloka, Dhanakosa and Vajraloka. She has also has explored approaches to awareness with the Burmese teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, and with Joseph Goldstein.

More details about Vajradevi and her teaching can be found at her own website Uncontrived Mindfulness

Simply Being

With 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.

2018

The Heart’s Release - Women’s Week

With Mandarava, Sinhacandra

February 23 – March 02 | £350/320

“We have not come into this exquisite world to hold ourselves hostage from love ... or to confine our wondrous spirits, but to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light." - Hafiz
Through the doorway of the imagination we will journey into and explore the mysterious realm of ‘the heart’. Our guides will be ancient stories, myth, poetry and image. Once fully dwelling in and at home in the heart, we will set free what needs to fly, tenderly hold what needs to be held and create that which needs to come into being, to experience freedom in all its fullness. With time to reflect, create, share our experiences and dwell together in the sacred space of ritual and meditation.

Mandarava is a storyteller and puppet maker known for inspiring creativity in others and creating an atmosphere of magical depth. She will be joined by Sinhacandra, also known for her creativity, playfulness and the depth and accessibility of her Dharma teaching. They have been close friends now for over 25 years.

Investigating each Moment with Awareness and Wisdom – Meditation Week

With Vajradevi

April 13-20 | £350/320

Our world, our lives and our minds can seem incredibly complex, with conflicting duties and responsibilities, needs and desires. Time, energy and satisfaction can all appear to be in short supply, increasing a sense of pressure and alienation from what seems most important to us. Using the Buddha's words in the Satipatthana Sutta to guide us, we can acknowledge that complexity, and meet it with a vital, intelligent awareness. The result is a simplicity and tenderness towards all experience that points to an understanding of how things really are, and how to inhabit our lives more deeply and with greater wisdom and responsiveness. The retreat will mostly be in silence with input and meditation reviews.

Vajradevi has been meditating for over 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.

The Heart Sutra – Meditation Week

With Vessantara

June 08-15 | £350/320

An opportunity to spend a week absorbed in practising the teaching of this profound Perfection of Wisdom text, which points us at the heart of reality, encouraging us to find a way out of the endless labyrinth of concepts, and freeing us to breathe the pure fresh air of direct experience. The retreat will be mostly in silence, and will include presentations, guided meditations, pujas, and the opportunity for meditation reviews.

Vessantara has been working with the teaching contained in the sutra for over 40 years.

Body, Earth & Breath – Movement & Meditation

With Padmadarshini & Inalu Antoli

July 20-27 | £350/320

Creating a space for expression, movement, spontaneity and playfulness. Engaging our capacity for sensing, for listening deeply to the body’s wisdom, finding our own dance and developing an embodied consciousness. We will use meditation, Authentic Movement, guided and improvised movement sessions and hands-on bodywork. Each day we will explore through Authentic Movement, how the body can be a 'doorway' into listening to ourselves and take us into a deeper, more open and easeful relationship to our experience. There will be guided and improvised movement explorations; for example how is it to feel ourselves made of the earth, to inhabit and breathe our bones and find the movements, stories and images they hold. Our explorations over the week will include movement, stillness, dance, dialogue, drawing, writing stories and poetry. With meditation, ritual and periods of silence. No experience of movement or bodywork is needed.

Padmadarshini is a yoga teacher and has trained as a Somatic Movement therapist and educator with the Institute for Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. As part of this she is also exploring the practice of Authentic Movement. Inalu Antoli is also a teacher of yoga and creative movement. . She has practiced contemporary dance, Sensitive Dance, Butoh and Contact Improvisation and teaches regularly on retreats in the UK and Spain.

Radical Embrace – Meditation Week

With Singhasri & Balajit

July 27 - August 03 | £350/320

A meditation 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.

Balajit lived and worked for many years at Vajraloka meditation centre in Wales, where he also led retreats. He now works in Birmingham as a Shen physio-emotional release therapist. Singhashri teaches Buddhist meditation on retreats and at Buddhist Centres across the UK. She also works for the Breathworks mindfulness programme. Both are dedicated to their own meditation practice and are passionate communicators of the Dharma.

The Path of Purification

With Atula, Mandarava & nagasiddhi

September 20-28 (8 nights) | £395/365

Atula will 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.

Gravity & Grace – Exploring Mindfulness and the Imagination

With Vidyamala, Padmadarshini & nagasiddhi

October 12-19 | £350/320

Vidyamala, Padmadarshini and nagasiddhi are excited to be joining forces again this year. Combining their passion for mindfulness, body work, 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.

Vidyamala founded Breathworks which has now spread internationally with trainers in over 25 countries teaching many different aspects of mindfulness. She has written three books: Living Well with Pain and Illness, Mindfulness for Health and Mindfulness for Women. More details: breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk. Padmadarshini is a yoga teacher and has trained as a Somatic Movement therapist and educator with the Institute for Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. nagasiddhi has lived at Rivendell for 10 years where he regularly leads and supports retreats. nagasiddhi is also an artist his own art work can be viewed at nagasiddhi.com

Uncontrived Mindfulness – Meditation Week

With Vajradevi

October 19-26 (Half-term week) | £350/320

Sangharakshita has said that to practise we need to be aware of our minds at all times – but how do we do this? And what are the benefits to our practice? How do we really engage with mindfulness in a way that doesn’t feel contrived and ‘added on’, leaving us feeling stiff and unnatural? How can we connect with awareness that is completely natural, unfabricated and uncontrived? During the retreat we will explore mindfulness as a path to wisdom. We will work with awareness and right view to 'watch the mind' in all its guises. The focus will be on how we use mindfulness as a support to 'vipassana', or clear seeing, and the end of suffering. We will also look at the role of receptivity in mindfulness and the 'wise' or 'unwise' attention we bring to every aspect of our experience. We will be looking at how continuity of mindfulness can touch and transform our experience through simple presence and intelligent awareness, developing both steadiness of mind and heart and insight into the nature of all things. The retreat will mostly be in silence with input and meditation reviews.

Vajradevi has been meditating for over 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.

Mindfulness of the Heart

With Danapriya

November 23-30 | £350/320

Our hearts can get constricted by our self-limiting views, our habitual patterns and our old stories. These can all restrict the emotional flow within our life, therefore create dis-ease. Mindfulness of the Heart is a retreat that will help free us and see what views and stories to let go of, bringing about our own unique freedom and possibility. This helps create an ease that leads to the ‘true self’ living fully with an abundant heart. We will use mindfulness, metta, talks, poetry, nature, some silence and space to help us enter a realm freer from the suffering we create. We will also learn how to do this in everyday life - not just on retreat.

Danapriya is an experienced retreat leader. He is an acupuncturist and founded, and has been Chairman of, the Deal Buddhist Group for the last 10 years.

“New Eyes Each Year” -  New Year Retreat 2017/2018

With nagasiddhi, Manjunaga & Sraddhasara

December 27, 2017 - January 02, 2018 | £310/280 (6 nights)

New eyes each year
Find old books here,
And new books, too,
Old eyes renew;
So youth and age
Like ink and page
In this house join,
Minting new coin.

- Philip Larkin

The Buddhist Tantra works alchemically through the imagination to unify all of our natural energies for the benefit of ourselves and all beings. On this retreat we will use the framework of the four Tantric rites of purification, destruction, fascination, and prospering to take a different perspective, and possibly even to transform our experience, to mint new coin. An opportunity to come together and to stand on the threshold and reflect, look back at the old and look forward to the new possibilities of a new year through new eyes. With meditation, ritual, discussion, creativity, gentle body work and periods of silence.

Meditation Flowers

see also:

Our week long retreats over Christmas and New Year the Awakening the Imagination retreats and also Intensive Meditation Retreats with Paramananda.

Buddha Figure

Images & Text © 2017 | Rivendell Buddhist Retreat Centre is part of Triratna Buddhist Community Surrey | Registered charity No. 270460