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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I come for just part of a retreat?

“Beginnings and endings are important” - Sangharakshita

We ask you to commit to attending the entire retreat. It is important that we value the time that we and others are putting aside to be here on retreat. A successful retreat is the fruit of everyone’s wholehearted participation. For the support and benefit of everyone, we ask that all participants arrive for the beginning of the retreat and stay until the end. We also ask you for the duration of the retreat to not to use your car, if you bring one, and to stay within walking distance of the retreat centre.

This creates a strong ‘container’ for the powerful transformative experience that being on retreat can be. A retreat needs to be approached with a degree of care and respect, both for ourselves and for others. We may be surprised at the greater degree of sensitivity we develop when on retreat. Therefore not to be present for the whole retreat can have a jarring effect that can lessen the experience both for ourselves and for other retreatants.

Being on retreat is a communal as well as an individual practice. Your wholehearted commitment also supports your fellow retreatants.

Can I arrive later than the retreat start time or leave earlier than the stated finish time?

We ask that everyone arrives on time for the start of the retreat (5-7 pm on the first day) and plans to stay for the whole retreat. Weekend retreats end between 3 and 4 pm, while longer retreats usually end between 11 am and 12 noon.

Please come to the retreat prepared to be fully present, with loose ends tied up as much as possible at work and at home and having made arrangements to enable you to fully attend the entire retreat without distraction.

Can I go out while I am on retreat?

To get the most from the precious opportunity of being on retreat we ask you not to take excursions, which would not only be disruptive for yourself but also affect others on the retreat. For the duration of your retreat please come prepared not to use your car, if you bring one, and please stay within walking distance of the retreat centre.

Will I be able to have my own room?

Accommodation is mainly in single sex shared rooms for 3-4 people. So, to attend a retreat here you need to be prepared to share a room, unless you wish to camp.

At Rivendell our retreats are founded upon the principles of community, generosity and co-operation. While we recognise that sharing accommodation can take us away from our familiar patterns and therefore can be challenging, we believe it's an important factor in creating community. Sharing our space can generate an atmosphere of care and mutual concern and help to connect everyone on the retreat.

If you have a serious medical condition or disability that impacts on room sharing please contact the office at the time of your booking to discuss your needs.

Am I expected to help out with domestic tasks?

Retreats at Rivendell our founded upon the principles of community, generosity and co-operation to create an atmosphere of care and mutual concern. You will be asked to share and help out with light domestic tasks: washing up, chopping vegetables, table laying etc. and to participate in a general clear-up at the end of the retreat.

Many lasting friendships have begun by washing up together at Rivendell!

If you have a medical condition or disability that impacts on your ability to help with the domestic tasks on a retreat, then please tell the office at the time of your booking to discuss your needs.

Can I attend a Triratna Regulars’ retreats if I have never been to a Triratna Buddhist Community Centre before?

The content, teaching and structure of our regulars’ retreats are designed for people who already practise within the tradition of the Triratna Buddhist Community.

Therefore these retreats are only for people who regularly attend urban and retreat centres run by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order founded by Sangharakshita. You will already have learned the Triratna system of meditation and be familiar with, and happy to participate in, Triratna Buddhist devotional practice and ritual (puja) and be comfortable with extended periods of sitting meditation and time spent in silence.

While we recognise that some people may already have experience of meditation, Buddhism and being on retreat within other traditions, this may be very different from the way we practise within the Triratna Buddhist Community. So, unfortunately, these Triratna retreats are not suitable for those who do not regularly practise within the context of our movement.

Why are we asked not to use mobile phones, laptops or MP3 players during a retreat?

Spending time away from our usual distractions is a very powerful way to support the deepening of meditative calm and insight. Through letting go of the familiar world we give ourselves space from the complexity of life and can come to see our mind and its activity more clearly.

To help you be fully present and to avoid distracting other retreatants, we ask you not to use mobile phones, laptops, I-phones and MP3 players, etc. in the retreat centre or grounds during the retreat.

If in an emergency you need to be contacted on retreat we have an emergency contact telephone line. The answer phone on this line is situated in the actual retreat centre and is checked regularly during the day by a member of each retreat team for the duration of the retreat.

What facilities for those with disabilities does Rivendell have?

Rivendell is housed in old Victorian rectory which can unfortunately create access issues for some people. We currently have one shared downstairs bedroom, which has the use of a bathroom 9 metres down the hallway. This bathroom has an 8cm step up to the shower which also has a seat and handrails. This bathroom also has a toilet with handrails. Wheel chair ramps can be put in place, if needed, as outside access on all external doorways is up one or two steps. There are handrails on all steps. Some doorways inside the house are 70cm wide. The shrine room is situated in a separate building 12 metres from the main house. The garden is on a hill and is accessible via steps with hand rails. The main lawn directly outside the house is accessible to wheelchair users. For hearing aid users there is a hearing loop installed in the shrine room and main lounge. Please speak to a member of the Rivendell team at the time of your booking for more detailed information and to discuss your needs whilst on retreat.

What happens if I need to cancel my retreat at any point?

All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable, which means that if you need to cancel your retreat or wish to swap to another retreat, you will unfortunately lose your deposit.

In addition, if you cancel and we can't replace you, you will be required to pay half the total cost of the retreat. So please do let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel, as this gives us a much greater chance of replacing you and being able to give you more of a refund. It may be very hard to replace you within two weeks of the beginning of a retreat.

People on retreat at Rivendell People on retreat at Rivendell

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