What is retreat?
Retreat means withdrawing from everyday life in order to focus on a spiritual practice. Since we often lack calm and clarity in our hectic everyday life, a retreat offers wonderful conditions to create a balance and to recharge. Today, more and more people are drawn to silence, to a special place of reflection, in order to turn inward in a protected environment, to find clarity and to break new ground.
As a beginner, can I take part in a retreat?
Basically anyone can do a retreat. Centres offer retreats of various lengths, with and without silence. Some retreats are specially designed for beginners. An introduction to the retreat is given on the first day of every guided retreat.
In General there are 4 or more retreat sessions a day. They are between one hour and an hour and a half in length. Beginners should look for Guided retreats, where there is a teacher guiding you through meditations and explaining the practices.
Why do a retreat?
There is no better way to break your daily routine, take a break, pause, and experience deep transformation than doing a meditation retreat.
Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend one of your retreats?
No, you do not have to be a Buddhist to take part in our retreats. Our meditation retreats are aimed at everyone who is interested in meditation and is open to the advice of the Buddha.
Do I have to bring something special?
If you want to take notes, you are welcome to bring something to write with. Also, maybe warm socks. It is possible to sit on a pillow on the floor or on a chair - both are available.
Kadampa Retreat Centres
The beautiful retreat centers of our tradition that everyone can visit :
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso about retreat:
“There are three types of retreats: physical, verbal, and mental. We perform a physical retreat when we isolate ourselves from other people, activities and noise with a spiritual motivation and no longer perform insignificant and meaningless actions. We perform a verbal retreat when we hold back from meaningless chatter with a spiritual motivation and observe periods of silence. We conduct a spiritual retreat when we prevent distractions and strong delusions such as attachment, anger, and jealousy from arising by maintaining mindfulness and conscientiousness.
If we are in the physical and verbal retreat but fail to keep the mental retreat, our retreat will have little power. Such a retreat can be very relaxing, but if we don't prevent strong delusions from arising, our minds won't be peaceful even during the retreat. However, following the physical and verbal retreats will help us carry out the mental retreat. It is for this reason that Shantideva praises the first two types of retreat in the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life. "
Excerpt from: Guide to Dakini Land - Geshe Kelsang Gyatso