Coming on retreat
If you are interested in doing this, please contact the Retreat Centre to see if there is availability. Once you have been accepted, it is important that you let us know in plenty of time if you are no longer able to help in this way, so that someone else can take your place.
- Sheets, pillowcase, and duvet cover or sleeping bag (pillow, duvet and blanket are provided)
- Towels and toiletries
You are advised to bring:
- Waterproof outdoor clothing and footwear
- Slip-on shoes or sandals
- Thick socks or slippers (outdoor shoes are not worn in the Retreat Centre)
- Warm clothes – several layers of clothing are recommended
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
- Small torch, hot water bottle
Health & Safety - Electrical AppliancesDue to current Health & Safety regulations, all electrical appliances, i.e. anything which needs to be plugged into a wall socket in the Retreat Centre, must first be checked and approved by a qualified electrician. This means that visitors CANNOT plug in and use their own items such as mobile phones, laptops, iPads, hair-dryers, etc. while staying at the Retreat Centre.
We provide safe facilities where mobile phones and other valuables may be left for the duration of the retreat.
If you think someone may need to contact you in an emergency whilst you are on retreat, please give them our contact details (provided in your Confirmation email). We will take a message and pass it on to you. We are happy to support you during your retreat in this way.
- not wearing sleeveless tee-shirts, tops or dresses
- not wearing short or tight-fitting clothing or leggings
- not wearing low or plunging necklines or transparent clothing
- not wearing shorts, skirts, or dresses which end above the knees
It is advisable to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for sitting meditation, and suitable outdoor clothing for walking meditation, according to the time of year.
During retreats the teacher does not offer individual private interviews, although if needed these can be arranged, especially on longer retreats.
During ten-day and thirteen-day retreats, retreatants have the opportunity to meet with the teacher in small discussion groups.
On weekend and five-day retreats, the teacher will give instruction in both sitting and walking meditation. Longer retreats are for those who already have some experience of meditation, so basic instruction is not generally given, although often there are guided meditations.
Staying at the Retreat Centre
Most of our accommodation is in single-sex dormitories which sleep up to eighteen people. Each bed has its own small wardrobe and chest of drawer unit.
We have a few single rooms available for those with medical needs or disabilities, or due to age (75 years or older).
If you request a single room, you will be asked when booking to give your reason for this request. A Confirmation email will be sent once you have completed the online booking process. However your place cannot be guaranteed until your reason for requesting a single room has been considered. If you are on the waiting list for a place on a retreat and have selected a single room, you will only be contacted if a single room becomes available.
Weekend retreats end at 5.00pm on the last day of the retreat. All other retreats end at 1.00pm on the last day.
We are able to continue offering retreats due to the generosity of past retreatants, and all future retreats remain dependent on that generosity.
At the beginning and end of each retreat there is the opportunity to offer dāna (generosity) if you wish to do so. This may be financial, or take the form of volunteering your time or special skills, or offering supplies and equipment needed to help with the running of the Retreat Centre. Whatever you feel inspired to give is gratefully received.
To give you an appreciation of how much it costs overall to run the Retreat Centre: it is about £60 to support one person for a weekend retreat, £100 per person for a 5-day retreat, £200 per person for a 10-day retreat and £260 per person for a 13-day retreat.
Please do not feel under any pressure to give a donation which meets these costs. Conversely, if you are able to give more, this will help fund those who cannot afford to give so much. No one should feel unable to attend a retreat because they cannot afford to make a donation. Whatever you can offer is helpful and of value.
All retreatants are asked to choose a place to sit in the Shrine Room at the start of each retreat. If you initially choose a mat and cushion but later on need to move to a chair, that is possible. However, due to limited space in the Shrine Room, it is not possible to reserve both a mat and cushion as well as a chair.
In accordance with keeping the Eight Precepts (see section on What to Expect), there is no evening meal. If you require an evening snack for medical reasons, please indicate this on your online booking form and a simple meal will be provided for you at 5.00pm during teatime.
The practice of fasting is not permitted during retreats.
If you do not refresh the page, most browsers will not automatically update it, so you will still see the retreat as ‘closed’, even though it has opened for booking.
Please be aware that we generally receive a high number of cancellations for each retreat, so you may well be offered a place.
We do, however, generally receive a high number of cancellations, so people on the waiting list frequently get offered a place, especially in the dormitory.
If you are available to attend a retreat at the last minute you have a very good chance of being offered a place, as these late cancellations are often difficult to fill.
This is done via an email which is sent 8-10 weeks before the start of your retreat, depending on its’ length. If we do not have a response to this email within 4 weeks of it being sent, your place is automatically cancelled and offered to the first person on the waiting list.
If you wish to change your password, you can do this by going to ‘Manage your details’ on the Retreat Centre homepage. For further information on how to do this, see ‘How can I change my personal details?’, below.
Please note that we do not require you to enter your address, so you are unable to put your address information into the booking system.
The Retreat Centre has its own facilities, and operates completely independently of the monastery. While on retreat you keep Noble Silence, spend your time practising sitting and walking meditation, and listen to Dhamma talks every evening.
Guests staying at the monastery follow the daily schedule of the monastic routine; working, sharing meals, and meditating with the monastic community.
To attend ten-day retreats you are required to have some meditation experience, as these retreats offer the opportunity to deepen your practice rather than offering basic guidance.
We hold one thirteen-day retreat a year which is open to people who have an established meditation practice and do not need guidance or instruction.
To attend ten-day retreats you are required to have some previous silent retreat experience, as these retreats offer the opportunity to deepen your practice rather than offering basic guidance. This retreat experience does not have to have been at Amaravati Retreat Centre.
We hold one thirteen-day retreat a year which is open to people who have attended a previous ten-day silent meditation retreat and are comfortable practicing for longer periods in silence.