What is a Retreat?
For many hundreds of years there has been a strong tradition among Buddhists and other meditators of going on retreat in quiet, secluded places. During the three-month rainy season the Buddha recommended that his followers stay in one place and meditate more intensely. Today there is perhaps even greater value in stepping back from our busy and sometimes stressful lives and leading a simple, communal, focused life for a period of time.
Meditation is the central focus of most of our retreats, supported by good conditions - nature, good food, community and periods of silence. On weekend retreats we usually remain in silence at least over night, or for the whole retreat after the first evening. There are always more extended periods of silence on longer retreats.
A sample retreat schedule would be something like this: Rise at 6:30 for meditation at 7am and another at 8am. Breakfast at 9am. Free time or work period. Instruction at 11. Lunch at 1. Free time or work period. Meditation or groups at 3:30. Dinner at 6. Meditation, usually some chanting or other variation at 7:30pm.
To prepare for a retreat it helps to learn our two foundational meditation practices (Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana). For more information, see the Newcomer classes.
Please refer to the logistics pages to learn more about how retreats are organized.
Sat Dec 24 to Sun Jan 1
Eight nights, beginning 5pm Saturday Dec 24, and ending Sunday Jan 1.
Led by Padmadharini
Our winter meditation retreat offers the opportunity of a week away from our usual conditions, in silence, supporting each other to go deeper with meditation, and being supported by the surrounding natural beauty.
This year the theme is Mind in Harmony - resolving inner and outer conflict using insight oriented practices.
The Gift of Silence
The retreat will be mostly silent except for teachings, meditation reviews and mindful communication. It's a rare chance to take a break from making conversation and to see what happens when we really let ourselves be. We will provide an emergency number so that you do not need to check your phone. If you don't feel comfortable putting your device/s aside please consider not attending.
Health and Safety
We will require everyone to be fully vaccinated, and to take reasonable precautions to protect against infection in the days leading up to the retreat. Please check all our requirements here.
If you consider yourself at increased risk you should not attend.
We recommend that you don't travel long distance since there is always the risk of cancelation or illness in these uncertain times, but if you do, please be sure you have refundable tickets and/or a back-up place to stay.
Food and Work Periods
All food is vegan, with eggs and dairy options on the side. To simplify cooking and cleaning in silence we have a cook to organize lunch and dinner, and everyone on the retreat chooses a task that they can do every day - either preparing breakfast, chopping vegetables, or cleaning dishes. If you have a preference please let us know in advance. There is also a clean up session that we all share at the end of the retreat.
There will be plenty of free time to hike or stroll around the area or relax.
This retreat is for people who have a good amount of meditation experience, and have attended at least one silent retreat. If you're not sure please feel free to email us.
Is a rustic residence with a very beautiful shrine room, located in Lake County – about 2.5 to 3 hours North of San Francisco. The main building has a kitchen, dining room, sitting room with wood burning stove, 7 small dorms, some with 2 beds, some with 3 beds, 3 indoor toilets and 2 showers. There are no private rooms. If you do not feel comfortable sharing a room with others we may be able to find space in the living room or shrine room, depending on numbers attending, so please get in touch about this before you register. There is also the option to camp, although it will be cold, and possibly raining or snowing.
Travel and Carpooling
If you need help organizing a ride please let us know and we will do our best to get you there. If you are driving and can offer rides, please also let us know. Thank you!
I'm sorry that we cannot arrange airport or train station pickups. (See health and safety above.)
Registration and Payment
To register enter the amount you wish to donate in the Event Donation box and click add to cart. You can pay in full now ($550 to $700), or reserve your place with a $200 deposit. In the event that we need to cancel we will refund all payments.
Please pay the highest amount you are able within the range of $550 to $750. This helps us to cover the cost of the retreat leader, the cook, and others needing help with costs.
If you need to request a rate lower than $550 please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do what we can.
When you get to the checkout you will have the choice to pay now through paypal/credit card, or pay later. (If you click pay now and don't actually pay now, your registration won't go through - contact us if you have any problems.) Checks are payable to San Francisco Buddhist Center - Triratna.
If you cannot stay for the full week there may be the option to leave on Monday 26, depending on numbers. Send us an email for more information or to be on the waiting list. It's likely to be quite cold but if you are prepared to camp and/or can drive please let us know in your email as that may make a difference to whether we can accommodate you.