Retreats

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.

Upcoming Retreats

Thursday Aug 1 to Sunday Aug 4, with Paramabodhi
Thu, Aug 1, 2019 to Sun, Aug 4, 2019

This annual retreat is for order members and mitras connected to the San Francisco Buddhist Center.

Paramabodhi will lead the retreat this year, exploring the Satipatthana Sutta and other buddhist teachings and practices that help to calm the mind and see through delusion through becoming more and more mindful of the body. 

Paramabodhi helped get the SFBC going back in the early 90's before going back to London to work on his art.  He has remained a good friend to us and visits regularly to share his love of Mindfulness practice and creativity. 

led by Padmadharini
Sat, Dec 21, 2019 to Sat, Dec 28, 2019

Connecting with the heart (and soul) of our practice

Our annual winter meditation retreat is a wonderful opportunity to take a break from our usual distractions and enjoy the many benefits of living and meditating together in a simple, supportive and mostly silent space.

This year our focus will be on connecting with the heart, trusting experience, and staying connected and curious about whatever arises. 

Padmadharini has practiced and taught meditation for many years and has recently completed a two year training as a hospital chaplain.  She is enthusiastic to share what she is learning through working with people who are actively dying.

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 let ourselves be.

Food and Work Periods 

Vegan food and simple menus are provided and food preparation and cleaning are shared by everyone on the retreat. If you have a preference please let us know in advance. 

Free Time

There will be plenty of free time to hike or stroll around the area or relax. 

Meditation Experience 

There will be periods of instruction towards the beginning of the retreat, but the early morning meditation sessions will not be led, and as the retreat deepens there will be less input. If have not taken one of our meditation courses and don't have much experience we recommend coming to these before the retreat. Contact us for more information. 

Dharmadhara

Is a rustic retreat center in Lake County – about 2.5 to 3 hours North of San Francisco.  There is a beautiful shrine room, a few beds, some cots, and lots of mats for sleeping in the living room or shrine room.  There is also space to camp but it will probably be quite cold. There are no private rooms. 

Weekend option

If you cannot stay for the full week there may be the option to leave on Monday 23, depending on numbers, but space if very limited so it's unlikely.  Send us an email for more information or to be on the waiting list.