Saṅgha Retreat: The Brahmavihāras

Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th November.

Every year we hold two weekend retreats for those who attend the centre. A retreat allows us to deepen our practice, and develop friendships with others who attend the centre. Our retreats are held at Vajrasana Retreat Centre in Suffolk, which is owned by the London Buddhist Centre, also part of the Triratna Buddhist Community.

The theme for this retreat is the Brahmavihāras - the four “divine emotions”: mettā (loving kindness, which you'll be familiar with from the Mettā Bhāvanā meditation), karuṇā (compassion), muditā (sympathetic joy) and upekkhā (equanimity). We will be exploring what each of these means and how we can practice them through meditations, talks and discussions.

On the retreat there will be periods of meditation, talks around the theme of the retreat, discussion groups as well as pūjā, a traditional Buddhist ritual that includes chanting and making offerings.

While on retreat, we aim to create a peaceful atmosphere free from distraction. We will therefore ask all attendees to turn off mobile phones. If someone might need to contact you in an emergency, you can give them Vajrasana's phone number: 01359 259067.

Saṅgha retreats are well suited as a first retreat. The material will be suitable to anybody who has been to a few of our classes, and you will already know many of the people on the retreat.

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Dietary Requirements

All food will be vegan. If you have any other dietary requirements, or other health issues which could effect your participation in the retreat please contact us before booking to make sure we can accommodate you.

£

Our bursary fund allows us to offer spaces to those who otherwise would not be able to afford to come on retreat.

What is a Retreat?

Thanks to our friends at The London Buddhist Centre for permission to use this video, which was shot at Vajrasana.

Typical Programme

Friday
6:30pm Dinner
8:00pm Welcome and dedication ceremony
Saturday
7:00am Meditation
9:00am Breakfast
10:30am Talk and discussion groups
1:00pm Lunch
4:00pm Meditation
6:30pm Dinner
8:00pm Pūjā
Sunday
7:00am Meditation
9:00am Breakfast
10:30am Talk and discussion groups
1:00pm Lunch
2:00pm Clear up and depart

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to have been coming?

If you know the stages to the two meditations taught at the centre, the retreat will be suitable for you.

Do I need to be a Buddhist?

The retreat is suitable for everyone, regardless of your religious beliefs, and makes an excellent first retreat for people who have recently started being involved with meditation and Buddhism.

What does the cost include?

The retreat cost covers the full cost of the retreat, including all food.

When does the retreat start and end?

The retreat will begin with dinner on the Friday evening at 6:30pm. You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm.

We will finish on the Sunday afternoon, around 2pm.

What will the accommodation be like?

Vajrasana is a modern, recently renovated retreat centre with simple, but comfortable accommodation. Living communally is an important and enjoyable part of the retreat. We will be in shared single-sex rooms, and will eat together communally.

Living communally means caring for each other. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well and we will ask you to help out with simple chores. Working together is a good way of getting to know each other, and it also helps us keep the cost of the retreat to a minimum.

Can I have a single room?

Vajrasana does not have any single rooms, so in order to allow us to accommodate as many people as want to come, we are not normally able to provide single rooms. All rooms are downstairs and there are a number of disabled access rooms, but they are also shared. If you have a very special circumstance which requires a single room for you to be able to attend, please contact us before booking to discuss.

What will the food be like?

Many Buddhists practice veganism as an expression of non-violence. As such, all food will be vegan.

If you have any allergies that aren't listed on the booking form, please contact us before booking to ensure we can cater for you. We are unable to accept requests for special diets other than for medical reasons.

What do I need to bring?

You'll need to bring clothes, toiletries, and a towel. You may also want to bring a notebook and pen. Bedding will be provided.

Will I be able to get a lift?

Yes, we will contact everyone who has booked on the retreat to arrange lift shares. Please let us know if you need a space or if you are able to offer a space to anyone else.

Can I apply for a place using the bursary fund?

Please contact us to discuss.

How To Get Here

The retreat is at Vajrasana Retreat Centre, Potash Farm, in Walsham le Willows, near Bury St. Edmunds.

Driving

Vajrasana's postcode for use in sat-navs is IP31 3AR.

Some sat-navs will try to take you down a footpath. If this happens, keep following Ixworth Rd and then turn left onto Reading's Lane.

There is a blue sign at Vajrasana's entrance. Drive down that road and then immediately right into the car park.

If you are able to offer a lift to others, please let us know.

Train

The closest convenient station is Stowmarket. From there you will need to get a taxi, which will cost around £20-22.

The cheapest local taxi service from Stowmarket is TKO Cars (07739 365555) who you will need to book with, or there is Stowmarket Taxis (01449 677777) which are based at Stowmarket station, so you can often just get in a taxi without booking.