About Our Retreats
This is a precious time for mindfulness practice and a rare opportunity to cultivate and deepen wisdom and compassion. The retreats are taught in the Theravada tradition using Vipassana (Insight) techniques. The lineage of many of our teachers is from the Mahasi Method emphasizing continuity of mindfulness and refinement of precise open awareness. In addition, the meditations on the four Brahma Viharas (loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity) may be taught throughout the retreat.
In order to support your practice, the retreat will be held in Noble Silence,
and retreatants are asked to refrain from visual, verbal and written communication with one another and from reading, writing letters or making phone calls (except in an emergency situation). Please turn off your mobile phones for the duration of your stay and leave behind your laptops, iPods, iPads and other communication devices so that you can commit to your retreat wholeheartedly and reap the benefits of that commitment. By leaving at home the many activities and communications that worldly life entails, you offer yourself the gift of stillness.
Intensive meditation practice in this style is a powerful experience. It is necessary for the teachers to have a clear background for each person attending so that they can offer the most supportive guidance possible. You will be requested to fill out a Retreat Application Form on your arrival. Only the teachers will have access to this information.
What to bring
Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Your own meditation cushion, or bench, and mat. Toiletries and towel, insect repellent, hat and fly net for hats, watch (silent), alarm clock, and shoes that slip on easily. You will also need to bring all bedding.
Nutritious vegetarian meals will be served throughout the retreat. Breakfast and lunch are the main meals of the day with a light evening meal. Those wishing to practise on 8 Precepts (which require refraining from eating after lunch) will be provided with fruit juice at teatime. We will attempt to accomodate special dietary needs such as gluten free and dairy free however if you have a medical condition which requires a special diet beyond this, please bring along the special items you need.
Schedules can vary but generally the day begins early with a group meditation
at about 5.30am with the last scheduled sit at about 9.30pm. Most sittings are 45 minutes in length and alternate with periods of walking meditation. Interviews with the teachers are conducted over the course of the retreat. There is usually a Dhamma talk each evening. The retreats are designed for both the beginner and experienced meditator, and will include daily meditation instructions. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions about practice each day.
Teachers do not receive any payment for leading retreats, but have chosen to follow the ancient tradition of offering the Dhamma freely and trusting in the generosity of those who receive it for their livelihood. Retreat fees cover only food, lodging, teachers’ travel, and administration costs. Teacher support is provided by voluntary donations given by students at the end of each retreat. There is no “correct” amount to offer as dana. Each yogi is free to offer according to their individual circumstances.
Dana is an ancient Pali word meaning “generosity”, “giving” or “gift”. It is directly related to the Latin word donum and through this to such English words as donor, donate and donation. Dana is intrinsic to the 2,500 year-old Buddhist tradition. Going back to the days of the Buddha, the teachings were considered priceless and thus offered freely as a form of dana. The early teachers received no payment for their instruction and, in turn, the lay community saw to it through their voluntary generosity, their dana, that the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medicine were provided for these monks and nuns.
Many yogis ask for guidance on the amount of dana to give. When giving dana to lay teachers we may want to reflect on the generosity they practise by devoting their lives to the Dhamma. Lay teachers share with all of us the ever increasing costs of daily life,and it is through our generosity that they are able to continue offering this precious gift. You are welcome to donate according to your means but as a guide, we suggest an amount of between $20-$35 per day.
Please note that PIMG does not have EFTPOS facilities.
Beyond the practical dimension, dana also plays a crucial role in the spiritual life of a Dhamma practitioner. It is the first of the ten paramis, or qualities of character, to be perfected. The act of giving itself is of immeasurable benefit to the giver for it opens up the heart, diminishes for a moment one’s self-absorption, and places value on the well-being of others. The simple gesture of offering a flower, an act of service, a kind thought or a simple meal is, in fact, a sincere form of practice.
Every retreatant has the opportunity to contribute to the smooth and efficient running of the retreat by doing some small job every day. You will have the opportunity to sign up for your “yogi job” on arrival.
If you are receiving medical, psychiatric treatment or counselling it is your responsibility to seek professional advice concerning the appropriateness of this retreat for you.
Although meditation is beneficial for most people it is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment. An intensive retreat may not be suitable for persons with psychological or psychiatric disorders. If you are currently receiving treatment for any psychological or psychiatric disorder, or have a past history of mental health disorder, you should obtain professional advice prior to participating in the retreat.
If you have any mobility problems or medical conditions which would affect your ability to take part in the retreat, please inform us as soon as possible and we will make arrangement to accommodate you if possible. Please bring any medications you require.
All the retreats organised are completely non-profit. However, due to generous Dana we are able to offer partial scholarships for retreats. This is to ensure no one is denied an opportunity to practice.