Attending regular residential retreats is an essential part of the training offered at the House of Inner Tranquillity. Freed from household chores and work commitments, students are able to devote themselves wholeheartedly to meditation and are encouraged to develop mindfulness throughout each day.
The residential courses have been carefully designed with the development of Buddhist Insight meditation, vipassana, specifically in mind. There are a maximum of seven students on any given course which means that everyone is able to receive personal one-to-one instruction. As well as group meditations in the Shrine Room with the full-time community, students practice in their own room. As a complement to seated meditation, students can also practice walking meditation in the Japanese Garden. To help deepen the theoretical grasp of the Buddha’s teaching, a retreat library offers a suitable collection of reading material. The Centre also has over thirty years of recorded talks on all aspects of the Buddhist training that are available to listen to.
Places are offered primarily to current members of the group. Dates for the Autumn 2017 season are as follows:
|Six Day Integrated Retreats|
|Six Day Silent Retreats|
|11-16 September||Space available|
|02-07 October||Space available|
|30 October - 04 November||Full|
|20-25 November||Space available|
|11-16 December||Space available|
|Silent Weekend Retreats|
Six Day Integrated Retreats
Learning mindfulness is not limited to just sitting down. The integrated retreat has been designed to help meditators learn how to generate more awareness in their daily life and the work-a-day world. This retreat incorporates Noble Silence and seated meditation in the morning and evening, with work projects in the afternoon (gardening, cooking, office duties and the like). Retreatants, therefore, spend time working with the full-time community and can learn from their example. This helps with the development of important mental qualities such as impeccability, adaptability and the balancing of energy. This kind of retreat is also invaluable in helping to make the student feel more at home at the Centre and a part of the community.
Six Day Silent Retreats
The six day silent retreat allows for maximum involvement with the practice as there are eight hours of seated meditation per day and three personal interviews with a teacher in the course of the week. Apart from discussions with the teacher, Noble Silence is maintained for the entire duration of the course. The format is four separate hours meditation in the shrine room with the full-time community during the morning. Retreatants spend the afternoons practising walking meditation in the Japanese Garden and seated meditation in their own room. There is a recorded lecture each evening and the day ends with a meditation in the shrine room at 8.45pm.
Weekend (introductory) retreats
These follow the same format as the six day silent retreat except that existing meditators have one interview on either the Saturday or Sunday. New meditators have an interview on both days. A weekend introductory course provides newcomers with a brief ‘taste’ of what life on retreat is like and how it is run. For those already under training it provides an opportunity to re-establish their connection with the teaching and to enjoy a quiet gap amidst the demands of everyday life.