What is Retreat?

4 January 2024 4 min read
What is Retreat?

A Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Retreat offers profound opportunities for inner transformation and spiritual growth. During these retreats, we immerse ourself in a tranquil environment, away from the distractions of daily life, allowing for a deepening of meditation practice. Through guidance and teachings, we cultivate mindfulness, compassion and wisdom, nurturing a profound sense of inner peace. The retreats provide a perfect space to explore the potential of our mind, and to promote clarity and insight into the nature of reality. By engaging in meditation sessions, we can purify our minds, reduce stress, and develop a more profound connection with our true nature. This immersive experience empowers us to carry the transformative benefits of meditation into our daily lives, promoting harmony, inner strength, and a deeper understanding of ourself and our world.

What Happens on a Retreat?

On retreat we stop all forms of business and extraneous activities so as to emphasize a particular spiritual practice. There are three kinds of retreat: physical, verbal and mental. We engage in physical retreat when, with a spiritual motivation, we isolate ourself from other people, activities and noise, and disengage from extraneous and meaningless actions. We engage in verbal retreat when, with a spiritual motivation, we refrain from meaningless talk and periodically keep silence. We engage in mental retreat by preventing distractions and strong delusions such as attachment, anger, jealousy and strong self-grasping from arising, and by maintaining mindfulness and conscientiousness...

This book illuminates the essential practice of Kadampa Buddhism

...If we remain in physical and verbal retreat but fail to observe mental retreat, our retreat will have little power. Such a retreat may be relaxing, but, if we do not prevent strong delusions from arising, our mind will not be at peace, even on retreat. However, keeping physical and verbal retreat will help us to keep mental retreat, and for this reason Shantideva, in Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, praises the first two kinds of retreat.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Heart Jewel

What is it like to Training in Meditation?

Listen to this Kadampa podcast to find out more...

Interested in doing a retreat?

Meditation retreats are offered at Kadampa Centres worldwide. These transformative experiences vary in depth and duration, spanning from concise one or two-day retreats to immersive programmes extending over several weeks or months. Short introductory retreats provide ample guidance and structured meditations for those new to the practice, while longer retreats may cater to practitioners with more familiarity and experience.

If you're keen to experience the benefits of a qualified retreat, we recommend exploring the options available at your nearest Kadampa Meditation Centre or visiting the website of one of the special International Kadampa Retreat Centres to find out more. Kadampa Centres offer a rich spectrum of meditation, study and retreat programmes, providing invaluable support and teachings conducive to profound inner growth and spiritual development.


Read more about Meditation and Retreat

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