Retreats: A Quick Guide
Retreats are a chance to spend quality time with other members of the Sangha, to take time out to develop your meditation practice and to gain a deeper understanding of the Dharma.
The days of a retreat are simple but structured. Upon arrival there will be a programme available which will outline the retreat’s events, and volunteers will be asked to sign up to different aspects of group housekeeping.
Meals are provided at set times throughout the retreat (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and are eaten communally. The menu will be vegan.
Around meal times are group meditations and Pūjā (ritual), along with talks, discussions, workshops or group work allowing plenty of time to share and connect with other Sangha members.
There will also be time for quiet reflection - to wander around the peaceful settings, and there will usually be time when silence is observed - a wonderful chance to really quieten down the mind and engage more fully in the surroundings.
Everyone on the retreat will be required to take part in some housekeeping. Whilst food is prepared by a chef, there will be a need for the group to work towards food preparation, serving meals and then tidying up afterwards and packing up at the end of the retreat. This serves to enhance the sense of community.
Retreats are a wonderful way to connect with the spiritual community of the Sangha and to learn so much more about ourselves and the Dharma in a supportive and welcoming setting.
Here is what some of our Sangha members said about a recent retreat with East Kent Buddhists…
"This was my first retreat with the East Kent Buddhist group, and I am so pleased that I signed up for it. It was inspiring to practice together over the course of a weekend, and really lovely to have time and space to build relationships with this warm and friendly group of people." ................................................... "Community and creating a network of friendships is something that Sangharakshita emphasises as vital dimensions for connection. Being in 'relationship' with other human beings offers deep richness and is a training ground for generosity, compassion, patience and forgiveness. Imagine a weekend surrounded by new friends who come from all walks of life and yet share a common spiritual practice, all committed to kindness - joining the East Kent Sangha for the first time on their weekend retreat was a gift and one that I look forward to experiencing again. I was made incredibly welcome and came away with a deep sense that we are all connected and we are all one Sangha - the only separation is that which we create in our own mind."