“Retreat is important because it involves retreating from ignorance, from the dissatisfied mind of attachment and from the self-cherishing thought. These are the fundamental forces from which one must retreat; this is the true meaning of meditation.”
- Lama Zopa Rinpoche
What is retreat?
Why do people go on retreat?
How is it different from a vacation?
A Refuge for Growth
Throughout history, people have gone into spiritual retreat in order to:
- Engage with the larger questions about life's purpose
- Develop mental qualities such as peace, clarity, and devotion
- Master religious or psychological techniques
Retreat is especially relevant and useful in today's busy, agitated world. We can know our minds better and see ourselves in depth in the quiet space of retreat. It offers many different benefits, for a wide variety of people – ranging from the curious newcomer to the seasoned spiritual practitioner.
Retreat offers us the opportunity to:
There are two types of retreat: Private Retreat (Solitary Practice) and Group Retreat (Communal Practice)
- Take a break from our busy lives
- Reflect without distraction
- Become a better human being and take these qualities back into the world for the benefit of others, such as family, friends, and co-workers
Back to top
A Refuge for Practice
Especially for those committed to a spiritual path, retreat offers an indispensable opportunity to enhance our practice. Retreat allows us to:
- Study, reflect and meditate more deeply
- Develop our wisdom understanding the nature of reality
- Enhance our love and compassion
- Engage in powerful practices that purify and improve our minds
- Maintain our vows or commitments
A Refuge for Truth
Normally when we go on vacation we want to have a good time and take a break from our everyday lives. Retreat has a different purpose. While it may also be relaxing at times, instead of taking a break simply for rest and relaxation or a relief from our problems, retreat is about facing and changing the aspects of our own minds that contribute to our problems in the first place. The retreat attitude is one of metamorphosis.
Retreat allows the space to deeply understand our problems and the practices of retreat transform us so that we no longer experience them. In retreat, we courageously face and transmute adversity.
In Buddhism, it is said that the pure nature of the mind can be experienced through this process– a mind that is blissful, calm and totally clear. Retreat offers the ideal opportunity to advance towards this total and complete enlightenment.
Back to top