Silence and Harmony - Living Like the Anuruddhas
Friday 31 January – Sunday 9 February at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights
The early forest-dwelling disciples of the Buddha lived very simply and cooperatively, sharing the few practical tasks they had to do and taking inspiration from the Buddha’s teachings. On this retreat we will follow their example by practising in silence, in an atmosphere of kindness and mutual awareness, finding a deeper harmony within ourselves and with all other living beings.
This silent retreat is an opportunity to co-create the conditions that will nourish our practice and help us go deeper. The meditations will be supported with canonical readings from early Buddhism, beautiful thought-provoking poems, and classic rituals such as Sevenfold Puja. In addition, there will be the opportunity to explore the natural bush surroundings, bathe in the river and spend time in silent reflection. Personal meditation reviews will also be offered.
The Anuruddhas were three monks living in the forest during the Buddha’s lifetime. The Culagosinga Sutta (MN31) tells of the Buddha’s visit to the three clansmen and the conversation that took place between them. Here is an extract:
The Buddha: 'Good, good, Anuruddha. And I hope you are living mindful and self-controlled, practising earnestly and with bright energy.'
Anuruddha: 'Indeed we are Lord.'
'And how do you live in this way?'
'Well, Lord, whichever of us gets back first from their almsround in the village gets the seat ready, sets out water for drinking and for washing, and puts the refuse bucket ready….When one of us notices that the pots of water for drinking or washing or for the latrine are empty, he refills them. If they are too heavy for him he signals with his hand for help. We don’t speak over such matters. But every fifth night we sit together discussing the teachings. In this way we live mindful and self-controlled, practising earnestly and with bright energy.'
If your meditation practice is already fairly well established, and you are able to sit comfortably for 45 minutes without guidance, join us on this intensive meditation retreat. We will be living as a community of practitioners, dwelling in harmony, 'mindful and self-controlled, practising earnestly and with bright energy.'
There is an option to come just for the weekend from 6.30pm Friday to 2.30pm Sunday 2nd February. Silence will begin after supper on Friday, extending until after lunch on Sunday. Those who book the weekend-only option will depart by 3pm on Sunday.
Cost of weekend only: $200/$145 concession/unwaged
Those staying for the nine-day option, will have some free time on Sunday afternoon, then return to silence from suppertime until breakfast on the final morning. The nine day retreat will finish at 2.30pm on Sunday 9th February.
Cost of full nine days: $575/$430 concession/unwaged
Typical Daily Program
|4pm||Meditation / Meditation review|
|8pm||Optional Chanting, Meditation & Pūjā|
Frequently Asked Questions
What about the fire risk? I am unsure about going on an event in a bushland setting.
If anyone decides after booking that they would prefer not to be in a bushland setting at this time, they will be given an instant full refund. Also, during the week before the retreat, if the RFS deems it inadvisable to go ahead with the retreat, we will cancel it and issue full refunds to everyone who booked.
How long do I need to have been practising?
This intensive retreat will be best suited for those who have a fairly well established meditation practice, and are able to sit comfortably for 45 minutes without guidance.
Do I need to be a Buddhist?
Although our inspiration and practices come from Buddhist teachings, you do not need to be a Buddhist to attend or benefit from the retreat.
What does the cost include?
The retreat cost covers the full cost of the retreat, including all food. Retreatants participate in a work roster for cooking and cleaning.
When does the retreat start and end?
The retreat will begin with dinner on the Friday evening at 6:30pm. You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm. It is normally not advisable to plan to arrive later than this. If you think you might need to, please contact us before booking.
The Weekend Retreat will end on Sunday 2nd February at 2:30pm, and the 9 Day Retreat will end on Sunday 9th February at 2.30pm.
What will the accommodation be like?
Vijayaloka provides simple, but comfortable accommodation. Living communally is an important and enjoyable part of the retreat. We will be in shared single-sex rooms with 2-4 people in each, and will eat together communally.
Living communally means caring for each other. The team leading the retreat are volunteers who are on retreat as well and we will ask you to help out with simple chores. Working together is a good way of getting to know each other, and it also helps us keep the cost of the retreat to a minimum.
Can I have a single room?
In order to allow us to accommodate as many people as want to come, we are not normally able to provide single rooms. If you have a very special circumstance which requires a single room for you to be able to attend, please contact us before booking to discuss.
What will the food be like?
Many Buddhists practice veganism as an expression of non-violence. As such, all food will be vegan.
If you have any allergies that aren't listed on the booking form, please contact us before booking to ensure we can cater for you.
What do I need to bring?
Unless you are coming a long distance we ask that you bring your own sheets and blankets or a sleeping bag (we have plenty of pillows).
It can be surprisingly cold in the early mornings and evenings, and quite hot in the middle of the day, so bring clothes suitable for all weather: we suggest you bring layers as well as a warm jumper or jacket. You'll also need a good sun hat and suitable shoes, especially if you want to walk in the bush. There is a river you can swim in so you may also want to bring swimwear if you want to swim.
In addition you'll need to bring any toiletries you need including a towel, insect repellent, and sun block. It is also a good idea to bring a torch if you have one and you may also want to bring a notebook and pen.
We have meditation gear (cushions, etc.), but you are welcome to bring your own.
Will the retreat be completely silent?
After initial introductions, there will be minimal guidance in some meditation sessions; and some rituals that include recitation of verses and chanting, but no casual talking.
Where to Find Us
The retreat is at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights.
Vijayaloka's address for use in sat-navs is 36 Howard Road, Minto Heights NSW 2566. Travel time from central Sydney is about one hour.
There is a blue sign at Vijayaloka's entrance. Enter there and then park the car park immediately on your right.
If you are able to offer a lift to others travelling from Sydney, please let us know.
Vijayaloka is very each to access by train. The closest train station is Minto which is on the T8 Airport Line towards MacArthur and Campbelltown. Travel time is about 50 minutes from Central.
We can normally arrange for those travelling by train to be picked up from the train station. Please indicate when booking if you need to be picked up and aim to be at Minto around 5:30-6pm. We will contact you shortly before the start of the retreat to confirm. Alternatively you can take a taxi from the bottle shop across the road from the station, or an Uber.
If you are travelling from outside Sydney and don't have an Opal card, you can use any contactless credit/debit card to travel on Sydney Trains.