Silent Retreat on the Great Elements
Friday 7 August – Thursday 13 August at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights
Earth Water Fire Air Space and Consciousness are the Six Great Elements of early Buddhism.
On this retreat, we will explore these six ways of experiencing ourselves and the world. By opening ourselves up to the magical quality of each element in the context of silent meditation, we will connect with the elements in our own experience.
The retreat will take place at Vijayaloka which is situated on the ancient land of the Tharawal people, the traditional custodians of this elemental place. Each day there will be a brief introduction to one of the elements.
In the Earth element, we find the foundations of a gently-balanced, stable meditation practice.
In Water, we are in the realm of emotions, moving towards connection and love.
Fire can pierce even the darkest spaces; the raw energy of the Fire element liberates us from old habits and inspires us to transform ourselves.
Expand beyond self with the Air element, using the subtler energies of our breath.
Letting go into the vast Space element, we move beyond the limitation of all our clingings.
Consciousness unfettered is at the end of our journey through the elements.
This is a 6-day retreat, fully silent from after the first evening meal until after the final breakfast. It is best suited to experienced meditators, comfortable with sitting in meditation for at least 45 minutes.
* Numbers are limited to 25 bookings due to Covid-19 restrictions. Please only book if you are able to attend for the full 6 days.
We want everyone to have the opportunity to come on retreat. If you cannot afford the cost, we may be able to help. Please contact us to discuss.
Typical Daily Program
|10:30am||Intro to an Element / Meditation|
|7.30pm||Evening Session & Meditation|
Silence will begin on Friday at 9pm and end on the following Thursday at 8am.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I need to have been practising?
The retreat will be best suited for those who have an established meditation practice, and who can sit quietly 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 6pm. You are welcome to arrive any time from 4pm. It is normally not advisable to plan to arrive later than this. If you think you might need to, please contact us before booking.
We will finish on the following Thursday morning, around 11:30am.
What will the accommodation be like?
Vijayaloka provides simple, but comfortable accommodation. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we expect to have mostly 2 people per 4-bed dorm. We 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 line with current recommendations from the Government we are able to have up to 4 people in most of our dorms but we are restricting numbers to 2 per dorm in order to maintain good physical distancing. If you have a 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 quite cold overnight and 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 sturdy shoes if you want to walk in the bush. There is a river nearby.
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.
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 easy 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.