Spring Introductory Retreat
Friday 12 November – Sunday 14 November at Vijayaloka Retreat Centre in Minto Heights
A weekend retreat introducing meditation and Buddhist teachings. An excellent way for those who are completely new to meditation or wanting to to re-learn meditation to spend a whole weekend in supportive conditions, with like-minded people, away from the distraction of everyday life.
We teach two Buddhist meditation practices: Mindfulness of Breathing, for developing awareness, integration and clarity of mind; and Mettā Bhāvanā (“development of loving kindness”), which brings about a gentle but radical transformation of our emotional world. We will help you to set up in good posture and give a fully led practice, so there is no need for any previous experience.
Along with practical instruction we'll give some background on where meditation fits into the bigger picture of Buddhist practice and worldview.
As well as time for practice and discussion with like-minded friends, there will also be plenty of time to relax and explore the beautiful bushland.
Important information about COVID restrictions
- Everyone attending the retreat must be fully vaccinated and be able and willing to show evidence of this.
- We will be limited to one person per dorm, unless you are attending with someone else from your household. To allow as many people as possible to attend if you are coming with someone from your household, or you are willing to bring a tent and camp, please book as normal and contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Masks will need to be worn in the shrine room and other indoor areas other than when eating. Masks will not be required for outdoor activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be a Buddhist or have any meditation experience?
No, the retreat is suitable for everyone, and makes an excellent first retreat for people who are new to meditation and Buddhism.
What does the cost include?
The retreat cost covers the full cost of the retreat, including all food.
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.
We will finish on the Sunday afternoon, around 3pm.
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?
Vijayaloka has two single rooms that can be allocated to people with special requirements. If you require a single room to be able to attend, please contact us before booking to ensure availability.
What will the food be like?
Many Buddhists eat a vegan diet 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 bushwalk. There is a river that you can swim in, so you may also want to bring swimwear.
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.
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.