Retreat Guidelines

In order to deepen Buddhist practice and to develop relationships with dharma teachers, the Santa Fe Vipassana Sangha regularly offers a variety of retreats for our members and guests. The sangha welcomes newcomers, as well as experienced meditators. Everyone is encouraged to experience the tranquility, concentration and challenges of retreat, whether it is for one-day or longer periods. Volunteers to help organize and manage retreats are always welcome.

Retreats are offered in a variety of formats so that everyone can participate.

  • One-day non-residential retreats
  • Weekend non-residential retreats
  • Three or four-day residential retreats
  • Seven to ten-day residential retreats

Upcoming SFVS retreats are on the Calendar. Retreats in the region are listed on the Other Sanghas and Retreat Centers page.

WHAT HAPPENS ON A RETREAT?

In the vipassana tradition, retreats are an opportunity for extended periods of sitting and walking meditation under the guidance of an experienced visiting teacher. The schedule usually alternates 30-45 minute periods of sitting meditation with walking meditation periods. The teacher often provides an introduction and perhaps instructions at the beginning of the day, and a dharma talk in the evening. Individual or group interviews with the teacher are usually included in longer retreats, which is a wonderful opportunity to discuss your questions and concerns about practice. The schedule includes meals and breaks throughout the day. In addition, retreats are usually held in ‘noble silence,’ which means there is no talking and minimal interaction among the participants.

Residential retreats provide three meals per day of healthy, hearty vegetarian food prepared by experienced cooks. Please inquire about special dietary needs with the contact person. Non-residential retreats ask that you bring a brown bag lunch; the schedule allows you to have breakfast and dinner at home.

PREREQUISITES

Our retreats are generally open to all interested meditators of any level of experience. In some rare cases participation will be restricted — men are not welcome to a women-only retreat, and occasionally retreats are designed expressly for advanced practitioners.

RETREAT FEES

SFVS strives to keep the costs of our retreats as low as possible. Fees are intended to cover the cost of renting the facility where the retreat is held, the cost of lodging and meals (if applicable), the travel and lodging expenses of the visiting teacher, and advertising costs.

We would like all interested meditators to be able to participate in our retreats regardless of the ability to pay the fees. We have a retreat scholarship program, which offers partial scholarships for those in financial need. Please get in touch with the retreat contact person to find out more about scholarship availability. SFVS funds scholarships through the generosity of our sangha members.

REGISTRATION

All SFVS retreats have a retreat contact person for registration and to answer any questions. For short non-residential retreats, reserving a space is recommended. Residential retreats require advance registration and a non-refundable deposit. Please refer to the details of a specific retreat for additional information.

DANA

Since the time of the Buddha the teachings have been given freely because they are considered priceless. This 2500-year-old tradition has been sustained to this day through the practice of dana, which means generosity in the Pali language. At the end of the retreat, participants are given the opportunity to offer the teacher some recompense in a private envelope. Teachers receive no other financial compensation from SFVS.

FRAGRANCE POLICY

We ask you to be mindful of not using any products that cause other people adverse reactions. This includes many soaps, shampoos, lotions, sprays, etc. See our Fragrance Policy.

LOCATIONS

Retreats are held at several locations, but typically non-residential weekend retreats are held at the Mountain Cloud Zen Center on Old Santa Fe Trail and residential retreats are at the Sangre de Cristo Center, north of Santa Fe. Please refer to the details for a specific retreat for additional information.