Retreats



Retreats are an excellent opportunity to deepen your meditation practice and enjoy the company of other people who are exploring the Buddha's teachings. Our retreat program allows ample time for meditation, reflection and relaxation. Weekend retreats usually begin at around 7pm on the Friday evening and finish early afternoon on the Sunday.

Retreats are an excellent opportunity to deepen your meditation practice and enjoy the company of other people who are exploring the Buddha's teachings.

Bookings: we recommend that you reserve your place on retreat as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Still, late bookings are possible so please check with us if you decide to attend at the last minute.

Please book through the link listed below or by calling the Auckland Buddhist Centre tel. (09) 378 1120.

Venue: our residential retreats are mostly held at Sudarshanaloka Retreat Centre, Victoria Street, Tararu, Thames Coast. If you book on a retreat, we can send you directions on how to get there and a list of items you'll need to bring. People frequently carpool to retreat, so let us know if you can offer or need a lift to the retreat.

Meditation Experience: many of our retreats assume that you already know how to meditate and that you are actively practising meditation (or at least hoping to re-connect with a meditation practice that has waned). Some of our retreats are only open to people with an active and established meditation practice, please refer to the particular retreat to see if this might be the case. Unless noted, there is no beginner's meditation teaching provided on retreat.

Retreat Fees:
 weekend retreats held at Sudarshanaloka have a two-tiered structure $240/190. You choose what you can afford to pay.  Longer retreats, some special retreats (such as week long or long weekends) and those held at other venues have higher retreat costs due to the number of additional days or higher facility costs to us.

"Practising from the Inside"
workshops & non-residential retreats

The experiment is over .... these weekend workshops and non-residential weekend retreats are working. They create conditions different from just a 'normal weekend at home' without leaving to be 'somewhere else'. There are two primary themes for these weekends. First, they always include cultivating positive emotions like metta, patience, contentment, and equanimity. Second, they challenge our limiting notions of identity, our sticky emotional attachements, and our habitual volitional routines. All themes directly addressing the challenges and joys of cultivating our spiritual life in the midst of everyday living. These events are very meditative in quality, and approach the content through reflection rather than discussion.

Book for these non-residential weekends and workshops just like you would a residential retreat ... through the centre or the website. Cost $40 for workshops and $80 for non-residential retreats.

If you want to attend one of the non-residential retreats, we ask you to commit to attending every session over the weekend. The Friday night session will start with an introduction to the theme and some collective meditation (7-9pm). The Saturday session will begin with our joining the regular Saturday morning 10am meditation at the centre, but then continuing at the centre until around 1pm. And the last session is on Sunday from 9am to 1pm. Those participating on these retreats will be asked to attend all these sessions, for the full duration. If you can only make two of the three weekend sessions or can only stay for half a session, the continuity and integrity of the weekend will be compromised. In which case it is best to not attend this time, and instead start planning for the next one.


Workshop & non-residential retreat dates for 2014 


Cultivating greater inspiration and motivation
Non Residential Retreat 7-9 November
7-9pm Friday plus 9am-1pm Saturday and Sunday
Taking the series of seven spiritual moods within Shantideva's seven-fold puja, we will be using our own words to illuminate this ancient practice of devotion to Enlightenment. And by exploring more deeply these seven facets, colouring them with our own symbols of inspiration and motivation, the practice of puja can be enlivened. Open to those who both love and yet to love the practice of puja. Led by Ratnavyuha. Cost $80 Book here

Practising from the Inside: theme to be confirmed closer to the date
Half day retreat 9am to 1pm Sunday December 12  Book here

Auckland Buddhist Centre & Sudarshanaloka Residential Retreats




Order/Mitra retreat: Three Paragraphs on the Dharma Life
Labour Weekend 24-27 October @ Sudarshanaloka
On this weekend, we'll be looking at a very pithy three paragraph description of the Buddhist spiritual life from one of Subhuti's recent papers. He wrote a total of seven papers which, as a whole, capture and clarify the essence of Sangharakshita's teachings. Some of them have also stimulated alot of debate! A weekend is not enough time to go deeply into the implications of these three paragraphs, but we will try our best. Led by Ratnavyuha and team. Cost $285/235. See the three paragraphs from 'Initiation into a New Life' here .





Cultivating Emotional Freedom Beginners Meditation Retreat
7-9 November @ Sudarshanaloka

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart."  Helen Keller

Our heart feels like the centre of what we are as a person so lets get to the heart of the matter. This retreat will be an nourishing exploration into the heart.through the Metta practise and bodywork. This retreat is an introduction to the Metta Bhavana which is a meditation practice that cultivates loving kindness. This is one of two principal meditation practices through which we can develop calmer more concentrated and positive states of mind. Led by Bhadrakari and Punyasri. See also our Calm and Clear retreats. Cost $240/$190




Contemplative Photography and Meditation Retreat
21-23 November @ Sudarshanaloka
led by John McDermott and Ratnavyuha

We will be exploring the themes of simplicity and colour through the medium of digital photography. With emphasis on learing to see more vividly and more directly, letting go of the veils of views and concepts that sometimes separate us from our experience. You'll need to already know how to meditate in addition to bringing along a working digital camera. Starts on Friday with dinner at 7pm and ends Sunday by 4pm. Cost $240/$190 

"You can become skilful at developing this light touch of awareness, and this is the key to living artistically. Another key is learning to recognise naturally occuring breaks in the clouds: moments where the light naturally shines through. The more you cultivate these gaps, the longer they will last and the more opportunity you will have to settle into your experience and creatively engage with the world."

from 'The Practice of Contemplative Photography' by Andy Kerr and Michael Wood







Mandala, Meditation & Mantra Retreat
28 - 30 November @ Sudarshanaloka
Over two days we will explore the beginners mind, that creative and aware space each of us possesses that often gets lost in the busyness of our lives. We will replenish our hearts and minds in meditation and through chanting mantras. We will create 'meditations' in colour and pattern and explore beginners sketching from Nature. No previous experience necessary. Led by Penny Brownlee & Akasadaka. Cost $240/$190




Buddhist Recovery Network Retreat
The tyranny of habit and what it takes to switch direction and develop our potential
5-7 December @ Sudarshanaloka
Come and awaken the sleeping Buddha within. We focus so often on our faults and shortcomings. This retreat is to teach us how coming back daily over and over to beauty and spaciousness creates the 'us' we cannot even begin to imagine.
Led by Navachitta and Dharmamudra. Cost $240/$190.


Abseiling into Reality
Open Retreat: 30 December to 4 January 2015 @ Sudarshanloka
led by Akampiya, Nagabodhi, Navachitta, Ratnavyuha and Vimalachitta
We've decided to have a retreat over New Year, exploring the theme of personal transformation. With time dedicated to meditation, being in the bush, personal reflection and rituals of transformation and letting go. We are also pleased to have Nagabodhi and Vimalachitta joining us for this retreat while they are visiting from the UK. Nagabodhi is the President of the Auckland Buddhist Centre. This five day retreat is open to everyone within the Triratna Buddhist Community who is familiar with our practices and wants to spend a weekend on retreat with sangha. Bookings essential. Cost $375/$325.




Monkey Mind - Open Retreat  (now full - waiting list only)
20-22 February 201
at Sudarshanaloka
led by  Vijayamala and Vessantara 
Our system of practice begins with the stage of integration. In meditation, this involves being able to stay present and centred, not pulled off into discursive thought. However, even people who have practised meditation for years still sometimes get lost in stories and thought chains (prapancha in Sanskrit). For less experienced meditators this unhelpful tendency is often the main barrier to experiencing deeper  levels of meditation. We shall take a good look at our distractions, exploring what drives them, and what we can do about our tendency to be carried off by them. Including lots of practical advice, and help for both less-experienced meditators 
and old hands to gain more reliable access to fulfilling states of mind. Bookings essential. Cost $240/$190






Training the Mind in Bodhicitta - Mitra Retreat (now full - waiting list only)
23 February to 1 March 2015 at Sudarshanaloka
led by Vijayamala and Vessantara 
The Tibetan Lo Jong (‘Mind Training’) tradition provides practical advice, guidance and precepts to enable you to develop and deepen both the wisdom and compassion aspects of bodhicitta. During this retreat we shall study and put into practice the ‘Seven Point’ version of the Mind Training that stems from Atisha, drawing on both traditional and modern commentaries. Due to limited spaces Mitras will have first option of attending this retreat. Please book early as it is filling up quickly. Cost $420/$370. Waiting list only.

Vessantara has been an Order member since 1974. He has run Buddhist centres, acted as secretary to Sangharakshita, been overall Order Convenor and spent years living in retreat centres. He is the author of several books, including guides to the buddhas, bodhisattvas and tantric deities and books on breathing meditation and loving kindness meditation. In 2008-2011 he spent over three years in meditation retreat in a wooden circus wagon in France. He has made several very successful visits to Triratna centres in Australasia before giving talks and leading retreats. This will be his first visit to NZ since 2001 and he is very much looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. He has a website at www.vessantara.net

Vijayamala has been exploring how to keep meditation alive and relevant for more than 30 years. She was ordained in 1992 and worked to set up and run Buddhist Right Livelihood businesses and communities for many years.  For the last 12 years she has been focusing more exclusively on meditation practice. Since coming back from her 3-year retreat 3 years ago she  teaches full time within Triratna. She is very much looking forward to connecting up with the sangha in this part of the world and sharing some very useful practice tools that she has been working with.


The Mirror of Mind
Order retreat with Vijayamala and Vessantara (Order Members only - Wait list only as now full)
2-15th March 2015 at Sudarshanaloka
Bookings essential. Cost $650