Vipassana is the practice of insight meditation that looks to the basis of our life itself as the very roots of our suffering. The focus of such practice is the systematic removal of the causes of suffering as a route to the experience of full awakening. Where the Heart Essence retreat develops our connection to our awakened state of mind, it remains the case that on account of the ‘ego’ self clinging, we may still fall into selfish states of greed and attachment, or anger and aversion, whenever we lose our sense connection to mindful awareness.
Since our awakened mind has never caused suffering to ourselves and is already pure in nature, it remains the lower aspects of our mind that needs on-going refinement through meditation and daily mindfulness, even after we have recognised the higher mind’s intrinsic purity. In the practice of Vipassana we look to the very causes of our selfish habit patterns, be they greed, jealousy, anger, shame or pride. As our insight into their nature and causes matures through this practice, we are able to let them go at deeper and deeper levels.
Meditation Retreat Dates:
1st – 8th December 2018 in Scotland [Retreat Almost Full – A few places for men left]
Arrival time: 5pm on arrival date
Finish time: 10am on finish date
Duration: 7 days
Level: For those who have sat at least one 7day Foundation retreat (Level 1) with us already or have been on retreat with another meditation teacher in the past. Please email us for enquiries and state your previous experience.
Venue: Dhamma Vihara, French Pyrenees, France
Price: £300-380 shared room and board.
Limited availability for single rooms.
Teachings are offered on donation.
This retreat assumes you have attended at least one 7 day healing meditation retreats and kept a reasonable home practice since your last retreat.
If you are not sure whether you are ready for this retreat then please contact us individually for enquiries.
Have you learned with other teachers? Maybe you are well practiced with the Goenka vipassana practice?
We would be delighted for you to join us on retreat. Due to popularity we are now inviting those with some meditation retreat experience to attend either the Level 1 Foundation Retreat or this Introduction to Vipassana & Heart Essence retreat.
During booking please let us know your previous retreat experience.
If you have any questions about joining then please do email us and we will be happy to help.
Pitcalzean House has mostly twin rooms with some dorm space as well. Single rooms are very limited availability.
Single room en suite fixed price £630
Single shared bathroom £580
Shared room en suite fixed price £380
A deposit of £100 is required to confirm your booking on this retreat. Without this we can not guarantee your place on retreat.
This is a non-refundable deposit, but can be transferred to another of our retreats within six months of your initial selected retreat date.
Please note that single rooms will be prioritised to those who are sick and working with an illness. Again please enquire during booking process.
Also note that all of the costs for food and accommodation go to the venue.
Donation for Teachings:
Since Burgs started to teach meditation in Asia, he has always offered teachings on dana (donation basis). You will be invited to make a donation to the teacher at the end of the retreat (anonymously if you so wish). This is a way of expressing our gratitude for the teachings that we have received, and a way to support both the teacher and the teachings so that they can carry on being offered to others. It is an important part of the retreat to take time to reflect on your experience whilst on retreat, and you are invited to make your own reflections on the value of what you have learned and so give accordingly.
We do try and support those who really are in financial difficulty and are unable to commit to the full suggested donation amount for shared accommodation. If you feel you qualify for this, then please email us about this during the booking process. Please note we would normally offer concessionary rates to attend retreats in the UK and not France.
Please note deposits are generally non-refundable (under special circumstances we will refund you at our discretion). You can cancel anytime up to 4 weeks before the retreat starts and we will transfer your deposit to another event. If you cancel within 4 weeks of the event, then there may be a cancellation charge.
Our retreats do get booked up quite early on so it’s a good idea to book as soon as you can.
If however you find that the retreat is already full, or there just a few last places left, then it is a good idea to get onto the waiting list.
We do get a few last minute cancellations and people transferring to other retreats, so you might find that we can offer you a place on the retreat of your choice.
This is particularly applicable to those of you who can make arrangements to attend retreat with short notice. Please let us know at time of booking.
You will still need to pay your deposit and complete a booking form. If we don’t find you a space on retreat we will happily refund you your deposit or transfer it to another retreat date.
If you have any questions please let us know.
Arrival time: 5pm for a 6.30pm start.
Departure time: 10am on the last day.
Below is a typical day on retreat. The meditation sessions on retreat generally build up to 30 – 40minutes, followed by 20 minute breaks. There are exercise sessions at least twice a day along with a 2 hour lunch break to go walking to enjoy the countryside and fresh air or to have a nice afternoon rest.
Meditation sessions are guided by the teacher and assistants and are supported by regular discourses which help clarify and explain the process and practice of meditation, with plenty of opportunities to ask Burgs questions as needed. Instructions are regularly repeated throughout the day.
6.30am Morning Meditation
7.00am Morning Exercise (Chi Kung)
8.30am Morning session (instructions for the day and meditations)
11.30am Exercise session (chi kung / yoga)
2.30pm Afternoon session (clarifying discourses and meditations)
5.30pm Exercise session (chi kung / yoga)
7.30pm Evening Discourse and Meditation (generally of a motivational and inspirational nature)
The basis for the successful practice of meditation is sīla (moral conduct). It is extremely difficult to develop strong concentration (Samadhi) and Insight (panna), while our mind is unrestrained and disorganised. When the Budhha taught meditation he suggested that those hoping to make real progress adhere to a simple code of conduct that supports their endeavours. While on retreat we will likewise follow these same guidelines.
It is our aim to offer retreats which enable the student to develop and deepen their practice in the most supported environment possible. As such, each student is asked to observe a few simple rules so that they may get the most out of their time on retreat.
Noble Silence is one of these rules. It is a key part of this experience and will be maintained for the 3 full days of the retreat. The 2 half days will not be in silence. Although many people find the idea of remaining silent quite daunting at first, almost all find that it adds considerably to the whole experience of being on retreat. The main aim of this practice is to allow the internal mindfulness of the student to develop over the week allowing them to be undistracted during their retreat. There will of course be opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification from the teacher or any of his assistants at appropriate times.
Below are the various aspects of Noble Silence we ask you to follow:
Handing in Mobile Phones. All participants are asked to hand in their mobile phones at the start of the retreat (after supper on arrival day). To be secluded from your daily life for a period of time allows you to fully engage with the teachings being shared.
If there is a need to be contactable due to special circumstances such as family illness etc. then an emergency phone number can be provided. Please discuss this with the assistant upon arrival.
No talking to or distracting of other students. Many people find it hard to take time away from busy lives to do retreat. If you feel you are struggling with the silence then you can always speak to one of the assistants who can help you.
No reading or writing of diaries/journals is permitted during the 6 days of noble silence. You can make notes and write in your diaries once we have broken silence on day 6.
No physical contact with anyone is permitted as this disturbs all parties involved.
Eye contact should be avoided within reason. Seeking to distract people while on your retreat is something that we would advise against as this disturbs both you and the other person(s) involved.
The other rules which we follow to setup a conducive environment for you to learn meditation are as follows:
to abstain from killing any living being – all meals will be vegetarian during the week.
To abstain from taking what is not given – all basic requirements will be provided for during your stay such as food.
To abstain from sexual activity – male and female students will have separate rooms for sleeping accommodation during the retreat.
To abstain from untruthfulness – noble silence will be observed for 6 days of the retreat (see above).
To abstain from all intoxicants – no smoking, alcohol or other drug use will be permitted. Please inform us of any prescribed drugs you will be using whilst on retreat (during booking process).
Picalzean House is located in it’s own 30 acre private grounds close to the mouth of the Cromarty Frith.
The Georgian House is surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, from a variety of birds to deer and rabbits.
Sleeping a group of about 30 people, retreats here are more intimate and personal, and allows students to spend time in the Scottish Highlands.