The AOM Foundation Retreat (Level 1) in France

Join us in France for our signature retreat that people return to time and time again, year after year. It is designed to be a full spectrum immersion course into the discipline, technique and energetics of meditative practice. 

There is so much content offered in this one programme. Burgs introduces different threads to the main body of work each time he runs this retreat. So it serves as both an introduction to meditation for new practitioners whilst simultaneously providing the opportunity for more seasoned meditators to develop their practice.

Our aim is to offer the new student a comprehensive introduction to meditation, that they might establish a stable foundation in meditation that will support a continued practice at home, whilst providing a deeply healing and supportive experience during the retreat itself.

Many who come for the first time see this is as a beginner’s meditation retreat. But there are also those who attend with a lot of meditation experience. With the teacher present, Burgs is able to not only respond to the varying needs of each group, but also give specific guidance to individuals where appropriate.

[s3bubbleAudio bucket=”aom-static-audio” folder=”AOM-7-Day-Retreat” height=”” autoplay=”false” playlist=”show” desc download=”false” preload=”auto”/]
For more meditation related content have a read of Burgs blog posts.

Meditation Retreat Dates:



Arrival time: 5pm on arrival date (or whenever direct flight arrives)

Finish time: 10am on finish date (or whenever direct flight departs)

Duration: 7 days

Level 1: Available to all levels of experience

Venue: Dhamma Vihara, French Pyrennes

Price: £330 – £380 shared room and board. Single rooms available on request.
Teachings are offered on donation.

Register now

Who is it for?


Waiting List

Example Daily Timetable

House Rules


This retreat is the entry point for everyone who wishes to come on retreat with Burgs and is open to both absolute beginners and experienced meditators alike.

The only exception to this may be in some cases where individuals are in treatment for certain health conditions, in which case we ask that you inform us of any pre-existing conditions before booking your place using the booking form provided.

Dhamma Vihara has a range of rooms which are mostly ensuite. These include single rooms (limited availability), twin share rooms.

Hermitage fixed price £680
Single room en suite fixed price £630
Single room shared bathroom fixed price £580
Shared room en suite fixed price £380
Dorm shared bathroom £330

Camping £250 (bring your own equipment – may not be available – please enquire during booking process)

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.

Travel Cost:

Please note that there is a (approx £35) transfer fee to cover costs. The charge will cover both pick-up and drop-off journey.

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.

Concessionary Rates:

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 – 40 minutes, followed by 20 minute breaks. There are exercise sessions at least twice a day, along with a 2 hour lunch break to enjoy walking in 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.

6.00am Wakeup
6.30am Morning Meditation
7.00am Morning Exercise (Chi Kung)
7.30am Breakfast
8.30am Morning session (instructions for the day and meditations)
11.30am Exercise session (chi kung / yoga)
12.30pm Lunch
2.30pm Afternoon session (clarifying discourses and meditations)
5.30pm Exercise session (chi kung / yoga)
6.30pm Soup
7.30pm Evening Discourse and Meditation (generally of a motivational and inspirational nature)
8.30pm Bedtime

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 Buddha 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 6 full days of the retreat. The final afternoon on the last full day will be an opportunity to slowly start to come out of retreat mode.
– 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 with this.
– 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 advise against as this disturbs both you and the other person(s) involved.

The basic tenets with 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.
– 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).

We will provide a pick-up and drop off from Perpignan train station / airport for those arriving and leaving at the start and end of the retreat.

There will be a cost incurred for this pick-up. It is approx. £35 per retreat, but we will confirm this with you prior to the start date.

Otherwise you must make your way to Arles-sur-Tech and from there we will pick you up.

Please ask us for seasonal travel options as we’ll know what the best route is depending on the time of year.

Retreat Venue

Dhamma Vihara, Languedoc-Roussillon, French Pyrennes

04 Main buildingDhamma Vihara is a small but spacious hamlet situated on the  South facing slope of the Massif of Mount Canigou, in France, not far from the  Spanish border.

Surrounded by natural forest, Dhamma Vihara is a stone and wood group of ancient  buildings, carefully restored and renovated.

Inside the property one can find an ancient stone circle (Cromlech) and  adventurous trails between enormous boulders and ageless Oaks. The retreat centre is practically on the famous GR10, the Pyrenees track connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean (a two months walk!).