Meditation Retreat Links

In no particular order here are some retreat centers as well as organizations that host retreats

  • Chan Dharma Drum Retreat Center  in Pine Bush NY has many retreats to choose from ranging from a few days to a week.
  • The Philadelphia Meditation Center hosts retreats several times a year at St. Raphaela center in Haverford PA
  • Insight meditation Society in Barre Massachusetts has various retreat options to choose from
  • The Bhavana Society has various retreat options to choose from in  West Virginia
  • PBMG has a yearly retreat in various places in NJ
  • Omega Institute has lots of retreat options to choose from in Rhinebeck, NY
  • Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County has several retreats each year ( commuting only ) in Bucks County PA
  • Way Open Center has a Full Day Retreat with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group in Bucks County and Philadelphia PA
  • Pendle Hill in Newtown PA holds occasional meditation retreats
  •  Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA has many retreat options to choose from
  • Soji Zen holds occasional workshops and retreats at their center in Lansdowne, PA
  • SN Goenka retreat center (Theravadan tradition) with retreat centers in Delaware and Massachusetts along with others in Georgia, California, Texas.
  • Jeff Shore retreats who has led Day retreats at BSBC has occasional retreats in our area

Do you know of other places to go for a meditation retreat?  Contact us and let us know

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Upcoming Retreats in 2018

At some point after you have been introduced to meditation you will find yourself considering taking time to practice in a retreat.  Meditation Retreats are a wonderful way to deepen your meditation practice, allowing yourself space to practice.  There are various retreat structures to choose from, and they are all wonderful, ranging from a day of mindfulness at a house to weekend retreats sponsored by a local sangha to a mountain retreat center that welcomes participants all year long. Below is a list of the retreats coming up that will aid you in attending one that appeals to you at this time.  Also check the various retreat websites for retreats not on this page.

8/10/18 (Fri, 6 pm) to 8/12/18 (Sun, 3 pm) Beginner’s Mind Retreat—If you are relatively new to the practice, this is a good first retreat although many experienced practitioners find the variety of practice activities helpful. Besides sitting, walking, moving and eating meditation, we will also be practicing in workshops ranging from the Art of Seeing to the Art of Communication to learn about how to bring our practice into daily life. $220 (scholarships available; no prior retreat experience needed)

8/10/18 (Fri, 6 pm) to 8/12/18 (Sun, 3 pm) A PMC Residential Weekend Retreat
Staying Present With Equanimity Led by Winnie Nazarko at Saint Raphaela Center in
Haverford, PA – a wonderful opportunity to learn  meditation, to energize and deepen  our practice and share in the support of others. We will be alternating sitting, standing, and walking meditation using Vipassana (Insight) Meditation as a means to opening to the innate wisdom, joy, and peace which lies in each of us. There will be instructions, practice, dharma talks, and silence.

8/17/18 (Fri) – 8/24/18(Fri) – Your Life Is Your Practice: Insight Meditation Retreat  with Narayan Liebenson & Greg Scharf   –  Insight meditation (vipassana in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings) is the simple and direct practice of moment-to-moment mindfulness. Through careful and sustained observation, we experience for ourselves the ever-changing flow of the mind/body process. This awareness leads us to accept more fully the pleasure and pain, fear and joy, sadness and happiness that life inevitably brings. As insight deepens, we develop greater equanimity and peace in the face of change, and wisdom and compassion increasingly become the guiding principles of our lives.

The Buddha first taught vipassana over 2,500 years ago. The various methods of this practice have been well preserved in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. This silent retreat, suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators, is rooted in this ancient and well-mapped path to awakening, and draws on the full spectrum of this tradition’s lineages.

9/1/18(Sat) – 9/7/18 (Fri) Mindfulness- The Body And Mind Connection
– All are welcome to register for this retreat but we highly recommend that you have a daily practice with meditation to participate in a week long retreat. This retreat is focused on using the breath and the body to develop the practice of mindfulness. All retreats are considered silent retreats with the exception of Dhamma talks, question and answer periods. Leading this retreat will be Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, a visiting monastic, who has taught many retreats at the Bhavana Society and around the world. Yoga will be offered during the retreat.

On-site registration/check-in opens at 3:00 p.m. in the Dining Hall. Please arrive to allow enough time to complete registration here and settle in before the retreat begins. All retreats end after lunch on the last day.

Although every retreat is slightly different here is a typical retreat daily schedule.

9/19/18 – 9/30/18 SN Goenka 10 day retreat (aka Buddhist boot camp) in Delaware

10/5/18 (Fri, 6 pm) to 10/10/18 (Wed, 10 am) Western Zen Retreat—Within the context of Chan meditation, participants will make use of a question to penetrate the mind to gain a deeper understanding of our habitual tendencies and patterns of thoughts and insights into the working of our mind. I will be co-leading this retreat with Simon Child and Fiona Nuttall from the UK. This retreat has limited spaces as each participant will receive lots of individual instructions in private interviews. Suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners. $350 (scholarships available; no prior retreat experience needed)


1/3/19 to 1/8/19 retreat with Jeff Shore in Philadelphia, USA

February 22-25 PBMG retreat (Northwest NJ ) (waiting list info – Kim )

3/3/2018 Way Open Center
Saturday Full Day Retreat with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) group 

Mar 26 – Apr 2, 2018
Present in Every Moment: Waking Up to Love and Compassion in Our Lives ( Pendle Hill – Newtown PA)
A seven-day Mindfulness Meditation retreat with Mary Grace Orr, Anne Briggs, and Larissa Kitenko (Monday 4:30pm to Monday 1pm.)

April 4 – May 23 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:00 pm plus Full Day Retreat: May 12
Fallsington Friends Meeting 9300 New Falls Rd., Fallsington, PA 19054
Investment: $395 / $350 if paid by March 21 

4/6/18 (Fri, 6 pm) to 4/8/18 (Sun, 5 pm) Foundation Retreat—three days of practicing Chan meditation in stillness and motion, with instructions on sitting, moving, walking and eating meditation, important Dharma concepts to support one’s practice, as well as private personal interviews to discuss difficulties in and questions about one’s practice. $220 (scholarships available; no prior retreat experience needed)

5/26/18 (Sat, 6 pm) to 6/3/18 (Sun, 10 am) Silent Illumination Retreat with Rebecca Li with one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, Dr. Simon Child. Detailed instructions will be given on this subtle method of Chan to investigate the mind, to really get to know ourselves, and to cultivate wisdom and compassion. Participants will also receive individualized instructions in private interviews. $585 (scholarships available; 3-day retreat experience needed)

5/18/18 to 5/20/18 (Friday6m to Sunday 1pm) A PMC Residential Weekend Retreat Cultivating a Wise Heart Led by Annie Nugent at Saint Raphaela Center 616 Coopertown rd Haverford, Pennsylvania 

7/27/2018 – 7/29/2018 Rhinebeck, NY ( Omega )
Radical Acceptance – Pathway of Emotional Healing & Spiritual Freedom
More info 

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4-week series on Wisdom Factors

Padma Dharini has been leading a series on the wisdom factors.

Enjoy the audios below! (The first 2 recordings were started 5-10 minutes into the talk)

The Audio from July 9, 2018 below:

07.09.18 wisdom factors Series     

Also we have audio for other weeks:

07.16.18 wisdom factors Series     
07.23.18 wisdom factors Series     
Supplemental material:  By chance, I listened to a guided meditation from Rob Burbea today(July 24, 2018). It’s quite complimentary to the material covered last night.
The audio is a talk from the first week of a 4-week retreat he did on emptiness at the Gaia House in the UK.  The title is “Guided Meditation: Three Characteristics”

Per the title, the meditation begins looking at Impermanence where, after establishing a concentrated state, he begins to try & tune you into observing change. At about the mid-way point, Rob instructs you to examine any experiences of unpleasantness (dukkha) that may be arising, such as clinging or aversion. He guides you in a way that is quite simple and clever, at least it was for me. It also made me think of Marc’s comment last night about aversion being the opposite side of the coin to clinging.

Following this he explores Anatta, this idea of disconnecting from the sensations and phenomena that is arising in us. He calls it unhooking the I.
For me, the sensation that was arising & has been quite a bit lately is this discomfort in my lower back. Although I often realize it’s just discomfort & I shouldn’t make more of it, I still fall prey. This guided meditation helped me work through the sensation of discomfort and disconnect the “me-ness” in the discomfort. This is all still pretty new to me but I got a lot out of this meditation & thought I’d share it with the rest of you since we’ve all been learning this approach–to be able to see things as not self.

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The Heart Sutra-wisdom tradition

In case you missed our sangha discussion this past Monday, 6/18/18, we recorded it. We were grateful for Lowell who facilitated an engaging Dharma talk covering the Prajnaparamita Sutras, specifically the Heart and Diamond Sutras. These wisdom sutras, particularly the Heart Sutra, are quite challenging to grasp. Over the past several weeks, we’ve had numerous teachings on the Heart Sutra and the 5 Skandas. In this discussion, Lowell started with a recap of the prior weeks, added quite a bit by sharing his experience and understanding of these sutras and managed to leave plenty of time for others to share their understanding and challenges with the Heart Sutra.

Enjoy this audio below!

06.18.18 Heart Sutra - Wisdom Tradition     
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Mindful Eating Practice

The practice of Mindful Eating gives us an opportunity to satisfy and nourish our  body, pay attention to our hunger cues, cravings, sensations, and bring a new dimension to just eating or drinking as it is.  With each meal, we take pleasure in eating and drinking. It’s an important practice. We practice stopping eating when feeling satisfied and this is easier when eating mindfully.

When we eat mindfully it’s a meditation practice in itself. We reflect and acknowledge the importance of eating meditation practice in our daily lives.  Once we do that reflection, it is helpful to write it down and remember why we wish to practice mindful eating.

For example you can write this down and put on your refrigerator or in your lunch bag or another place where you will be reminded of the intention

  • I take this opportunity to really enjoy and honor this food and drink.
  • I am grateful for all that was done in order for me to eat and drink this food.
  • I dedicate at least 5 minutes to mindful eating because this is how I feed my body and my spirit.
  • I become satisfied when eating mindfully, since I take the time to be with the present moment while eating.
  • Practices and methods that can be helpful in cultivating the practice of mindful eating.


        • Take 5 minutes and eat one raisin or one almond mindfully as a meditation practice. Increase the time to 10, 15, 30m
        • When eating, just eat. When cooking, just cook. Give it 100%
        • Schedule eating time during lunch or dinner and just eat without distractions.
        • Family dinner time is a time to socialize and to be present with our families.  We practice a careful balance of socializing only when not actively eating or drinking.
        • When we are eating, we are mindful of the food we are eating, not talking, but focusing on the food. After chewing and swallowing the food or drink we can shift our attention to the others and putting our utensils down while we chat and listen.
        • We practice eating with our full attention, noticing the food and surroundings
        • Make eating a special occasion, adding flowers or nice candles is a nice touch to note the importance of this activity, making it special for self


  • Practices before we start the meal


          • Say thank you for this food, everyone who made contributions, the earth and all causes and conditions for me to be alive to experience this food – this food is a blessing.
          • Recognize that having this food is a precious gift, and not all people have access to food today, especially this special unique food in front of us.
          • Have the Intention, that all beings have access to food like I am about to eat.
          • Bow to the food as a recognition and respect for all of the above.
          • Recognize that eating mindfully is a gift we give to ourselves. We deserve to eat this food with gratitude and in full awareness to honor it.
          • When we prepare the food, we take time to be grateful for ourselves – time put into food prep by making it special
          • Give ourselves permission to take the time to eat without distractions.
            • Be present /  Be grateful
            • If we are not taking this time to eat, we are taking the whole experience for granted, eating  the emails, the conversations, the news, etc…
          • Do not eat snacks while cooking – we can’t actually do both.  Tasting is ok.


  • Practice during meals


        • Notice texture, smell, color, taste, changing of taste, salivation, teeth, cheeks, tongue, breathing, muscles relaxed or tight, jaw, plate color, texture, material, temperature, desire for food arising, hunger cues, sensations of body, mouth.
        • When we reach for the next piece of food, does the tongue automatically push food down in preparation for the next bite? Notice it.
        • To help with mindful eating, put down the utensils until after all food is chewed and swallowed. Pick em back up mindfully.
        • Stop eating when feeling satisfied ( no longer feeling hunger )
        • Notice thoughts or ideas about the food we eat
          • Is there guilt? Do we need to finish the food because throwing it out is wasteful? Is that true?  If we do throw out food, it’s an opportunity to learn from the karma of taking too much. Were we being greedy when serving?
          • Let it go, accept, and bring kindness to self for whatever we are feeling.  
        • Do Not do other things during eating. That is honoring the food that we or another person just prepared for us, as well as honoring karma of this food.  
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Lama Gursam Retreat – June 30, 2018

Lama_Gursam_June_30_2018 (1)

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Taking Refuge – What does it mean to you?

What does Taking Refuge mean to you?

One way we can take refuge is:
– To appreciate and honor the original teacher, the one who awoke.
– To appreciate and honor the dharma teachings kept alive for thousands of years, and all the people who took great care to study and teach the dharma.
– To appreciate all the dedicated sanghas in past present and future who give guidance and support to each other, practicing and learning the dharma.

More about Taking Refuge

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Rebecca Li – the practice of Just Sitting

On April 23, 2018 Rebecca Li gave instructions and lead a guided meditation that settles into the practice of Just Sitting or Silent IlluminationThe practice of Silent Illumination is similar to the practice of Zen Shikantaza. The evening felt like a mini-retreat and instead of the usual break we all did walking meditation through the break followed by a period of Q&A.

Here is the audio recording:

Rebecca Li -Silent Illumination     

Download it here     
  • Introduction to the practice
  • 17m practice instructions ,
  • 31m the sitting practice period and walking
  • 1h 30m Q&A period
  • 1h 55 Closing readings

If you are interested in learning more about this practice, Rebecca recommends practicing on a retreat, where the teachers can guide you and you will have the benefit of a settled state of mind.

Next Silent Illumination retreat is 5/26/18 (Sat, 6 pm) to 6/3/18 (Sun, 10 am) with Rebecca Li with one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, Dr. Simon Child.

Detailed instructions will be given on this subtle method of Chan to investigate the mind, to really get to know ourselves, and to cultivate wisdom and compassion. Participants will also receive individualized instructions in private interviews. $585 (scholarships available; 3-day retreat experience needed)

If you would like to send general feedback or share a reflection about your experience of Rebecca’s upcoming teaching on April 23rd,  you may email us at Your feedback is private and will not be shared publicly without your express written permission. Thank you. 

About Rebecca Li, PhD 

Rebecca LiRebecca began practicing in 1995, and attended her first seven-day intensive retreat with Chan Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC), in the following year. Since then she has attended numerous intensive Chan retreats. In 1999 after moving to New Jersey she began translating for Master Sheng Yen. In the same year, she began her training with the Master to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes and gives public lectures at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) and leads 1- to 3-day retreats at CMC & DDRC. She has been training with Simon Child since 2008 to conduct retreat interviews and has been assisting in his intensive retreats since 2012. Along with her husband David Slaymaker, Rebecca leads Chan practice at Rutgers University and the New Jersey chapter of DDMBA and teaches on behalf of Dharma Drum in various community activities in the NJ-NY area. Rebecca is a board member of the Dharma Drum Retreat Center and professor of sociology at The College of New Jersey.

The Chan Meditation Center:
The Dharma Drum Retreat Center:
See Rebecca’s talk about why we meditate here
Hear her recording from other visits 

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Padma Dharini – Meditation Series Commencement

We were delighted to have Padma Dharini last night on Monday, April 16, 2018. Fortunately, we were able to record this final session (as part of a 6-week meditation series). The entire talk is excellent. Midway through (starting at 31 minute mark), Padhma Dharini led us through a guided meditation exploring awareness and self. It was quite an interesting experience and enlightening to hear others’ describe their experience. The Buddhist Sangha of Bucks County is so grateful to Padma Dharini for all the time and instruction she provided over the last 6 weeks. We certainly hope to continue to benefit from Padma Dharini’s teaching in the future. Enjoy this audio below!

The Audio from April 16, 2018 below:

04.16.18 Meditation Series Commencement     

Also we have audio for some of the previous weeks

04.02.18 Practice of loving kindness or metta     

Week 6 Visual Posterboard:



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Sangha visits Feasterville Library

On March 22nd the Feasterville Library welcomed our sangha members Eugene and Rika with a room with more than 40 people who wanted to learn about meditation despite the snow storm on the previous day.

The people who attended were really interested in mediation, add although some were completely new, some were familiar but did not know where or how to start.

Their sincere attitudes planted a seed of love and gratitude in our heart and inspired us to do our best.

We left them “How to Meditate” prints of sangha and we hope a glimpse of the benefits of meditation and the desire to pursue their interest.

To listen to the talk given please click here

Feasterville Library Meditation Intro     
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