Twice each year, the Port Townsend Sangha hosts a weekend retreat with a visiting Buddhist meditation teacher.
While the in-person program is temporarily suspended for health protection, the program goes on! We will have a retreat September 11 – 13 with Tuere Sala. Details will be found on the home page. There is no charge to attend this event. Information on voluntary contributions to teachers to support their work will be provided.
Below is a discussion of the nature of the retreat program.
Many retreats feature a free introductory lecture on Friday evening, followed by two full-day sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Visiting teachers offer dharma talks, as well as guidance for sitting meditation and for walking meditation.
Dharma talks may include a variety of Buddhist teachings, such as principles for ethical behavior and wise living, as well as advice to aspirants on meditation techniques. Often, teachers tell stories from their personal experience that reinforce the teachings. An intention of our retreats is the integration of our practice into daily life.
In general, sitting meditation may last up to 45 minutes at a time, alternated with shorter periods of walking meditation or other meditation practices.
Our mindfulness retreats often maintain silence during the day, except for teachings or one-to-one trainings. This creates an atmosphere for intensive practice. Silence sharpens our awareness.
The retreats are held at the Port Townsend Yacht Club and at the Friends Meeting House, in wheelchair-accessible halls. The Sangha will provide chairs, and we have some cushions. Often people bring their own cushions, benches or other accessories. Some participants bring shawls or sweaters to stay warm, and outerwear for outdoor walking meditation.
At midday, we break for lunch. Retreat participants bring bagged lunches, or may take a break and leave the hall to eat at nearby restaurants or at home. All are encouraged to bring the same awareness and direct attention to eating as they do to other forms of meditation. The Sangha will provide tea and hot water and cups throughout the day, but bringing your own cup or water bottle can be helpful.
Retreats are announced on the Port Townsend Sangha website, and by advance email. If you wish to receive email notices of retreats, please subscribe here. At this link, you can choose to join either the general email list or just the retreat announcement list.
Many participants who were new to meditation have found the weekend retreats an easy and dynamic gateway to meditation, mindfulness practice, and the development of insight practice, vipassana. We hope you will be able to attend these joyful affairs.
When we meet in person, donations are accepted to pay for the rental of the hall, for teacher transportation, and for supplies. If there is any surplus, it is used to support Sangha activities and is gratefully received. When attendance is insufficient to cover costs, the Sangha picks up the bill. Teachers receive no payment for services. Therefore dana, donations to the teacher, are deeply appreciated to show our gratitude, to respect their efforts and to support their work.
Please let us know if you wish to recommend teachers for future programs.
If you would like more information about the Weekend Retreat Program, please contact us at this email address. We need volunteers, and would be grateful for your involvement.