Samadhi Center Logistics
The Samadhi Center is located in a very quiet corner of Ontario, just south of Algonquin park, nestled among several hundred acres of beautiful forest and bordered by the Little Mississippi River. You will find some old growth pines that are 200 years old on the property. We are very conscious of the beneficial effects of being in nature and have made sustainable operations our priority. To this end, the Samadhi Center building is an off-grid solar powered building with a geodesic growing dome on site. To help keep the Samadhi Center functioning optimally, there are a few things we would invite you to keep in mind during your stay.
1) Accessibility. Please note that the Samadhi Center is located on the side of a hill and is not wheelchair accessible. As well, each floor of the building is accessible only by stairs. We regret that individuals with any mobility concerns will not be able to navigate the property and building.
2) WIFI and Cell Service.
Please note that there is no cell phone service on the property, and the surrounding areas will have an inconsistent signal. Therefore,please ensure that you have printed directions to the center. Once you are at the Samadhi Center you are welcome to connect to the WIFI for important non-recreational communications, but please restrict your online time to rest periods so as to preserve an atmosphere of stillness during zendo sits. Please also restrict your use of screens to the library room. The password will be on display there.
Please keep showers short, as we are on a well, and stagger showers throughout the day if possible. Use of the main floor private shower is limited to times when the zendo is not in use.
4) Shoes and Slippers.
Please remove shoes while inside the building and wear slippers or socks. Slippers are a good idea for those in the dorms on tops bunks, as climbing up and down the rungs can be a bit hard on some people’s feet.
For drinking water there is a Berkey water filtration system in the eating area. The well water at the Samadhi Center is as good as it gets, drawn from a deep artesian spring. Hot water will also be available for tea throughout the day.
While we discourage contact with ‘the outside world’ during silent retreat, if you need to use the Samadhi Center phone, please contact the Retreat Manager and arrangements will be made. If the outside world needs to contact you, we will be checking voicemails and emails at least twice a day and will relay messages to you via the cork board.
7) Walking trails.
You are welcome to walk the trails on the property, but please stay on the cleared trails. Please also be mindful during hunting season (in November) to either wear orange or avoid walking in the woods during that time.
Devices that draw large amounts of electricity such as coffee makers, toasters, laptop computers, electric blankets,hairdryers etc. may put a strain on the solar system. Charging things like cell phones will not be a problem and only draws a bit of power, but in the interests in conserving electricity and maintaining your own inner, quiet focus, please try to stay ‘unplugged’ as much as possible.
Our gongs are quite beautiful and enticing, and people are sometimes drawn to touch them. However, they have a unique finish which is easily damaged by the oils on human hands. Please do not touch the gongs with bare hands. In order to respect the silence of other participants, please do not play the gongs or other instruments unless it is during a part of the retreat where you are invited to do so.
The zendo, or meditation hall, is located off of the dining area and also serves as the space for our sound meditations. During scheduled formal meditation sits, we ask that you sit on either a cushion, bench or chair, and limit lying on yoga mats to designated sound meditations or when the zendo is not in use.
Your clothing should be as comfortable and quiet as possible (no noisy fabrics or zippers). Although we will try to keep it fairly cool in the zendo, the temperatures can vary throughout the day with the passive solar effect through the large windows. Feel free to bring a blanket or layers of clothing to adjust if necessary.
We ask that you move slowly and quietly throughout the entire building, but especially into and out of the zendo. Unless there is an urgent need, please only enter or leave zendo between sits, not during.
Feel free to have a copy of the meditation schedule, a glass of water and some tissues with you in the zendo. Please do not write in books or notepads in the Zendo during sits, as it may disturb other participants. You are welcome to utilize writing materials during group process sessions. Your meditation space should be left tidy each time you leave the zendo, stacking your cushions and folded blankets, and clearing any empty water glasses etc.
A bell will be rung three times by the zendo facilitator to indicate the beginning of each sit, and a single bell will be rung to close them. There will be a period of about 5-10 minutes between each sit for washroom breaks, repositioning or transitioning in or out of the zendo. If you find that you need to move or adjust your position during a sit, please try to do so as slowly and mindfully as possible.
There are designated sit/walk meditations, during which you have the option to stand and slowly walk, clockwise, around the perimeter of the zendo as your meditation. If you do not have experience with walking meditation, you may want to research simple techniques prior to the retreat, as it may not be covered in instructions.
The chanting sessions will involve simple, easy to follow chants. While the sounds we chant often hold great meaning, we would invite you to participate in the experience of the chant as a form of meditation; both surrendering to freely create the vibrations, as well as maintaining awareness of any changes in your inner energy.
While in some Zendos it is sometimes customary to bow to the leader of the zendo, your cushion, other participants etc., that is not required and will be left to your own personal preference.
11) Stuff to bring to the retreat:
1. Biodegradable shampoo and soap. We do have some extra if people forget.
2. Warm clothes. Cool clothes (bring layers as temperature in the Zendo can fluctuate)
3. Meditation cushion and yoga mat if you prefer your own - we do have lots of good quality buckwheat hull zafus, zabutons, and yoga mats
4. Note taking materials (pen and notebook)
5. Earplugs if you are a light sleeper (we have some if needed)
6. For those staying in cabins, please consider bringing: bug spray (preferably something natural), bug jacket, battery powered alarm clock or watch with alarm, a good flashlight, water bottle, footwear for walking on outdoor paths
12) Stuff to leave at home:
1. Electronic devices. We are out of cell phone range, however students may use the Samadhi Center phone for emergency or important calls.
2. Laptop computers. There is WiFI in case of an emergency and you need to use a laptop.
3. Cigarettes, alcohol, or any other addictive substances, including unhealthy junk foods
4. Strong perfumes and scented hygiene products
The Samadhi Center is located approximately half way between two major Canadian cities; Toronto and Ottawa. It is possible to fly in to Ottawa or Toronto from most major cities in the world. The drive from Toronto will be less scenic and slightly longer than the drive from Ottawa.
If you are driving and are willing to take another passenger, please sign up using the links below. Likewise if you need a ride, please check the carpool link for others travelling from your area.
July Retreat Carpool Page: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/2s807r
August Retreat Carpool Page: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/3v6b27
September Retreat Carpool Page: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/ac8hwj
October Retreat Carpool Page: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/hv4f60
Buses To and From Bancroft
The Samadhi Center is approximately 25 minutes from the nearest town, which is Bancroft, Ontario (Canada).
There are Greyhound buses running to and from Bancroft from various cities. Check out the Greyhound website for details. Once you are in Bancroft there are taxis which can bring you to the Samadhi Center, or check the carpool links (above) to arrange a ride.