All Are Welcome
The Samadhi Center is open to everyone regardless of experience, background and religion. At the Samadhi Center we teach both the long path (traditional meditation and clearing of sankaras or energy patterns) and the short path (realization of the ever-present I AM). Practicing meditation alone may reduce suffering in one's life, but may never lead to realization of the immanent self (Atman or soul) beyond name and form. And self inquiry on it's own may bring a recognition of one's true self, but if the habit patterns of the mind have not been cleaned and purified, then one usually loses the experience and falls back into conditioned behaviors. Practising both simultaneously is a way to clean and purify the human vessel to house the awakened self permanently. The Samadhi that comes and goes is not the true Samadhi.
A meditation retreat is an opportunity to move out of the endless patterns of doing to experience simply being; to become a true human-being as opposed to a human-doing. It is not an escape from your life, nor is it a holiday or time for relaxation, but rather it can be likened to doing deep surgery on one's entire being. Intensive meditation helps one to become free from the conditioned patterns that cause suffering. Rather than an escape from life, it is actually the way to engage more fully with life, to cultivate greater equanimity and presence in every facet of one's existence. It is now becoming well-known that practicing meditation provides many benefits such as improved heath, stress reduction, improved productivity, improved mental focus, emotional stability and improvements in overall well-being. These are all valuable benefits to one's life, yet the true gift of meditation is to realize Samadhi, which is immeasurably greater than anything that could be conveyed in mere words. Samadhi is the 8th and final part of the Buddha's noble eightfold path, and the 8th limb of Patanjali's 8 limbs of yoga, and is described as a "union" or collapse of duality which is unfathomable to the dualistic mind.
Rather than following one particular tradition, we borrow from many traditions freely. It is our understanding that there is one perennial truth or transcendent reality which is reflected in the many world spiritual traditions, and it is our intention to convey our unique expression of it using all available means. Those who are familiar with Vipassana retreats or the Zen Sesshin format will find a similar level of structure and opportunity for deep meditation practice. In our retreats we incorporate (but are not limited to) facets of the Zen sesshin, elements from the Vipassana traditions, as well as Christian mysticism, the yogic traditions, Vedanta, Samkhya, and non-dualism and others. All traditions and teachings are merely pointers to the unfathomable inner source which is beyond the limited egoic mind. The facilitators, provide instructions and teachings as needed throughout the retreats, as well as private consultation.
The Zen term “sesshin” means something like “gathering the heart-mind”, and this phrase reflects the essence of our meditation retreats. The sesshin is a period of intensive practice, during which all efforts and energies are focused or “gathered” for the purpose of awakening out of one’s conditioned or unconscious patterns and recognizing a new level of consciousness; a consciousness in which the egoic mind becomes a servant to the heart. Likewise, Vipassana, one of the world’s oldest meditation techniques taught 2500 years ago by the Buddha, is a process of deep self inquiry and purification. In the same way the 8 limbs of yoga are aimed at purifying oneself through deep concentration and surrender in order to reach Samadhi. Regardless of which teachings one is familiar with, it is our intention to allow participants to explore the experiential truth that comes through single-pointed concentration and inner non-resistance. Through meditation practice we are able to observe and purify the self structure, which is the cause of all suffering, and to awaken the spiritual heart which is beyond name and form. The spiritual heart has gone by many names throughout history and is also known as the true self, the selfless self, Atman (soul), Anatta or “no self”, Buddha nature, and Christ Consciousness.
Samadhi is an ancient Sanskrit word for which there is no modern equivalent. It was chosen as the name for this center because it honours the spirit of the traditions which have helped connect people to their true nature for thousands of years. To realize Samadhi is to learn to die before you die. Within different traditions the word Samadhi has many different meanings, which can lead to much confusion. Rather than trying to define it, we guide participants towards a direct realization of it. It is not something to be understood with the mind, because it is ultimately a cessation of identification with the limited mind, and eventually a relaxing of the egoic mind's control over one's life. However it is extremely beneficial to study and shape the mind into a tool that will support Samadhi, as opposed to hindering it. To the limited mind Samadhi must must remain a mystery, while prajna or wisdom is the realization of our true nature. Samadhi is realized directly through pure forms of deep meditation, prayer and self-inquiry, as well as working with and merging with the inner world and inner energy. It flowers into its full expression as the wisdom attained in meditation is integrated into every day life, and as levels of self are realized, purified, and come into alignment with the immanent Self.
Participants will have the opportunity to stay more connected to their inner energy and oriented inward towards awareness itself by maintaining silence throughout the retreat. Although there is no talking, gesturing or writing between participants, the silence is held in a way that can foster a deep connection to each other; a compassionate contribution to the group’s practice. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion during the daily group process, and in working with the facilitators. During work periods it may be necessary to communicate verbally in order to complete certain work, in which case speaking is allowed for that purpose only. We want to avoid chatting and activation of the mind so that we can come to a place of inner peace and stillness. "Be still and know."
Yaza is a Zen/Japanese Buddhist term which means "extra" meditation, and has also taken on the meaning of "night meditation". At our retreats we offer participants the opportunity to meditate through the night. While yaza is optional, sitting at night can allow for a profound deepening of meditative states, and the possibility for exploration of the immaterial jhanas.
One on One Interviews
During retreats we offer participants the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one private meetings with the facilitators to discuss your meditation practice or anything related to the path of awakening. Meetings are 1/2 hour long.
Sign-up sheets will be available on the board at the bottom of the stairs (dorm level).
Sound has been used for healing and transformation for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Everything in the universe is vibrating in a cosmic symphony. At the Samadhi Center a variety of instruments may be used during sound meditations. In particular we feel that the gong is a special instrument that can be used as powerful meditation tool. We have 6 Paiste gongs, including an incredible custom 50" gong which produces a unique sound experience. During sound meditation people can be sitting, lying down, or moving in response to the vibration. We encourage people to experience the transcendent effects of the gongs through their inner energy rather than through the mind, to realize aspects of the inner world which may otherwise be hidden.
At the Samadhi Center we feel it is important to make our retreats available to as many people as possible and to this end we offer a "seva" based model. The rereat fees cover all of your food and lodging, and retreat participants are expected to contribute 1-2 hours of work per day, or "seva", enabling us to keep staff and costs minimal.
Dana is an ancient Pali word meaning "generosity" or "gift." At the Samadhi Center the teachers do not receive payment for their teachings. In the ancient traditions it was always important that egoic interests and business considerations were kept out of the most important dharma teachings. For this reason we offer a minimal retreat cost of $50.00 per day which covers only food and lodging and operating costs. There is no suggested amount and dana is totally voluntary. We offer our profound gratitude for your support of our teachers. There is a donation box located in the Center for cash donations, or electronic donations can be made by Paypal at this link: https://www.paypal.me/SamadhiCenter. Please indicate whether you want to send the donation to the Center, or which teacher(s) you would like the donation to go to.
The Samadhi Center kitchen will be stocked with healthy, organic ingredients and simple recipes for the food prep volunteers to follow. We offer a mostly a vegan menu (eggs, cheese and fish are served separately) and participants with special dietary needs are expected to advise us upon registration. There will also be a variety of herbal teas and fresh fruit available during the day. Please be sure to carefully fill out the dietary portion of the registration form so we can properly prepare the menus, as we try to accommodate any particular needs you may have. Note: we do not provide coffee at our retreats, but will have black tea available. Please do not bring food to outdoor cabins as it will attract wildlife. Meals will be taken in silence.
Part of the practice of meditation is to observe and become free from the conditioned patterns that govern our lives. Because food preference can be a strong pattern for a lot of us, we intentionally offer a very simple menu during retreat.
A typical breakfast consists of baked eggs, granola, bread with jam/nut butters, yogurt, juice, almond milk, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, etc.
An example of a lunch would be quinoa and vegetables, bean salad, bread, date balls, fresh fruit
The light dinner may include, soup, hummus, crackers, salad, olives, bread.
Selfless service, or "seva", is a way for participants to contribute to the Samadhi meditation community. On a superficial level "seva" can be perceived as merely volunteer work and assisting with what needs to be done. However, on a deeper level, "seva" is action that comes from the immanent Self, from one's true nature which is empty of egoic or selfish action. The seva or service period should not be seen as a break from meditation, but rather is a way to integrate meditative awareness into other facets of life. Meditation does not end when you get up off the cushion! Seva is like a bridge between meditation and every day life. Seva duties may include cooking, cleaning, laundry, outdoor work, leading sits, or other tasks necessary for the running of the retreat. You may indicate what type of seva you are able to assist with on the retreat registration form. We try our best to allocate jobs according to what is indicated on the forms, but sometimes certain tasks (such as kitchen duties) have to be shared between many people.
Family/ Kid's Retreats
At the Samadhi Center we are interested in offering occasional family retreats. If you are interested in this type of retreat please let us know and we will add you to a mailing list.
Check out the family retreats page.
Our facility was designed for a maximum of 16 meditators. The small numbers allow for an intimate sense of community. The meditation zendo, kitchen, dining room and bathroom with shower are all located on the main level. The dorms, bathrooms, showers and private rooms are located on the lower level. And a library/ sitting area is located on the top level. We have many meditation cushions (zafus and zabutons), yoga mats, blankets, meditation benches and chairs available in the Center.
There are several options for accommodations during your meditation retreat, and selection is on a first-come-first-served basis. On your sign-up sheet you may pick a first and second choice of accommodation and we will allocate based on availability. We also take into consideration each individual's needs.
Option 1 - Dorms (bunk beds). The dorms are divided into men's and women's quarters and are located on the lower floor. Each dorm holds six people and has its own washroom area with two showers, a private changing area, and two toilets. All bedding and towels are supplied.
Option 2 - Cabins. There are also five seasonal cabins, whose availability will vary with each retreat. Each cabin holds two people, but single occupancy may be available. The cabins are rustic with no heat or electricity and are varying distances from the center. There is an outhouse and wash/shower area which can be used by cabin occupants. All bedding and towels are supplied.
Option 3 - Private rooms in the main building. There are a small number of private or semi-private rooms in the main building. Preference will be given to those with medical needs, and assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.