Two or three times a year we organize a weekend retreat away from the city, often at the East Down Centre on the northern edge of the Moor. A Buddhist retreat gives you the opportunity to take a break from the concerns and demands of your everyday routine, encouraging the inner spaciousness for deeper experience.
People on retreat often feel more 'grounded' or 'centred' - more calm, kind, and clear - and more in touch with themselves. Those who go on retreat regularly find themselves gradually able to bring these qualities into the living of the rest of their life. Their experience - even of ordinary everyday things - becomes richer and more satisfying.
The daily programme may vary depending on the type or theme of the retreat, and also the Retreat Centre you choose. Most retreats include meditation, talks, discussion, periods of silence and free time, short work activities, and sometimes other activities such as yoga or tai chi.
Our Introductory Course in Meditation and Buddhism provides a foundation of basic knowledge and practice on which you can build. You'll learn two traditional meditation practices - mindfulness of breathing (anapana sati) and cultivating kindly awareness (metta bhavana) - along with some key ideas and aspects of the Buddhist path to awakening. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We regularly hold other practice events such as day or weekend retreats. To keep up to date with current events go to thebuddhistcentre.com/Exeter – Join the site and click +Follow to receive notifications of new events. You can also go to our facebook page Triratna South West UK , or send us your email address and we will add you to our monthly newsletters.
Alongside the Wednesday evening meeting, there are regular study groups for those with more experience ("Mitras"), looking in more depth at particular themes and topics.
Our Wednesday night group is the place to start. It's suitable for both beginners and those with some experience and there are usually about ten people every week. The main practices we teach in this class are the Mindfulness of Breathing, a development of Loving-Kindness meditation and 'just sitting'.
If you have little or no previous experience of meditation you may want to look at this website: www.wildmind.org. Go to the 'Meditation Guides' tab to discover all kinds of interesting info about meditation, including a posture guide, which it will be helpful to know about before the class (we do have chairs to sit on as well as cushions). It also has some guided meditations to listen to - Mindfulness of Breathing, and the Loving Kindness Meditation.
Cushions and cups of tea are provided. We start at 7.00pm (but do arrive by 6.50pm to say hello first) and we meet upstairs at Exeter Natural Health Centre. (Through the passageway by the Boston Tea Party, up the steps, through the doors and then up to the second floor.) The meeting runs on donations: £4 or £5 (more or less) will help us pay the room rent (and for tea!) - but do come, even if you have no £s.
Exploring Buddhism for the first time can be daunting: There are so many different 'flavours' or types of Buddhism to choose from, so many teachers, so many centres. Perhaps you are especially drawn to meditation, or perhaps there's just something about Buddhism that makes you want to know a bit more. At our drop-in class, you can meet other beginners and those with more experience; you can find out more about Buddhism; and you can start to learn how to meditate. You don't need to commit to anything, no pressure, just come along and experience it for yourself.