FAQ for Retreats at Kalachakra Kalapa Center
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What is a retreat?
In general “retreat” means to take a rest, to come down in silence, to withdraw. It means to take a break from everyday life and familiar surroundings and to devote more attention to spiritual practice.
In our stressful life we rarely allow ourselves to pause and let our mind take a rest. In the setting of a retreat, through mindful withdrawal to an undisturbed place, we have the opportunity to commune with ourselves, usually in silence. Qualified teachers assist us in confronting our inner being, in observing and questioning our habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour.
To face these impulses and automatisms requires courage, but ultimately leads to increasing clarity and alertness and provides new energy and a wider perspective for our lives.
What is NOT a retreat?
One of our teachers, Stephan Pende Wormland, answered this question as follows: "A retreat is not a wellness holiday.” Neither is it about escaping from everyday life or going all dreamy.
How to behave during a retreat?
We focus on the five ethical principles of Buddhism (based on the interpretation of the 5 shilas by Thich Nhat Hanh):
- Support life – no killing
- Practice generosity – no stealing
- Responsible use of sexuality – sexual abstinence during the stay at the center
- Mindful listening and sympathetic, truthful speech for the benefit of all – no lying
- Mindful use of food – no drugs, no alcohol
We also recommend:
- We support each other by a calm, friendly, respectful and careful attitude towards ourselves, other people and the objects.
- To stay well focussed on yourself during the retreat, you should not sit next to your partner and friends.
- The behaviour in the meditation room will be discussed on site.
Who can participate in a retreat?
Everyone who longs for spiritual impulses for her/his life, wants to get closer to her/his real self and would like to discover silence as a source of energy.
- Everyone who wants to examine her/himself more closely.
- Everyone who is willing to engage in a simple lifestyle and to adhere to a prescribed daily schedule and ethical guidelines.
- Everyone who is willing to meditate in a group.
What is the accommodation at Kalachakra Kalapa Center like?
We offer a frugal lifestyle. There are 2 rooms with 8 beds and 2 rooms with 4 beds. Men and women are housed separately. There are 2 shower rooms, one with 3, the other one with 2 showers. They are also separate for men and women.
Can I get a single room?
We recommend spending the night in the dormitory, because the practice of mindfulness is more efficient in the community.
There is only a limited number of single rooms available.
The single room supplement is € 15 per night.
What is the food at a retreat like?
Our cooks prepare 3 meals: breakfast, lunch and a light dinner. For breakfast, for example, we offer a warm porridge and fruits. For lunch we serve a soup, main course and a dessert. In the evening we offer a warm soup and bread.
We serve vegetarian meals which are based on the rules of the Mahayana vows not to eat “black food”: meat, onions, garlic, eggs and radish. Exempt are meals from groups who rent the centre. Only the rule to cook vegetarian is obligatory.
In case of special dietary needs please inform us at registration so it can be discussed with the cooks in advance
Why should I not wear jewellery or make-up at a retreat?
The spiritual exercise is not about outward appearances.
It is a journey inside your mind – inside your heart…
Why are there no mirrors at Kalachakra Kalapa Center?
A retreat also means to withdraw from our usual concern for outward appearances. Having no mirror helps us to avoid continuous assessment and comparison with others.
It's fine the way I am.
What is Noble Silence?
Noble Silence means to reduce our familiar ways of communication to make room for an intense experience of silence.
We avoid all kinds of exchange, be it verbal or in written form or by gestures. We also refrain from using electronic devices or social media, because all these would deter us from remaining focussed on our mind without interruption. Noble Silence, this conscious and active immersion in silence, not only helps to reach an effective attention to ourselves, it is also an expression of consideration in the group.
Even if there is no open communication, you can always ask questions in writing to the retreat organizer or the teacher. Of course, in case of emergencies all participants can be reached by relatives via the contact phone number all day round. Therefore there is no need to check the mobile phone.
At the end of the retreat, you will have the opportunity for joint discussion and exchange of experience.
What is a typical daily routine?
At our center, each retreat follows a programme that is matched to the respective duration.
Generally, we spend most of the day in silent practice.
The daily schedule includes periods of sitting and walking meditation, gentle body exercises, as well as participation in the housework.
A detailed schedule will be announced on arrival or during the introduction.
I have difficulties with walking, what are the facilities at Kalachakra Kalapa Retreat Center for people with a mobility handicap?
Sorry, but there is no wheelchair access. If you have mobility problems please do not hesitate to contact us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +43 (0) 699 1251 1291.
What is Work Meditation (also: Karma Yoga)?
In the daily routine of meditation certain units focus on mindful working.
It involves participation in the housework or with gardening. This allows us to experience meditation and work to be mutually enriching.
What is Mindful Working?
The difference to “normal working” in our everyday life is that, while working, we are attentive to things that usually escape our attention. This can be trained during gardening, cooking, washing the dishes and so on. (» picture gallery)
Why is voluntary assistance (Karma Yoga) requested at a retreat?
We ask you to support us by your participation in the housework. This voluntary help is important in order to ensure the smooth operation of the retreat and allows us to offer our courses at affordable prices.
What should I pack?
Above all - yourself!
- The center is located at 1,000 meters above sea level. So bring warm clothes at all seasons! If you are very sensitive to cold, we advise you to bring warm underware.
- Out of respect for the many sacred objects at the center do not wear sleeveless or above-the-knee clothing.
- Sheet and sleeping bag or own linen. Blankets and pillows are provided. If you cannot bring your own bed linen, you can rent some for € 10 on site.
- Perhaps earplugs for sleeping (accommodation in shared rooms)
- Cash (for purchase of books in our little shop, donations, Dana..). In the immediate vicinity there are no ATMs.
- In WINTER, if you are travelling by car, please bring snow chains!
Should I bring my own meditation cushion?
No. The meditation room is equipped with various seating cushions and chairs. Likewise, mats and blankets are provided.
Can I bring my pet?
No. Please do not bring any pets. (Also out of consideration for participants with allergies against, or fear of, animals)
Why should I hand over my phone at the Retreat?
There is no obligation to hand over the phone, but based on our experience we strongly recommend to leave your mobile phone at the retreat office.
This will help you to deal with your mind without distraction.
Like chocolate… If chocolate is at home, it will be eaten. When there is no chocolate at home, there is no way to eat any.
We also ask you…
to switch off your mobile phones and hand them over to the organiser. The contact phone number/email address for relatives in case of emergency is: +43(0) 680-5020192 /email@example.com
- to refrain from smoking. If absolutely necessary, smoking is allowed at designated points outdoor. In order to minimize smell, we ask you to wash your hands after smoking.
What means Dana?
For some retreats you pay only the costs for board and lodging. The fee for the course is given in the form of dana in an envelope directly to the teacher at the end of the retreat.
Dana is voluntary giving, because according to the Buddhist tradition teachers request no money for their teaching.It should be noted, however, that the teachers rely on these donations.
Giving and generosity are major resources for the completion of the Buddhist path and, at the same time, they make teachings possible. As a reference point for dana, we recommend it to be based on the amount of the housing fee.
Payment / financing
Please transfer the fee to the following account:
Hypobank Styria, IBAN: AT27 5600 0202 4108 6004, BIC: HYSTAT2G
Account holder "Association for the Promotion of Buddhist Values" - please enter the title as well as the month and year of the retreat as payment reference.
Please contact us for transfers from NON-EU COUNTRIES!
Payment by cash is possible on site.
No one should stay away for financial reasons, please contact us if you need a discount!
What are the costs associated with operating our centers?
- Rent, heating, electricity, gas
- Insurance and taxes
- Regular mandatory inspection of the well and sewage plant
- Purchase of everyday goods, such as cleaning agents, candles, etc.
- Promotional material
- Telephone, internet access, IT, printer supplies, stationery, etc.
- Membership fees, such as for the Austrian Buddhist Society
and so on…
How do I get the early bird discount?
If you register and transmit your fee well in advance of the retreat you get 10% early bird discount. The exact amount of, and the deadline for, the discount are specified in the information block of each retreat.
By early registration and payment you will help us a lot with the planning and organisation of the respective retreats! We ask you to seize the opportunity of the early bird discount. Thank You!