- Spirit Rock, California – USA
Once upon a time, the Native Americans used the hills of Spirit Rock for spiritual rites. Wild deer and turkeys in the area are found to be calm and not flinch where humans are around.
Throughout the year, residential retreats are held here, which would run for as long as two months.
Many would come for healing, either the healing of the heart or the healing of the body while there are some who come because they are transiting in life and require listening deeply to what is the next thing that is needed of them or how to handle great changes in their lives.
Take a quiet and peaceful walk with nature and listen to your own breath, feelings, and thoughts more deeply, and find or grow a sense of stillness and clarity in your life.
- Plum Village – France
The Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, whom Martin Luther King Jr. nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, believes that cultivating lucidity is a means of connecting yourself with others.
Thich once said that when we are mindful of something, we will concentrate on it and the power of mindful concentration is able to help us see things as they really are, and we discover the nature of interbeing.
At the Plum Village in southern France, Thich and about 200 monks and nuns call this monastery their home while welcoming visitors of all ages and features one free and easy, unstructured day per week.
- Dalai Lama’s teachings, Dharamsala – India
When the Dalai Lama teaches in India, his talks are typically free and always open to the public. He would hold talks in Dharamsala, the centre of Tibetan community in exile and the destination for many spiritual pilgrims for a week.
The tour in Dharmasala is for pilgrims who want to connect and discuss the Tibetan culture and practices and other itineraries that are in the footsteps of Buddha.
- The Buddhist Retreat Centre, KwaZulu-Natal – South Africa
A 90-minute drive from Durban, the Buddhist Retreat Centre’s remote location in Ixopo gives a full rural feel.
The former late president, Nelson Mandela awarded the centre the National Heritage status for its environmentally friendly approach where they use indigenous plants and help to save the endangered Blue Swallow.
People around the world would come to the centre for scheduled meditation retreats as many come in search of solitude and to get away from the modern world.
The centre is located in a traditional Zulu tribal area where the community does outreach work with the local population through Woza Moya in the Ufafa Valley.
- Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya – Thailand
On the first day of each month, this forest refuge provides 10-day meditation retreats. They welcome people of all levels, however, the living conditions are rugged. The founder of the hermitage, Ajahn Buddhadasa once said, “Live plainly, aim high.”
Upon registration, visitors are required to turn off their cell phones; the beds are straw mats, and the pillow is made out of wood. The wake-up bell is at 4 in the morning.
- Ala Kukui – Hawaii
The birth of Ala Kukui or “Pathway of Illumination” was inspired by September 11 events. The sanctuary is located among hills and fruit trees on the 12 rural acres in Maui facing both the Pacific Oceans and Haleakala.
Various offerings throughout the year draw both locals and international visitors, where among specialties is a residential retreat for war veterans that seek to heal the extreme PTSD, grief, and loss that soldiers often struggle with.
- Gampo Abbey, Nova Scotia – Canada
Gampo Abbey is positioned toward a monastic life in the Shambhala tradition. Residents would usually make a yearlong commitment but those who have a regular meditation practice are also welcome to come for a week stay during the summer in-house season.
Many who visit Gampo Abbey are hoping to study with its principal teacher, Ani Pema Ani Pema Chödrön (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York) can do so this year at the less austere Omega Institute in New York State.
- Tibetan Meditation Trip – Tibet
Go high above the clouds and into the majestic Himalayan peaks and enjoy the view of alpine lakes while going on countless Buddhist meditation retreats in Tibet as it is a place for absolute solitude and meditation.
It is suitable for anyone who is looking for a meditation retreat and/or is keen to mix a Tibetan journey with a scenic trek and meditation sessions or those who are searching for a meditative way of healing or solo meditation at the holy Buddhist hermitage or next to sacred Tibetan lakes.
Credit: CNN.com & Tibetlocalguide.com