Frequently Asked Questions

Our retreats are for people aged 18 and over.

See more information here (word document).

  • Please bring your own towel.
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes are usually best for meditation.
  • Slippers or indoor shoes. Slip on shoes can be useful to walk the short distance between the retreat building and the shrine room.
  • Waterproofs, outdoor clothing and suitable footwear for walking will be useful if you are planning to explore the area.
  • A watch or travel clock is useful and will allow you to turn off your mobile for the retreat.

Please note that we cannot accept any liability for your personal possessions while you are staying at Dhanakosa.

To make the most of being on retreat please do not bring work with you. We also recommend you leave behind newspapers and the media generally. If you want to read bring something inspirational, rather than something 'distracting'. 

We also ask you to turn off your mobile phone and laptop/tablet. Leave behind the internet! Make sure you have confirmed and forward travel arrangements before you arrive and let your friends and family know you will be off line for the period of your stay.   

If being out of contact for a week is going to be a problem for friends or family, let our office team know and we will make sure you have access to the necessary communication links. In case of emergencies, family and friends can call our office number +44 (0)1877 384 213 if they need to reach you.

Our introductory retreats are a great for introducing people who are new to meditation and other activities, such as hillwalking and yoga.  These retreats are open to all, suitable for both beginners and those with more experience. 

Each morning begins with meditation, after which there is breakfast. In the mid-mornings there will usually be an activity related to the theme of the retreat, followed by lunch.

There will be a few hours of free time in the afternoon so that you can explore the beautiful countryside around the retreat centre.

In the evenings, after dinner, there are often talks from the retreat leaders on Buddhism and meditation, discussion groups, or activities related to the theme of the retreat. On week long retreats there will also be periods of silence introduced.

There will be a rota for work duties like washing up, and helping the cook, usually for half an hour or so each day. On week long retreats there will also be a work period of one and a half to two hours where we ask people to help the retreat centre team with jobs such as cleaning, gardening and general maintenance.

Yes, on all of our retreats there are some periods of silence observed. Generally on an introductory retreat these periods would be relatively short, and you would be informed beforehand. It is always possible to find a member of the retreat team if you have specific needs during the silent periods.

Silence is a practice of being with others, in a simpler way, without the need to communicate beyond what is necessary practically. Retreat offers an opportunity to practice with keeping silence, and be with what arises for you, in a supportive context.

Yes. These retreats are more intensive than introductory retreats and although there will be meditation teaching some experience of meditation practice is a necessary foundation prior to coming. We recommend you have already attended at least a one week retreat and have a regular meditation practice. We do not assume however that your previous experience is with the Triratna Buddhist Community.

The program will vary according to the teacher but is likely to be 5 or 6 hours of meditation a day broken down into sitting periods of between 30 and 45 minutes, often interspersed with walking meditation. The retreat is also likely to be mostly or wholly in silence. There will normally be talks from the retreat leader, and there may be opportunities for meditation interviews.

There will be a rota for work duties like washing up, and helping the cook, usually for half an hour or so each day. There will also be a work period of one and a half to two hours each week usually doing domestic or gardening jobs.

In order to get the most out of the retreat you are attending we do advise folks to attend most of the scheduled activities, but if, for whatever reason, you are simply unable to attend all the activities in a day then this would be generally be fine. Call the office if you have concerns about the retreat you are attending and your ability to attend the sessions.

No, we do not require you to have any background in Buddhism to attend an introductory retreat, or declare yourself a Buddhist to attend any of our retreats.

See our dana economy page for more information about coming on retreat and making a donation.

Retreat are normally led by experienced meditation teachers from the Triratna Buddhist Community but may also be led by teachers form outside Triratna, by people who have specialities in the specific retreat theme, such as yoga, or tai chi. The teacher leading the retreat is named on the retreat information pages (see the retreat calendar page) and, where available, a profile of the teacher can be found on individual retreat pages (accessible from the retreat calendar).

Generally on all of our retreats, there is free time in the afternoons for exploring the area around Dhanakosa, or resting.

We accept credit and debit cards, cheques and cash for donations, and bookstore purchases during the course of the retreat.

We ask folks to arrive between 4pm - 6:30pm on the day the retreat starts. Please let us know if you are arriving later than 7pm so that we can save some dinner for you.

Week long retreats will end at approximately 11am on the final day. Return travel should be booked leaving Stirling after 1pm, return flights should be no earlier than 4pm. Weekend retreats will finish around 3 – 4pm on the Sunday.

We ask that retreatants come for the entire duration of the retreat. Arriving late or leaving early disrupts the retreat for everyone and breaks up the sense of community that can develop between the participants over the retreat.

Coming on retreat is an opportunity to take a break from technology. We ask people to turn off their mobile phones (most mobiles have no reception here in the glen anyway) and not to bring laptops or tablets (there is no wifi or internet access available in the retreat centre).

If being out of contact for a week is going to be a problem for friends or family, let our office team know and we will make sure you have access to the necessary communication links.  In case of emergencies, family and friends can call our office number +44 (0)1877 384 213 if they need to reach you.

Make sure you have booked and confirmed your return travel arrangements before you arrive and let your friends and family know you will be off line for the period of your stay.   

 

If you have a genuine medical need, such as celiac or gluten allergy for example, then we are able to cater for your dietary needs.  Please inform the office staff when you make your booking of your specific needs.

If you need to bring your own food, please discuss this with us beforehand, so we can determine if there is space available to accommodate your needs.  Meat (including fish) is not allowed on the premises under any circumstances.

All food is included in your retreat programme. The food is vegan (meaning vegetarian, without eggs or dairy, but there is cows milk available for tea), and is both tasty and wholesome.

There will be someone cooking for you, but you will be asked to help with chopping vegetables and washing up.

Sleeping arrangements on all of our retreats are generally on a single gender basis, and it is not possible to share with your opposite gender partner, and we encourage same gender partners to let us know when they book, as we will place you in separate rooms.  If you have any questions about this, please call the office.

Dhanakosa is an ex-hotel, is centrally heated and generally very comfortable. You are likely to be sharing a room with between 1 and 3 other people of the same gender. Most rooms have en-suite bath/shower rooms. Some rooms have bunk beds, please let us know at the time of booking if you have mobility issues which would make using a bunk bed uncomfortable.

We are not normally able to offer single room accommodation. If you have mobility or other health issues that mean you may have special accommodation requirements pleas discuss these with our office team prior to booking so we can ensure we can properly accommodate your needs.

There are usually between 20 and 32 people on retreat, including the team.

 

We do have space for one or two people on retreat to camp on our lawn. You will need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag and mattress.

Please contact the office if you would like to camp, so we can accommodate this.

Introductory retreats are relaxed and enjoyable and we try to keep rules to a minimum. If you are having difficulty with the program you can discuss your needs with the retreat leader. We do ask people to refrain from alcohol, illicit drugs, meat-eating and sexual activity during the retreat.

Smokers are asked not to smoke on the premises but may do so outside the main gate (this includes electronic cigarettes).  Pets are not allowed at Dhanakosa.

In order to get the most out of your retreat we ask that you turn off your mobile phone (most mobile phones do not work here in the glen anyway) and keep contact with friends and family to a minimum during your stay.

Since having our extension built in 2012, we now have some ground floor rooms and a bathroom accessible for those with physical disabilities. There is a small step up to the shrine room for which a portable ramp is available.

There are not facilities for retreatants to wash clothes, except in a sink, so we do advise you to bring adequate and appropriate clothing for the retreat they are attending.

The weather at Dhanakosa can be quite unpredictable, so we do recommend coming prepared for all eventualities, which means bring your waterproofs!

Insects including midges, ticks and horseflies are seasonal (late spring to early autumn for most).

Generally we discourage folks from bringing instruments on retreat with them, as it can be a source of additional distraction to themselves and others.

There are one or two retreats in which this would be appropriate due to the nature of the retreat and this will be clearly stated in the retreat information sheet you receive when you register, and do contact the office if you are unsure.

While we all generally love canines, we sadly cannot accommodate dogs here at the retreat centre.

You are welcome to come to Dhanakosa on retreat if you are pregnant, however our primary concern in someone attending a retreat is their own wellbeing; so please consider your own general health and stage of pregnancy when deciding whether to come on retreat. It is important to know that Dhanakosa is in a rural location; half an hour’s drive from the nearest doctors’ surgery, with a minimum 25-minute call out time for an ambulance and is 1 hour 15 minutes from the nearest A&E. Furthermore, retreat team members are not medically trained.

Pregnancy and yoga or bodywork retreats

If you are pregnant and considering attending a yoga or bodywork retreat please call or email the office in advance to discuss your needs. Whilst bodywork can be beneficial for women who are pregnant, suitability for these classes is assessed on an individual basis depending on trimester and any other health conditions or complications (along with the level of training in this area of the teacher); we will usually put you in contact with the yoga or bodywork teacher for the retreat who will be able to advise.

*Please note it is not advised for Yoga to be practiced in the 1st Trimester due to risk of miscarriage.