Alive, Aware, Awake!

The four foundations of mindfulness
Connect to the live practice sessionsSupport this retreat by donation

Day 1    Day 2    Day 3    Day 4  

Day 5    Day 6    Day 7

What is a Home Retreat? (click to read)

Home Retreats can be tailored to your needs.

We provide:

  • Daily, specially recorded teachings
  • Related Dharma resources
  • Support, perspective and inspiration all week long from our team on the Community Toolkit.
  • Live Home Retreat events
  • And a chance to connect with the retreat leader to ask questions about your practice.

Whether you have the time to engage with a full-on, urban-retreat style week at home – or are super occupied already with kids or work and just want some useful structure to book-end your days with a little calm and inspiration: this is for you.

What is a Home Retreat? (tap to read)

Home Retreats can be tailored to your needs during the lockdown.

We provide:

  • Daily, specially recorded teachings
  • Related Dharma resources
  • Support, perspective and inspiration all week long from our team on the Community Toolkit.
  • Live Home Retreat events
  • And a chance to connect with the retreat leader to ask questions about your practice.

Whether you have the time to engage with a full-on, urban-retreat style week at home – or are super occupied already with kids or work and just want some useful structure to book-end your days with a little calm and inspiration: this is for you.

A chance to thoroughly explore the Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness, with the Taraloka Retreat Team

Friday July 10 – Thursday July 16

Daily live practice sessions:
USA 11.30am PST | México 1.30pm | USA 2.30pm EST | UK & IE 7.30pm | Europe 8.30pm CET |  India 12am (following day) | Sydney 4.30am | Auckland 6.30am

🧘🏽‍♀️ 🧘🏽‍♂️ The link to connect to the live practice sessions will be available on this page each day during the retreat.

If you can’t attend the live sessions, you’ll find below pre-recorded meditations and talks as part of the daily retreat resources, to use in your own time.

🎧 Listen to the retreat podcast with the team at Taraloka

📺 Re-watch and subscribe on YouTube

📖 Get your free retreat eBook from Windhorse Publications!
Living with Awareness: A Guide to the Satipatthana Sutta

What is it to be fully aware, fully alive? Mindfulness is an adventure! In these times more than ever, the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness gives us an essential framework for how to stay present, clear-minded, and living from our deepest values, whether we’re meditating or in the thick of our daily lives.

Take part in this online home retreat to train in the relief and ease of being in the present moment – whatever that present moment looks like. How can we taste the deep excitement of opening experientially to the nature of reality itself – available in each thought-moment – right here, right now?

Taraloka is a women’s Buddhist retreat centre, founded in 1985. Ever since, we’ve been offering a breadth and depth of retreats for all levels of experience, from intensive meditation retreats for the Order and for Ordination Training, through to newcomers weekends giving a first taste of meditation. But with Coronavirus we’ve had to shut the buildings – and go online to offer what we do to everyone across the globe. We’re still living and working as a residential community through lockdown, and all of the Taraloka team want to welcome you virtually to Taraloka for the live events – even if you can’t come in person right now!

🤝 Connect with others taking part on the Community Toolkit space!

All our classes are offered by donation. If you can, donate to allow others who can’t afford it to access these vital Dharma resources when they need them most.

Thank you!

Donate and support Dharma classes online


Day 1: ALIVE To Our Experience

Introducing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (click to read)

With Maitrisiddhi

Talk: Awakening to the Foundations of Experience 

What are the four foundations of mindfulness and how can they help us adventure deeper into our experience?  In fact, what is mindfulness anyway?

Meditation: Coming to Our Senses

Meditation leading us into a simple experiencing of our five physical senses plus the mind.  Can we return, again and again, to this moment?

Practice Suggestion: Setting Up Your Space

Take a fresh look at the spaces you’ll be inhabiting this week.  Create or recreate a shrine, or build physical reminders for your practice into your environment

Live Event: Welcome to Alive! Aware! Awake!  

Meet the team, meditate, and let’s dedicate the retreat together.  If you can, have a candle with you to light in a simple opening ritual.


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 1 Live PRACTICE


Day 2: Sensation, Breath, Body

Body and Sensation: Rupa (click to read)

With Hridayagita

Talk: Mindfulness of the Breathing Body – Stepping into Our Box of Delights

It can sometimes seem that coming into the body is taught as a stepping stone to the “Real Meditation” which happens later.  However, it’s no mere accident that Rupa (form or body) is the first of the four Satipatthanas as taught by the Buddha.  Mindfulness of the body is vital on the path to Enlightenment; just as one pillar of four is vital in holding up a roof.  Hridayagita will explore ways we can come and be with our current direct experience of being in the body.  What does it mean to really be here, alive and accepting of all of our sensations and experience?  

Meditation: Alive to Our Moving Body

Sitting, standing, lying, walking: can we notice sensations shifting and changing with the shifting and changing postures?   You’ll need a place to sit, to lie down, to stand and to move around in this exploration of the breathing body as it changes shape in space.

If you have limited mobility, we’ll be aware of you too in this practice.

Practice Suggestion: Having A Cup of Tea

Simple to understand and difficult to do with mindfulness: can we be fully present to the multi-sensory experience of making and drinking tea?

Live Event: Tai Chi Circles

In this often-powerful Tai Chi walking exploration, Hridayagita invites us to explore experientially the play between body and mind.  You might be surprised how much the mind affects the body and how our holding of our body affects the mind.  This is something we can return to again and again, especially in times of stress and anxiety, to ease our mind through use of our body.  

If you are able to walk, you can participate in this – no Tai Chi experience or interest needed. Includes an opportunity to hear responses / ask questions.


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 2 Live PRACTICE


Day 3: Alive to Pleasant, Unpleasant and Boring

Emotions - Pleasant, Unpleasant, Neutral: Vedana (click to read)

With Maitrisiddhi

Talk: Awake to Pleasure, Pain and Boredom!

Being able to notice and stay present to simple, immediate responses of pleasant and unpleasant can be a gateway to freedom – a doorway out of unhelpful cycles of negativity.  Maitrisiddhi explores what’s vedana, when can we notice it and how do we step towards freedom?

Meditation: Mindfulness of Vedana

Meditation exploring pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensations.  How can we be present to these responses without pushing experience away, grasping after more, or simply ignoring?

Practice Suggestion: Appreciative Awareness Bhavana  

Explore the textures of experience and see the rise and fall of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral sensation in our responses to objects.  

Live Event: Question and Answer with the Taraloka Team

Bring your own questions about practice, and hear Maitrisiddhi, Maitridevi, Hridayagita and Maitrimati respond to different areas around mindfulness.


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 3 Live PRACTICE


Day 4: Thoughts and Emotions: Entering the Heart of the Storm

Mind: Thoughts and Emotions: Chitta (click to read)

With Maitridevi

Talk: Entering the Heart of the Storm

In this talk we are beginning to explore the heart-mind (chitta) in all its complexity.  How can we bring mindfulness into the midst of this often chaotic swirl of inner experience?  Maitridevi examines the nature of our inner mental proliferations, our enthrallment with our own stories, and how to come into a creative relationship with them.

Meditation: Mindfulness of Chitta

In this meditation we’ll practise returning to body and feeling/sensation (vedana), allowing us to come into a simple relationship with our thoughts and emotions. We’ll see how all thoughts and emotions are also felt in the body, noticing which ones lead to tension and which to ease. 

Practice Suggestion: Don’t Believe Your Thoughts 

A writing exercise to examine a recent or regular incident where we were overtaken by difficult emotions and negative thoughts.  Do we need to believe our thoughts?

(Adapted from Byron Katy & Non-Violent Communication.)

Live Event: Story Beings 

We live in and through our stories about the world.   Maitridevi explores the difference between helpful and unhelpful stories, and the difference between fantasy and the imagination. We will hear stories from the Buddha’s Enlightenment – when he meets the depths of his own greed, hatred & delusion and their subsequent unravelling.

With meditation and opportunity to hear responses / ask questions.  


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 4 Live PRACTICE


Day 5: Truth In Our Own Experience: This Imperfect World

Dhammas: Truth in Our Own Experience (click to read)

With Maitridevi

Talk: This Imperfect World – Mindfulness of Dhammas 

In this talk we turn our attention to the underlying qualities or ‘truths’ of all our experiences. We explore the changing, ungraspable and imperfect nature of all that arises both ‘out there’ in the world and ‘in here’ in me; and we look at how that might affect our attitude to our experience and to life.

Meditation: Mindfulness of Dhammas

Where do we find impermanence in our own direct experience? The constant shifts and changes of our breathing body, our senses, emotions and even of awareness itself can show us this truth.  In doing so we can find a deeper sense of beauty and freedom.

Practice Suggestion: Beauty & Imperfection Heart Walk

Go for a walk allowing your heart to lead you, being prepared to ‘not know’ and to wait and listen. Be receptive to where your heart takes you and what it shows you.

Read about how to go on a Heart Walk

Listen to a lead-through of a heart walk

Live Event: Imperfection, Beauty and Time

Meditation, readings & poetry on the theme of imperfection, beauty, time and the luminous & clear nature of mind. 

With meditation and opportunity to hear responses / ask questions.  


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 5 Live PRACTICE


Day 6: Truth in Our Own Experience: Living with Kindness

Dhammas: Metta as Truth in Our Own Experience (click to read)

With Maitrisiddhi

Talk: Knowing Truth, Knowing Love

Again and again the Buddha teaches metta (unconditional well-wishing) and ethics.  When we’re acting from love, generosity, contentment, honesty and awareness, we are aligning ourselves with the nature of reality.  But how can we look in our own experience to know the truth of these teachings?

Meditation: Gratitude Bhavana

Gratitude is a very wise emotion: when we realise gratitude, on some level we are realising our interconnectedness and our lack of separation from others and world.   Yet often lack of gratitude is simply an absence of awareness.  We forget to notice what gifts and qualities we’re received.  In this meditation, we’ll practise remembering!  

Practice Suggestion: Moments of Kindness

Practice isn’t always easy!  As we become more aware we may notice more that is painful in our experience, while progress may not always be as quick as we would like!  Bringing kindness and encouragement to ourselves is really important as we practise. 

Live Event: Good for Us and Good for Others

Meditating, reflecting on and celebrating our own generosity or practice of ethics.  What effect does this have on our minds? 

With meditation and opportunity to hear responses / ask questions.  


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 6 Live PRACTICE


Day 7: Awake in Our Lives

Awake In Our Lives (click to read)

With Maitridevi

Talk: The Path to Freedom

How do we take the Four Foundations of Mindfulness out into our lives?  How do we gradually become more alive, aware and awake?  Mindfulness allows us to hold not just our present experience but also the possibility of a different future, a vision of what is possible. 

With mindfulness, awareness and recollection of the Buddha’s teachings we can cultivate ever more skilful and expansive states of being, leading us from suffering, towards freedom.

Meditation: Four Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation

How do we use all four foundations of meditation to explore our experience with fluidity and responsiveness?  Bring it all together in this final meditation of the home retreat.

Practice Suggestion: Assimilating and Remembering – Write a Letter to Your Future Self

As we practise more deeply, we get deeper realisations about ourselves and our lives.  Also we get a stronger sense of what our practice is going to look like – what works for us.

Yet it’s easy to ‘lose’ these realisations.  What would we like to remember, in three months time?

Live Event: Meditation and Three Fold Puja 

The Buddha was fully alive, aware and awake!  Participate in this evening of meditation and ritual to dedicate our week’s retreat and celebrate our own potential to awaken, just as the Buddha did.


ALIVE, AWARE, AWAKE, Day 7 Live PRACTICE

Support the next Home Retreat!


We hope you find the Home Retreat helpful.
 As we all take care of each other through this extraordinary time we are committed to staying online with you for as long as it takes – and beyond.

If you can, donate and help us reach more people like you.

Make a regular gift and we can build a Toolkit Team for the future.

Thank you from our team and from the online community around the world!

May you be well!

Subscribe now to get the Dharma Toolkit Newsletter and we’ll keep you posted by email on new resources as they become available.

If you prefer to get your inspiration on social media, we’ll be there too: connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

To all of you at The Buddhist Centre Online, please accept this gift of £1,000 from Adhisthana. It’s just a small token of our appreciation of all that your team is doing right now in these extraordinary times. You’ve managed to respond very quickly to the Covid19 situation, creating online resources for the Triratna community and whoever else may be looking for a sense of meaning and support during this phase.

You’ve also given our worldwide community a chance to meet collectively: listening to your podcasts, watching your live events, etc. I have certainly felt I was participating in something much larger than just my personal lockdown space. So, thank you! I’m also aware that it takes a lot of time to create these connections and resources, and I feel very appreciative of the time-pressure and the extra effort it is demanding of you all.

Saddhanandi, Chair of Adhisthana, on behalf of the Trustees and Community

To all of you at The Buddhist Centre Online, please accept this gift of £1,000 from Adhisthana. It’s just a small token of our appreciation of all that your team is doing right now in these extraordinary times. You’ve managed to respond very quickly to the Covid19 situation, creating online resources for the Triratna community and whoever else may be looking for a sense of meaning and support during this phase.

I’m also aware that it takes a lot of time to create these connections and resources, and I feel very appreciative of the time-pressure and the extra effort it is demanding of you all. Thank you!

Saddhanandi, Chair of Adhisthana, on behalf of the Trustees and Community

With deep thanks to the Taraloka team for their generosity in providing the resources for this course as well as leading live events each day.

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