Meditation intensive led by Tejananda with Upekshanandi
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Day 1    Day 2    Day 3    Day 4   Day 5

What is a Home Retreat? (click to read)

Home Retreats can be tailored to your needs.

We provide:

  • Live Home Retreat events daily
  • Specially curated Dharma resources
  • A chance to catch up each day on the event sessions by video if you missed them – so you can do the retreat in your own time
  • Share your own inspiration and reflections on the private retreat Padlet space (shared by email)
  • 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.

🧘🏽‍♀️ 🧘🏽‍♂️ Join us for a deep dive into the nature of the mind and emptiness through a meditation intensive, with Tejananda and Upeksanandi

You can access video recordings of all sessions below under each day’s resources. 

📖 Download a practice diary to use during the retreat

Our deepest and truest nature, right now, is the Dharma. We can imagine – and ultimately experience – this as the total openness of the ‘Dharma body’, which is pure emptiness: empty of any divided-ness whatsoever.

Our world is literally made up from this total openness, together with the illuminating clarity of awareness and unlimited, spontaneous ‘compassionate energy’. Traditionally, the union of these is referred to as ‘mind itself’ or ‘the nature of mind’.

Of course, if we’re caught up in the bewilderment of delusion, we don’t realise that the true nature of our mind is these three ‘bodies’. We identify with our own very solid-seeming body and with our sense of ‘me’ as a substantial ‘self’ separate from everyone and everything else. This very natural mistake is a product of our deluded mind, and is the source of so much unnecessary suffering.

Over the five days of this online retreat we’ll be exploring our own body, just as it is, and the relationship between deluded mind and its true nature. As we settle and relax into this open perspective, we may well discover that the ‘compassionate energy’, the love and sensitivity of our deepest heart is – and always has been – informing every moment of our Dharma practice. Indeed, our whole life…

Tejananda has been teaching and leading retreats for many years at Vajraloka Retreat Centre in Wales, UK, one of Triratna’s earliest and foremost centres of in-depth meditation practice. He also teaches around the world, with a special connection to the Dharma community in and around San Francisco in the USA.

Upekshanandi leads and supports meditation retreats within Triratna, also with a deep connection to Vajraloka. She lives and works in Nottingham, UK.

All our events 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!

Suggested donation for the whole retreat:
£125 / $175 / €150 or £25 / $35 / €30 per day.

Donate and support Dharma classes online

Welcome to the retreat

Day 1

watch the Live PRACTICE sessions

We kick off this latest home retreat with Tejananda guiding us though a body scan, grounding us in direct experience. We spend time exploring the lower portion of the body in an attempt to move away from an over identification with the ‘thinking head’. Later we explore the subtle energy systems of the body, which leads into a period of just sitting.

In this session we begin with a short grounding meditation, after which Upekshanandi introduces the three esoteric refuges, as well as evoking our protectors for the next five days of practice together. After that we recite the dedication ceremony and chant the refuges and precepts to ritually mark the begining of this home retreat.

In this session we follow a similar program to session one. Tejananda delves into the concept of emptiness, which he explains, isn’t just a void, but rather it’s about seeing through our conceptual constructs, quoting Sangharakshita, “the mind is empty of everything we think.” You could say what we might call reality, not taking that word literally, is empty of all of our concepts about it. Tejananda then goes on to discuss two ways to achieve this understanding: through insight meditation and through direct experience.
Later we are guided to explore our direct experience of our bodies, focusing on the three main centers: the Hara in the lower abdomen, the heart, and the head center. These centers are connected by a central channel, and the meditation aims to help participants connect with their energy body. The meditation ends with a practice of simply being aware of the body and sensations, without any added mental constructs.

Day 2

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In this session, we continue our exploration of the body and the energy system. We started by bringing awareness to the body, focusing on the sensations of contact with the seat and the floor. We also explore the sense of space within the body, much like the way a cloud floats in the sky. We observe the vibrational and energetic nature of sensations and noticed the lack of boundaries within the body.

Next, we shift our attention to the interplay between the senses of hearing and bodily sensations, questioning whether there is an inherent division between them or if they arise in the same space of awareness.

Finally, we conclude with a few minutes of just sitting, allowing our experience to unfold naturally.

We delve into the devotional aspect of the three esoteric refuges within the Vajrayana tradition: the Guru, Yidam, and Dakini. We explore how these three roots connect with our direct experience and how they resonate with the teachings of Tejananda.

Beginning by listening to meditation advice from Padmasambhava. Emphasizing that all phenomena arise from our own mind and aim to remain in a state of equanimity, vividly awake, and devoid of self-nature.

We then invoke Padmasambhava through his seven line prayer in Tibetan, absorbing the blessings of the Guru. We then request attainment and the activation of the Vajra Guru Mantra, which we chant quietly and intimately.

In the last session of day three, we continue to explore the intersection of mind, body, and senses. We examine the unity of our sensory experiences, questioning the divisions between self and other, and between different sense fields. This exploration which is grounded deeply in loving kindness, looks to challenge the notion of a separate self, aligning with Buddhist teachings on emptiness and non-fixed self.

Key to this journey is the practice of somatic meditation, focusing on the body’s sensations and their interplay with our visual and auditory perceptions. The session culminates in a “just sitting” meditation, encouraging a surrender to the present moment and the acceptance of all experiences, embodying a profound sense of interconnectedness and openness.

Day 3

watch the Live PRACTICE sessions

This session emphasizes the interconnectedness of the Sangha and the importance of energy and vibration as the essence of our being. Tejananda draws on teachings from Padmasambhava and the tradition of the three kayas – Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya. This exploration is not just theoretical; it’s an experiential journey into our true nature, where simplicity, non-conceptual presence, and openness are key.

The practice of “just sitting” or non-meditation is encouraged, allowing a natural, undivided awareness to emerge. This session offers profound insights into our fundamental reality, inviting us to experience life beyond the filters of the mind, in its purest form.

In this session we bring in the devotional aspect of practice, with a focus on Vajrasattva, the embodiment of primordial pure awareness. Chanting his hundred syllable mantra invoking his presents. Additionally, the session includes readings from the life of Shabka, offering joyful instructions that resonate with the experiential aspect of the practice. We then move in a ritual puja to Vajrasattva further deepens the devotional element, accompanied by chanting and offerings, either physically or mentally, to the collective shrine on screen.

In this meditation session, we focused on understanding the timeless nature of mind and awareness, drawing from the teachings of Padmasambhava. We examined how concepts like past, present, and future are mere mental constructs, while our true reality, is an ever-present yet ungraspable essence. Emphasizing the ageless nature of our sense of presence, the meditation encouraged participants to rest in this timeless awareness, shedding mental constructs and immersing themselves in the moment.

This practice aimed to help participants connect with their innate presence, undisturbed by the transient nature of thoughts and experiences. The session concluded with reflections on the profound sense of peace and emotional connection this realization brings, deepening participants’ understanding of love and trust. Overall, the exploration of presence and awareness offered a transformative experience, guiding participants to embrace their true nature beyond the limitations of time and conceptual thought.

Day 4

watch the Live PRACTICE sessions

In this meditation session, participants engaged in a 10-minute just sitting practice, focusing on the concept of presence and awareness. The practice encouraged observing and allowing any arising experiences, aiming to deepen the sense of being in the moment. Participants shared their experiences, with some finding ease in entering a meditative state and others discussing challenges in maintaining focus and avoiding mental distractions. The discussions highlighted the mind’s tendency to overcomplicate and the importance of surrendering to the present moment.

The session emphasized the timeless and ageless quality of presence, an inherent aspect of our being that often goes unnoticed. This presence, integral to all experiences, fosters a sense of peace and equanimity. The concluding reminder was that all necessary tools to experience this presence are within us, underscoring the importance of cultivating inner confidence and embracing the simplicity of being present. The session offered transformative insights, encouraging participants to appreciate the beauty of just being.

In this session, we explored the essence of Vajrayogini, the Dakini, focusing on her significance in the Sangha Jewel. The session began with a meditation, guiding participants to a state of presence and awareness. Emphasizing Vajrayogini’s role as the root of compassionate activity, we delved into her symbols, like the Vajra Chopper and Skull Cup, which represent cutting off worldly attachments and the ambrosia of great bliss, respectively. The session included a reading of Machig Labdrön’s last instructions, underscoring the mind’s nature.

The celebration of Sangha Day with a full moon Puja dedicated to Vajrayogini added a communal aspect to the practice. Participants engaged in chanting mantras, making offerings, and expressing aspirations, fostering a deeper connection with Vajrayogini’s teachings and the Sangha Jewel. This session offered a profound look into the Dakini’s influence on spiritual practice, highlighting the theme of unobstructed creative energies and the significance of Sangha in individual spiritual journeys.

In this session, we engaged in a deeper exploration of the nature of mind and presence. We began by settling into our bodies, focusing on the energy system and central channel, and then inquired into the nature of thinking. Participants observed their thoughts, noticing the spontaneity and lack of control over them. The meditation emphasized the recognition that thoughts arise and dissipate on their own, highlighting the mind’s tendency to grasp and create stories.

The practice evolved into exploring the presence of thoughts within the timeless now. Participants experienced the lightness of presence, where thoughts seemed peripheral and less influential. This led to an understanding of thoughts as self-arising phenomena, illuminating themselves without a separate ‘me’ needing to be there. The session underscored the importance of just sitting in awareness, allowing for a natural balance between presence and the transient nature of thoughts, ultimately inviting participants to a deeper appreciation of their true nature beyond mental constructs.

Day 5

watch the Live PRACTICE sessions

In this session, the focus was on exploring the nature of afflictive emotions, like aversion and craving, and their relationship to our physical sensations. Participants engaged in a practice of intentionally evoking a chosen emotion, such as irritation or craving, and then observing the associated bodily sensations. This approach aimed to demonstrate that while these emotions can feel intense and have a physical manifestation, they are not inherent to the sensations themselves.

Participants shared experiences of how focusing on bodily sensations related to an emotion helped in dissipating its intensity. Some noticed that the location of these sensations differed based on the type of emotion, and bringing awareness to these areas often led to a relaxation and fading of the emotional charge. The exercise highlighted the transient nature of emotions and their dependence on mental proliferation, reinforcing the understanding that emotions, though vivid, are not solid or permanent entities. This session provided a transformative approach to dealing with afflictive emotions by grounding them in bodily experience, encouraging participants to continue exploring this practice in their daily lives.

In the final afternoon session of the retreat, participants were guided to reflect on their experiences and insights, particularly focusing on the theme of sensitivity and the heart. The session began with a meditation, emphasizing the importance of connecting with the heart and head centers, creating a sense of spaciousness and softness within.

The session concluded with a ritual dedicated to Padmasambhava, emphasizing his transformative power in difficult worldly conditions and his role in converting negative emotions into wisdom and love. The ritual included invocations, offerings, and chants, creating a meditative and reflective atmosphere. This practice was seen as a way to receive blessings and protection from Padmasambhava as participants prepared to re-enter their everyday lives post-retreat. The session provided a space for collective reflection, deepening of practice, and a ceremonial conclusion to the retreat’s explorations.

In the concluding session of their retreat, participants engaged in a meditation led by Tejananda, integrating themes like pure awareness and emotional transformation. This session included a Q&A, addressing questions about Buddhist insights, trauma in meditation, and managing intense emotions during practice. Tejananda’s responses highlighted the importance of direct experience and practical application in daily life.

The retreat ended with heartfelt gratitude expressed towards the team and participants, and particularly towards Tejananda for his teachings. The session concluded with a traditional Buddhist practice of transference of merits and self-surrender, symbolizing the sharing of practice benefits with all beings and the release of self-clinging. This final gathering embodied the retreat’s focus on deep inquiry, personal growth, and communal engagement.

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We hope you find the Home Retreat helpful.
 We are committed to providing excellent Dharma resources and spaces to connect with community online and go deeper in your practice. And to keeping this free to access for anyone who needs it!

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

May you be well!

Suggested donation for the whole retreat:
£125 / $175 / €150 or £25 / $35 / €30 per day.

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With deep thanks to Tejananda and Upekshanandi and the Dharmachakra team for their generosity in setting up the conditions for this retreat, as well as leading live events each day.

Event image by Ameer Basheer
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