In the Footsteps of the Buddha

Where the Buddha's Story Meets Our Own
Join the live practice sessions on ZoomSee the programme

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:

  • 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
  • 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 Home Retreat from Rivendell Retreat Centre with Mandarava and Nagasiddhi

Seven days of interactive meditation practice and workshops with storytelling, puppets, art and magic!

Friday April 23 – Thursday April 29 2021

On this online retreat, live from Rivendell Retreat Centre, we will be exploring – with a sense of imagination, adventure and play – the images, myths and symbols of the Buddha’s journey to Awakening. These mythic images from the Buddha’s own story also touch upon deeper, archetypal currents in our own lives. We will dwell imaginatively together on the major turning points in the life of the Buddha, and reflect on how they resonate with our own experience.

Rather than seeing the Buddha as a distant historical figure, we will explore how his story embodies the very real journey we all need to embark upon to live a fully human life.

Mandarava was ordained in 1997 and is a storyteller and puppet maker known for inspiring creativity in others and creating an atmosphere of magical depth. She is currently nearing the completion of her training in Somatic Experiencing.

Nagasiddhi regularly leads and supports retreats at Rivendell Retreat Centre and is also an artist and puppet maker. He is known for the sense of humour and creativity he brings to his Dharma teaching. In particular, he helps others make connections between the Dharma and their own lives by using stories and images from the ‘western’ tradition. His own artwork can be viewed at nagasiddhi.com.

🎧  Listen and subscribe to the ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha at Rivendell’ – a podcast introducing this retreat.

📺  Watch Mandarava tell the Jataka tale of ‘The Brave Little Parrot’.

🎧  Listen to ‘Into the Dark Wood’: a podcast about art and making during pandemic, with Nagasiddhi.

🧘🏽‍♀️ 🧘🏽‍♂️ The link to connect to the live practice sessions will be available on this page each day during the retreat and by email when you register.

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. We’ll post live videos of the daily sessions here as soon as possible each day.

Home Retreat Live Session Times (click to see)

First daily session (2 hrs): USA PST 01:30 | México 03:30 | USA EST 04:30 | IE & UK 09:30 | Europe CET 10:30 | India 14:00 | Australia AEST 18:30 | New Zealand NZST 20:30

Second daily session (1.5 hrs, with optional breakout rooms): USA PST 07:30 | México 09:30 | USA EST 10:30 | IE & UK 15:30 | Europe CET 16:30 | India 20:00 | Australia AEST 00:30 (next day) | New Zealand NZST 02:30 (next day)

Third daily session (60-75 mins): USA PST 11:00 | México 13:00 | USA EST 14:00 | IE & UK 19:00 | Europe CET 20:00 | India 23:30 | Australia AEST 04:00 (next day) | New Zealand NZST 06:00 (next day)

N.B. Your ticket is for any day – come to as many sessions as you wish.

Rooms will open 15 minutes before each session, feel free to come early and meet other retreatants.

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!

Suggested donation for the whole retreat: $125 / £125 / €125

Donate and support Dharma classes online

Our friends at Windhorse Publications are offering all participants a free copy of ‘Who is the Buddha?’ by Sangharakshita! You can download your eBook until May 7th 2021.

In ‘Who is the Buddha?’ Sangharakshita puts forward an image of the Buddha as a historical figure, as the pinnacle of human perfection and as an archetype in the context of both time and eternity.

The image of the Buddha, cross-legged and meditating, appears increasingly in magazines and on television in the West. But who was the Buddha?

Here we see the Buddha as a historical figure, a warrior prince searching for the truth; in the context of the evolution of the human race, as the pinnacle of human perfection, and as an archetype, in the context of both time and eternity.

The most recent edition of this book is found in Volume 3 of The Complete Works of Sangharakshita, and is available in hardback, paperback and eBook format.

Support Windhorse Publications and their amazing Buddhist books! 🙏🏼


Welcome to the retreat


Day 1: rites of passage

Over the course of the retreat we will be connecting with Gautama the Buddha’s life story and enquiring into its significance for our own lives.

We are offering three live practice sessions daily, including space to connect with others taking part. You’ll also find additional resources for the retreat throughout the week, including a series of short reflections on the theme of the day with questions for use in personal practice and shared conversation.

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 1 – ‘Rites of Passage’

The historical facts, as far as we can ascertain them, about the Buddha’s life actual life are important. However, a life is also a ‘story’ and can be viewed from many different perspectives and myth, symbol and image can also communicate a different kind of truth. This is the perspective from which we reflect upon the major turning points, or ‘Rites of Passage’, that led to Gautama’s awakening and to him becoming the Buddha.

 

  • What is truth?
  • Are there many truths or one truth?
  • How do we personally relate to myths and stories?


Day 2: the four sights

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 2 – ‘The Four Sights’

We will begin our exploration of the journey of Gautama to awakening by reflecting upon the period from his birth to his experiencing of ‘The Four Sights’. The first three sights being his realization of the reality of old age, sickness and death. The final sight is of a homeless wandering spiritual seeker which is the vision of the potential for a way to live with things as they are. Can we too move towards fully inhabiting the world with clarity and awareness without denial and the cutting off of painful aspects of our experience?

  • What is our response to old age, sickness, death and the ultimate unsatisfactoriness of much of life?
  • Who or what are our own ‘Fourth Sights’?
  • What aligns your life more to the values that the fourth sight holds for you? 


Day 3: the going forth

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 3 – ‘The Going Forth’

In response to the ‘The Four Sights’ Gautama decides to turn away from everything in his life and to embark himself on the homeless life of a spiritual seeker. This is the path away from apparent comfort, through fear, and ultimately to freedom. For some, this is a particularly challenging episode in the story and we will also explore our responses and possible reactions to it.

 

  • What do we want to move towards?
  • What holds us back?
  • How do we leave a situation that no longer serves us?


Day 4: The Giving up of Asceticism and the Rose Apple Tree

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 4 – ‘The Giving up of Asceticism and the Rose Apple Tree’

As a spiritual seeker Gautama took up various ascetic practices of the time with the hope of gaining freedom through punishing the body and mind. So severe were these practices that they nearly killed him. However, it was the re-emergence of an image from his childhood that led to a radical change in direction that ultimately led to his awakening. This part of the story highlights the need for all Dharma practitioners to constantly revaluate our practice and to value creativity, openness and receptivity over harshness, dogmatism and willfulness.

 

  • What is our ‘story’ and how much of it are we willing to let go of?
  • Do we give ourselves the basic physical and emotional self-care to practice?
  • What would this self-care involve?


Day 5: THE AWAKENING

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 5 – ‘The Awakening’

Over the course of one full moon night in May the transformation occurred of Gautama becoming the Buddha. Any sense of a fixed self was seen through and replaced by a continuous flow of creative and free energy. This experience is ultimately beyond all cognitive understanding. Fortunately, we have a rich series of mythic images illustrating the experience of awakening that give us a map of how we may fully awaken ourselves and go beyond all greed, hatred and delusion.

 

  • Do we have a sense of the factors that have made our sense of identity, i.e., our life experience and family, ancestral and social conditioning? 
  • Do we have an experience of a fixed unchanging self, if so where is it, what does it look or sound like, etc?
  • Imagine how it would feel to let go of the stories and views that we define ourselves by.


Day 6: Stabilising the Insight

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 6 – ‘Stabilising the Insight’

We will explore the period directly after the Buddha’s awakening when he remains under the Bodhi Tree meditating for several weeks and later encounters the dragon king Muchalinda. It could be said that this is a period of ‘stabilising the insight’, a time of gratitude and an integration of all the Buddha’s energies.

 

  • What are we grateful for?
  • Who or what supports us in our practice?
  • Is there any part of ourselves left out of our Dharma practice?


Day 7: The Decision to Teach

Daily Reflection (click to read)

Day 7 – ‘The Decision to Teach’

It is said that after his awakening the Buddha struggled to know whether it would be appropriate for him to communicate his experience or not. Fortunately for us, he did, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. Our final day will explore the truth of interconnectivity revealed by awakening that manifests in compassionate activity, or as said in the Zen tradition, “returning to the market place with hands that bless”.

 

  • What have we got to give?
  • What needs to be said?
  • What does the world need from us?

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 Rivendell team for their generosity in providing the resources for this course as well as leading live events each day.

Beautiful puppet photography by Tejasiddhi.
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