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Dates: January 10, 2017 - March 17, 2017

Course Leader: Lama Rinchen Palmo

Cost: Special rates: see below

 Retreat Description

The 10-week Winter Retreat on Holy Isle is an opportunity for deepening one’s meditation, mindfulness or Tibetan Buddhist practice. The retreat is especially geared towards Ngondro practice, offering the time, space and advice for those wishing to dedicate themselves to the contemplation of the Four Ordinary Foundations (precious human life, impermanence, karma and suffering) and to the accumulation of the Four Special Foundations (refuge and prostrations, vajrasattva, mandala offerings and guru yoga). 

In light of this theme and also Drupon Rinpoche’'s focus on the Ngondro in his teachings at Samye Ling we will give priority booking to those who wish to do Ngondro practice and are able to commit to the full 10 weeks. Booking on this basis is now open. 

In this respect, we welcome experienced shamatha, vipashyana and mindfulness practitioners who wish for the opportunity to expand and enrich their practice in a sympathetic retreat environment. This retreat is, however, not for beginners.

Retreatants are also encouraged to join the daily Green Tara and Chenrezig group sessions that are part of the Holy Isle regular schedule, but they should note that the Winter Retreat is designed essentially for individual practice, in four daily sessions of one-and-a-half-hour each, carried out by people in their own rooms. Retreatants are expected, moreover, to join in karma yoga, by helping out with certain basic tasks like making breakfast, washing up and cleaning. 

The Winter Retreat is led by Lama Rinchen Palmo, the highly experienced meditation teacher who was the leader of the women’s 4-year closed retreat on the South End of Holy Isle. She will come every ten days to give teachings and hold personal interviews. She will be assisted by John Emery (Drimay) who will be in residence all the time, and who will be available for giving practice instructions and offering personal interviews. John is a very experienced Buddhist practitioner who has completed two 4 year retreats.

The retreat starts on the evening or Tuesday 10th January and departs on Friday 17th March. The minimum period is two weeks, but we will give preference to those who are able to stay for one month or longer. 

Applications to join the retreat:

Please send an email to reception@holyisle.org  indicating your preferred dates of arrival and departure (note that ferries to Holy Isle in the winter only run on Tuesdays and Fridays). We will then send you an application form. Once we have reviewed your form to check that you have the appropriate retreat experience and background, and that we can accommodate you for the proposed dates, we will then take a deposit from you and confirm your place.


These include full vegetarian board, accommodation in a single room and teachings: 

  • Up to four weeks £26 per night
  • Four to eight weeks £24 per night
  • Eight to ten weeks £22 per night

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Dietary requirements

Our kitchen is run by a team of volunteers. Our aim is to offer delicious vegetarian food but regretfully we can only cater for dietary requirements arising from a diagnosed medical condition. 

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