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The Legacy of Bodhidharma

Dates: September 27, 2017 - October 3, 2017

Course Leader: Mark Appleford and Melanie Shinton

Cost: £330 single room, £240 per person in a twin, £192 dorm. Course fee £320 (£280 early bird discount)

The Legacy of Bodhidharma - Zen and Shaolin Buddhist Chi Kung (Qigong)

“Your Mind is Nirvana”- Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was originally an Indian prince in the 5/6th century who renounced his life of privilege and became a Buddhist monk. His wandering and adventures took him to China and the Shaolin Monastery. It was here that he founded the lineage of Zen that spread across Asia to Japan, and eventually the world.

Legends tell us that when he came to Shaolin he found the monks falling asleep during their long hours of meditation because they were not strong in body, and their energy, ‘chi’, was not sufficient. He then spent nine years in a cave above the temple during which he developed a system of Chi Kung to make the monks strong and vital for rigorous mind training and meditation. The foundation of this was the 18 Lohan Hands.

Drawing on direct lineages, arts and practices of Shaolin and Zen Buddhism this course will allow these two strands to be reunified creating a symmetry between a moving practice that generates flow, and a stillness practice that creates insight. Passing on a powerful and effective practice that can enhance all aspects living, health and spiritual evolution.

Zen Teachings of Hakuin
Hakuin Ekaku Zenji is one of the most celebrated Zen Masters in the Rinzai Zen lineage. He was most known for his desire to transform people’s meditation practice so that they can truly become liberated from their suffering. He criticized Bankei’s “Do Nothing Zen” In favour of teaching energetic practices incorporated within meditation in order to create the conditions for deep insights to occur. He was also famous for his love of Koan practice, which he believed, was the most effective way to become enlightened.

Shaolin Buddhist Chi Kung
Chi Kung translates as the “Art of Energy” and there is many forms and practices of it like Medical/Health, Scholar, Martial and Spiritual. The arts that were passed on by Bodhidharma had a focus on health and spiritual cultivation that helped keep the body strong, and flexible to balance the longs hours of sitting meditation. They also developed energy and vitality that enabled the mind to keep focused during the rigorous meditation practice

The Eighteen Lohan hands are a classic set that were the basis of the arts that Bodhidharma passed. It can be used in many different ways and levels offering a versatility for practice that is a life time journey

What you will Learn
You will learn to stabilize the mind, build the hara, and get energy moving around the body with techniques that Hakuin taught to his Monks. It is with the stable and grounded base that you then work with the koan, ‘Who Am I? for enquiry into our true nature and realisation of who we are.

You will learn the full 18 Lohan set,  how to use it working with mind/energy/connection for a full practice. Developing skills like deep relaxation, breath coordination, smiling from the heart to help change internal dialogue and a sense of body-fullness from which arises mindfulness.

To attend this course
No experience is necessary to attend the retreat, yet some experience or an established meditation practice would useful. As there will be movement and sitting practice we ask that people attending have reasonably good health please contact us for any queries about this.

As this is the first of this course being run, we are celebrating this by offering it at a reduced  price

£320   if booked after May 1st
£280   if booked before May 1st

To inquire about a place on the course please email Mark and Mel at:


Alternatively you can call Mark on: 0787 507 4646

Accommodation needs to be booked and paid for separately through Holy Isle. See rates above for the 6 night stay.

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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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