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Readers Respond: Recommended Buddhist Retreat Venues

Responses: 6

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From the article: Go on a Buddhist Retreat
Retreats are a great way to initiate a personal exploration of Buddhism, and of yourself. The thousands of dharma centers and Buddhist monasteries that have sprung up in the West offer many kinds of retreats for Buddhist newbies. Readers are invited to share their recommendations for best (or worst) places to go on Buddhist retreats.

Joshua Tree Retreat Center

It's not specifically Buddhist, but I'd recommend looking into the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, in the Mojave Desert. It's beautiful - lots of desert with roadrunners and lizards and such, and many of the buildings are designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Lloyd Wright. Different retreat groups come throughat various times - I obviously can't give you a schedule, but they have a website. They do personal retreats as well, which can be as Buddhist as you make them.
—silkysullivan

Meditating in South Africa

The Buddha recommended meditating under a tree, in a quiet spot, and so forth. I mention this because meditation is for everyone, but not everyone can afford accomodation fees at Meditation Centres. For them I want to reconfirm that you need not attend a retreat to meditate - just your own body. Having said that , the Pure Land Buddhist FO GUANG SHAN folk, run retreats at the fabulous NAN HUA TEMPLE in Bronkhorstpruit in S.A. Make sure you ask as many questions as you want, because they are very happy to help.
—Guest Ellen Steadman

Meditating in South Africa

The Buddha recommended meditating under a tree, in a quiet spot, and so forth. I mention this because meditation is for everyone, but not everyone can afford accomodation fees at Meditation Centres. For them I want to reconfirm that you need not attend a retreat to meditate - just your own body. Having said that , the Pure Land Buddhist FO GUANG SHAN folk, run retreats at the fabulous NAN HUA TEMPLE in Bronkhorstpruit in S.A. Make sure you ask as many questions as you want, because they are very happy to help.
—Guest Ellen Steadman

Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

For an authentic experience, check out Yokoji, a temple built in the Southern Californian mountains. This is a working Zen Center, with both residential and non-residential programs. There are many retreats, sesshin and workshops for both beginners and seasoned practitioners. It is an amazingly beautiful and tranquil place and nestled amongst the oaks and pines and the sounds of nature, an ideal place to try out Zen Buddhism for a day, a month, year or longer! They have a website with more info - www.zmc.org.
—YugenLakey

Shambhala Mountain Center

The Shambhala Mountain Center -- located in the Rocky Mountains near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado -- is a beautiful and energetically potent retreat location. They offer a wide variety of programs every year, with a majority of the teachers probably coming from Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Also excellent yoga and qigong programs. SMC is also home to the largest stupa in North America -- which in and of itself is worth the trip.
—Purple_Mist

Lineage

I have to disagree with the importance of linage. The Dharma can be found everywhere and should not be dismissed if a teacher lacks "pedigree". As the Buddha said, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." I have met teachers fully backed by lineage but completely delusional in the Way.
—Guest Miroku

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