On retreats at Taraloka, we offer guidance and instruction based on the teaching of the Buddha and the practices of the Triratna Buddhist Community. This Buddhist context may be more implicit on introductory events and is more developed on retreats for those with greater experience.
Meditation is central to all our retreats. There is teaching and guidance on our two main meditation practices: the mindfulness of breathing and the metta bhavana (the art of loving kindness.). The mindfulness of breathing encourages awareness while the metta bhavana develops emotional positivity. Both meditations are in structured stages to support a deeper focus.
On many retreats, we also explore body awareness, 'just sitting' meditation (simply being with the flow of our experience) and walking meditation (often outside). Many retreats include ritual. We may chant together or recite the puja (traditional devotional practice), as more mythic, imaginative responses to the spiritual and to the deeper truths of how things are.
A structured daily programme balances shared activities and personal time. The retreat is led by a team, nearly all of whom are ordained women Buddhists. Members of the team usually give presentations and, depending on the theme of the retreat, often bring women together in groups for discussion and for just sharing how they are. There may be various activities, periods of silence, opportunities for personal creativity, or individual meditation reviews.