FAQs

Is lodging provided? What's the accommodation like? Can I have a single room?

All retreats are residential.  Bedrooms are shared, with two to four people in a room.  There are toilets and showers located throughout the retreat centre, so wherever you are sleeping you are never far away from one.

Please let us know at the time of booking if you have mobility issues which mean you need ground floor accommodation.  

We are not normally able to offer single room accommodation.  We do have three ground floor single rooms allocated on a first come first served basis to those with specific mobility or medical needs.  Please call the Taraloka office to discuss booking one of these.

Can I share a room with my partner?

We encourage same gender partners to let us know when they book, as we will place you in separate rooms.  If you have any questions about this, please call the office.

Can I camp?

Yes, there is plenty of space to camp.  If you would like to, you can use Taraloka's bedding and camping mattresses in tents.  If you would like to borrow a tent, please ask the office.  Please let us know when booking if you do not want an indoor bed space.

Am I expected to help out with domestic tasks?

Yes.  A significant aspect of being on retreat is the sense of shared community with others.  Participating in shared practical tasks can also be very enjoyable.  You will be asked to share and help out with tasks such as washing up, chopping vegetables, cooking and light cleaning.  You will also be invited to participate in a general clear-up at the end of the retreat.

If you have a medical condition or disability that impacts on your ability to help with the domestic tasks on a retreat, then please tell the office at the time of your booking to discuss your needs.

I have food allergies, or have dietary restrictions that are required for a medical condition.  Can you cater for this?

If you are unable to eat wheat, gluten or nuts for genuine medical reasons, we are able to cater for your dietary needs. 

If you have any other restricted diet please contact the office before booking as we cannot always cater for complex restricted diets.

If you arrive on retreat without having informed us of your restricted diet, we may not be able to cater for you.  We need this information each time that you book.

Meat (including fish) is not allowed on the premises under any circumstances.
 

Is food included? What's the food like?

All the food we serve is vegan and we supply organic cows' milk for individual use by non-vegans. We aim to make our food simple, delicious, fresh, nutritionally balanced and as ethically sourced as possible.

When you come to Taraloka on retreat, you can relax in the knowledge that Kathy, the Kitchen Manager, has put effort into thinking through a nutritionally balanced and ethically responsible menu plan so that you don't have to. The retreat is a chance to live, and eat, in a simple and ethical way, It's also an opportunity to try out a vegan diet if this is new for you.   We get many comments about how delicious people find our food and we are often asked for the recipes!
 

What facilities for those with disabilities does Taraloka have?

The retreat centre is mostly level and all communal areas are on the ground floor.  We have an accessible bathroom with shower chair, toilet frame and toilet raised seat available for use.

Ground floor bedrooms can be booked through the office.

We have a portable hearing loop for hearing aid users.

Please do call the office to book if you have particular requirements and to talk through accessibility at Taraloka.
 

Can I wash my clothes while I am there?

There are no facilities for retreatants to wash clothes, except in a bathroom sink, so we do advise you to bring enough clothing for the length of retreat you are attending.

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately we do not accept dogs.  If you have a guide or assistance dog, please contact the office to discuss the possibility of bringing them.

Can I arrive later than the retreat start time or leave earlier than the stated finish time?

We ask that retreatants come for the entire duration of the retreat. Arriving late or leaving early disrupts the retreat for everyone and breaks up the sense of community that can develop between the participants over the retreat.
 

Can I pop out of the retreat?

To get the most from the precious opportunity of being on retreat, we ask you not to take excursions, which would not only be disruptive for yourself but also affect others on the retreat. For the duration of your retreat, please come prepared not to use your car, if you bring one, and please stay within walking distance of the retreat centre.
 

What happens if I need to cancel my retreat at any point?

Booking fees are non-refundable under any circumstances.  If you give us at least six weeks notice (to the start of your booked retreat) when cancelling, it may be possible to transfer the booking fee, providing there is space on another appropriate retreat within the calendar year. 
 

How old do I need to be to come on retreat?

Our retreats are for women aged 18 and over.

Am I well enough to be on retreat?
I'm pregnant - can I come on retreat?

You are welcome to come to Taraloka on retreat if you are pregnant.  However please consider your own general health and stage of pregnancy before making your decision.   It is important to know that Taraloka is in a rural location, with a minimum 45-minute call out time for an ambulance or to drive to the nearest A&E.  Retreat team members are not medically trained.

If you are pregnant and considering attending a yoga or bodywork retreat please call or email the office in advance. Whilst bodywork can be beneficial for women who are pregnant, suitability for these classes is assessed on an individual basis.  We will put you in contact with the yoga or bodywork teacher for the retreat who will be able to advise.

Pregnant women are welcome to attend the Mothers weekend retreats.
 

Do I have to be a Buddhist to come on retreat?

No, our introductory and open retreats are aimed at those of any faith or no faith.  You do not need to consider yourself Buddhist to benefit from meditation or other Buddhist teachings.  However, we are a Buddhist retreat centre, so the teaching given by ordained Buddhists and what we teach is rooted in the Buddhist tradition.  
 

I'm a transgender woman. Am I welcome on retreat?

Yes.  Please contact the office if you'd like more information.
 

How much does it cost to come on retreat?

Please see what does it cost?

Do I need to know how to meditate to come on an introductory or open retreat?

No. On introductory retreats the meditation teaching assumes no previous experience of meditation, although  those who have already encountered meditation will hopefully find that the teaching will help them go deeper.  
Open retreats are suitable for both beginners and those with more experience. 

Can I attend a Triratna Regulars retreat if I have never been to a Triratna Buddhist Community Centre before?

The content, teaching and structure of our Regulars' retreats are designed for people who already practise within the tradition of the Triratna Buddhist Community.  Therefore, Regulars retreats are only for people who regularly attend urban or retreat centres run by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order founded by Sangharakshita

Those in a Triratna Regulars category will already have learned the Triratna system of meditation and be familiar with, and happy to participate in, Triratna Buddhist devotional practice and ritual (puja).  Regulars retreats may well include extended periods of sitting meditation and time spent in silence.

While we recognise that some people may already have experience of meditation, Buddhism and being on retreat within other traditions, this may be very different from the way we practise within the Triratna Buddhist Community. You may wish to choose one of our Open retreats instead.

If you are unsure whether or not you fit the 'Triratna Regulars' category, please contact the office to discuss it.
 

What should I bring?

We suggest you bring the following: indoor shoes/ slippers, outdoor shoes or boots, a towel, toiletries, loose and comfortable clothing and a watch or timing device that isn't your mobile phone.  You may want to bring a note book and writing materials. 

We  provide all the meditation equipment (mats, cushions, blankets, stools, chairs) so there's no need to bring your own unless you'd like to.

If you're coming on a Regulars/Mitra/Asked for Ordination/Order retreat we ask if you can bring your own bed linen (sheet, duvet cover and pillowcases) as this reduces our laundry costs.  However, we have bed linen you can use if it's not possible for you to bring your own.

Should I bring bed linen?

If you're coming on an introductory or open level retreat we provide all bedding and bed linen (sheet, duvet cover and pillowcases).

If you're coming on a Regulars/Mitra/Asked for Ordination/Order retreat we ask if you can bring your own bed linen (sheet, duvet cover and pillowcases) as this reduces our laundry costs.  However, we have bed linen you can use if it's not possible for you to bring your own.

What should I leave behind? 

To make the most of being on retreat, please do not bring work with you. We also recommend you leave behind newspapers and the media generally. If you want to read, bring something inspirational, rather than something 'distracting'. 

We also ask you to turn off your mobile phone and leave your laptop/tablet/MP3 player at home.  There is no internet access in the retreat centre and very poor mobile phone signal anyhow.

In case of emergencies, family and friends can call our emergency mobile +44 (0)7774 007 133 if they need to reach you.  One of the Taraloka community carries this at all times.
 

Why are we asked not to use mobile phones, laptops or MP3 players during a retreat?

Being on retreat is a chance to detox from technology and distraction.  This is a powerful way to support the deepening of meditative calm and insight.  

To help you be fully present and to avoid distracting other retreatants, we ask you not to use mobile phones, tablets, laptops, MP3 players etc. in the retreat centre or grounds during the retreat.

In case of emergencies, family and friends can call our emergency mobile +44 (0)7774 007 133 if they need to reach you.  One of the Taraloka community carries this at all times.  
 

Will there be periods of silence on retreats?

Yes, on all of our retreats there are some periods of silence observed. We probably all remember moments of silence that brought a sense of peace or joy to our lives: looking up at a starlit sky; reading a book; sitting with a good friend when no more needs to be said. Most retreats at Taraloka have shorter or longer periods of silence. On many introductory retreats, there will be silence overnight or for a small part of the day. It's very understandable to feel a bit nervous about this at first, particularly if you have ever experienced silence as some kind of emotional tension or cutting off. You can always approach a member of the team for support or encouragement, while those leading the retreat will still need to speak, for example when introducing meditation and giving general guidance.

Silence as a spiritual practice is about connection: with ourselves, with meditation, with others and with the beauty of nature. It is a rare opportunity in the modern world but a familiar practice in the Taraloka landscape and buildings. Away from life's noise and busyness, we can relax and have time and space for ourselves. We may be more in touch with our meditation. We may be more open to the rich, varied experience of our senses: whether listening to birdsong, feeling the earth beneath our feet or really enjoying a cup of tea. Silence can deepen our awareness and our kindness and be a happy, easy way of being with others. For many women, it is one of the best parts of their retreat.
 

Who leads these retreats?

All retreats are led by women members of the Triratna Buddhist Order.  A short profile of the retreat leader(s) for most retreats can be found on the individual retreat pages.  See our retreat calendar page to find these. 
 

Is there any free time to go for walks or rest?

Yes.  On most retreats there is time in the afternoon for resting, exploring the landscape or simply doing nothing.
 

Are there any rules?

We aim to provide an environment that is relaxed and enjoyable, yet also supportive of meditation, reflection and the Buddhist ethical precepts - including the practice of stillness, simplicity and contentment.  A retreat is a collective experience, so what an individual does affects the atmosphere of the retreat for everyone.

This is why, to support the retreat environment, we ask that you refrain from alcohol, sexual activity, meat or fish eating and illicit drugs for the duration of the retreat. 

Smokers are asked not to smoke on the premises, including in cars, but may do so outside of Taraloka buildings and grounds (this includes electronic cigarettes).

We also ask that you turn off your mobile phone, laptop, tablet and other devices and that they aren't used in the retreat centre or grounds. If you need to be contactable in an emergency, please give your friends and family the Taraloka emergency mobile number: 07774 007 133.
 

Can I come and volunteer at Taraloka?

Please see our give time and energy page.  We only take volunteers who are Triratna Regulars.

How many people will there be on the retreat?

Taraloka at capacity sleeps 33 people indoors.  Most retreats have between 15 and 35 people attending.

Can I access the internet on retreat?

There is no internet access in the retreat centre.  Please make and confirm your travel plans before leaving home.

What time do retreats start and finish?

All retreats start with supper at 6.30 pm.  Please arrive between 4 and 6pm. Weekend retreats including long weekends finish at 3pm. All other retreats end at 10.30am.  After booking you will receive a booking confirmation email which includes details of your retreat's start and finish times.