We organise the trip – you go on the journey!
Namaste! Welcome to Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN). Besides organizing volunteers to work on projects in the communities, we can also organise meditation retreats just for you!You will see that just outside of Kathmandu, overlooking the valley the mountains and surrounded by a forest is a beautiful monastery. Inside the monastery is a calm, peaceful and beautiful setting where Tibetan Buddhist monks live, pray and eat. It is here that you can live with the Buddhist monks, learn about Buddhism, be guided in meditation and stay for your retreat. The Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries here in Nepal are beautiful: we know you will love them too. Come and join us in Nepal and allow yourself to get away from the stresses and worries of every day life.
If you’re craving peace, if you want to shake off your stress, remove anxieties from your mind,experience something amazing and wonderful then you’ve come to the right place. It is ideal and relaxing and this is the perfect opportunity to meditate in one of the most spiritual places on the planet. We work with many monasteries and look forward to greeting you and introducing you to the monks and showing you around
So come and immerse yourself in Nepali culture, learn about Buddhist meditation, meet the Tibetan and Nepali monks and see the beauty that can exist in a quiet and spiritual place. We welcome you to Nepal! We encourage you to start your journey.
What happens on a meditation retreat?
There are three main components of this program:
- The first is that you will have teaching sessions with a Khenpo (The Monastery Abbot) on some essential points on the Buddhist doctrine.
- Secondly you will be given an introduction to basic meditation techniques and will have regular meditation sessions that will be lead by the student monks.
- Finally you will be able to be involved in discussion sessions with monks and other Buddhist students from the monastery.
We can also take you to visit other monasteries, or to meet the young children monks and nuns who are also learning about Buddhism. We can be flexible and arrange this program to suit you. Send us an email and we can go from there.
I have never meditated before?
No problem! And it’s okay, your guru will teach you meditation to the limits of your own abilities.Skill level is varied and to be embraced. Meditation is not a competition, but an individual experience. And it is absolutely for everyone. Just remember to breathe and appreciate where you are and go slowly. This program will teach you the fundamental aspects of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana perspective and is therefore suitable for beginners, or even those wanting a refresher course.
When can I come?
Any time you want! We will tailor the time and the group and the costs to suit what you need and want (as much as possible according to the monk’s availabilities). We do however need a minimum of five peopleto go aheadwith a retreat. There may be other applicants at the same time or youmay like to bring your own friends or family to share the experience. The best thing to do is to email us!
Will I be safe?
Of course! Many of our volunteers have spent time living and working in monasteries, you can read their testimonials on our website. Also at VIN we have staff available 24 hours a day in case you need any support. We also have a Doctor on staff should you need any medical assistance.
What languages will be used?
The monks will be able to speak and direct you in English.
What is the food and accommodation like?
You will be given accommodation in the monastery, which is in Kathmandu, and eat there as the monks do. Three vegetarian meals are served daily: usually dhal bhat (cooked rice and lentil soup), cooked vegetables with roti (flat bread) or thukpa (Tibetan noodle and vegetable soup). The meals will be served hot, and delicious. And did we mention that you get to eat with monks!
Remember that facilities in Nepal may not be what you are used to. Nepal works with a rolling grid of electricity and sometimes there will be no power throughout the day. Nepal is beautiful and spiritual but is still one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. This is how everyone in Nepal lives and it is the best way for you to learn about this life.However, the monastery is clean, comfortable and lovely. It is so serene, so close to nature andcontains such a beautiful calming energy that you will benefit and enjoy your experience for a long time to come. You can fill your heart and soul with peace and keep it with you after you leave.
What’s expected of me?
You will be living and studying amongst the monks (who are very helpful and welcoming). We do though, ask all of our participants to pay due respect to the monks privacy and the monastic environment. This includes refraining from killing (any type of animal or insect), stealing, lying, sexual misconduct and taking intoxicants (including cigarettes and alcohol) on the premises. We also ask all participants (bot male and female) to dress modestly: such as long pants/skirts, no mid-riff tops and keeping shoulders covered. This will show respect to the monks and ensure everyone is comfortable.
What does an average day look like on the retreat?
Your daily schedule may look like the table below. This is a rough guide as sessions change according to the monk’s customs and if there are any special events around the time of your retreat.
|5:30 – 6:30 am||Morning Puja (optional attendance)||Main shrine hall|
|6:30 – 7:00 am||Meditation 1||Main shrine hall|
|7:00 – 8:00 am||Breakfast||Restaurant|
|8:00 – 9:30 am||Teaching with Khenpo (Guru)||Classroom|
|9:30 – 10:00 am||Moring tea break||Restaurant|
|10:00 – 10.30 am||Question and Answer session||Classroom|
|10:30 – 11:30 am||Meditation 2||Main shrine hall|
|11:30 – 12:30 pm||Lunch||Restaurant|
|12:30 – 3:00 pm||Free time for contemplation/relaxation|
|3:00 – 3:30 pm||Afternoon tea break||Restaurant|
|3.30 – 4.30 pm||Meditation 3||Main Shrine Hall|
|4.30 – 6:00 pm||Discussion session||Monastery garden|
|6:00 – 7:00 pm||Evening Puja (optional attendance)||Main Shrine Hall|
|7:00 – 8:00 pm||Dinner||Restaurant|
|8:00 – 9:00 pm||Meditation 4||Main Shrine room|
What is Puja?
Puja is the prayers that the monks perform in sessions, usually mornings and evenings and sometimes in the daytime for special events. Puja usually involves Tibetan Buddhist chanting, bowing or making devotional offerings such as burning incense. The monks will do this daily and you are welcome to watch and enjoy the experience.
Do I have to be Buddhist?
Not at all, we welcome anyone who is willing to participate and is happy to follow the Buddhist ways of living whilst in the monastery.
Can I do this and also volunteer for one of the other VIN projects?
Absolutely! Whatever your purpose and mission in Nepal is, we can help accommodate you. Maybe you’ll be in Nepal for a holiday and would like to attend a retreat while you’re here. Or perhaps you’d like to come to Nepal and do some volunteer work – such as live for a month in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and volunteer to teach English to the monk children and then attend a retreat at the end or the start of the program. We have many other programs such as female empowerment, childhood education, building toilets in rural villages, public health, environment conservatism and much more. Think about what you can and would like to do and help make the world a better place.
What is the cost?
Costs may be tailored and change, depending on how many people attend the retreat(five as a minimum) and other variables – just email us for a quote! We’re happy to work it out with you.
What does the cost include?
The most magical part of this retreat is that your money goes towards not only your experience, your food, your accommodation, your meditation lessons and your transportationbut alsoof course into local employment and the community. It’s good for you, good for Nepal. This is the best way to look after yourself spiritually whilst also helping the greater good.
How long can I stay?
We can organise a retreat for a different length of time depending on what you want. The optimum lengths of time are listed below so select one, contact us and we’ll talk more!
Length of Stay: 3 days (2 nights)
Length of Stay: 5 days (4 nights)
Length of Stay: 10 days (9 nights)
Why meditate anywhere else? There is no better place than in Nepal – it is the birth place of Buddha after all!!! We are a proud, spiritual, beautiful and humble country and we welcome you and your time and thank you for your contribution to our communities.
Welcome to the next steps of your journey.