Guidelines for Retreats and Events

History, Vision, Community, and Theravada Buddhism

General Guidelines  

  • Due to severe weather conditions (flooded roads, ice storms, or heavy snow), Bhavana may be forced to cancel or close retreats or events. If inclement weather seems possible on the date of your trip to Bhavana, please check the website for updates. Every effort will be made to contact all who have registered.
  • Food is not eaten after 12 noon each day. Only tea, juice or soft drinks are consumed after noon. (An evening meal for medical reasons must be approved at the time of registration.) The meals prepared here are vegetarian; please note, dairy and egg products may be used. Vegan options are usually provided. Please also note, fasting (no food taken) is not allowed at Bhavana Society.  It is not Bhavana Society’s responsibility for those who wish to fast, please do not come here for this purpose.
  • All overnight guests/retreatants/residents must be 18 or older or accompanied by their parent or guardian (except for the Youth Retreat). 
  • Abstain from killing, stealing, committing any sexual activity, lying, gossiping, slandering, and using harsh language.
  • Tobacco or any tobacco products, including vapors, vapor pens, etc. cannot be used here. 
  • Please let us know your estimated arrival time to as close as you can.  Please consider arriving between 2:00-4:00 p.m. since you will need to meet with a resident or Retreat Coordinator upon your arrival.
  • Completing your on-site retreat registration/check-in here begins at 1:30 p.m. in the dining hall the first day of the retreat. Each retreat ends after lunch on the last day.
  • All retreatants will be asked to do a daily chore while in retreat to help us maintain our center while large groups are in residence.  Typical chores washing dishes, maintaining the tea area, cleaning bathrooms, mopping, vacuuming floors, etc.
  • If you have medical needs relating to your sleeping accommodations, such as indoor plumbing or electricity, please let us know.
  • You may not use a telephone during retreats. When not in retreat, you may use the telephone for a short message using your credit card or by calling collect. Limit your calls to no more than five minutes.
  • E-mail and Internet access is not available at any time.
  • The Bhavana Society is not to be taken as a hotel or recreation center. It is purely a place for serious meditation and Dhamma study.
  • Avoid physical contact except in emergencies.
  • Retreatants may arrive a day or two early, with permission of the office manager. To stay after a retreat, please apply for residency here:
  • Attending the full retreat is required.
  • Please do not do laundry during a retreat, or when staying at the monastery for less than a week.
  • Men should not enter women’s dwellings and women should not enter men’s dwellings, even for loading and unloading vehicles. 
  • Please do not point the soles of one’s feet toward a monastic or Buddha image. Be aware of your posture in the meditation hall.
  • For those wanting to visit outside of a formal retreat Bhavana Society offers Lay Residency. Lay residents follow the monastery schedule, including group sitting and chanting, eating meals together and doing daily chores for two hours each day. Solo retreats with a personalized schedule are not offered.
  • All monastics must have permission from our Abbot to visit.  Even for a day visit, it is requested that you have contacted our Abbot or Vice Abbot in advance.

Meditation Hall Guidelines

  • Shoes and slippers are not worn in the main building, which includes the dining hall, Sangha Hall and Meditation Hall.
  • Plastic water bottles are permitted, so long as they do not make noise. Please drink quietly.
  • Cell phones, timers, mp3 players, robots and other beeping things are not allowed.
  • You are encouraged to sit in a position that will allow you to be comfortable. You may aslo stand or walk, but lying down is not permitted.
  • Floor mats, round cushions, benches and a few odd-shaped cushions are available. A small number of folding chairs are provided in the back. You are welcome to bring your own equipment.
  • During sitting and walking meditation, keep unnecessary noise (i.e. whispering, clearing the throat, heavy breathing) and distracting movement to a minimum. Do not leave the hall during meditation except to use the bathroom or if there’s a medical reason. 
  • Meditation sessions usually have a formal beginning and end, indicated by a chime.
  • Do not store Dhamma books on the floor.
  • Don’t take mats, meditation cushions, or devotional books out of the meditation hall.

Personal Retreats

For those wanting to visit outside of a formal retreat, Bhavana Society offers Lay Residency. Lay residents follow the monastery schedule,
including group sitting and chanting, eating meals together and doing chores for two to four hours each day. Solo retreats with a personalized
schedule are not offered. You may apply for lay residency here:

Visiting during Non-Retreat Times

  1. Guest fully participate in the daily meditation schedule as well as the devotional service and any other activities while here at our center.
  2. We do not accept guests when we are in a retreat. A calendar of retreats is available on the website home page.
  3. Guests are assigned two to four hours of work each day.
  4. If you would like to come just for a day (not staying overnight), please fill out the form here:
  5. If you would like to stay overnight, even just one one night,  please submit a residency application.  For short stays of 3 days or less, there’s no need to provide references and you answers may be short. For longer stays, please fill out the whole form.
  6. You may arrange to come early to a retreat by contacting the office manager.  
  7. Bhavana Society closes at noon on January 1st so that all residents can begin their private two-month retreat. We do not accept visitors during January and February.

For further useful information, see also: Frequently Asked Questions on the contact page

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