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Five-day Study and Practice retreat – Walking the Buddha’s path to freedom

Are you interested in exploring the Buddha’s teachings (dharma) but feel unsure where and how to start? 

Would you like to understand how these teachings can deepen your meditation practice, and help you live a life of greater ease, happiness, peace, and freedom?

Are you interested in meeting others with similar interests, and engaging in dharma study and practice with them through a variety of different modes?

This five-day dharma study and practice retreat offers a rare opportunity to explore the Buddha’s teachings with three highly-experienced dharma teachers and meditation practitioners.

Over the days of practice you will be introduced to the core Buddhist teachings, with a map of how they interrelate and support the development of your practice towards a free heart and mind (citta).

The retreat will be grounded in noble silence, to support your deepening understanding and integration. The schedule includes: shared enquiry into core texts and teachings; guided and silent sitting and walking meditation; relational practice, using the guidelines of Insight Dialogue*; individual meetings with the teachers; and a period of optional, gentle mindful movement.

Each day there will be a 2-hour sutta (text) study session exploring the Buddha’s core teachings for liberating the heart and mind (citta): generosity (dāna), ethical living (sīla), meditation (samādhi) and wise enquiry (pañña).

This retreat is best suited to people with an established insight meditation or mindfulness practice. 

The retreat is intended as a pilot programme with future online and retreat-based teachings in 2021 and onwards.

*For more information about the practice of Insight Dialogue, please see


Willa Thaniya Reid trained in the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah, which harmonises with her affinity for the natural world and for reflective practice grounded in the Buddha’s suttas. She was a monastic for 18 years, eight years as senior nun of Cittaviveka. She teaches internationally and is based in New Zealand, where she co-founded with Elizabeth a center for Dhamma enquiry in Kihikihi. She has a Masters of Counselling, and clinical pastoral training. 

Dr Elizabeth Day trained as a Buddhist monastic within the lineage of the Thai Forest Sangha.  She is committed to presenting the clarity of the core Buddhist teachings, and bringing these alive for minds shaped by contemporary democratic paradigms. Elizabeth co-founded a centre for Dhamma practice in Kihikihi, New Zealand with Willa, and teaches retreats in NZ and the USA. She has a PhD in phenomenology and inter-subjectivity; practices relational Gestalt psychotherapy; and is a senior academic in universities in New Zealand and Australia.

Jill Shepherd began practicing insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand. She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal.

Time and dates: 4:30 pm Tuesday 4 - 1:00 pm Sunday 9 February 2020
Location: St Francis Retreat Centre
Cost: sliding scale $850-$650 + dana*
(cost will include a contribution towards the teachers' international airfare)
To register: