Information on the retreats

in the Thai Monastery, Sarnath and Bodh Gaya


From Meditation to Liberation

In a generation in the West, more than a million people have sat meditation retreats ranging from a weekend to a weeklong to three years.

The commitment means attending the retreat for the full week.

Since 1974, our annual retreats in India have become a central feature for some international travellers to India and for people from the sub-continent.

To register for Sarnath, go  to Registration Forms page at foot of home page.

Then go to Donations link near top of home page.

You are asked to deposit €30 (£27, US$37, A$48, 2700 rupees) per retreat


Go to home page. See Registration Form below the text.


You can complete the form online if you wish or complete when arriving at the Thai Monastery, Sarnath.


If you register, please make the committment to come. We have places for 50 participants. We look forward to seeing you.


You will receive a confirmation of your registration within a few days. If you have not received a confirmation within six days, please email again.

For further information contact  



  • Smoking is not permitted on the retreat.

  • There are the sounds from the occasional weddings in Sarnath and Bodh Gaya lasting for about three hours or so from 8 am.  We provide earplugs for everybody. We only heard one wedding nearby in 2018, which finished by 22.30.

  • Bring a sleeping bag and torch. Meditation cushions are provided.

  • The commitment to the first retreat is for the full period whether staying inside the monastery.

  • Retreats are run entirely on dana (donations) from participants except for the €30 (£27, US$37, A$48, 2700 rupees) per retreat

  • There are places for 50 participants.

  • Located behind a high wall, the meditation centre in Sarnath is located at the very rear of the monastery and 150 metres from the main road. Left hand gate is open around the clock

  • Enter the left hand gate of  the Thai Monastery, Bodh Gaya. Meditation Centre is in the far right corner of the monastery.

  • No music is permitted anywhere in the grounds of the monastery.

  • We ask participants not to enter the kitchen to give advice to the cooks. The cooks provide us with nutritious vegetarian food, mildly spiced.

  • The retreat makes available a top quality water filter.


  1. A commitment is required to stay for a full seven days.

  2. A person who snores should inform the manager. We recommend use of a tent, some way apart from other tents, rather than a shared room.

  3. Basic chairs are provided. Chairs can be placed to the side at the front of the hall or in the back row.

  4. Be moderate with dress. Remember you are staying in a monastery with a modest dresscode.

  5. Bellringer rings the bell outside every room and tent.

  6. Bring a sleeping bag. It can be cold at night

  7. Bring a torch. Electricity is generally reliable but there are power cuts.

  8. Couples can share a room provided there is a commitment to silence.

  9. Course will provide earplugs in case of a nearby evening wedding.

  10. Eye contact is permitted but not to be pursued.

  11. If an urgent need to leave early, it is important to inform the manager and teacher (s).

  12. If space is available, then a tent or room can be used.

  13. If you are new to meditation, we suggest you sit as close to the front as possible.

  14. If you feel concern about somebody, please inform the teacher or manager.

  15. If you feel you need to talk to somebody, please find a teacher or manager.

  16. Meditation cushions, and some kneeling stoods, are available. Maximum of one cushion per person. Extra cushions may be available.

  17. Meditators to stay within the grounds of the meditation centre.

  18. Mindfulness, calmness and clarity take priority over intensity.

  19. Mobile phones etc must be switched off during the retreat.

  20. Moderation in eating belongs to the practice. Fasting is not supportive nor offered.

  21. Movement in the meditation may be necessary. Please change the posture mindfully and silently so as not to disturb others.

  22. No candles, no incense in room or tent so stop fire risk.

  23. No reading of books on retreats to maximise practice time.

  24. Noble Silence gives support everyone.

  25. Only drink purified water made available. Never drink tap water.

  26. Our team of cooks work hard. Please do not approach cooks with personal needs.

  27. Outside of talks and interviews, the retreats are held in silence with no whispered conversations.

  28. Participants arrange future travel arrangements before retreat. Managers cannot engage in travel arrangements.

  29. Personal hygiene is important such as handwashing right after use of toilet. Vegetabe cuttes and cleaners must wash hands before and after work period.

  30. People at beginning of food line to take a moderate amount to ensure those at the end of the line received the appropriate proportion.

  31. Photography of participants is not permitted during the retreat.

  32. Pilgrims come to stay in the monastery after our retreats. It is not possible to stay in the monastery after the retreat.

  33. Please wipe the nose rather than blow the nose.

  34. Punctuality of presence in the Dharma Hall and commitment to stay to end -unless an urgency. Participant to be in hall within three or four minutes of the start of meditation.

  35. Recording of teachings in the hall is permitted. Participants take responsibility for their equipment.

  36. Remember to bring personal items, such as soap, toothpaste, medicine, shampoo.

  37. Remember to put hand immediately over the mouth to stop germs from coughing or sneezing.

  38. Retreat cannot offer a special diet. Breakfast consists of tea, porridge and fruit. Lunch meal is Indian vegetarian with mildly spice food in Sarnath and Thai vegetarian food in the Thai Monastery, Bodh Gaya.

  39. Retreat provides plate, cup and cutlery. Be mindful where you keep these items.

  40. Some people bring a shawl for meditation.

  41. There is no division of men and women in the meditation hall.

  42. The retreats reflect the Buddha’s teachings on sitting/walking/standing and reclining.

  43. There are few mosquitoes in January and February in north India. Mosquito repellent is provided.

  44. There are showers with warm water.

  45. There is a daily work period after breakfast including cutting vegetables and cleaning.

  46. Those hard of hearing should sit near the front.

  47. To sit, not recline, when listening to teachings.

  48. Valuables are kept in a padlocked chest in a locked room. Teachers and manages cannot take responsibility in the event of a robbery.

  49. Writing of notes to summarise experience or taking notes from talks is permitted.

  50. Yoga for around 50 minutes is offered at the start of the day. Yoga gives much support to relaxation and reduction of stress and pain in meditation.

Your support for the retreat and these practical points enable the retreat to run smoothly. The smooth flow contributes to the depth of calm, insight and liberating wisdom.



50 Practical Points during the Sarnath Retreats

In Alphabetical order.