Sunday 9th July – Thursday 5th October 2017: Rains (Vassa) Retreat

E-mail to book a place


Summer 2017 will see Sunyata host its inaugural Vassa, or Rains Retreat. The Vassa is an annual three-month period of monastic retreat which has been observed since the time of the Buddha. Traditionally, monks and nuns remain in one place during this time, taking the opportunity to deepen and strengthen their practice.
We will therefore have several monks in full-time residence at Sunyata for this period, which lasts from July 9th until October 5th. This presents a unique opportunity for lay people to both interact with monastics and participate in monastery life.

During their stay, guests would be expected to observe 8 precepts and to follow the monastic schedule.

Staying during this period

If you would like to stay at Sunyata during this time and join in the monastery routine, please email us at:

A typical day will consist of morning puja (meditation and chanting) at 5 a.m., and evening puja at 7.30 p.m. The daily schedule will also include breakfast and main-meal, work periods, as well as free time in the afternoon.

Meal-Offerings: Offering food is a way of supporting and taking part in the life of the resident community. If one wishes to make an offering of food towards the main meal during this time please e-mail in advance to let us know.

Please note: In accordance with the 8 precepts (see below), there will be no meals offered after noon each day.

This is not a formal retreat; it's a snapshot of life in a monastery, with periods of meditation, work, community. Although we will be practicing noble speech (see below) it will not be in silence. If coming to stay on site, please bring your own bedding to include - sleeping bag or duvet, pillow and sheets.

Possible schedule:

5 am  Morning puja

6:15 am Chore

7:15 am Breakfast

8:15 am Work Period

11:00 am Main Meal

Afternoon Time: Free time

5 pm  Tea-time

7:30 pm  Evening Puja

All participants will be asked to abide by the 8 precepts,

The Eight Precepts

1. Harmlessness: not intentionally taking the life of any living creature.
2. Trustworthiness: not taking anything that is not given.
3. Chastity : refraining from any sexual activity.
4. Right Speech: avoiding false, abusive or malicious speech
5. Sobriety : not taking any intoxicating drinks or drugs.
6. Renunciation : not eating after mid-day.
7. Restraint : not wearing make-up, jewellery or immodest clothing; not playing radios, music tapes or musical instruments.
8. Alertness: to refrain from overindulgence in sleep.

For more about staying during the Vassa period please read here