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with Ven. Robina Courtin

Ackworth Quaker School, Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Friday 12 April (from 16:00) until after lunch Thursday 18 April (6 nights retreat) 

Friday 12 April (from 16:00) until the evening of Sunday 14 April (weekend retreat)

*Please scroll down to book on this retreat*

About the retreat

On this retreat, Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher Ven. Robina Courtin will rely upon the amazing, experiential teachings on Mahamudra by Lama Thubten Yeshe.

His main disciple Lama Zopa Rinpoche described Lama Yeshe as “a great tantric practitioner, a real ascetic meditator, even though he didn’t live alone in a cave. He was a valid base to be labelled “yogi,” not because he could perform tantric rituals but because he had unmistaken realisations of clear light and the illusory body. He had reached the stage of tantra mahamudra.”

Ven. Robina will draw upon the recently published book of Lama Yeshe’s called Mahamudra: How to Realise Our True Nature, a commentary on the First Panchen Lama’s text, in which Lama tells us that mahamudra is the “the universal reality of emptiness, of nonduality” and its unique characteristic is its emphasis on meditation.

“With mahamudra meditation there is no doctrine, no theology, no philosophy, no God, no Buddha. Mahamudra is only experience.”

Lama Yeshe shows us how to overcome distraction and rest in meditative stillness on the clarity of one’s own mind, and then by using a subtle wisdom, to penetrate its ultimate nature, its emptiness.

The retreat will consist of sessions of teachings on the principal points of the Buddhist path as a prerequisite for hearing these instructions on how to realise emptiness, as well as meditation sessions using Lama Yeshe’s wise advice.

You will be also be invited to participate in periods of silence and to take the 8 Mahayana precepts. (Please see below for information on the 8 Mahayana precepts).

Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding of this profound meditation practice of Mahamudra in the peaceful surroundings of Ackworth Quaker School with Ven. Robina Courtin.

Although attending the 6 night retreat is recommended, you can also book for the weekend of the retreat (Friday evening to Sunday evening) as a really useful way of engaging with meditation practice in a retreat environment.

This retreat is open to those who have some basic understanding of Buddhist teachings and more experienced students of Tibetan Buddhism.

Contact smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk if you have any questions about the retreat.

Venue and Location

Ackworth School is a historic Quaker boarding school set in its own grounds, midway between Wakefield and Pontefract on the A628 within easy access of the A1, M1, & M62. It is about a 30 minutes drive from central Leeds and there is free onsite parking. The nearest train stations are Pontefract (about 15 mins drive from the school) or Wakefield (25 mins drive from the school). We will endeavour to meet people from the railway stations at Leeds and Wakefield if you register your interest in getting a lift when you book on the retreat. If we don’t have enough volunteer drivers we will coordinate taxis. If you are not able to plan your journey in advance and arrive before 4.30pm, we can provide taxi numbers.

The address is: Ackworth School, Pontefract Road, Ackworth, West Yorkshire, WF7 7LT.

For local journey planning – visit http://www.wymetro.com/howtogetto/

Suggested Donation

The suggested donation for the Ackworth retreat covers administrative costs, venue hire and accommodation, meals, tea and coffee throughout the retreat, the teacher travel costs and an offering from everyone to Ven. Robina to thank her for leading the retreat. All participants will be offered a copy of Lamas book: Mahamudra – How to Discover Our True Nature for the retreat.

If there is any surplus donation, this will be put back into supporting the work Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds does to bring Mahayana Buddhist teachings from Tibet to the north of the UK. If you would like to sponsor a place on this retreat for someone on a low income, please get in touch at smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk.

Full retreat: Friday to Thursday (6 nights) retreat including meals (except during precepts), retreat sessions and accommodation

Single occupancy room with shared bathroom: £380

Twin occupancy with shared bathroom: £355 per person

Single occupancy room en-suite: £430

Twin / Triple occupancy with en-suite: £405 per person

(please note there is only a small number of en-suite rooms available for people who book for 6 nights).

Weekend retreat: Friday to Sunday (2 nights) including meals, retreat sessions and accommodation

Single occupancy room with shared bathroom: £140

Twin occupancy with shared bathroom: £120 per person

How to Book

To book on the retreat please fill in this online booking form here.

Our preferred method for receiving donations is by MyDonate.

Donations for the retreat may also be made by bank transfer (details sent with confirmation email) or by cheque made payable to Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds.

Meals

Vegetarian food will be provided according to the following schedule:

Friday 12 April – evening meal

Saturday 13 April – three meals

Sunday 14, Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 only one meal (lunch) will be provided when we take precepts with Ven. Robina Courtin

Wednesday 17 April – three meals

Thursday 18 April – breakfast and lunch

Please remember to notify us at registration if you have specific dietary requirements. If you don’t intend to take the 8 Mahayana precepts, there are basic kitchen facilities at the venue where you can make your own breakfast and dinner. Please note all meals must be vegetarian or vegan. No meat is allowed on the premises during the retreat. We also ask that you respect the majority of people on retreat who will be taking precepts by only eating during the designated meal times.

The 8 Mahayana Precepts

The eight Mahayana precepts are a powerful and effective way for you to build, maintain and increase deep propensities for spiritual practice and attainment and thus is a profound method for giving meaning to your precious human life. By taking the 8 Mahayana precepts we promise to abandon killing, stealing, lying, sexual contact, intoxicants (including alcohol, cigarettes, mind-altering drugs and any other substance that loosens voluntary reserve), sitting on high seats, eating at the wrong time and singing, dancing and wearing perfumes and jewellery for 24hours. During the retreat there will be a special opportunity to take precepts with Ven. Robina on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Please see the section above on Meals about your options if you don’t want to take precepts.

Accommodation Info

Shared rooms have close access to shared bathroom/  shower rooms and washrooms. Bedrooms have single beds, power sockets, table, wardrobe with hangers, drawers, bedding, towels and soap. The bedrooms do not have hair-dryers, kettles, irons, reading lamps or bathrobes.

Supporting the Retreat

In addition to attending the retreat for the benefit of all sentient beings you could offer further support:-

  1. You could drive to the retreat and offer a lift to someone else – please email JBCL in order that we can put you in contact with someone in your area or on your route to Ackworth;
  2. You could be part of the setting-up team on 12 April at Ackworth School, or the dismantling team on 18 April.
  3. You could make prayers that you will attend retreat in the future and access our retreat recordings to become familiar with the practices.

About Ven. Robina Courtin

Since discovering the Buddhist path and ordaining as a nun in 1978 , Ven. Robina has worked full time for her heart lamas, Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and their Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.

At Wisdom Publications between 1978 and 1987 Ven. Robina  oversaw at various times its design, production, and editorial activities. Also at Wisdom, she co-edited two issues of 
Wisdom Magazine – the forerunner of FPMT’s Mandala Magazine, which she edited from 1994 until 2000. She was executive director of Liberation Prison Project from 1996 until 2009, establishing it as a non-profit in both the US and Australia. She has edited numerous books of the lamas, including Becoming the Compassion Buddha, Bliss of Inner Fire and Dear Lama Zopa; has been the spiritual program coordinator at various centers; and since 1987 has taught at FPMT centers worldwide, including serving as the resident teacher at Tushita Meditation Centre in Dharamsala in 2010. These days she travels throughout the year, teaching at the centers, and edits for publication the lamas’ teachings.

Known for her extraordinary energy and fiery compassion, Ven. Robina’s life and work have been the subject of documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom.

For ven. Robina’s biography click here.