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Owning Your Own Death

Weekend Retreat with Ven. Mary Reavey at the Beamsley Project, near Skipton, West Yorkshire

From Fri 1st Nov (evening) to Sun 3rd Nov (after lunch)

*To register click here. Suggested donation £160. Please read all the retreat information on this page before registering to attend. Thank you. *

Retreat Overview

How do you deal with the inevitability of death?

Many people ignore, suppress or develop a flippant or unrealistic attitude that pushes awareness of death to some distant event. How we actually deal with death is an expression of our wisdom, courage and compassion.

On this two night residential retreat with Tibetan Buddhist nun Ven. Mary Reavey we will explore the Buddhist approach to death highlighting wisdom and the methods which lead to embracing and owning our own death. The retreat will be a combination of teaching, discussion, Q&A and meditation.

Join us and experience an honest, joyful exploration on owning your own death. 

Suggested Donation

The suggested donation for this retreat is £160 per person which covers two nights dormitory accommodation, teachings & meditation sessions, vegetarian meals (dinner on the Friday, breakfast and lunch on the Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday), administrative costs and an offering to Ven. Mary from all the attendees. Self-catering on Saturday evening is available for attendees who do not want to take the 8 Mahayana Precepts

To register click here. Please note, once you have registered you will be sent a welcome email with details of how to donate and confirm your booking. Booking will close in October.

If you have any questions about the retreat, or your suitability to attend, please email smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk.

Further Retreat Information

This retreat is suitable for practicing Buddhist and those who are interested in the Buddhist understanding of death and dying. You do not need to be a Buddhist to attend. Even if you have never been on a retreat before and just have the inclination to understand how to make your own death more peaceful, you will find this retreat inspiring and a source of learning.

The venue is the Beamsley Project on the outskirts of Skipton in North Yorkshire. Return lifts (car shares) on the Friday and Sunday afternoons are available from Leeds.

The retreat starts with dinner at 6pm on Friday 1 November (please arrive from 4pm) followed by the first session and ends after lunch (approx 1.30pm) on Sunday 3 November

You will also be able to join in periods of silence and experience taking the Eight Mahayana precepts on the Saturday (this is optional).

The 8 Mahayana Precepts are taken for 24 hours and the purpose is to focus the mind on the retreat to get the most benefit, although it is not compulsory to take them. There is a short Buddhist  ceremony led by Ven. Mary on the Saturday morning where you promise to keep the precepts for 24 hours. The 8 Mahayana Precepts are:

1. Avoid killing, directly or indirectly.
2. Avoid stealing and taking things without permission.
3. Avoid sexual activity.
4. Avoid lying and deceiving others.
5. Avoid intoxicants: alcohol, tobacco and drugs (except for medicinal purposes).
6. Avoid eating more than one meal that day. The meal is ideally taken before noon, and once you have stopped eating for thirty minutes, the meal is considered finished. At other times of the day you can have light drinks, but not undiluted whole milk or fruit juice with pulp. Avoid eating meat, eggs, onions, garlic and radishes.
7. Avoid sitting on a high, expensive bed or seat with pride.
8. Avoid wearing jewelry, perfume, and make-up. Avoid singing, dancing or playing music with attachment.

Taking the Eight Mahayana Precepts also enables you to live in pure ethical conduct for 24 hours. If you observe the precepts with the strong motivation of cherishing the welfare of others, the benefits derived are said to be immeasurable.

Please note the retreat will be in silence from Saturday morning through to Sunday morning to respect those who have taken the precepts (except for discussion during the sessions).

If you do not want to take the precepts you can indicate this when you register for the retreat. There is a small kitchen at the Beamsley Project so you will be able to bring something light to eat or prepare your own evening meal on Saturday (breakfast and lunch will be provided).

Accommodation is in single-sex dormitories of 2, 4 and 6 people.

About Ven. Mary 

Led by a love of adventure and trekking, Mary Reavey was a staff nurse when she first encountered Buddhism at Kopan Monastery in Nepal in 1978. Mary attended a month-long course taught by Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche who emphasised the importance of meditation and taking complete responsibility for your own actions and their effects.

In 2001 Mary took ordination as a nun with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, then taught meditation and Buddhist philosophy at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, Buddhist centres in Preston, Liverpool, and at Armley Prison, Dumfries Prison, Leeds General Infirmary, St. James’ Hospital and Wheatfields Hospice where she held regular meditation sessions until 2012

Over the years Ven Mary has undertaken and led many meditation retreats. She completed a one-year solitary retreat in 2014 and another three-month retreat in 2015. She continues to regularly teach at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, Jamyang Liverpool and in York. Ven Mary has recently moved to Jedburgh in order to live nearer to Land of Joy Retreat Centre where she regularly leads retreats.

Feedback from previous retreats led by Ven. Mary

“…the retreat was a wonderful experience. I’ve never done anything like that before so was a bit nervous about coming along.  I quickly realised that I need not have worried as everyone was so welcoming. Ven Mary and the teachings were thought-provoking and delivered perfectly. I enjoyed the silences as it allowed time to think and reflect which we seldom do in our busy lives. I thought the organisation and food were superb. You worked so hard to look after us and definitely made me feel well cared for.”

“Can’t thank Jamyang Leeds enough for organising this year’s retreat at Beamsley. Having the opportunity to listen to Ven Mary’s inspirational & motivating teachings was a genuine privilege, helping reboot my practice & desire for study. It was also wonderful to spend time with like-minded people, discussing openly, observing silence & taking precepts. Hope one day I’ll be able to go for longer!”

“A valuable opportunity to enjoy Ven. Mary’s teachings with a welcoming community in a beautiful setting.”

“My very first Buddhist retreat and absolutely love it, feeling peaceful and have learnt a lot from Ven Mary & the fellow attendees. Feel very welcome, everyone is so lovely and open in sharing their wisdoms. Everything is well organised, the meals are very yummy. Thanks again for having me.”

“Another wonderful weekend at Beamsley.  Ven Mary was as always engaging and inspiring and the lovely people attending made it a warm and happy place to be.  If only it could be a bit longer!”