The Root Verses of the Six Bardos
Friday 26 August – Sunday 28 August at Strathean Retreat Centre
You and everything around you is changing. We are in transit between what came before and what comes next. In the Tibetan language our state of transition is called a bardo, which literally means “between two”. Fortunately we have a guide to navigate through the various changing circumstances we meet. The guide is a one page poem called “The Root Verses of the Six Bardo”. It provides specific teachings for each of the circumstances we meet in our life, and even in our circumstances beyond death. It guides us towards a flexible mind, full of love and happiness, and ultimately towards what the poem calls the “Clear Light”. (In Tibetan Buddhism Clear Light is a common metaphor for Enlightenment). The poem isn’t just a sort of technical manual. For many people, both in Tibet and the West, it’s a source of deep inspiration. Many people know it by heart and like to recite it.
The purpose of the retreat is to introduce this poem, which combines elements of classical Indian Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion. According to myth, the poem comes directly from the great guru Padmasambhava, who Tibetan’s call “the second Buddha”. This myth tells us that although the poem may seem relatively simple on the surface of it, it stems from an utterly profound source.
The retreat will start Friday evening with a 7.00pm dinner and finish at 3.00pm Sunday afternoon.
Suitable for those already familiar with meditation.
We ask that all retreatants take a COVID RAT test on the day they start the retreat before arriving and only attend if the result is negative.
Typical Programme (May vary depending on topic)
|10:30am||First Teaching session/ Discussion|
|4pm||Afternoon activity/ Discussion|
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if we change COVID levels?
The retreat can run at all levels but numbers will be restricted at the Red setting.
Do I need to be a Buddhist?
The retreat is suitable for everyone, regardless of your religious beliefs, and makes an excellent first retreat for people who have recently started being involved with meditation and Buddhism.
What should I bring?
You will need to bring a pillow slip and sleeping bag or sheets and duvet, towel and toiletries. Also loose clothing for meditation and pens and paper to take notes.
All mats, blankets, stools and a limited number of cushions will be provided for meditation, but please feel free to bring your own if you prefer.
You may also wish to bring wet weather clothing (gumboots, raincoat, etc), ear plugs and a torch.
What is your cancellation policy?
It is WBC policy that we will not profit or make a loss from cancellations. If you no longer wish to attend the retreat your deposit will be refunded less transaction charges unless the retreat is full and there isn't anyone to take your place, in which case the deposit will be non-refundable.
What is the accommodation like?
Strathean is based around a large two storey house and its annexes. There are mostly shared single-sex rooms which will be assigned to you on arrival. There a few single rooms for people with special needs. Please contact the organiser if you need a single room.
I can't come anymore. What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel, please discuss with us. The WBC will not make a loss or a profit due to a person withdrawing. Refunds will made less WBC’s direct costs.
What about food?
All food is provided. Meals are vegan. If you have a special dietary need please let the organiser know before you book.
How is the cooking and other duties done?
These duties are shared by the retreatants.
Please sign up for cooking and washing up when you arrive.
There will be some work needed to set up for the retreat at the start and to clean at the end.
Do I have to be on the whole retreat?
Normally, yes, as people arriving and leaving the retreat can cause disruption. But please talk to the organiser if you need to arrive late or leave early.
Why do you need to know about health problems I have?
We need to discuss any health issues to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable retreat. This is so we can identify your particular needs and do our best to meet them.
It does not mean you will be excluded from the retreat. One of our order members (who is a trained nurse) will contact you to discuss the problems. All information will be kept confidential and destroyed after the retreat.
What is pūjā?
A pūjā is a traditional Buddhist ritual that engages our emotions and imaginations through the use of colour, beauty and celebration.
To feel fully and vibrantly alive, we need to be engaged with all the different aspects and levels of our being.
Is it okay to come for one day?
The retreat is for the whole weekend. Leaving early can disrupt the energy of the retreat therefore we don't allow people to come for one day. There are regular day retreats at the centre which you can attend if you choose.
Can I bring pets?
Pets are not allowed on the property. It is the retreat center's policy to not have pets on the property. Exemptions can be made for medical or mobility reasons. Please discuss this with us prior to booking.
About Strathean Retreat Centre
Most of our retreats are held at Strathean Retreat centre which sits south of Otaki amid paddocks and the Tararuas. A large house with kitchen, meditation room, and dining area is surrounded by garden and old totara trees. The Wellington Buddhist Centre has been running retreats at Strathean for over 40 years.
How To Get Here
Driving by Car
If you are driving, turn off SH1 onto the Otaki Forks Road, just before Otaki. Drive for 2.6 km then turn right onto Old Hautere Road. Strathean is number 212, about 1 km along this road on the left. Ideally it takes about an hour from Wellington to get there. But bear in mind you may be travelling through Friday night commuter traffic, so it could take up to two hours.
Travelling by Train
Please discuss this with the retreat organiser prior to the retreat.
Train to Ōtaki:
It would be the most helpful if you take the Capital Connection Express train that goes to Palmerston North and stops at Ōtaki. This leaves at 5:15pm from Wellington Station. There is only one evening train. Ticket is $14 one way and can be purchased on board or at the station. Please take cash.
Train to Waikanae (Timetable)
The other option is to take the normal metro train to Waikanae. They leave every 30 mins or so. Please let us know when you leave Wellington. We can organise someone to pick you up from the Waikanae train station.