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Practising the Jhānas

This retreat is now full with a long waiting list; we are no longer accepting applications. If you have any questions or queries about your application please contact Sarah Abdy (Admin Manager): admin@gaiahouse.co.uk.

Please note:

Rob is fully intending to teach this retreat in as full a capacity as he is able. However, since he is on new treatments and their effects are hard to predict, his attendance and level of participation cannot at this point be guaranteed. In the event that Rob is not able to take part, the retreat will still go ahead, but instead of running as a group retreat with regular Dharma talks, group instructions etc, the retreat will operate more as a personal retreat with access to one-to-one support in the practice and development of Jhana meditation from the assistant teachers, Sari Markkanen and Robert Brodrick, as well as teacher support from Kirsten Kratz for other practice themes.

Suitable both for those who wish to refine, consolidate, and further their practice of the jhānas, and also for those who are not yet familiar with jhāna practice, this retreat will provide an opportunity to establish the meditative bases for the practice of the jhānas and to support their development. We will explore too the place of the jhānas in a wider life of practice and particularly in the deepening of insight into emptiness and dependent origination.

Please note this retreat is for experienced practitioners – those who have at least three week-long teacher-led silent Insight meditation retreats.

We ask as well, because of the nature of the retreat and because of the challenges of Rob’s health situation, that all participants feel relatively robust psychologically and able to support themselves in this regard in the context of a longer silent retreat. Please see the application form for more details.

ROB BURBEA has been practising and studying the Dharma since 1985. He has been teaching since 2004 and is a Guiding Teacher of Freely Given Retreats. He is a co-founder of SanghaSeva, an organisation dedicated to exploring the Dharma through service work internationally, and also a co-initiator of DANCE (Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement). He is the author of Seeing that Frees: Meditations on Emptiness and Dependent Arising.

Listen to one of Rob Burbea's Talks at Gaia House on 31.12.2011: This Matter of Emptiness (Duration 50:33)

The teacher will be assisted by:

SARI MARKKANEN completed Gaia House Community Dharma Leader training. She is in training to be Insight meditation teacher guided by Rob Burbea, Martine Batchelor and Caroline Jones. She offers dharma activities and assists teachers in retreats in Finland. Sari also teaches mindfulness, mindful self-compassion and mindfulness in schools. She has written two books about mindfulness for children.


ROBERT BRODRICK has been practising Buddhist meditation and studying the Dharma since he was sixteen years old. He has been a student of Rob Burbea since 2004 and is currently in teacher training with him.



Retreat Code = 19169

E = experienced


Well-being guidelines - please click here to read before booking

Before you book, please read these guidelines about mental well-being and silent retreats:

Meditation retreats can be very nourishing; however, as they require sustained meditation practice, they also need some stability of psychological health. If you have recently (within the past year or so) experienced significant trauma or psychiatric illness, or if you are currently experiencing acute emotional distress such as serious depression or anxiety, it may not be the best time for you to participate in a retreat. The teachers might not be able to give you the kind of individual psychological care you need at this time. A setting with more opportunities for interpersonal engagement may be more appropriate.

  • If you are currently under the care of a mental health professional, please discuss your attendance with them. You should be in a relatively stable period of mental well-being and have adequate psychological resilience.
  • If you have any questions about this, please contact Susanne using the email address, retreatmanager@gaiahouse.co.uk

Tuesday 17 December 2019 – Wednesday 8 January 2020 (22 nights)

Standard Rate:   £1,012 – Please pay this rate if you can 
Sponsor Rate:       £1,214 – A benefactor rate – helps others to come here on the Supported Rate
Supported Rate:    £860 – Available if the Standard Rate is too high for you
FAB Fund Rate:     £506 – For more details please see the Financial Assistance page
Young Persons Rate: £304 – For more details please see the Financial Assistance page

Extending Your Retreat = £54 per night – Conditions apply – please see box

Arrival & Departure:
  • Arrive for registration between 2-5pm on the opening day.
  • Depart after 12.30pm on the final day (or 1.30pm if staying for lunch).
  • Please only make travel bookings to fit with these times.
  • These conditions apply even if you've been to Gaia House before.
Please only book if you are able to commit to the entire retreat:
  • The teachers and staff at Gaia House require this commitment in order to respect the retreat environment and minimise disruption to others.
  • We are not able to accept bookings from people who want to arrive and/or depart outside of these times.