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Secular Buddhist Online Retreat

With Stephen Batchelor and Martine Batchelor, assisted by Sophie Boyer

Monday, 20th – Friday, 24th July 2020


For those who were registered for this retreat, and anybody who feels a connection to Gaia House and/or the Insight Meditation tradition. All levels of experience welcome.


The Teachers:

Photo of Teacher.Martine BatchelorSTEPHEN BATCHELOR trained as a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs. His most recent publications are After Buddhism Secular Buddhism and What is this? Reflections from a Sŏn retreat. A co-founder of Bodhi College, he teaches worldwide and lives in South West France

MARTINE BATCHELOR lived in Korea as a Zen nun under the guidance of Master Kusan for ten years. She is the author of Meditation for LifeThe Path of CompassionWomen in Korean Zen and Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits. She is a Gaia House guiding teacher. She teaches meditation retreats worldwide and lives in South West France. Her latest work is The Spirit of the Buddha.

Retreat description

This retreat is for those who seek a practice of meditation that is secular in orientation but framed by Buddhist ethical and philosophical values. We will explore the role of mindfulness in embracing the suffering of life, letting go of the dictates of reactivity, experiencing the calm and clarity of spaciousness, and cultivating creative engagement as a way of being in the world.

Attention will be focused on the technical aspects of meditation as well as its intuitive and imaginative dimension.


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



All times shown are in BST (GMT+1)

Monday (20 July)

3.45pm: Log into Zoom
4.00pm-5.00pm: Introduction to the retreat (Martine, Stephen and Sophie)
8.00pm-8.45pm: Meditation (Sophie)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (21-23 July)

7.00am-7.45am: Meditation (Sophie)
9.00am-10.30am: Presentation, guided meditation and discussion (Martine)
2.00pm-3.15pm: Presentation and guided meditation (Stephen)
8.00pm-8.45pm: Meditation (Sophie)

Friday (24 July)

7.00am-7.45am: Meditation (Sophie)
9.00am-10.30am: Presentation, guided meditation and discussion (Martine)
2.00pm-3.00pm: Closing Session (Martine, Stephen and Sophie)

Using Zoom

This online retreat will use the Zoom platform. For support with learning how to use Zoom, please click here to read the guidance we’ve put together on our website. Please read the first section, ‘Using Zoom’, before registering.


Registration is now closed.


If you have any questions regarding the retreat, please use our web contact form. In case you cannot use this form, you can send an email to info@gaiahouse.co.uk We will respond as quickly as possible, but we have a reduced team during this time so we apologise if you have to wait longer than usual.

Dana (the generosity of giving)

This retreat is offered freely.  We invite you to join the spirit of generosity and please give in return to show your appreciation for the kindness and effort involved in making this retreat free to you by making a voluntary offering of financial support. The teachers and Gaia House rely on your generosity to continue their work and are hugely grateful for this mutual support that keeps the Buddha’s teaching alive.  You can find out more about the practice of dana here

You can offer dana to Martine, Stephen and Sophie here: https://martinebatchelor.org/#donation please add the reference Secular Retreat.

You can offer dana to Gaia House here. Please click on “General Fund”.

With deep appreciation for your generosity and support.