Online Retreats: General Information

Preparing for the Retreat

These guidelines will help to create a safe, supportive and encouraging space for all attending the retreat. 

We will be asking you to attend the entire retreat and to establish yourself in the conditions of calmness, silence and integrity with which you would approach any retreat at Amaravati.

Meditation Space: We encourage you to create a Meditative Space at home for yourself, a quiet place where you can practise with no interruptions. We recommend that, to the best of your ability, you clear the space of work-related materials, bills, letters or any other items that may cause a distraction. If you have a meditation cushion, mat or chair, please make these part of your meditative space. 

If you live with others:  Let them know that you will be doing a meditation retreat and respectfully ask them to avoid interrupting you during this period.  
If somebody else in your household is intending to join you on the retreat we ask him/her to also register for the retreat and to take part in the entire retreat. 

Please turn off all electronic and mobile devices: This means all those other than the one you are using to join us online. We suggest that you tell your family and friends that you will not be using any social media during this time. If you need to communicate using any electronic devices, please regard this as you would regard speaking at a retreat held at Amaravati and do so only if it is really necessary.

Walking Meditation: Please choose a place to practise walking meditation indoors or outdoors prior to the time of the retreat so you have a place to go when those periods are scheduled.

Food and Meals: We advise you to have your food prepared for the weekend so that you do not have to worry about cooking any meals during this time.

Clock or Watch:Please have available an alarm clock or watch to support you in being on time for all the group sessions. 

Cancellations: If you change your plans and you are no longer able to join the retreat, please let us know as soon as possible.

Health Considerations

  • Please look after your health while participating in this online retreat, making sure that you eat well and take adequate sleep and rest. We encourage you to maintain your usual routine and strongly advise against making any unusual changes such as fasting or long night sits. In particular, please do continue with any prescribed medication you are currently taking.
  • As with any Amaravati retreat, please consider carefully whether you are well enough to attend on this occasion. If you are suffering from physical illness or any health issues which might affect your ability to participate fully, it may be wiser to cancel your place on the retreat and attend to your own wellbeing and recovery.


We will be using Zoom as a digital platform to support our weekend retreat. Please download Zoom as the event can only be accessed using the Zoom application. If you have not already downloaded it to your device, you can do so via the Zoom website.  If you already have Zoom, please update to the most recent version of the Zoom application.

Technical Requirements

We strongly advise that the primary device from which you join the event is a laptop, desktop or tablet as it is impossible to see all aspects of the meeting on a Smartphone. You will need:

  1. A Web Camera, either external or built-in.
  2. A Microphone or Headset.
  3. We recommend having an internet connection that is at least 3.0 Mbps for the best results (Zoom official requirements). Please note that if others in your household are using the same internet connection this will also affect your speed. You can do a free internet speed test here. There are way to make the connection more stable with the advise from here.
  4. Screen: We advise that you join the retreat via a device with a screen larger than a smart phone.
  5. Please keep your device plugged into the mains rather than relying on a battery. If you have to run your device on a battery, please check regularly and recharge so that you do not unexpectedly run out of power. 

Guidelines for using the digital platform Zoom

  • Please do not share the Zoom links, passwords or the retreat web address with anyone else.
  • If you are not familiar with the Zoom platform, we encourage you to get some confidence by practising  before the retreat. If you need support with this, please contact us prior to the retreat (see below).
  • A few Zoom tips are mentioned below and will be explained at the beginning of the event. For those less used to Zoom, please take the time to familiarise yourself with the platform.  Here are some Zoom FAQs 
  • Similarly, if you are suffering from any mental health issues, please consider whether this will affect your ability to sit the retreat and whether a retreat environment might exacerbate the condition. In particular, please bear in mind that, although we can offer to have a talk with anyone experiencing some emotional issues, the Retreat Managers and Hosts cannot support an ongoing mental health crisis online. If this occurs you would need to seek professional advice and care where you are.
  • If, due to any physical or mental health condition, you realise that you are no longer able to attend the retreat, please let us know as soon as possible. However, we very much hope you remain well, and will be able to attend the retreat as planned!

Joining the meeting in Zoom

The online retreats will be using Zoom. These are the guidelines for our Zoom online retreats:

  1. Waiting Room: After logging in, you will initially be placed in a Waiting Room, so only registered retreatants will be admitted.
  2. Zoom Display Name (Important): The host will check your zoom display name to make sure you are registered. Make sure your zoom display name is the same as the FULL NAME YOU REGISTERED with. (Support page: Change your name in Zoom).
    If somebody else in your household is intending to join you on the retreat we ask him/her to also register for the retreat and to take part in the entire retreat.
  3. Once the retreat has started, we recommend that you choose the speaker view in your Zoom app. (Support page: speaker view) You can also “pin it” when the teacher starts the retreat, so his or her image will remain on your screen.
  4. We strongly encourage you to keep your Camera ON during the meditations, chanting and question and answer sessions. This is to support the space and to create the experience of being on retreat together, just as if we were sharing the same physical space.
  5. Your microphone will be on mute upon entry, but you will be able to unmute yourself when appropriate. Please unmute only when instructed to do so by the Retreat Managers or the Teacher.
  6. During walking meditations and break times, please switch your camera off and switch it on again when you return.
  7. We advise you to minimise the chance of interruptions as far as possible. But if you are interrupted or have to get up and do something during a session, please stop your video to avoid distracting others. 
  8. Please remain logged in for the duration of the day and do not log off from the main room at any time until the day ends at 21:00.
  9. Please do not record or take pictures of the session, or share any of the retreats on social media. An audio copy of Dhamma talks and question and answer sessions will be available to you in due time.

Retreat Schedule

  • We are asking you to attend the entire retreat. If you do need to leave the retreat for any reason, please, let us know.
  • Please be on time for all sessions to keep the integrity of the retreat as a group practice.
  • We encourage you to use the periods between formal sessions as an opportunity to practice mindfulness in whichever activities you are engaged in. Although not part of the schedule, you may wish to include a period of ‘working meditation’ or ‘mindful movement’, but please keep your video off while doing so.
  • UK time (

(Updated Schedule 1 Nov 2021)


18.30 – 18.35:   All participants please log in (by 18.35 at the latest)
18.45 – 19.30:   Welcome Session with Managers and Short Break
19.30 – 21.00:   First Evening Session with Teacher in the ‘Shrine Room’
21.00 – 21.10: Log out in your own time (Meeting will close at 21.10)


5.45 – 5.50:      Log in (and 15 minutes to ‘settle’)
6.00 – 7.00:       Early Morning Session (Puja and Meditation)
(Break for Breakfast)
8.30 – 11.00:     Morning Session (Sitting and Walking)
11.00 – 11.15: Announcements from Managers (Please stay on for this)
(Break for Lunch)
14.00 – 17.00:    Afternoon Session (Sitting and Walking)
(Break for tea)
19.30 – 21.00:    Evening Session (Puja and Dhamma Talk)
21.00 – 21.10:   Log out in your own time (Meeting will close at 21.10)


5.45 – 5.50:       Log in (and 15 minutes to ‘settle’)
6.00 – 7.00:       Early Morning Session (Puja and Meditation)
(Break for Breakfast)
8.30 – 11.00:      Morning Session (Sitting and Walking)
11.00 – 11.15:    Announcements from Managers (Please stay on for this)
(Break for Lunch)
14.00 – 16.30:    Afternoon Session (Sitting and Walking)
16.30:    Final Afternoon Session with Teacher ends
16.30 – 17.00:     Closing Session with Retreat Managers
17.00 – 17.30:     Informal meeting with Teacher (Optional)
17.30:                 Retreat Ends (Log out)

Retreat Guidelines

The retreat guidelines covers the following:

The Five Precepts

As participants we will be keeping the five precepts while on retreat. These precepts form a framework for contemplation, a means for cultivating the heart and mind, and a guideline for skilful daily living. They help to moderate our outgoing tendencies and encourage alertness, whilst at the same time helping to develop positive qualities such as loving kindness and generosity.

The Five Precepts are:

1) To refrain from taking the life of any living being.

2) To refrain from taking what is not given.

3) To refrain from sexual misconduct.

4) To refrain from lying and wrong speech.

5) To refrain from consuming intoxicating substances.

Noble Silence

Our retreat is held in Noble Silence. This will be an opportunity for not engaging in conversations with others (unless really necessary)However, we appreciate that if you live with other family members, especially with small children, it may be necessary to engage in some conversation and interaction during the retreat time.

As with any Amaravati retreat, you are requested not to use mobile phones, laptops, iPads etc. We suggest that you switch off all devices apart from that which you are using and put them in a place where you will not be tempted to look at them.  We also encourage you to avoid television, radio and other forms of entertainment and distraction during the retreat.

Conduct in the Virtual Shrine Room

Please enter the Virtual Shrine Room as you would enter any physical Dhamma Hall, silently, gently and mindful of others. Please be aware that, although you are in the comfort of your own home, while the camera is on all your actions will be visible to others. Also make sure that your camera is OFF during breaks and mealtimes, and in particular, please be aware of the following:

Dress Code: While the retreat is on, please dress as you would in the Retreat Centre Shrine Room- i.e. be fully clothed, and not in pyjamas, night clothes, bathrobes etc. As with on-site retreats, we ask participants to dress modestly, avoiding scanty, tight or revealing clothing.

Eating: During the Retreat Sessions, and while your camera in on, please do not eat snacks or drink cups of tea or coffee. It is fine to drink water. Please remember to turn off your video during the meal breaks.’ ‘Interruptions: If there are any unexpected interruptions, or if you need to get up and do something during a retreat session, please turn off your video so as not to distract others.

Interruptions: If there are any unexpected interruptions, or if you need to get up and do something during a retreat session, please turn off your video so as not to distract others.