Winter Retreat at Empty Cloud

The silence and stillness of wintertime provides ideal conditions for deep meditation practice. 

Accordingly, many Buddhist monasteries hold an in-house retreat for a period of 2-3 months during the winter months. This is a time for the resident monastics to put down all activities and engagements and focus entirely on the intensive development of concentration and insight. 

Here at Empty Cloud Monastery, our winter retreat will take place during January and February 2021. Joining the monastery as a lay resident during this time means supporting the monastics in their retreat time, by helping with the daily duties of cleaning, cooking, and maintenance, so that the monastics have more time to practice. Lay residents are also able to join in the majority of the retreat activities. 

Applicants must be willing to stay for at least one month, and must already have experience living at monasteries and provide references who can speak to your Buddhist practice. Ideally, applicants will be able to stay for the full two months (or at minimum for one month). 

They would join in most of the group practice periods and there will likely be much unstructured solitary time to use to further one’s practice. Therefore they should be experienced in staying in a silent retreat atmosphere, and comfortable with solitude. 

Update December 2020: We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021 winter retreat. Thank you to all who applied. If you would like to visit the monastery after the retreat, we will resume accepting regular residency applications in spring 2021 here.