FAQs

Please find some typical question and answers about the retreat below. Should you have other questions, please contact your local Rigpa Centre or email retreat@rigpa.org.au

Registrations will be open between 12:00pm – 4:00pm on Thursday, 11 January 2018. The  first session of the retreat will begin at 5:00pm on 11 January 2018. Everyone needs to attend this first session.

The retreat concludes on the afternoon of Sunday, 21 January 2018.

Leaving early or arriving late can be disruptive for the retreat environment, so as much as you are able, please endeavour to attend from start to finish.

The retreat will be held at either the North Coast TAFE (Great Lakes) and Secondary College Campus
(Northern Parkway, Tuncurry) or the Tuncurry Memorial Hall (7 Point Road, Tuncurry). Both venues are currently available.

We have a strong preference to return to the NC TAFE and Secondary College Campus.

The final decision will depend on numbers and the financial viability of the event. If 250 or more people register for retreat, the retreat will be held at the North Coast (Great Lakes) TAFE and Secondary College.

Whichever venue, the environment is town based, with easy access to modern services such as supermarkets, cafes and restaurants. At the same time, there is still access to beautiful and peaceful beaches, lake and bush environments from the various forms of accommodation available.

You are welcome to catch a Rigpa chartered bus to Tuncurry on 11 January 2018. Once numbers are known requiring this service, we will provide further information about bus schedules leaving from Sydney Central Railway Station (typically departing 10:00am but is yet to be confirmed) and Newcastle Airport (typically departing 2:00pm but is yet to be confirmed). Rigpa provides a return charter bus on Monday, 22 January 2018 to both locations (typically leaving around 8:00am). If you are using this bus service, it is recommended that you do not book flights leaving before late afternoon of 22 January as the buses will arrive at Newcastle Airport around 11:00am and in Sydney Central Railway Station after 2:00pm.

The 2018 retreat will be Sangha only. Sangha means someone who is a member of a Rigpa mandala and/or subscribes to a Rigpa Centre. If you’re not a Rigpa Sangha member, but have attended a Rigpa Centre for a year or two of study or perhaps have been to a number of retreats and may be considering how to continue your study and practice of Dharma in Rigpa, there is the potential that you could attend the retreat. The Student Support person at your Centre will meet with you to reflect on whether the retreat will meet your needs. If you want to attend, chat with your Instructor, Centre Manager or Student Support person to help you with this process.

If you are not a Rigpa Sangha member and not eligible to attend the retreat, you are welcome to join us for a broad range of public programs, retreats and events in various cities. If you would like to know more, check back with us on the Rigpa Australia website.

With prior notice, a Student Support and Care team is able to accommodate students with special care needs. When you fill in the relevant questions on the registration form you will be contacted by phone to make sure we understand what you need.

It is important that you are  mindful of your physical state, especially if you are elderly. The temperatures in January can get quite high so hydration, shade and rest are essential.

Retreats are based on Tibetan Buddhist teachings and are not intended as a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment. Please see the attached advice for students with an existing psychological, psychiatric, or medical condition. Students who may not have previously attended a retreat will be contacted by the Student Support Team prior to retreat to provide the information you need to ensure this type of retreat is what you expect.

We welcome students from overseas, however recommend that individuals visiting Australia from countries where there is no reciprocal health care agreements, take out appropriate travel and health insurances to cover unexpected costs while at retreat.

Information regarding reciprocal health care agreements with Australia can be obtained from this link .

Many visitors to Australia also require a visa, which can take time to process. For more information visit www.australia.gov.au/help-and-contact/faqs/visas-and-immigration

Yes. During the retreat there will be optional, scheduled sessions for retreatants to attend based on their needs.
The retreat is non-residential. This means all retreat participants will need to find accommodation in the Forster Tuncurry area. There is a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from private AirBnB houses and apartments, holiday rentals, camping and caravan parks that often also have holiday cabins, unstructured campgrounds through to hotel, motel and B&B options.

Rigpa has provide detailed accommodation options (see Accommodation) and each Centre will have an individual identified who can help link you with other members of the Centre who may have booked accommodation and have spare beds or rooms.

At this stage, we can confirm that lunch will be offered. The decision to offer catering for lunch only has been influenced by three factors: that we will have a more stable program with known start and end times; that during the 2017 retreat there were significantly less retreatants taking breakfast and dinner catering; and finally, we noticed more relationship building occurred when retreatants renewed old friendships over dinner at a restaurant or at their accommodation.
Yes. Given that the retreat this year is non-residential in nature, you should find accommodation that will suit your catering requirements. There are food stores, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets in Forster Tuncurry within easy driving distance of the town centre.
The retreat fees remain the same as last year. Although Rinpoche will not be with us and there are reduced costs related to retreat around venue hire, security and accommodation, these will be offset by the absence of new students and members of the public (last year that was 100 people) who are not eligible to attend this retreat. Further, retreat fees are a core element of the funding model that supports Rigpa Australia for the coming year.

The retreat fee:

  • covers all the retreat costs –
    venue hire, security, set-up equipment such as trucks, staging gear and storage costs, shrine and offering materials
  • contributes to the cost of the Rigpé Yeshé retreat program,
    making it affordable and practical for parents to attend the retreat
  • contributes to the cost of senior international instructors, helping us bring some of the most qualified instructors to Australia for this retreat
  • supports those who aren’t able to fully fund themselves, enabling dozens of people to participate who would otherwise not be able to attend

Please refer to the pricing page for more details.

Note that the Early Bird 1 discounted registration fee will close at midnight on 6 November 2017.

Please refer to the >pricing page for more details.

Note that the Early Bird 2 discounted registration fee will close at midnight on 27 November 2017.

If you are a Rigpa Sangha member, you should have received a personalised invitation to register for retreat. If you have not received an email and consider yourself eligible to attend the retreat, please send an email to retreat@rigpa.org.au

If you do not belong to a Rigpa mandala or subscribe to a Rigpa Centre, please contact your centre’s Student Support person to determine your eligibility to attend the retreat. If you are eligible, your Student Support person will arrange for you to receive a personalised invitation to register.

No. The teaching program is not designed to  support short or interrupted attendance. To benefit fully from the teachings and to create the right environment for all of us to study and practice and enter into deeper conversation around the future of Rigpa Australia, we ask for all students to attend the whole retreat.
The Rigpa community warmly welcomes children and teenagers to our retreat, with a daily program of morning Dharma sessions (our Rigpé Yeshé programme), family activities, child-care for school age children, teen study groups and activities, and support and care for all families. See Rigpa Yeshé.

There is an area set aside for children and teenagers – please bring a cushion for each of your children.

Please note: parents are responsible for their children / teenagers whenever they are not signed into the Rigpé Yeshé Care Program.

Yes. The teachings tell us that there is no more beneficial action than creating the circumstances for the teachings to be heard. These circumstances are created at the annual Summer Retreat by the essential work of many dedicated volunteers. By offering your time, energy and skills, you will have the opportunity to enrich your retreat experience and to make lasting connections with fellow students. We are always able to find even a few hours work for people of all physical capacities.

Integrating the teachings into everyday life is part of the program and in this regard retreatants are required to help in the work of the retreat for about one hour per day. This has the added benefit of helping to keep retreat fees as low as possible.

Tasks may include serving meals, washing dishes after meals, stewarding, cleaning toilets and supporting various teams such as the Site team, Shrine and Environment team, Stewards team and other areas. Rotas are allocated to each retreatant, either in advance when you register online, or upon arrival at the retreat. You can contact the Rota Coordinator for more information when you arrive at the retreat or email us retreat@rigpa.org.au

We are currently exploring the ability to provide a bookshop at retreat. Credit card facilities will be available given this happens.
We are currently exploring the ability to provide a cafe or attract a coffee cart during specific periods of the day.

We will also have a tea and coffee station where you will be able to make your own tea and (instant) coffee.

Yes. There will be an auction in support of the National Centre.
You may wish to bring the following items, in addition to your personal items.

  • Water bottle
  • Cup or mug for use at the tea and coffee station
  • Bed linen, blankets, towels (depending on accommodation)
  • Meditation cushion
  • Paper, writing materials
  • Sun protection, sunglasses, hat
  • Mosquito repellent (depending on location of accommodation)
  • Light blanket
  • Some warm clothing
  • Umbrella, raincoat, torch
  • Practice books and The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying
  • A hand fan
  • Personal medicines & toiletries
  • Swimwear
  • Covered shoes
  • Stroller or pram for young children
  • Cash or card to buy dharma material, snacks, coffee etc
They can call the Retreat Information Hotline (02) 9037 4002

Please note:  This number is only serviced during the Rigpa Retreat period

For more information about travelling around the Forster and Tuncurry area, please view this Forster Buslines Information sheet and bus timetable.