In-House Retreats

August 9 to 16 and August 16 to 23rd 2016


In-house retreatantsIn-house retreat is the only time in the Gampo Abbey year that people have the opportunity to participate in Abbey life for a week or two without having to make a one-year commitment.

The daily schedule at the Abbey provides a retreat-like environment for the community aimed at providing four hours of meditation practice and service (work) each day. Participation in all aspects of the daily schedule is required for those joining the community for an in-house retreat. Due to the nature of the schedule we strongly recommend that those applying to come to the Abbey for an in-house retreat already have an established meditation practice.

In-house retreatants will be asked to support the community by helping in the kitchen, working in the garden, tending the grounds, or assisting with housekeeping tasks as their service. Each retreatant will be assigned a meditation instructor. The Abbey also has an outstanding library of Buddhist and other literature and an extensive tape library of dharma talks particularly by Ani Pema Chödrön, the Gampo Acharya. The Abbey is located near Cape Breton's scenic Cabot Trail with many walks and trails accessible virtually from our front door.

PLEASE NOTE: Ani Pema Chödrön will not be at the Abbey during the period in-house retreats are scheduled.

We practice silence daily from wake-up until lunch and again after evening chants. Saturdays are open days (no schedule). Each Sunday is an intensive practice day in silence.

This is the daily schedule Monday to Friday (Sundays have an additional practice period from 3:30 to 5:30):


5:30 am

House wake-up



Sitting Meditation & Morning Chants

  7:00 Breakfast


Sitting and walking meditation



Body/mind practice, study, rest






Service period



Open time / Dharma Activity (for in-house retreatants)



Sitting meditation and protector chants



Dinner (medicine meal)



Sitting meditation (optional)



Silence begins

All guests and residents at Gampo Abbey follow the five precepts which are:

  • Refraining from taking life
  • Refraining from stealing (not taking what is not offered)
  • Refraining from sexual activity
  • Refraining from lying
  • Refraining from drinking alcohol or taking intoxicating drugs

These vows are taken for the duration of your time at the Abbey. This means that if you leave the Abbey grounds during your stay, you are expected to maintain your vows. See the section on Life at Gampo Abbey for more information on living within a monastic community.

In-house retreats Basic fee is $550 CDN per week including three vegetarian meals per day and single accommodations in the Sopa Choling Long Term Retreat Center.  Please note we also have a Patron fee of $650 CDN for these retreats should you be in a position to provide additional support for the Abbey.  We also provide a limited number of spaces in these retreats at a reduced Generosity fee level. You may request this support in your application. Those who pay the Patron level fee are directly assisting the Abbey to insure that we may hold some spaces for those who request the generosity fee.

Once your application has been approved a deposit of $250 (per week) is required in order to finalize your booking.  Deposits are non-refundable if you cancel less than 30 days before your retreat.  The balance owing for your retreat is due upon your arrival at the Abbey.

The application form for this year's In-House retreat may be downloaded here. Complete the form and email it to

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