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Together and Alone: Finding freedom individually and collectively - a nine-day meditation retreat April 2024

Event description

Together and alone: finding freedom individually and collectively
A nine-day retreat weaving together silent and relational insight meditation with some Zen practices

This retreat offers a rare opportunity to explore a range of different approaches to finding freedom, taken from both the insight and Zen traditions offered by Auckland Insight guiding teacher Jill Shepherd and visiting US Insight Dialogue teacher Nicola Redfern.

We will use a variety of practice modes to explore one of the key obstacles to finding freedom: clinging to views. These different approaches can help to illuminate how views form and inform every aspect of our lives, including our understanding of ourselves and the world. We will look at some of the different views of views within Buddhism, including Right View as the foundation of the Noble Eightfold Path; the “fetter” of sakkāya-diṭṭhi or self-view; and Nibbāna as the transcending of all views.

The retreat will include daily instruction in insight meditation each morning. Each afternoon, there will be a two-hour session of relational practice. This involves meditating together in pairs or small groups practising mindful speaking and listening, using the six guidelines of Insight Dialogue to support deep inquiry into the dharma, the Buddha's teachings.

For more information about the practice of Insight Dialogue, please see


Experience level: This retreat is best suited to people who have done at least one previous residential insight meditation retreat of two days or longer, but prior Insight Dialogue experience is not required.

Teachers: Nicola Redfern and Jill Shepherd 

Nicola Redfern is an Insight Dialogue Retreat Teacher with an extensive background in both Zen and Vipassanā meditation. With a strong belief that awakening is not a solo endeavour, Nic is particularly interested in getting meditation off the cushion and fully integrated into life, work, social justice and relationships.

Jill Shepherd is the guiding teacher for Auckland Insight and
 is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal.

She lives in Aotearoa / New Zealand and teaches internationally, offering insight / vipassanā and brahmavihāra retreats as well as ongoing study and practice groups focused on bringing the dharma into daily life.  She also leads courses and non-residential workshops exploring the relational practice of Insight Dialogue, as developed by Gregory Kramer and colleagues.

Accommodation: Rooms are mainly curtained cubicles with shared bathrooms.
A very limited number of single rooms/cabins/cottages are available at a surcharge of $20 per night ie $180 for the nine-day retreat. Please see Te Moata's FAQ page for details about accommodation options.

We allocate single rooms/cabins/cottages by priority prior to the retreat starting. Cottage rooms are allocated firstly to teachers; then to those with medical or mobility reasons and to those over the age of 70, and then by retreatant request.
NOTE: couples and/or friends are housed separately, to protect their solitude during the retreat.

Once rooms and cabins have been allocated we email you usually around 10 days before the retreat starts or when the retreat is full. We advise what size of linen to bring then too.

Food: The centre will provide simple vegetarian meals for the retreat. Please indicate on the registration form if you have any food allergies or medical dietary needs. If your needs are complex please contact Te Moata . There is a surcharge of $10/day for special diets.#

Instead of paying the surcharge some people choose to be selective about what they eat and for example, bring their own bread. We always have a range of salads and options for breakfast, and many dishes are gluten free or fully plant-based. All our desserts are dairy free.

#Please note: Single Accommodation, Bedding, and Special Diet Surcharges must be paid online to Auckland Insight once accommodation has been allocated.

Work meditation: To help integrate mindfulness into daily life activities, there will be a period of work meditation each day of approximately 45 minutes.

Retreat fees: sliding scale $1200 / $1050 /$900 + dāna* for the teachers

Supporter rate $1200: Slightly more than actual-cost ticket: covers cost of food and accommodation, a contribution to the teachers travel costs, and a contribution to scholarships for low-income attendees

Actual cost $1050: Actual-cost ticket covers cost of food and accommodation, and a small contribution to the teacher's travel costs

Scholarship rate $900: Below cost ticket: covers a contribution towards cost of food and accommodation only

To reserve a place on the retreat, you will need to pay a deposit of $100 through Humanitix. 
The remaining amount can be paid to Auckland Insight in two instalments of 50% each, due 12 November and 12 January. 
Your place is not confirmed until you have paid the balance in full.

Cancellation policy: The payment is refundable up to thirty days before the retreat begins (minus a $50 admin fee). 
If you cancel after this time, the retreat payment will be forfeited and used to help provide scholarship places and/or support Auckland Insight's running costs.

*Dāna: In most Buddhist traditions the teachers are not paid to teach. Instead, the teachings are given on a ‘dāna’ basis – dāna being the Pali word for generosity or giving freely - so there will be an opportunity to offer a donation for the teaching at the end of the event.

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Refund policy

Refunds are available up to 30 days prior to the event