Samadhi Center Facilitites
Our facility was designed for a maximum of 16 meditators. The small numbers allow for an intimate sense of community. The meditation zendo, kitchen, dining room and bathroom with shower are all located on the main level. The dorms, bathrooms, showers and private rooms are located on the lower level. And a library/ sitting area is located on the top level. We have many meditation cushions (zafus and zabutons), yoga mats, blankets, meditation benches and chairs available in the Center.
We offer a mostly a vegan menu (eggs, cheese and fish are served separately) and participants with special dietary needs are expected to advise us upon registration. There will also be a variety of herbal teas and fresh fruit available during the day. Please be sure to carefully fill out the dietary portion of the registration form so we can properly prepare the menus, as we try to accommodate any particular needs you may have. Note: we do not provide coffee or caffeinated drinks at our retreats. Please do not bring food to outdoor cabins as it will attract wildlife. Mealtime will be observed in silence.
Option 1 – Dorms
The dorms are divided into men’s and women’s quarters and are located on the lower floor. Each dorm holds six people and has its own washroom area with two showers, a private changing area, and two toilets. All bedding and towels are supplied.
Option 2 – Cabins.
There are also five seasonal cabins, whose availability will vary with each retreat. Each cabin holds two people, but single occupancy may be available. The cabins are rustic with no heat or electricity and are varying distances from the center. There is an outhouse and wash/shower area which can be used by cabin occupants. All bedding and towels are supplied.
Option 3 – Private and semi private rooms in the main building.
There are a small number of private or semi-private rooms in the main building. Preference will be given to those with medical needs, and assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
Samadhi Center Logistics
The Samadhi Center is located in a very quiet corner of Ontario, just south of Algonquin park, on a 15 acre property bordered by the Little Mississippi River. You will find some old growth pines that are 200 years old on the property. We are very conscious of the beneficial effects of being in nature and have made sustainable operations our priority. To this end, the Samadhi Center building is an off-grid solar powered building. We also have a geodesic growing dome on site.
To help keep the Samadhi Center functioning optimally, there are a few things we would invite you to keep in mind during your stay.
Please note that the Samadhi Center is located on the side of a hill and is not wheelchair accessible. As well, each floor of the building is accessible only by stairs. We regret that individuals with any mobility concerns will not be able to navigate the property and building.
2) WIFI and Cell Service.
Please note that there is no cell phone service on the property, and the surrounding areas will have an inconsistent signal. Therefore, please ensure that you have printed directions to the center. WIFI is available on the property however we collect your electronic devices during retreats so that you can focus on your inner world without distraction.
Please keep showers short, as we are on a well, and stagger showers throughout the day if possible. Use of the main floor private shower is limited to times when the zendo is not in use.
4) Shoes and Slippers.
Please remove shoes while inside the building and wear slippers or socks.
For drinking water there is a Berkey water filtration system in the eating area. The well water at the Samadhi Center is as good as it gets, drawn from a deep artesian spring. Hot water will also be available for tea throughout the day.
While we discourage contact with ‘the outside world’ during silent retreat, if you need to use the Samadhi Center phone, please contact the Retreat Manager and arrangements will be made. If the outside world needs to contact you, we will be checking voicemails and emails at least twice a day and will relay messages to you via the cork board.
7) Walking trails.
You are welcome to walk the trails on the property, but please stay on the cleared trails. Please also be mindful during hunting season (in November) to either wear orange or avoid walking in the woods during that time.
Devices that draw large amounts of electricity such as coffee makers, toasters, laptop computers, electric blankets,hairdryers etc. may put a strain on the solar system. Charging things like cell phones will not be a problem and only draws a bit of power, but in the interests in conserving electricity and maintaining your own inner, quiet focus, please try to stay ‘unplugged’ as much as possible.
Our gongs are quite beautiful and enticing, and people are sometimes drawn to touch them. However, they have a unique finish which is easily damaged by the oils on human hands. Please do not touch the gongs with bare hands. In order to respect the silence of other participants, please do not play the gongs or other instruments unless it is during a part of the retreat where you are invited to do so. We are happy to give you a little tutorial on using the gongs.
The zendo, or meditation hall, is located off of the dining area and also serves as the space for our sound meditations. During scheduled formal meditation sits, we ask that you sit on either a cushion, bench or chair, and limit lying on yoga mats to designated sound meditations or when the zendo is not in use.
Your clothing should be as comfortable and quiet as possible (no noisy fabrics or zippers). Although we will try to keep it fairly cool in the zendo, the temperatures can vary throughout the day with the passive solar effect through the large windows. Feel free to bring a blanket or layers of clothing to adjust if necessary.
We ask that you move slowly and quietly throughout the entire building, but especially into and out of the zendo. Unless there is an urgent need, please only enter or leave zendo between sits, not during.
Feel free to have a copy of the meditation schedule, a glass of water and some tissues with you in the zendo. Please do not write in books or notepads in the Zendo during sits, as it may disturb other participants. Writing, reading and engaging the analytical mind will also interrupt your own practice. Please do not bring food into the zendo or engage in any practice that will disturb other participants.
14) Your Space.
Your meditation space should be left tidy each time you leave the zendo, stacking your cushions and folded blankets, and clearing any empty water glasses etc.
15) Bells and breaks.
A bell will be rung by the zendo facilitator to indicate the beginning of each sit, and a single bell (or gong) will be rung to close them. There will be a period of about 5 minutes between each sit for washroom breaks, repositioning or transitioning in or out of the zendo. If you find that you need to move or adjust your position during a sit, please try to do so as slowly and mindfully as possible.
16) What if I can’t sit for the entire period?
What if I can’t sit for the entire period? You always have the option to stand and slowly walk, clockwise, around the perimeter of the zendo as your meditation. The retreats are always self directed.
17) Morning toning/chanting.
At some retreats we have morning toning/chanting which will involve simple, easy to follow chants. While the sounds we chant often hold great meaning, we would invite you to participate in the experience of the chant as a form of meditation; both surrendering to freely create the vibrations, as well as maintaining awareness of any changes in your inner energy.
18) Rituals, bowing etc.
While in some Zendos it is sometimes customary to bow to the leader of the zendo, your cushion, other participants etc. we don’t do that at the Samadhi Center. Participants are encouraged to maintain an inward orientation, with just enough awareness of the space to function and move around in the outer world.
What to bring to the retreat:
- Biodegradable scent-free shampoo and soap.
We may have some extra if people forget.
- Warm clothes. Cool clothes (bring layers as temperature in the Zendo can fluctuate)
- Meditation cushion and yoga mat if you prefer your own – we do have lots of good quality buckwheat hull zafus, zabutons, and yoga mats.
- Note taking materials (pen and notebook)
- Earplugs if you are a light sleeper (we have some if needed)
- For those staying in cabins, please consider bringing: bug spray (preferably something natural), bug jacket, battery powered alarm clock or watch with alarm, a good flashlight, water bottle, footwear for walking on outdoor paths
What to leave at home:
- Electronic devices. We are out of cell phone range, however students may use the Samadhi Center phone for emergency or important calls.
- Laptop computers. There is WiFI available in case of an emergency only.
- Cigarettes, alcohol, or any other addictive substances, including unhealthy junk foods.
- Strong perfumes and scented hygiene products.
- Anything that draws power (other than an alarm clock or time device).
As we are on solar power, when 16 people all plug in devices it is a big draw on the system. Do not bring hair dryers, hair curlers or straighteners, toasters or anything like that
The Samadhi Center is located approximately half way between two major Canadian cities; Toronto and Ottawa. The Ottawa airport is about one hour closer to us and offers an easier and more scenic drive. It is possible to fly in to Ottawa or Toronto from most major cities in the world.
You may be able to do a one-day rental from Enterprise or Discount car rental at the airport for the day and drop it off at the Enterprise or Discount car rental offices in Bancroft. Enterprise car rental is located at 9 Armstrong Ln in the town of Bancroft. The phone number is (613) 332-3575. Discount car rental is located at 8 Valleyview Dr. in the town of Bancroft. The phone number is 866-310-2277.
Please check with them to confirm availability. You can sometimes arrange for the rental company to drop you off at the Samadhi Center. There are also taxis available in Bancroft. We can sometimes arrange for someone to pick you up in Bancroft (which is about 25 minutes away from the Center). Please make these arrangements well in advance.