THE SAMADHI CENTER
The Samadhi Center, located about half way between Toronto and Ottawa, has been a place for people to practice meditation and engage in deep self inquiry over the last 5 years. Meditation retreats have been happening on the property for over 12 years. Located in a beautiful pine forest setting near near Bancroft, Ontario, our retreats are for those truly interested in becoming free of their conditioning and the pathological thinking that is inherent in the world in which we live; to learn to “die before you die”.
I.A.M. (Iboga Assisted Meditation) retreats
The I.A.M. retreat is a life-changing opportunity to purify oneself of the deepest samskaras (conditioned patterns) and to awaken to one’s true nature beyond name and form. These retreats have a maximum of 4 participants so that we can provide individual attention to the participants.
The I.A.M. retreats combine the use of iboga, meditation, self inquiry and sound healing. Iboga is an entheogen which is a catalyst for discovering your true nature. We are offering a 4 day intensive journey to discover the truth of who/what you are. These retreats are not for spiritual tourists or for those seeking some result or benefit in the external world. They are not an escape from your life or something to add to your bank of spiritual “experiences”. They are for those at a certain point in the soul’s journey, when one is ready to wake up from the illusion of the limited self and realize that which is beyond name and form.
Meditation and self inquiry – Daniel Schmidt
Iboga provider/ facilitator – Lilla Balint
Upcoming I.A.M. Retreat Dates
$2,900 per person. Includes all meals and accommodations.
*limited space available- maximum 4 people per session.
Apply here if you are interested in signing up for one of the 4 day I.A.M. retreats and we will schedule a call with you.
At the Samadhi Center many effective techniques may be offered and explored to assist you on your inner journey. As one moves toward inner stillness, one lets go of any technique or anything that is held in the mind. We simply allow reality to be as it is, which means a surrender, inner letting go and eventual cessation of the egoic mind structures, including techniques. At the same time one cultivates the capacity for unwavering concentration on the meditation object. Like two wings of a bird these two aspects of duality, Shakti and Shiva, surrender and presence, yin and yang, carry one to Samadhi.
Participants will have the opportunity to stay connected to their inner energy and oriented inward towards awareness itself by maintaining silence throughout the retreat. Although there is no talking, gesturing or writing between participants, the silence is held in a way that can foster a deep connection to each other; a compassionate contribution to the group’s practice. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion during the daily group process, and in working with the facilitators. At times it may be necessary to communicate verbally in order to complete certain work, in which case speaking is allowed for that purpose only. We want to avoid chatting and activation of the mind so that we can come to a place of inner peace and stillness. “Be still and know.”
The ancient spiritual teachers taught “nada Brahma”; the universe is vibration (emptiness dancing). Sound has been used for healing and transformation for thousands of years in cultures around the world. Everything in the universe is vibrating in a cosmic symphony. At the Samadhi Center a variety of instruments may be used during sound meditations. In particular we feel that the gong is a special instrument that can be used as powerful meditation tool. We have 6 Paiste gongs, including an incredible custom 55″ gong which produces a unique sound experience. During sound meditation people can be sitting, lying down, or moving in response to the vibration. We encourage people to experience the transcendent effects of the gongs through their inner energy rather than through the mind, to realize aspects of the inner world which may otherwise be hidden.
About the Samadhi Center
The Samadhi Center is open to everyone regardless of experience, background and religion. At the Samadhi Center we teach both meditation and self inquiry, or you could say the long path (traditional meditation and clearing of sankaras or energy patterns) and the short path (realization of the ever-present awareness). Practicing meditation alone may reduce suffering in one’s life, but may never lead to realization of the immanent self (Atman or soul) beyond name and form. And self inquiry on it’s own may bring a recognition of one’s true self, but if the habit patterns of the mind have not been cleaned and purified, then one usually loses the experience and falls back into conditioned behaviors. Practising both simultaneously is a way to clean and purify the human vessel to house the awakened self permanently. The Samadhi that comes and goes is not the true Samadhi. For more detailed understanding of our approach, check out the article “Awakening and Enlightenment: Always Being Buddha, Always Becoming Buddha”.
A meditation retreat is an opportunity to move out of the endless patterns of doing to experience simply being; to become a true human-being as opposed to a human-doing. It is not an escape from your life, nor is it a holiday or time for relaxation, but rather it can be likened to doing deep surgery on one’s entire being. Intensive meditation helps one to become free from the conditioned patterns that cause suffering. Rather than an escape from life, it is actually the way to engage more fully with life, to cultivate greater equanimity and presence in every facet of one’s existence. It is now becoming well-known that practicing meditation provides many benefits such as improved heath, stress reduction, improved productivity, improved mental focus, emotional stability and improvements in overall well-being. These are all valuable benefits to one’s life, yet the true gift of meditation is to realize Samadhi, which is immeasurably greater than anything that could be conveyed in mere words. Samadhi is the 8th and final part of the Buddha’s noble eightfold path, and the 8th limb of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, and is described as a “union” or collapse of duality which is unfathomable to the dualistic mind.
Rather than following one particular tradition, we borrow from many traditions freely. It is our understanding that there is one perennial truth or transcendent reality which is reflected in the many world spiritual traditions, and it is our intention to convey our unique expression of it using all available means. Those who are familiar with Vipassana retreats or the Zen Sesshin format will find a similar level of structure and opportunity for deep meditation practice. In our retreats we incorporate (but are not limited to) facets of the Zen sesshin, elements from the Vipassana traditions, as well as Christian mysticism, the yogic traditions, Vedanta, Samkhya, and non-dualism and others. All traditions and teachings are merely pointers to the unfathomable inner source which is beyond the limited egoic mind. The facilitators, provide instructions and teachings as needed throughout the retreats, as well as private consultation. .
The Zen term “sesshin” means something like “gathering the heart-mind”, and this phrase reflects the essence of our meditation retreats. The sesshin is a period of intensive practice, during which all efforts and energies are focused or “gathered” for the purpose of awakening out of one’s conditioned or unconscious patterns and recognizing a new level of consciousness; a consciousness in which the egoic mind becomes a servant to the heart. Likewise, Vipassana, one of the world’s oldest meditation techniques taught 2500 years ago by the Buddha, is a process of deep self inquiry and purification. In the same way the 8 limbs of yoga are aimed at purifying oneself through deep concentration and surrender in order to reach Samadhi. Regardless of which teachings one is familiar with, it is our intention to allow participants to explore the experiential truth that comes through single-pointed concentration and inner non-resistance. Through meditation practice we are able to observe and purify the self structure, which is the cause of all suffering, and to awaken the spiritual heart which is beyond name and form. The spiritual heart has gone by many names throughout history and is also known as the true self, the selfless self, Atman (soul), Anatta or “no self”, Buddha nature, and Christ Consciousness.
Samadhi is an ancient Sanskrit word for which there is no modern equivalent. It was chosen as the name for this center because it honors the spirit of the traditions which have helped connect people to their true nature for thousands of years. To realize Samadhi is to learn to die before you die. Within different traditions the word Samadhi has many different meanings, which can lead to much confusion. Rather than trying to define it, we guide participants towards a direct realization of it. It is not something to be understood with the mind, because it is ultimately a cessation of identification with the limited mind, and eventually a relaxing of the egoic mind’s control over one’s life. However it is extremely beneficial to study and shape the mind into a tool that will support Samadhi, as opposed to hindering it. To the limited mind Samadhi must must remain a mystery, while prajna or wisdom is the realization of our true nature. Samadhi is realized directly through pure forms of deep meditation, prayer and self-inquiry, as well as working with and merging with the inner world and inner energy. It flowers into its full expression as the wisdom attained in meditation is integrated into every day life, and as levels of self are realized, purified, and come into alignment with the immanent Self.
Yaza is a Zen/Japanese Buddhist term which means “extra” meditation, and has also taken on the meaning of “night meditation”. At our retreats we offer participants the opportunity to meditate through the night. While yaza is optional, sitting at night can allow for a profound deepening of meditative states, and the possibility for exploration of the immaterial jhanas.
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.
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.
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 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.
1) Accessibility. 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.
3) Showers. 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.
5) Water. 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.
6) Phone. 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.
8) Electricity. 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.
9) Gongs. 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.
10) Zendo. 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.
11) 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
12) Silence. 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.
13) Zendo. 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 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? 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 onlyt.
- 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.