End of the Retreat

Leaving the Retreat Early

The essence of the mindfulness practice can be described simply as learning how to be complete with each life experience, big or small. Being complete means being fully present from beginning to end of the experience.

Thus, how one does the retreat – being on time at the beginning and staying through the talking circle at the end – exemplifies the essence of what is being cultivated at the retreat.

It sometimes happens that a student feels that s/he should leave the retreat early. There may be times when this is appropriate. However, please first arrange a private interview with Shinzen to discuss this rather than just disappear from the retreat. There are several reasons for this.

You may need some orientation as to how to “re-enter” ordinary life. Also, it is good to clarify the forces that are causing you to feel the need to leave. Sometimes, after this clarification, students decide that they don’t really need to leave right away and are grateful for the sense of empowerment and self-worth this brings.​

Furthermore, a teacher feels a personal investment in each retreatant. It is psychologically difficult on a teacher if someone simply disappears and the teacher has no knowledge of what they are going through. If after talking to the teacher, it still seems appropriate to leave, please inform the Retreat Manager so they can notify Roslyn.

The Talking Circle

Retreats usually end with a “Talking Circle”, a custom adopted from the Native Americans/American Indians. This is an opportunity to share with the group ideas and feelings that arise from the retreat. It is also an opportunity to practice maintaining meditative awareness within the intensely personal realm of human communication. When you break your noble silence in this way, you have an ideal forum to “fully manifest yourself” by allowing your sense of self to expand and contract without interference. While you are listening to others speak, you may adopt any number of “meditation strategies”. Some may practice radiating loving-kindness towards each person as they speak. Other may practice expanding their identity by merging with each person as they speak. Others may simply do Vipassana on whatever comes up.

People speak spontaneously and in any order until the allotted time is used up. Raise your hand to indicate you’d like to speak and when you have been recognized to do so, please say your name first. When you are done, please indicate so by bowing or saying something like “All My Relations” or “mitako yasin” (same meaning in Sioux) or “namaste”. It is okay not to speak. Be mindful of the amount of time you speak so that everyone might have a chance to speak before lunch time. Silence will end in the Dining Hall at lunch. There you can begin conversations with fellow retreatants and not in the Zendo, as food staff will be waiting to serve lunch.



Teachers are supported by voluntary contributions from retreatants. They receive no other payment for the work they do. The fee you paid for the retreat covers only your room and lodging, organizational costs and meals.

There is no suggested amount for dana. Each person gives what is comfortable.

According to the traditional Buddhist view, dana is a kind of connection with and participation in the activity of spreading the Path. It is a powerful practice in its own right (the “dana paramita”) when done in the spirit of generosity and selfless letting go.

Envelopes for dana will be placed in a basket in the Tea Room on the night before the last day of each one week session. If you are leaving earlier, please see the Retreat Manager if you require an envelope. Dana is also offered to the staff of Roslyn, both the housekeeping staff and the kitchen staff. Baskets will be left on the Tea Room table as above.


Retreat Evaluations

Your feedback has been the basis of changes at the retreats. Please complete an evaluation form (available at the end of the retreat in the same location as the online sign-up sheets in the tea room) and place it in the ‘completed registration forms’ envelope or box.

Roslyn Check-out & House Rules

  • Check-out time is 9am. Roslyn staff will provide you with an info sheet on your arrival.
  • Smoking is not allowed in any of the buildings.
  • There is no provision for pets of any kind.
  • Illegal drugs are not allowed on the premises.
  • Ample parking is provided in designated areas only.
  • Special dietary needs may be honored with advanced notice only.
  • Please use waste receptacles provided in the washrooms, esp. for sanitary products.