This trekking retreat will offer a special opportunity to cultivate mindfulness and practice the Dharma, while exploring the beauty and wilderness of the Finnish Lapland. Following in the tradition of the Buddha, we will support our hearts to deepen in wisdom and compassion, while walking together, sitting in meditation, and spending time in nature. We will be walking in a range of landscapes, including both forests and alpine tundra, in a peaceful wilderness area where other people are seldom met. Much of our time together will be spent in silence, and there will also be meditation instructions, regular periods of formal meditation and dharma teachings, space for sharing together and time for solitude. The retreat is taught in English.
On this retreat we will practice Insight meditation, also known as vipassana. The word vipassana means seeing things just as they are. This meditation practice is over 2500 years old and draws from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. However, taking part in the retreat does not require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.
Who is the teacher?
The retreat is taught by Paul Burrows, who has practised in ashrams, Buddhist monasteries and retreat centres in the UK, India and Nepal, and began leading retreats in the Insight Meditation tradition in 2007. Paul has been teaching on several Nirodha’s silent meditation retreats. Some of his talks may be downloaded at http://www.dharmaseed.org/
Who can join? What will the trek be like?
You can join the trekking retreat if you previous experience of either meditation retreats (at least one 5-day silent retreat) or trekking (at least one 5-day trek). In addition you need a reasonable level of fitness, and some sense of adventure.
We will trek in the Muotkatunturi wilderness area in the northern part of Finnish Lapland. We will walk approximately 5-13 kilometers a day, carrying all our camping equipment and food in our backpacks. The day trips are mostly not very long, but silent meditative trekking with the heavy load brings its challenges.
We will walk partly on paths and partly outside of them. In places the terrain may be somewhat wet or stony. We will wade across streams and small rivers. Nights are spent in shared tents, and food will be cooked with portable stoves. There will be no toilets available. Washing is possible in cold streams and lakes; it is also possible to spend a week without washing oneself. If clothes get wet, it may not be possible to get them dry immediately.
In Finnish Lapland there are sometimes loads of mosquitoes and other biting insects. In August there is usually less of them; but it varies from year to year. For the meditation it may be useful to have protective clothes and a mosquito hat.
Muotkatunturi wilderness is a very remote area, and we will probably have a chance to be pretty much on our own there. Mobile phones probably will not work everywhere. It is also not completely impossible to come across a brown bear; such encounters are very unlikely and almost always harmless.
How much does it cost? How can I sign up?
The base price of the retreat is 220 euros. The retreat cost covers the traveling expenses of the teacher and the managers, the food expenses and some other practicalities. The bus from Rovaniemi to the trekking area is included in the price; meals during the bus trips are not included. The teachers and organizers do not receive any payment for their services; instead, the retreatants may support the teachers and organizers by donations after the retreat.
You can sign up by filling in the sign up form and paying the registration fee. We will confirm your place when we have received the form and the payment.
The registration fee is 30 euros and is paid to Nirodha’s account:
Bank name: Nordea
City where bank located: Helsinki
Swift code: NDEAFIHH
Name of bank account holder: Nirodha ry
Address: Vetehisenkuja 3, 00530 Helsinki
Account number: FI60 1248 3000 2130 60
Reference number: 820141
The rest of the retreat fee (190 euros in case of the base price) should be paid by June 30th to the same account with the same reference number. In case of cancellations the registration fee is not refundable. If the cancellation takes place before June 30th, the rest of the retreat fee will be returned. If you pay from an account which is not your own, please write a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, telling the name of the person owning the account, the name of the person participating on the retreat, and the date of the transaction.
If you are coming from abroad, please note that we are not able to provide any documents for visa applications because of limited resources.
We feel that financial situation should not prevent anybody from participating, so we are willing to offer the retreat for a reduced price, if needed. If the base price is too high for you, please contact us at email@example.com and let us know how much you are able to pay. If you would like to support those in dire financial situation, you can pay more than the base price.
Time, place, and travel arrangements
The retreat starts on Monday the 4th of August. Our bus leaves from Rovaniemi railway station at around 8.30 a.m. and arrives in Karigasniemi, which is the starting point of our trek, at around 3-4 p.m. The trek ends on Monday the 11th of August in Kielajoki, where it is possible to have a sauna and eat lunch (lunch is not included in the retreat price). Our bus picks us up from Kielajoki at around 2 p.m. and arrives at Rovaniemi railway station at around 8.15 p.m. There will be a possibility to store some equipment (like spare clothes for the journey back) in Kielajoki.
A good way to travel from Southern Finland to Rovaniemi is by taking a night train. A suitable train leaves Helsinkin on Sunday the 3rd of August at 6.52 p.m. and arrives at Rovaniemi the next morning at 8.02 a.m. For the journey back, a possible train leaves Rovaniemi at 8.46 p.m. and arrives at Helsinki on Tuesday the 12th of August at 9 a.m. Closer to the trek we will help to organize the reservation of train tickets together with other retreatants coming from the same direction. The train tickets are not included in the retreat price.
For the trek you will need a big backpack, a warm sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, a waterproof jacket and trousers, trekking boots (good to be waterproof), and sandals or other shoes good for staying in the camp and for wading the streams. The weather can vary from quite hot to even occasional snowfall (very rare at this time of year); most likely the daytime temperatures will be between 10 to 20 degrees centigrade. You will need clothes for variable weather, also warm ones. Good clothes for trekking are lightweight and dry quickly.
For meditation it may be useful to have an inflatable pillow (tough enough to endure sitting on it) – or you can sit on a pile of clothes or on your sleeping bag stuffed into its storage bag.
For common use we need tents and lightweight stoves meant for trekking; in the registration form we ask you to tell whether you have these to share with others. You can join the trek without these, too.
Closer to the retreat we will send a more detailed list of the equipment needed, and other useful information about the trek. It may be some equipment can be found to lend, or it might be possible to rent them somewhere. Good equipment is rather lightweight, as we will have a lot to carry, anyway.
We do not have an insurance for the participants. It may be good to have your own personal insurance, which also covers trekking type of activities.
On the trek we will eat trekking type of food, which is light to carry. We eat three meals a day, and there will also be some common snacks. You may also bring some snacks of your own. All the food will be vegetarian. You can tell about your food allergies in the registration form.
Drinking water we will get from the streams and lakes; the water is safe to drink as such. The trek is a drug-free event. We also encourage people not to smoke during the trek.
If you have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish a fruitful retreat to everyone!
Solja Temmes (+358 44 052 9676)
Tuulikki Hukka (+358 50 432 9241)