Silent Insight Meditation Retreat 13.-21.3.2020 in Kruusila, Finland: Alexis Santos and Vajradevi

When Awareness Becomes Natural

During this 8-day retreat you will be supported to develop and/or deepen your mindfulness practice in a natural and relaxed way. The phrase “When Awareness Becomes Natural”, the title of Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s most recent book, highlights the possibility of cultivating mindfulness so that it becomes part of the way we live, rather than something we do for a period of time.

Post retreat, many meditators find it difficult to sustain the peace and calm that was achieved in the protective silence of a retreat container. If we are dependent on knowing only peaceful experiences or attaining peaceful states of mind, it can be a frustrating and even painful  process as we return to the overwhelming demands of our modern lives.

During this retreat we will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness with an emphasis on understanding “how to practice” as taught by Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Particular attention will be given to Right View and Right Attitude, qualities of mind that are integral to supporting a relaxed continuity of awareness during all activities and all aspects of our experience. It is through this relaxed, yet steadying awareness, that we come to understand the way things are.

The teachings presented during this retreat will emphasize continuous awareness as basis for clear seeing and developing wisdom. The meditation techniques we practice are over 2,500 years old and are mostly based on the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Taking part in the retreat does not, however, require an adherence to Buddhism or any adaptation of personal faith.

Why take part in the retreat? What happens on a retreat?

The retreat is suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Beginners have a chance to become familiar with basic meditation techniques and to see their effects clearly in practice, so a retreat is a good way to begin a meditation practice. For experienced meditators, a retreat is a great opportunity to deepen and clarify their practice under the guidance of qualified teachers.

The retreat schedule will include formal periods of sitting and walking as well as periods of self-directed practice. This gives retreatants an opportunity to follow their own rhythm of being aware during the day, learning to trust their capacity to be interested in awareness in any activity. Retreatants will be supported in their practice through instructions, group check-ins, talks, Q&A sessions and will be given a copy of Dhamma Everywhere to read mindfully as needed. Teachings are offered in English.

The retreat includes a daily breakfast, lunch and light dinner, all vegetarian. Participants stay in 2-4 person rooms. The retreat will take place at the Friendship Inn, which is located in Kruusila, near Salo, on the shore of beautiful Lake Pernjärvi.

Who are the teachers?

Alexis Santos has practiced Insight Meditation in India, Burma and the US since 2001. He has been a long-time student of Sayadaw U Tejaniya, including several years of training as a Buddhist Monk under his guidance. Alexis’ teaching emphasizes knowing the mind through a natural and relaxed continuity. He brings a practical, intuitive and compassionate approach to the development of wisdom and qualities of the heart.

Alexis teaches meditation retreats internationally and is a featured teacher in the 10% Happier meditation app.

Vajradevi started meditating in 1983 in London, after travelling in Asia. She was ordained into the (non monastic) Triratna Buddhist Order in 1995 and has worked within many ’Right Livelihood’ settings in this western Buddhist tradition, including managing a vegetarian restaurant, and setting up a retreat centre in the Spanish mountains. Her interest in practising and then teaching mindfulness with a strong insight dimension, emerged over 20 years ago. To further her practice she has studied with Joseph Goldstein and Carol Wilson. Since 2007 she has spent over a year on retreats in Burma and Europe with Sayadaw U Tejaniya and considers him her primary meditation teacher.

Vajradevi’s style is relaxed and natural, and encourages both receptivity and precision of observation, in learning to watch the mind.  You can read her meditation blog at

How much does it cost? How can I sign up?

The base price is 290 euros, but it is also possible to pay more or less than this. You may sign up by paying the registration fee and filling in the registration form. More information about the price, registration and other details here.


Ville Pursiainen (+358 40 592 5030)
Marianne Kautiala (registration, +358 50 531 8228)