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In-depth meditation with sixteen steps of anapanasati samadhi

led by Shaila Catherine

Full Retreat: August 10-31, 2021
Part One: August 10-20, 2021
Part Two: August 21-31, 2021

Location: Big Bear Retreat Center, Southern California

These two back to back 10-day retreats will provide the opportunity to sit for 3 weeks. Priority will be given to those attending 22 days. Pre-requisites will be stricter for those opting to attend only the second retreat.

The retreat begins with registration from 2:00 – 3:30 pm on either August 10 or August 21. The retreat ends with an optional lunch at noon on August 20 or before lunch on August 31.

This retreat will utilize the breath as the primary meditation object and will encourage the development of meditative skills that lead to deep concentration (samadhi) and insight (vipassana). Daily group instructions will focus on the sixteen steps in the Anapanasati Sutta as a route to jhana and/or liberating insight. Meetings with the teacher in small groups and one-on-one dialogs will tailor the practices to meet the needs and interests of individual students. Some students may choose to emphasize concentration practice throughout the retreat; others may practice both concentration and insight inconjunction with mindfulness of breathing. Teachings on Part One will emphasize the development of concentration; teachings on Part Two will emphasize liberating insight.

This retreat offers a special opportunity to train in concentration, jhana, and insight practices with personal guidance from Shaila Catherine. It is one of the very few retreats each year in which Shaila systematically guides students to establish jhana by working step-by-step with the Anapanasati Sutta.

This silent retreat is structured with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, dhamma teachings, and teacher consultations. See our Concentration and Jhana FAQ page for more information about developing concentration and the absorption states of jhana.

Prior to the retreat, please read Focused and Fearless by Shaila Catherine, and the Anapanasati Sutta. You may download the sutta at: https://suttacentral.net/mn118/en/bodhi

Register early! Space is limited. We keep this retreat small (under 40 participants) to enable in-depth guidance from Shaila.

ABOUT THE SITE: Big Bear Retreat Center is located in the serenity of the forest outside Los Angeles, CA at a 7000′ elevation. It is a 90-minute drive from the nearest airport—Ontario Airport in Riverside, CA.

TO REGISTER: Download and complete the BB2021 registration and waiver forms, enclose a non-refundable deposit of $250 (payable to Bodhi Retreats), and return via email and/or postal mail to the address below. We are not currently accepting credit card transactions, so please send your registration deposit and fees via check or money order made payable to Bodhi Retreats. If this is not possible for some of our international guests, please contact the registrar for alternative payment arrangements.

Jennifer Johnson
922 Shingle Rd, Apt 2
Chattanooga, TN 37409
United States


Please complete either the Standard-Printable or Form-Fillable form, and also the Waiver of Liability.
Important: If you use the form-fillable version, download the form to your computer first. Then fill out the form. After completing the form, select to print it, and in the print options select to save the form as a PDF file. Then mail or email the PDF to the registrar.

  • BB2021 Registration Forms will be posted here by August 2020.

REQUIREMENTS: These retreats are designed for experienced students. Previous retreat experience in the insight meditation tradition is required, with a minimum of at least one week-long silent residential retreat. If you have less than one week-long silent retreat experience, your attendance requires approval from the teacher.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEALS: Accommodations are in 3-4 room cabins with shared baths. Tent and RV camping (no hookup) is welcome. Individual cabin rooms will be used for either double or single occupancy. Three meals a day will be offered with omnivore and vegetarian options. If you have mobility limitations, please contact the registrar for details.

Please note that this will be a non-smoking retreat.

COSTS: Registration fees cover accommodations, meals, and basic administrative expenses. There will be an opportunity to offer donations to the teacher at the end of the retreat.

COST for 10-nights:

  • Double occupancy or camping sliding scale: $1900 – $1400 (estimated actual cost is $1650)
  • Single occupancy sliding scale: $2800 – $1950 (estimated actual cost is $2300)

COST for 21-nights:

  • Double occupancy or camping sliding scale: $3800 – $2800 (estimated actual cost is $3300)
  • Single occupancy sliding scale: $5600 – $3900 (estimated actual cost is $4600)

The estimated actual costs represent the amount that we would have charged to cover costs for accommodations, food, and administrative expenses if we had used a fixed rate instead of a sliding scale—$1650 for double accommodations or camping, and $2300 for single accommodations per each 10-night retreat.

Selecting an amount above the estimated actual cost will support the retreat and enable those who need to select a lower rate to attend the retreat. Selecting an amount below the estimated actual cost self-selects a supported scholarship rate This sliding scale will allow most scholarship needs to be managed by self-selecting an amount lower than the estimated actual cost. Inquire with the registrar if you need additional scholarship support to attend.

WORK STUDY POSITIONS: Two or three people may register for a work-study retreat. These service roles have a registration fee of $800 per 10-night retreat, and involve approximately 4 hours of work per day (mostly kitchen work, grocery shopping in advance of the retreat, and managing yogi jobs). Work-study arrival is on August 9 or August 20 to help set up the retreat. Inquire with the registrar for more information about these service roles.

MONASTIC SCHOLARSHIPS: Several monastic scholarships are available for this retreat. These scholarships provide either partial or full scholarships for ordained practitioners. Full scholarships are intended for monastics who do not earn money, and do not have money to spend on fees. To apply for a monastic scholarship, please fill out this registration form. Include a note to the registrar requesting a monastic scholarship. Indicate whether you need a full scholarship, or if you are able to contribute a portion of the fees. Suggest the amount that would be comfortable for you to contribute. Monastics are responsible for their own transportation costs. The scholarship grant covers room and board for the duration of the retreat.

PARTIAL RETREAT OPTIONS: Partial attendance may be possible, but it must begin on August 10. Priority will be given to students who are registering for at least the full 10-nights course. We do not encourage partial attendance, but we offer these options for rare cases when full attendance is not possible. Please understand that applications for partial attendance will be accepted only if we have space available. Applicants will be placed on a wait list which will be reviewed approximately 2 months prior to the retreat. If you wish to apply you must fill out the registration form and send in your deposit.

  • 3 nights (Tuesday–Friday) is $1050 – $850 sliding scale for single accommodations; $900 – $600 for double accommodations.
  • 4 nights (Tuesday–Saturday) is $1,400 – $1050 sliding scale for single accommodations; $1100 – $725 for double accommodations.
  • 5 nights (Tuesday–Sunday) is $1,700 – $1300 sliding scale for single accommodations; $1300 – $900 for double accommodations.
  • 6 nights (Tuesday–Monday) is $2,000 – $1500 sliding scale for single accommodations; $1500 – $1100 for double accommodations.
  • 7 nights (Tuesday–Tuesday) is the same rate as full 10 night retreat $2800 – $1900 sliding scale for single accommodations; $1900 – $1400 for double accommodations.

DANA: Compensation for the teacher is not included in the registration price. There will be an opportunity to offer donations to the teachers at the end of the retreat.

Co-sponsored by Bodhi Retreats and Insight Meditation South Bay