In-House Retreats

Our In-House Retreat program will not be offered again until the fall of 2025 at the earliest.

Please check this website for up-to-date information about program offerings and new ways to participate in the Abbey community.


Our In-House Retreat is an opportunity to live, practice, and work alongside Abbey monastics for one or two weeks. Participants in this retreat will join the monastics and lay residents in all aspects of the schedule, which includes four hours of practice per day, as well as service to the community and time for reflection. We strongly recommend that applicants already have an established meditation practice.

We will post a link to the application once we begin the application process.

Please be advised that we are only accepting applicants who have received full COVID vaccinations including the most up-to-date booster vaccination.

In-house retreatants will be asked to support the community by helping in the kitchen, working in the garden, tending the grounds, or assisting with housekeeping tasks as their service. Each retreatant will be assigned a meditation instructor. The Abbey also has an outstanding library of Buddhist and other literature and an extensive digital library of dharma talks, particularly by Gampo Abbey’s principal teacher, Bhikshuni Pema Chödrön. The Abbey is located near Cape Breton’s scenic Cabot Trail, with many walks and trails accessible virtually from our front door.

PLEASE NOTE: Pema Chödrön is not generally in residence during the period of the In-House Retreats.

We practice silence daily from wake-up until lunch and again after evening chants. Saturdays are open days (no schedule). Each Sunday is an intensive practice day in silence.

This is the daily schedule Sunday to Friday:

6:00-6:40 am Morning chants and sitting meditation
6:40-7:00 House jobs
7:00 Breakfast
8:00-11:00 Sitting meditation/practice period
11:00-12:30 pm Mind/body period
12:30 Lunch (silence ends)
1:30-5:15 Service (work) period
5:30-6:30 Sitting meditation and evening chants
6:30 Medicine meal
8:00 Silence begins

All guests and residents at Gampo Abbey follow the five precepts, which are:

  • Refraining from taking life
  • Refraining from stealing (not taking what is not offered)
  • Refraining from sexual activity
  • Refraining from lying
  • Refraining from drinking alcohol or any other intoxicants

These vows are taken for the duration of your time at the Abbey. This means that if you leave the Abbey grounds during your stay, you are expected to maintain your vows.