How to Transform Your Life Retreat at Santee State Park
Feb 23 – 25
With Resident Teacher Kelsang Jangchen
If we wish to lead the happy life we long for, we must learn how to transform our mind. In this away retreat at Santee State Park, you will be guided in practical meditations that will give rise to a complete transformation of our mind, freeing us from negative emotions and making joy and happiness our everyday reality.
Based on the book ‘How To Transform Your Life’ by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, this retreat is a wonderful opportunity to bring about positive changes in our lives that will enable us to experience deep and lasting happiness. This retreat is suitable for beginners and advanced meditators alike. Many people find that retreat allows them to go deeper in to meditation and experience much greater peace of mind than is typically experienced in daily life.
About the Teacher
Kelsang Jangchen is a Buddhist nun and the Resident Teacher at Kadampa Meditation Center South Carolina. She has been a student of Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso for almost 20 years. Jangchen teaches with warmth and compassion, offering practical methods to help people experience more peace and happiness in their daily lives.
Venue and accommodations
Santee State Park sits along Lake Marion with stunning views and hiking trails galore.
The park is home to a variety of wildlife including osprey, deer, woodpeckers, and foxes and contains a number of beautiful cypress trees.
The retreat sessions and group meals will be help in the beautiful Village Round community building.
The Center will be providing comfortable chairs and some meditation cushions. If you have your own meditation cushion that you wish to bring, please feel free to do so.
Participants will be staying in the cabins at the state park. Like a standard hotel room, cabins will include fresh linens and towels, along with a small living area and kitchenette. Both private rooms and shared rooms are available. All cabins will be shared with other participants with shared bathrooms and living areas.
Please be aware that rooms are limited and available on a first-come, first serve basis. The rooms are expected to sell out. Should the rooms sell out, you can still attend the retreat itself but will have to make your own accommodation arrangements.
Retreat Schedule and Format
Each session will last approximately 1.5 hours. Sessions will include a preparatory practice, introductory teaching to the meditation, and guided meditation. Some sessions will include time for discussion. Overall, the guided meditation portion of each session will range from 20 to 40 minutes.
During the retreat, we encourage you to maintain silence from the mornings through lunchtime as a method to quiet the mind and get the most out of each session.
Friday, February 23
8:00pm – Infinite kindness
Saturday, February 24
8:30am – Experiencing Empathy
11:00am – This Mountain, That Mountain
12:30pm – Lunch
4:30pm – The Bliss of Compassion
6:00pm – Dinner
8:00pm – Discussion
Sunday, February 25
8:30am – Our Supreme Good Heart
11:00am – Free yourself
A non-refundable deposit of $40 will hold your space. No refunds for any cancellations within 7 days of retreat start date.
What to Bring
Breakfast: We will be providing vegetarian lunch and dinner on Saturday (meals are included in the pricing). Because each cabin has its own kitchenette, you are encouraged to bring your own breakfast foods. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know.
Layers of clothing: With a large group, it is almost impossible to find a temperature that everyone agrees upon! We will try to make the meditation room as comfortable as possible, but it’s still a good idea for you to come with layers of clothing so that you can adjust as you need to. This also holds true for socks as we will not be wearing shoes inside the meditation room.
Blanket: The meditation room can be a little chilly in the winter and you may wish to bring a blanket or two to put under your feet and/or over your lap.
Comfortable walking clothes: We encourage you to enjoy some fresh air and the lovely park during your stay.
Dharma books: You may wish to refer to your favorite Dharma books during the course of the retreat.
Meditation cushion: If you have your own meditation cushion that you would like to use, we suggest you bring it with you. We will also be providing chairs and some cushions. We will not have enough cushions for every participant, however.
What NOT to Bring
Cell Phones: For the purpose of developing deeper concentration in your mind, we encourage you to take a break from cellphone use. It’s ok to bring your cell phone and check in with your family from time to time. However, we advise keeping your cell phone usage to a minimum and we specifically request that you do not bring it to retreat sessions with you. This will prevent the awkwardness of having your phone go off in the middle of a meditation session.
Music: During the retreat, it is a good idea to refrain from listening to music. For the sake of your own concentration and the sake of others’, please do not listen to music, even on headphones, while at the retreat.
Pets: Sorry, but due to pet allergies, you will need to leave your animals at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this meditation retreat suitable for beginners?
How much meditating will there be in each session?
Sessions last for about 1.5 hours, but some of this time is taken up with teachings and preparatory prayers. You can expect the meditations themselves to be 20 minutes to 40 minutes.
Should I bring my own meditation cushion?
If you have a meditation cushion that you like to use, you are more than welcome to bring it with you. We will providing some meditation cushions but we will not have enough for all participants. We will also have comfortable chairs for everyone.
Is there a dress code?
No, you can wear whatever is comfortable for you.
Do I have to be a Buddhist to attend?
No, everyone is welcome and everyone can benefit from these meditations whether they are Buddhist or not. Each session will include some preparatory prayers, which you can choose to participate in or not.