Fall 2017 Retreat
November 10 through 12

Open to all levels of experience, the retreat has three inter-woven themes: Vipassana (Insight) Meditation, practice with the non-duality of relative and ultimate experience and living from the open heart.

Vipassana or “Mindfulness-Insight Meditation” is a practical method of self-awareness that makes it possible to encounter the tensions of daily life in a calm and balanced way. Vipassana trains us to be awake, noticing the moments of life with a compassionate heart. This practice has been handed down through the centuries from its origins in Theravadan Buddhism but as we practice it here, no special beliefs are involved. We learn from our own direct experiences. Except for instruction periods, dharma talks, group meetings and chanting from various spiritual traditions, the Retreat is held in silence, giving us an opportunity to move deeply into our own experiences and heart centers. A silent retreat, with its emphasis on wisdom and compassion is a very powerful way of releasing long-held conditioned beliefs about the self and coming home to our true Buddha nature/Christ Consciousness, our own deepest divinity.

Who is Aaron? from Presence, Kindness, and Freedom.


Barbara Brodsky is a Quaker and trained dharma teacher in the Buddhist tradition. She is the guiding teacher of Deep Spring Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Barbara has been deaf for over 40 years. She is the channel for the discarnate entity, Aaron. We have a special page on Aaron at our website.

John Orr received Theravada Buddhist ordination and training for eight years while living in Thailand and India. He has been teaching meditation and leading retreats since 1980. John is the guiding teacher of New Hope Sangha and teaches at Duke University.

Barbara and John follow an age-old tradition of freely and open heartedly offering the dharma. They receive no payment from the registration fees. Your dana (generosity) allows the teachers to continue their work of sharing the dharma. During the retreat there will be baskets available for your offerings.


The retreat will be held at New Hope Camp and Conference Center in Chapel Hill, NC. This is a beautiful center nestled in 165 acres of rolling hardwood forests. You can find more information about this center at their web site.

"What a joy it is to attend
a New Hope Sangha retreat.
I feel deeply loved and supported
by the teachers and
the other participants."


The retreat begins with check in at 5:00 PM Friday. Following dinner at 6:00 pm, the weekend program will begin. The retreat ends at 4:00 PM Sunday. The evening program will end by 9:30 PM on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast starts at 7:15 AM on Saturday and Sunday.

Residing on site: $250
Commuting: $200

Fees include Lodging for Friday and Saturday nights, dinner on Friday, three meals on Saturday, and two meals on Sunday. All meals are vegetarian. There is a $20 discount for early registration prior to October 16. Fees are set to cover only room and board. The teachers do not charge for sharing the Dharma with students, but they do welcome and depend on the generosity of students. No donation is required, but each attendee is encouraged to make donations to the teachers according to her/his means and the value he/she accords to the teachings offered.


Important Note: When paying by Paypal you will also need to fill out and return a registration form.


We understand that circumstances may arise that will prevent you from attending the retreat after you have registered. If you cancel more than two weeks before the retreat, you will receive a full refund. For cancellations made less than 2 weeks prior to the retreat, we are not able to refund your payment. No refunds will be given for no-shows or partial attendance. Checks for refunds will be written after the retreat.


We are often so busy reacting to the world and trying to manage our affairs, that we do not really notice what is- sounds, smells, sites around us, nor the textures of mind…And the habits of mind that determine our experience of everything. Noble silence allows us to enter into a different mode of being. It invites awareness and a certain intimacy with life. Its nature is vastness and the experience of letting it gather around and within us can be profound. Disconnecting from our preoccupation with habits of mind, so that we can open to greater clarity, compassion and awareness, is a primary purpose of our practice. Silence does not need to isolate us. With time most people notice that silence allows a deeper appreciation of the simple things in life as well as an unusual depth of connection with others. We support each other with our silence and lack of eye contact. We contribute to the stillness by mindful walking, opening and closing doors quietly and being considerate as we eat our meals and return dishes.

We ask that you remain silent and avoid social contact except when talking with a teacher in your small group or in an individual session. The actions of one will benefit all.


Dana is a practice of generosity, kindness and letting go. By taking the opportunity to make dana a practice of awareness, brings it out of the realm of unconscious habit, and into the realm of wise attention. The teachers at this retreat follow an age-old tradition of freely and open heartedly offering Dharma talks. They receive no payment from the retreat registration fees. The fees cover room, board, rental of the facilities, office supplies and a little scholarship money. Dana is not intended as a tip, nor is it in exchange for receiving the teachings of the Buddha. There is no obligation to give. Offering dana indicates that we understand our interconnectedness. We realize that we depend on the generosity and kindness of others and they depend upon ours. We belong to what we support and what we support nourishes us. The decision of what to give is deeply personal. The practice of dana asks that we look within with wisdom and offer what we are able with loving-kindness. What we give allows the teachers to continue their work of sharing the Dharma. During the retreat there will be baskets and envelopes available for your dana offerings for Barbara and John.


Seva is the practice of unselfish service. At this retreat most of our needs are being taken care of by the retreat center staff and our retreat committee. There are, however, some opportunities for you to give service:

We have a practice at retreats of letting people know when sittings, instruction and evening programs are by ringing a bell five minutes before the scheduled time. We have a bell ringer sign up sheet. We ask only those who have previously attended retreats sign up for bell ringing. After your turn, please make sure to return the bell for the next person’s use.

We also need volunteers to help clean up after meals. Having volunteers for this duty keeps the cost of our retreats low and is also a wonderful part of our mindfulness practice. The duties are listed in the kitchen, or someone will be available to supervise. It would be helpful if each retreatant would sign up at the beginning of the retreat for one meal’s cleanup.

After the retreat’s closing we could use some help in packing our supplies into cars and returning the retreat center back to the state it was before our retreat. If you are not pressed for time, please consider extending your retreat a few minutes and lending us a hand.





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Photos are from previous
New Hope Sangha retreats