Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting The Center
Signing Up For Retreats
What To Expect On A Retreat
Visiting The Center
Q. Is the retreat center open to visitors when there are no retreats?
A. Yes, the center is open to visitors when there are no retreats. It is always a good idea to call ahead when planning a visit outside of scheduled events. All are welcome to the weekly Thursday Night Sitting Group, and to the occasional Sunday Dharma Sharing.
Q. Do you provide accommodation before or after a retreat?
A. Yes, accommodation is sometimes available for a fee of $25.00 per night for lodging only. Arrangements must be made ahead of time. [Due to staff shortage, we may not always be able to provide accommodation at the center before or after a retreat.] If you stay at our center before or after a retreat, we ask that you follow the residential schedule and work practices during your stay.
Q. Is there public transportation from New York City to the Retreat Center?
A. There are buses and trains serving New York City and Middletown, NY. From Middletown, which is about 15 miles from the Retreat Center, you can hire a taxi. More detailed information on public transportation options is available on our "Contact Us" page.
Q. Do you provide a shuttle service from the bus or train station to the Retreat Center?
A. Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to provide any shuttle service.
Signing Up For Retreats
Q. How do I sign up for a retreat?
A. Our website includes an easy-to-use online registration process. First, you need a Username and a Password, which you can request from our Sign Up Page. Once you have activated your username, find the retreat you want in the Calendar section of our website, and select the link for "click here to register online". If you have any trouble with this, feel free to call us and we will help you through.
Q. I tried to sign up but my username doesn't work.
A. The Sign Up Page is a two-part process. After you submit your information, you should receive a confirmation e-mail which contains a link that must be selected in order to activate your new account. Some service providers, such as AOL, see our confirmation e-mail as spam, and will not deliver it to your In box. If you do not receive the confirmation email, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will activate your account manually.
Q. How do I know whether I have been accepted for a retreat?
A. When you register for a retreat, your application is reviewed, and you are then sent an Acceptance E-mail letting you know whether or not you have been accepted for the retreat.
Q. What should I do when I have been accepted for a retreat?
A. If you wish to attend the retreat, you should return your signed Acceptance Form and your payment by the due date. Please read through the entire acceptance e-mail; it contains links which allow you to download your personal Acceptance Form, pay online via credit card, and view or print the Retreat Handbook.
Q. Payment options: How do I pay for a retreat?
A. When you are accepted on a retreat, you will receive an acceptance e-mail with a link which allows you to pay online with a credit card. You may also mail us a check drawn on a U.S. Bank and payable to "DDRC". International applicants can pay with a bank draft or traveler's checks sent via registered mail. (Please Note: Payment is due before the deadline as specified in the acceptance form.)
Q. Do you have a handbook to help us prepare for a retreat?
A. We have put together an Information Packet to help you prepare for a retreat. This packet also contains general information about DDRC and the surrounding areas, please download it here.
What To Expect On A Retreat
Q. Can I sleep with my spouse on the retreat?
A. Women's and Men's dorms are separate. All rooms are single occupancy.
Q. Are we allowed to talk on the retreat?
A. All of our retreats are conducted in silence unless otherwise specified. This supports your meditation practice by limiting the distraction of idle chatter. (You may even manage, after several days of not speaking aloud, to silence that little voice that is always talking inside your head.) The timekeeper and retreat leaders will speak when they need to direct you. And of course the teacher will be giving Dharma Talks. When other communication is necessary, short handwritten notes are allowed, or you may speak quietly to one of the retreat supervisors.
Q. Do I have to follow the retreat schedule?
A. Yes, if you come on retreat, you are expected to follow the schedule. The environment and schedule are carefully planned to provide all retreatants with the best possible conditions for perfecting their practice. From morning till night, you know exactly where you are supposed to be and what you should be doing. This frees you to focus your full attention and energy on your meditation method.
Q. Why are there so many rules on retreats?
A. The rules or etiquette are designed to maintain a harmonious atmosphere in support of intense meditation practice. The environment and schedule are carefully planned to provide all retreatants with the best possible conditions for perfecting their practice. When you come on retreat, you are expected to follow the rules. Click here to see the complete list of retreat etiquette.
Q. Is there a dress code for retreats?
A. Wear loose and comfortable clothing suitable for meditation. Elastic-waist pants are most suitable. (Jeans are not a good choice, since they can constrict the waist and chafe the thighs when sitting for long periods in meditation.) Please avoid eye-catching t-shirts, bright-colored clothing, tank tops or shorts and do not wear cosmetics, perfumes or colognes.
Q. What to bring on retreats?
A. Bring your own toiletry items (hair dryer, razor, shaving cream, lotion, shower caps, toothbrush, toothpaste, bath towels, soap, shampoo, personal medications, etc.), bedding (bed sheets and pillow case, sleeping bag and/or blanket). Even Summer evenings can be cool, so warm bedding is important. Umbrellas are provided but you may want to bring a raincoat. For Winter, bring snow boots, gloves and scarves. There are water stations in the Chan Hall, Dining Hall and the Dormitories; a personal thermos cup is recommended although we do provide drinking cups.
Q. Can I bring my own cushion?
A. Cushions for sitting meditation are provided in the Chan Hall. We also provide chairs and a few meditation benches. You are welcome to bring your personal cushion or bench if you prefer; please be sure your personal item is carefully marked with your name.
Q. What about meals?
A. All meals served at the retreat center are vegetarian with optional dairy products. Please inform us of any food allergies at your earliest convenience. Breakfast, lunch and a very light supper are all provided and served in the dining hall. Food is for sustaining energy during practice and not for indulgence; therefore, no food or beverage is to be consumed outside the dining hall and scheduled meal times.