Individual Retreat

Retreating at De-Tong Ling

Unlike some Dharma centres, De-Tong Ling is a purpose-built retreat centre offering the perfect environment for solitary, isolated, long-term meditation retreat.

The pristine environment and deep silence of its remote location provide ideal conditions for long-term intensive retreat

To support the retreat environment, we require that all people engaging in retreat strictly adhere to the five basic Buddhist precepts and respect the protocols of the retreat centre.

We strongly advise that people seek out and follow the advice of a qualified and experienced teacher before engaging in solitary retreat.

What is ‘retreat’?

Although meditation or contemplative retreats can differ widely, entering into solitary retreat involves ‘retreating’ from normal, daily activities, comforts, hobbies, routines and attachments so that one is free to look deeply within. Engaging in solitary meditation retreat requires preparation on both a mental and physical level. It’s not a good idea, for example, to enter into retreat whilst experiencing a personal trauma, or as a means to escape from one’s life. It’s important to ensure that personal affairs are in order and that there is the mental and physical space in life to commit completely to the experience of retreat.

Read more about retreat from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective.

Retreat Houses

Retreat space is currently available for solitary meditation retreat at De-Tong Ling. Five retreat houses are operational, with people engaging in individual retreats of various duration. We strongly suggest that bookings are made well in advance of the time you actually plan to commence retreat.

Situated in pristine Australian bush, the houses are not visible from one another and offer long views out to sea, valleys of native bushland and the opportunity to enjoy birds and wildlife in a natural setting.

Constructed of either mud bricks or rammed earth, each retreat house is fully self-contained with running hot and cold water, a shower, flushing toilet, lights powered by the sun and a meditation room that is separate from the main living / kitchen area. There are places to walk and any other people walking in the same area are others that are also in retreat (and therefore not speaking).

Residents from the adjoining land, ‘Yacca Creeks’ provide discreet support to people in retreat via communication boxes. Services include food shopping, gas and firewood delivery, facilitated communication with retreat supervisors via phone or email, and basic maintenance.

Rules and Protocols

Retreat at De-Tong Ling naturally involves strictly obeying the five main Buddhist precepts and reducing normal worldly activities and attachments to a minimum. Not killing (even the smallest insect), stealing, lying, taking intoxicants or drugs of any kind (including tobacco), and not engaging in sexual activity are mandatory. It is also required that a vegetarian diet be followed and maintained while one is in retreat here.

Reading magazines or novels, listening to the radio, writing letters, or other activities of this kind are clearly not in the spirit of a genuine retreat from normal worldly behaviour.

Those wishing to undertake an individual retreat of any length over a week should have prior isolated retreat experience, or a clear recommendation from a qualified spiritual teacher. It is also desirable to include a period of orientation before beginning retreat, and of re-acclimatisation at the conclusion of the retreat.

What to Bring

Each retreat house is fully self-contained and provides all bedding and requirements for cooking.

Retreat house meditation rooms differ slightly according to the needs of people in retreat.
Some are clearly set up in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition while others are more austere.
All can be set up according to individual requirements.

We do provide meditation cushions and mats, and can also supply people with offering bowls.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for people to bring the following with them:

  • Clothing and personal items, including a woollen hat and very thick socks for winter, and a sun hat and fly net for summer.
  • Meditation texts and reading materials that are specifically related to the particular retreat
  • Personal implements and consumables used for specific practices
  • Tea light candles and incense

‘Yacca Creeks’ is the adjoining land that comprises private residences and temporary accommodation for workers and visitors. It is set aside for non-retreat activity and entering it involves leaving retreat land. We do request that in cases other than a genuine emergency, people in retreat only enter ‘Yacca Creeks’ with prior negotiation; and also confine any non-retreat activity to this area.


The current costs for retreat house rental are $190 per week for lay people in retreat of less than a month, and $160 per week for retreats of over a month.

Food and firewood are additional costs.

Discounts are available for sangha and for those doing very long retreat. These discounts are negotiated individually.


Although founded as an FPMT centre, we accept retreat applications from all Buddhist traditions and other contemplative faiths, provided that there is a familiarity with isolated meditation practice and a willingness to abide by the protocols of the centre.

We accept applications for short as well as long retreat and will do our best to fit you in when there is a house available.

To apply, the first step is to email us and let us know that you are interested in retreating at De-Tong Ling, giving us a rough idea of the length of the retreat and the time you are thinking of starting. Please go to the Contact Us page to send a message to the Retreat Centre Manager. We can then work out whether a retreat house is available at that time.

The next step is for you to forward an application form to us and then send a non-refundable deposit to secure the booking. The amount will vary depending on the length of retreat.

Please download the Solitary Retreat Application Form.