Retreating at De-Tong Ling
Individual retreat is a personal meditative journey. Success in this journey requires preparation, including knowing what to expect from retreat, what to do in retreat and how to end a retreat. We strongly advise that people seek out and follow the advice of a qualified and experienced teacher before engaging in solitary retreat.Download Retreat Info Pack Apply for Retreat
Retreat space is currently available for solitary meditation retreat at De-Tong Ling. Four 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.
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.
Each retreat house has been purpose built from rammed earth or mud bricks and 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.
The Retreat Centre Manager provides discreet support to people in retreat via communication boxes. Services include food shopping and delivery, 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.
‘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.
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
The current costs for retreat house rental are $190 per week for lay people in retreat for up to a month, and $160 per week for retreats of over a month.
Additional costs are for groceries, firewood, transfers between centre and ferry or airport.
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. Preference will be given to those from Buddhist traditions when there are multiple applications.
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.
The Individual Retreat Information Pack is available for download.
FAQ’s Regarding Individual Retreat
What is the best way to travel to Kangaroo Island?
SeaLink operates Sealion 2000 and Spirit of Kangaroo Island – two large, luxurious vehicle and passenger/car ferries – between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw. There are four departures daily, with additional services during peak times. Bookings are necessary. Travelling time is a comfortable 45 minutes. Mainland coach connections are available between Adelaide and Cape Jervis and island coach connections are available between Penneshaw and Kingscote.
Reservations: Ph. 13 13 01
Regional Express (REX) operates a 30-minute flight from the main terminal at Adelaide Airport to Kingscote Airport (KGC). The airport is located 13km from the island’s capital, Kingscote.
Reservations: Ph. 13 17 13 or (08) 8553 2938
Airport Shuttle Service.
A shuttle bus operates between Kingscote Airport and the main town of Kingscote. Bookings are preferred but there is usually room on the bus when you arrive.
Kangaroo Island Transfers: Ph: 0427 887 575
Can I arrange transport to the retreat centre before I arrive in Kingscote?
Yes, the centre is 85 km from Kingscote and you will need to make arrangements for transport if you do not have a vehicle as there are no buses or taxis on the island. Transport to De-Tong Ling can be arranged via the Retreat Centre Manager. We ask that you cover the cost of the petrol for the trip and also for the return journey.
Do I need to bring food with me?
All food shopping will be done fortnightly by the Centre Manager whilst you are in solitary retreat. However, we can make arrangements with you to shop for yourself in Kingscote when you first arrive before travelling to the retreat centre, or if you are retreating for a short time only, you may bring your own food. There is a $10 surcharge per fortnight while you are in retreat to help cover the cost of fuel for food shopping, which is added to your food cost.
Are meals provided?
No. People in solitary retreat are responsible for their own cooking. Each individual retreat house has a kitchen with cooking and eating equipment.
Do I need to bring my own bedding and towels with me?
No, the centre provides towels and bedding.
What is the best time of the year to do retreat at De-Tong Ling?
Any time of the year is a good time to do retreat at DTL as all the retreat houses are extremely well insulated with thick earth walls and contain wood-burning heaters. However, if you like to walk outside during your breaks then spring and summer would be the best times.
Can I use my mobile phone and/or laptop while I am in retreat?
Mobile phone coverage is very poor at the retreat centre and then only available via the Telstra network. There is no internet connection in the retreat houses and mobile internet devices do not work due to the isolation. We do trust, however, that people will honour the purpose of retreat and keep communications with the ‘outside’ to a minimum.