Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness


Four themed five-day retreats exploring its origins, practice and liberating possibilities in the UK and Switzerland

This set of four residential study-retreats offers participants rich opportunities to delve deeper into the ancient teachings behind contemporary mindfulness – to expand personal practice and deepen understanding, whilst connecting with like-minded practitioners and teachers in beautiful retreat settings in the UK and Switzerland.

The retreats are primarily aimed at people teaching Mindfulness-based courses and programmes of diverse kinds, or in training to do so, or those using mindfulness in their work in other ways. They are also open to people with some previous experience of silent meditation retreats who are interested in the dialogue between the early teachings of mindfulness and contemporary applications.

The retreats are taught by experienced teachers who are all currently involved in mindfulness training programmes and have long histories in teaching retreats in more traditional settings.  

Each five-day retreat contains periods of teaching, discussion in groups, meditation practice, reflection and silence. Mornings will be dedicated to silent, sustained practice. Afternoons and evenings will be opportunities for collective inquiry and personal practice - providing plenty of opportunity for self-development and embodiment alongside teachings and discussion.

Support is available throughout and there will be ample time to ask questions during group discussions or in individual interviews.

The retreats are bookable separately or altogether as a programme of study retreats over the two years. Each retreat meets the requirements for the annual 5-day retreat that registered mindfulness teachers need to undertake, and the programme is recommended by senior trainers at the Universities of Bangor, Oxford and Exeter as a significant contribution to the Continuing Professional Development for mindfulness teachers.

“This training is a wonderful development opportunity for established mindfulness-based teachers who are seeking to deepen their understanding in ways that will enrich both personal and teaching practice. The retreats were held in extraordinarily nourishing and beautiful venues which was an added bonus!”

Rebecca Crane, Director, Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University

Certificates of attendance will be available for each module.

Further information on retreat content:

The Buddha’s teachings and contemporary mindfulness converge in the commitment to understanding the nature of distress in ourselves and others, and developing our capacities for resilience, balance and compassionate responsiveness in seeking to alleviate it.

Exploring the Buddha’s remarkably precise and visionary teachings further enables us to develop a more nuanced understanding of how our moment-to-moment experience is shaped and constructed through reactions and underlying beliefs and habits. Investigating and understanding this experientially is the key to developing a heart and mind that is rooted in clarity, insight and compassion.

To read about the experience of a previous participant, click here.

Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness curriculum 2018-19

For booking and to visit the individual retreat pages, expand below:

Contextualising Mindfulness – Christina Feldman & Akincano Weber, assisted by Yuka Nakamura

20-25 February 2018:  Meditation Center Beatenberg, Switzerland
  • What is mindfulness? Providing a comprehensive understanding of how mindfulness is both a dynamic and effective tool for bringing about transformation, and serves as a foundation for insight.
  • Why Buddhist psychology? Exploring what Buddhist psychology has to offer contemporary teachings of mindfulness.
  • Understanding dissatisfaction: How different dimensions of transformation become possible through mindfulness.
  • Exploring the landscape of distress: How Buddhist psychology and particularly the Satipaṭṭhāna-teachings that underpin all contemporary mindfulness-based interventions provide effective tools for bringing distress to an end by attending deeper to the present moment.

The Existential Challenge –Chris Cullen & Christina Feldman

1-5 October 2018: Sharpham House, Devon, UK
  • The Three Universal Characteristics identified by the Buddha as impermanence (anicca), un-satisfactoriness (dukkha) and not-self (anattā), and the insight these provide in seeking to understand and alleviate fundamental distress.
  • Embodiment: The Buddha presents mindfulness of the body as foundational to the path of awakening and the alleviation of distress. We will explore the dimensions of the Buddha’s teachings on this and find the direct correlations in contemporary mindfulness based approaches. We will consider what it means to embody intentions, attitudes and liberating insights, and reflect on what it means for mindfulness practitioners and teachers truly to embody these in their personal and professional lives.
  • Perception, Proliferation and Cognitive Chains: The Buddha taught that ‘All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind’ [Dhammapada 1]. We will begin to explore how the experiences of self and world are constructed and fabricated moment by moment – by unconscious perception, proliferation and habit – and how these can gradually be liberated and un-bound.

The Big Picture – John Peacock & Akincano Weber, assisted by Yuka Nakamura

18-23 February 2019:  Meditation Center Beatenberg, Switzerland
  • The construction of experience: this module focuses on exploring the core Buddhist frameworks known as the Aggregates (khandha-s) and Dependent Arising (paṭicca samuppāda).
  • Together, these teachings map the complexity of our own experience - opening up possibilities for insight and transforming stress-patterns that run through our everyday lives. Both address what Buddhist psychology calls ‘becoming’ and ‘identification’, offering specific tools and a pragmatic approach to freeing ourselves from unhelpful self-constructs and the suffering that these entail.

Universal Empathy – Chris Cullen & Christina Feldman

28 October - 2 November 2019: Sharpham House, Devon, UK
  • The Brahmavihāras: these are the cultivatable qualities of friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity, recognised in Buddhist psychology as indispensable allies in healing distress. Conversely, they are known to be most elusive in distress states.
  • In this module we explore how these qualities are explicitly cultivated in Buddhist meditative pathways and implicitly taught and developed in contemporary mindfulness-based applications.
  • The significance and importance of the interwoven nature of mindfulness practice and the Brahmavihāras are also explored.

Click here to book


Chris CullenCHRIS CULLEN works as a Dharma teacher and psychotherapist. He trained to teach Insight Meditation with Christina Feldman, and also teaches for the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, running the mindfulness programme in Parliament, and teaching Buddhist Psychology on the Masters of Studies programme in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Chris is a member of the Core Faculty of Bodhi College.


CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House and a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachussetts. The author of a number of books, she has been teaching insight meditation retreats internationally since 1976. She is one of the teaching faculty of the CPP programme, dedicated to the study and application of the early teachings of the Buddha and is engaged in teaching the Buddhist psychological foundations of mindfulness to those training to teach mindfulness-based applications in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Christina's outside schedule


John PeacockJOHN PEACOCK is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. He lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, is Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University. John has been teaching meditation for more than twenty five years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.


AkincanoAKINCANO M. WEBER is a Swiss Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist (MA). A former monk, he has lived and practiced for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology. He is guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne, Germany, part of the CPP programme and of several Mindfulness teacher trainings and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas. www.akincano.net

Recommended reading

See: Reading lists

12 titles: Buddhist Background – Buddhist Psychology – Four Establishments of Mindfulness

Additional Information

  • Participants are asked to contribute 1 hour of work a day, in order to help with the running of each centre during the modules
  • All teachings are offered on a dana basis
  • Please make sure you read the Booking Conditions before booking a module
  • View or download the PDF leaflet for this course
  • A limited number of bursary places are available on each module
  • Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness
    February 20, 2018 - November 2, 2019
    6:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Comments are closed.