The Big Picture

Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness 2018-19

Retreat 3

18-23 February 2019 

This five-day retreat draws on key Buddhist teachings to explore how our present-moment experience is constructed.

These teachings include the Buddha’s outline of the ‘five aggregates’ (khandhas) which are often used as his answer to the question ‘what is a person’? Instead of being some sort of ‘permanent’ entity, we are all the sum of our own unique experiences and characteristics – which are usefully broken down into five different nominal categories, or khandhas.

The other framework we’ll explore is that on ‘dependent arising’ (paṭicca samuppāda). Here, the Buddha describes the process of becoming and how we are born with certain drives – such as the desire to want to discover who we are. We develop a ‘world view’ and go through life using it to filter our perceptions – often to our overall detriment. The Buddha suggests ways in which we can learn to notice, challenge and change our own ingrained patterns of thinking and reacting in this way and ultimately free ourselves from their limiting grasp.

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.

This retreat takes place at Meditation Center Beatenberg, Switzerland 



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. 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, the MBSR-Institute Freiburg and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas.


YUKA NAKAMURA has practiced Buddhist meditation in different traditions since 1993 and has a PhD in Developmental Psychology. She was trained as a Dharma teacher by Fred von Allmen, has assisted a number of Insight Meditation teachers over many years and is teaching since 2014. Yuka works as an MBSR-teacher-trainer at the Zentrum für Achtsamkeit (CH) and is active internationally both as MBSR trainer and as meditation teacher e.g. at Beatenberg’s Meditation Center (CH) and at Barre's Insight Meditation Center (USA).

Booking details

The cost for this retreat is 150€ plus your stay at Beatenberg (370€), a place can be secured by booking your ticket below. If you attended the first two retreats, you are eligible for a discount and if so please book the discounted ticket of 100€. A link to the accommodation bookings page on the Beatenberg website will be sent to you with your booking confirmation, and the venue will be able to liaise with you about personal needs, dietary requirements and the balancing payment.

Buddhist Foundations of Mindfulness 2018-19 Curriculum

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.

The other retreats can be booked here:

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.

Booking and more information

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.

Bookings and more information

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 for each module
  • The Big Picture
    February 18, 2019 - February 23, 2019
    6:00 pm - 12:00 pm
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Venue Phone: +41 (0)33 841 21 31

Venue Website:

Meditation Center Beatenberg, Im Moos 820 A, CH, 3803 Beatenberg Waldegg, Switzerland


Beatenberg Meditation CentreThe Meditation Center Beatenberg opened its doors at the end of 2000. Since 1978 the precursor organisation, Dhamma Gruppe Switzerland, organized over a hundred meditation retreats and other Buddhist seminars under the guidance of qualified Asian and Western teachers. The center offers various forms of meditation from among the great wealth of Buddhist practices, continuing thereby a tradition of 2500 years, at the same time introducing forms and methods that are helpful in our modern times.

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Last updated: 2017/05/24