Below are detailed listings of our group courses and retreats in date order. In addition, you can book a private massage, do yoga, try guided meditation, qigong, and many other activities. You can also view the schedule on our Calendar. 

We offer many of these programmes on a donation basis, and have live-in volunteer positions as a way to offer service and have free access to all our programmes. All monks and nuns are offered reduced rates. If you have the means, consider donating to help us continue to make the Dharma accessible to everyone.

If you are bringing a tour group through the area, we can also arrange a guided tour of the centre (pre-booking essential).

19-28 Oct: Medicine Buddha Empowerment and Retreat with Geshe Thupten Wangchen

medicine-buddha-mediumOptions to attend empowerment only or entire retreat

Medicine Buddha practice is particularly beneficial for healing of both body and mind. According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, “The Medicine Buddha encompasses all the buddhas. This means that when we practice the seven-limb prayer and make offerings with the seven limbs, we receive the same merit as we would if we had made offerings to all the buddhas. Similarly, when we recite the mantra of Medicine Buddha, we collect unbelievable merit just as when we offer the seven-limb practice to Medicine Buddha.” (Click here for Rinpoche’s full explanation of the benefits of Medicine Buddha mantra and practice.)

p1200621The purpose of a retreat is to help you feel close to Medicine Buddha, opening your heart, and recognizing your potential to become enlightened for the benefit of all sentient beings. The empowerment gives you permission to visualize yourself transforming into Medicine Buddha when doing the sadhana practice, as well as creates a close and profound karmic bond with the vajra master for all lifetimes. We are extremely fortunate to be hosting Geshe Thupten Wangchen, resident teacher of FPMT’s Dorje Chang Institute in Auckland, who will be giving the empowerment and leading the retreat.

The Empowerment/Blessing

In order to take this tantric empowerment, you should:

  • Have at least an intellectual understanding of the Three Principal Aspects of the Path.
  • Have taken or be ready to take refuge and bodhichitta vows. If you have never taken refuge yet, you may request a refuge ceremony with Geshe Wangchen on Saturday evening before the empowerment begins by emailing the Spiritual Program Coordinator, Sarah Brooks at The bodhisattva vows are always given during an empowerment since bodhichitta is the basis of the practice.
  • On the day of the empowerment, refrain from eating black foods, be washed and wearing clean clothes.
  • Geshe Wangchen requested students memorize the long Medicine Buddha mantra prior to the retreat to make focusing on the practice easier.

The Medicine Buddha long mantra is:
Common pronunciation:

*Syllables in brackets are optional.

It is possible to come to the initiation just as a blessing, and not take the empowerment. Only people who take it as an empowerment can stay for the retreat, however.

Typically with any empowerment you are committing to do whatever daily practices are recommended by the teacher for the rest of your life. Geshe Wangchen said it is likely there will be a lifetime commitment to say the long mantra at least seven times daily. However, the commitment can change during the empowerment depending on the group and what the teacher feels is most karmically beneficial, so you should be mentally prepared to do whatever the teacher instructs.

The Retreat

This is a strict retreat only for students who take or have had the Medicine Buddha empowerment or initiation. During the retreat participants must stay within a boundary (typically Mahamudra Centre’s property) and no visitors are allowed during that time. Anyone who comes for the empowerment or blessing only must leave Sunday afternoon before the retreat begins.

Arrivals are on the evening of Friday the 19th, with dinner at 6:00pm and an introductory session at 7:00pm. Saturday morning is time for settling the mind in preparation for the empowerment and retreat, with teachings beginning at 3:00pm. The empowerment will be on Sunday morning.

Silence is recommended during the retreat, but Geshe Wangchen said students may talk to each other about the Dharma as well. Since the purpose of retreat is to step away from daily life and turn inwards to focus on the mind, cell phones and tablets/computers are not allowed. Please plan to take that time completely off from work and arrange with family and friends that you will be out of touch for this time. Staff at the centre can take any emergency calls should someone need to reach you in a crisis. Please bring a small alarm clock to use rather than your phone.

The group will take the Eight Mahayana Precepts together on Sunday 21st, and students will have the option to take them on their own throughout the retreat (food will be vegetarian with no black foods for the duration of the empowerment and retreat).


View and download Medicine Buddha Retreat Schedule 2018


We offer this empowerment and retreat to you on a donation basis. To register, you just need to pay for food and your choice of accommodation, and you can add a donation in whatever amount you can afford to give with an open heart. If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable.

Empowerment only: Delicious homemade vegan/vegetarian meals are $35 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Saturday 20 Oct. Gluten-free option available for an additional $5.

Empowerment and Full Retreat: Donation basis, plus cost of choice of accommodation and meals. Delicious homemeade vegan/vegetarian meals are $315 which includes dinner on Friday 19 Oct through lunch Sunday 29 Nov. Gluten-free option available for an additional $25.


Pre-registration essential by 10 October. Please fill out our online booking inquiry and we’ll get back to you shortly to confirm your space and choice of accommodation.

16-18 Nov: Flow Arts Workshop

Hayley 5.jpgShift from stress to bliss and experience being in the flow of mind, body and heart in this playful and creative weekend. An introduction to the graceful skills of flow/circus arts is a joyful way to increase hand eye coordination, balance and dexterity. Activities include juggling, hoops, acrobatics, and poi, plus part of the weekend will include mindfulness practice of meditation that compliments the focus required to learn these skills. Breakout sessions for advanced tuition with Haley are an option for those who already have the basics.

This workshop is for people both new to flow/circus arts and others that wish to improve their skills. The weekend opens with a Friday evening after-dinner glow show by Haley, and the workshop participants will create an informal show together for Sunday at 1:00pm. Kids over 10 years old are welcome to attend with a parent.

Haley 4What to bring: loose comfortable and modest clothing. For beginners we’ll have some heavier hula hoops great for learning. If you can, please bring a set of homemade sock poi. These are made simply with a pair of knee socks and 2 tennis balls. For intermediate students, if you have your own hoop or poi then do bring along.

Individual massage, shiatsu body therapy, and naturopath services available on site at extra cost. Please enquire about booking your preferred therapy through our office.


Sarah Taylor for Beginners Poi and Hoops

Hayley Harbottle for Intermediate Hoops and Poi

Costs and Registration

Pre-registration essential by 9 Nov. Cost of $150 for the workshop including meals; plus choice of accommodation at extra charge. Starts with dinner at 6:00pm on Friday night and ends Sunday after lunch at 1:30pm. Delicious and homemade vegetarian/vegan meals provided from dinner Friday through lunch on Sunday. Gluten-free available on request for an additional $5 for the weekend.

If you need to cancel, we’ll refund your money minus a $50 administration fee until 24 hours before the retreat begins, at which time the registration is non-refundable. Please fill out our online booking inquiry and we’ll get back to you shortly to confirm your space and choice of accommodation and take payment.