Feb 22-24: Finding Calm in the Chaos: Meditation Retreat with Hedwig Bakker

Hedwig is back to lead another weekend retreat!

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by what daily comes towards you via tv, newspaper, mobile phone, internet, work, people, family, relationships etc?

Are you unable to stop the incessant self-talk that is going on in your mind?

How often do you wish you could switch it off? Or turn down the volume?

Do you have the feeling that your mind is living a life on its own?

It is possible to calm the mind. You can learn and apply simple tools to get hold of the mind, find balance, and give it a rest.

We will practice several techniques to center and calm the mind during sessions of sitting meditation, walking meditation and spending time in nature. These techniques can easily be applied in daily life.

What to expect in the retreat:

  • Plenty of time to practice in an easeful way
  • Experience the benefits of a peaceful and focused mind
  • Learn how to sit properly and how to set up a daily meditation practice
  • Get a taste of what it means to be in retreat

This retreat is suitable for anyone new to meditation as well as for those who are already familiar with it: they can deepen their understanding and practice.

This retreat will be conducted in silence

Mahamudra Centre warmly welcomes back Hedwig Bakker to lead this retreat.


The first session of the course is at 7:30pm on Friday night, and finishes at 3:00pm on Sunday. Delicious and homemade vegetarian meals are provided from dinner on Friday through lunch on Sunday. A gluten-free option is available on request.

Course Fee:  $123.00 plus donation      

Course fees include the base fee and food (from dinner on Friday through lunch on Sunday).

Please include a donation to the centre to cover costs of retreat leader’s travel, food and stipend.

Those attending may also wish to make an offering to the retreat leader at the end of the retreat.

Price does not include accommodation; however, we are offering accommodation at a 25% discount for this retreat


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.

To register, please complete the form below and we will email the booking information to you.

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).

23-25 Nov: Mindful Photography



Explore the skills of photography as well as the concept of mindfulness in the creative process in this interactive workshop. The weekend combines classroom instruction and discussion, time for shooting in the Coromandel’s lovely beaches and hills, and opportunities for individual tutoring and editing advice. You’ll be challenged with creative assignments to try new ways of shooting. In addition, we’ll have opportunities for mindfulness meditation and to explore the benefits of developing mindfulness as a practice while doing photography. The focus of the subject matter will be on nature and landscape photography to take advantage of the beautiful areas around Colville.

Aimed at beginner and intermediate amateur photographers – bring any digital camera, a laptop for editing, a way to transfer your photos to USB, and (if you have any) additional equipment like tripods. Outings won’t be overly strenuous, but good outdoor shoes are essential.

At 1:30pm on Sunday we’ll have a public reception with a slideshow of photography from the weekend to showcase all the participant’s favourite photos.

sarah-nz-headshotLed by Sarah Brooks, who holds a BA cum laude in Art and has a professional landscape photography business, Sarah Brooks Photography. She is also the Spiritual Programme Coordinator at Mahamudra Centre so regularly leads mindfulness meditation sessions and courses.

Costs and Registration

Pre-registration essential by 16 Nov. Course begins with dinner at 6:00pm and an evening session at 7:30pm on Friday and runs through 2:30pm Sunday. Includes delicious homemade vegetarian meals from dinner Friday through lunch Sunday. Course and meals fee $180; plus choice of accommodation. 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.

To register and enquire about accommodation, please fill out our online booking form or call us at (0)7 866 6851.

1 Dec: Kete Basket Flax Weaving with Nici Greulich



Kete are traditional Māori baskets woven from the leaves of native harakeke (flax). Mahamudra Centre is pleased to welcome local artist Nici Greulich who will lead this workshop where you can learn and practice this basket weaving. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about New Zealand’s Māori tradition, and support mindfulness of the environment by creating these natural, re-usable and lovely bags as an alternative to plastic and synthetic materials.

The worshop will be 9am – 5pm on Saturday, and if students don’t finish there is a possibility to extend for more time with Nici on Sunday morning.

FB_IMG_1501548045786Materials you’ll need to bring: pegs, a good pair of scissors, a butter knife with a straight blade, a dog flea comb, and a small sharp knife

Click here for more about guest instructor Nici Greulich

Costs and Registration

This course is likely to fill, so we recommend booking as early as possible, and pre-registration essential by 25 Nov. There are two package options:

Saturday commuter option:

Course begins at 9:00am Saturday and ends at 5:00pm, with a possibility it will extend to Sunday if participants need more time. Includes delicious homemade vegetarian lunch on Saturday only. Course and meals fee $90; plus choice of accommodation.

Weekend package for travellers: Please note that the group meals package is no longer available for a weekend stay. We welcome you to stay as guests and book accommodation, but the only catered meal offered will be lunch on Saturday.

To pre-register and enquire about accommodation, please fill out our online booking form or call us at (0)7 866 6851. To best plan the workshop, please let us know if you are a beginner or have experience with flax weaving, and if you have any questions for Nici. 

24 Dec: A Compassionate Christmas

7:00pm Tara Sanctuary, Mana Retreat Centre

Mana_Sanctuary-WEBJoin us at for a lovely interfaith celebration of Christmas as we join together with Mana Retreat to honor the holiday spirit of love and compassion. Attendees are invited to participate by sharing poetry, song, or other heartfelt contributions to the service. After the service we’ll enjoy social time over desserts and refreshments kindly provided by Mana.

The service will start at 7:00pm at the stunning and peaceful Tara Sanctuary. Plan to meet at 6:30pm at the parking lot at Mana Retreat Centre, and then we will walk up together to the Sanctuary. Anyone who cannot climb the hill is welcome to drive all the way up to the sanctuary, where there is limited parking available (note the Tara Sanctuary drive is close but separate from Mana’s drive off of Manaia Road/Rt. 25). Directions to Mana Retreat Centre (located on Rt. 25 between Thames and Coromandel Town): http://manaretreat.com/your-stay/getting-here/

6 Sept – 3 Dec 2019 Vajrasattva Empowerment and Retreat with Geshe Thupten Wangchen and Bhikshuni Lozang Yönten


Give your life and mind the ultimate karmic detox. There is no negativity that cannot be purified with Vajrasattva and the four opponent powers.

It is said that we have achieved all the qualities—clairvoyance, psychic powers, the eight siddhis, common powers, etc.—countless times in the past, but they did not free us from the suffering of samsara, because we did not cease the cause of the suffering. Therfore we need to purify our mindstream and fully develop the mind that cherished others.

If you want others to love you, you must first love others. If you benefit others, naturally they will  benefit you. The cause and effect of karma is as simple as this.

The Vajrasattva purification practice, which is more powerful than negative karma, can prevent you from experiencing the problems that negative karma would otherwise bring you. Thus, the practice of purification is one of the most important solutions to our problems and is extremely necessary, even for people who believe that we have only one life. 

Doing Vajrasattva retreat is not simply about reciting the mantra and saying some prayers. It is about making the practice effective for your mind, making it the quickest, most powerful way to transform your mind. Experienced meditators have advised that, in general, it is more important to put your everyday life’s effort into the practice of purification. This is the way to attain spiritual realisation. – Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The traditional “preliminary” practices prepare the mind for successful tantric meditation by removing hindrances and accumulating merit. They are found in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are usually done 100,000 times each; the four main practices are recitation of the refuge formula, mandala offerings, prostrations and Vajrasattva mantra recitation. The three-month Vajrasattva retreat and fire puja completes this practice and launches our future practice to deeper levels.

Geshe Wangchen Head Shot.JPGNEW! We are pleased to announce that Geshe Thupten Wangchen will be offering the Vajrasattva empowerment at the start of the retreat: a pre-requisite for this empowerment is already having taken a highest yoga tantra initiation. If you already have specifically a highest yoga tantra Vajrasattva initiation, you need to have kept all your committments to do the retreat as an approach retreat. If you have broken your commitments, you can either re-take the initiation with Geshe Wangchen, or do the retreat simply for the merit and purification.

Ven Yonten in NZ HillsThe retreat will be led in a way that nurtures both solitary introspection and community support and is suitable for all sincere practitioners of Buddhism who have the Vajrasattva empowerment. Venerable Yönten will lead the retreat combining the traditional essentials of strict retreat together with flexibility to respond to the needs of the group. There will be teachings, practice resources, and optional discussion group time.

Registration is not yet open, however there will be packages for either the full three-month retreat or one-month options. Register your interest in attending by contacting us and we’ll notify you when registration begins.