Joy and Harmony, US Tour Retreat 2019

- on tour with the monastic community of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh -
a 5-Day Mindfulness Retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery

Wed-Sun,, Aug 14 - 18, 2019

A Sangha of monastics from Blue Cliff, Magnolia Grove, and Deer Park Monasteries will come together to host this retreat. As in the previous US Tour, Thay will not be present due to health limitations. However, his spiritual presence is still very much with us. We learned this at the 2009 retreat “One Buddha is Not Enough,” which Thay could not attend for health reasons:

By staying together as a Sangha, we broke through our habitual patterns of avoiding and running away from pain. Transformation and healing took place in every person, monastic and lay, beginning and long-term practitioner. We experienced directly the immense value and strength of our spiritual community, our Sangha. We realized that Thay and his teachings will continue well into the future, because we are a Sangha. Wherever we are, when we come together as a community of practice, we can generate this powerful energy of peace and healing.”

Please join the monastics and other lay practitioners at Blue Cliff Monastery to manifest joy, harmony, and peace together as a spiritual family, a Sangha. We will practice to come back to the present moment through awareness of our breath and our steps. As we train ourselves to be more deeply in touch with our breath and body, our feelings and thoughts, we will quite naturally experience for ourselves the healing and well-being that comes with mindful living. Cultivating together the art of mindful living in all of our daily activities, we concretely contribute to peace and healing in the world.

Whether you are young or old, new or more experienced in the practice of mindfulness, we welcome you to join this retreat. Families with children and teens are also warmly welcomed.

Mindful Living:

Mindfulness is woven into all of our daily activities--speaking, eating, walking, sitting, or enjoying a cup of tea. Although Blue Cliff is not a silent retreat center, stillness and quiet are at the heart of the practice. Everyone is encouraged to generate this peaceful and healing energy by taking time to stop, slow down, be present for ourselves and others, and to be aware of each of our actions throughout the day. You may read more about the many ways we practice mindfulness at the monastery on our Be Mindful in Daily Life page.

Practicing Together:

We emphasize community practice so that we can support each other and benefit from each other’s presence. We ask all who join us to help create the energy of community and togetherness by participating in all scheduled activities and by sharing their living space with others.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings, a Buddhist contribution to a global spirituality and ethic:

Everyone who comes to the retreat is requested to observe the Five Mindfulness Trainings, the foundation for living in harmony together as a Sangha, or community of practice. The Trainings are guidelines that help us move in the direction of goodness and beauty. We thank you in advance for abstaining from any smoking, drinking, eating meat, and sexual activity during your time with us at the monastery. A full text of the Trainings can be found here. It will also be sent along with the retreat confirmation package after you have registered. For those interested, there will be an opportunity to formally receive the Trainings on the last day of the retreat.

Retreat Schedule:

We usually start the day around 5:30 am and end the day at 9:00 pm, with some personal time between activities. The retreat will allow us to practice mindfulness together through the day, including the following activities:

  • Daily Dharma Talks or Q & A sessions with monastic Dharma Teachers

  • Silent and guided sitting meditation

  • Outdoor walking meditation as a community

  • Mindful meals in silence – taking the time to eat as a family, to truly enjoy and look deeply into the food

  • Dharma-Sharing – practicing loving speech and deep listening, sharing our experiences in small circle groups

  • Deep Relaxation – laying-down meditation, learning how to rest and relax our body and mind

  • Service Meditation – working together in harmony and with ease, in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood

  • Presentations on the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the practice of Beginning Anew by monastics and lay-practitioners

  • Observing Noble Silence – from after the evening activity until after washing up for breakfast


For Dharma-sharing, you have the option of choosing an Affinity Group (i.e., Environmental, Veterans, Family Practice). However, if it turns out that the Affinity Group has too few participants, you will be assigned to a group according to geographical location (according to your registration address). We will let you know what group you are in on Arrival Day at check-in.


All meals are vegan. There is generally a variety of options available at mealtime, but feel free to bring supplementary food for yourself if you have a particular dietary need. Please note that kitchen and refrigeration facilities will not be accessible to retreatants. Due to safety regulations, we ask that you do not cook in your room.

Service Meditation:

To support the monastery, everyone is encouraged to participate in short community service periods that we call "working meditation." Work is done in a light and mindful way, with the support of others. Tasks may include arranging the meditation halls, cleaning bathrooms, chopping vegetables, washing pots, and other simple responsibilities. Each person's ability and inclinations are respected when it comes to delegating work for a given work period.

Children & Teens:

A Children’s Program is offered for children ages 5-12, and a Teen’s Program for youths ages 13-17. The programs include age-appropriate learning games, sharing, and playful practice in a joyful spirit. The programs are led by monastic and lay practitioners. Parents are welcome and invited to participate and support the Children's Program. (Please note that these programs are only available when there are five or more children or teens in attendance.)

Internet, Phones, and Electronics:

To maximize the benefit of your mindfulness practice with us, we ask that you use electronic devices only when absolutely necessary and always in a mindful and discreet way, respecting the calm and quiet of our common areas: living spaces, meditation halls, and dining halls. This practice will help all of us to release our busyness and to really rest. Please let your loved ones know that you will be on retreat. In an emergency, they can reach you by contacting our registration office. Internet access, including wifi service, is not available to guests, and cell-phone service is not always reliable in our area. Please make all travel arrangements in advance.

Individual Needs:

Blue Cliff is deeply committed to inclusiveness. If you have any particular need for assistance or special accommodation please contact us so we can offer you as much support as possible. We now have two new wheelchair-accessible rooms, and our meditation hall and dining halls are wheelchair- accessible as well.


In the spring, summer, and fall, Blue Cliff is home to deer ticks which do carry Lyme Disease. It is easy to protect yourself if you take a few simple precautions--most importantly, thoroughly checking yourself and your children for ticks each day. Please follow this link to learn more.

What to Bring:

Please bring casual and modest clothing that is comfortable for sitting. There may be hot weather during the time you are here.  Please remember that this is a monastic practice center; you are surrounded by monks and nuns.  Please support us by being mindful of your clothing style. In order to be in harmony with the community and to support the monastics' practices (in addition to potentially deepening your own), we offer you the following guidelines in regards to clothing: 

Skirts and shorts down to knees, leggings covered to the knees, no spaghetti straps, no tank tops, men's shorts down to the knees, shoulders covered for both men and women.

You will need enough clothing for the duration of your stay, as there are no washing machines available to guests. Please bring a blanket and towel, if possible. (We ask for a $10 donation if you are unable to bring these items and wish to borrow them.) Please bring shoes suitable for walking on nature trails. Please bring your own toiletries that are fragrance-free, in consideration of those who are sensitive or allergic to scents. Other items that may be helpful to bring are: a flashlight, an alarm clock, an umbrella, and shoes that are easy to slip on and off. We encourage our guests to spend their whole stay at the monastery, so please bring everything you might need. Please do not bring non-vegan foods, alcohol, or other intoxicants. Please do not bring pets; only service animals are allowed.

Arrival & Departure Days:

Arrival Day for the retreat is Wed, August 14 with check-in starting from 2-5 pm. Dinner will be served around 5:30 pm. An orientation talk for everyone will be offered by monastic Dharma Teachers at 7:30 pm. The retreat will end after lunch on Sun, Aug 18.

Accommodations & Costs:

Registration is for the whole retreat; there are no partial-stay registrations.


(5-8 beds, mostly bunks; Private bathroom for some rooms)


(areas for Families, Couples, Single Men, Single Women; public bathroom/shower blocks)
Please bring your own camping equipment - no rentals available.


(you will need to reserve accommodations in local motels, bnb's etc. and drive to and from Blue Cliff)



Dorm $550.00, Commuter $350.00, Camper $350.00

STUDENT (age 18-25)

Dorm $325.00, Commuter $325.00, Camper $325.00

TEEN (age 13-17)

Dorm $275.00, Commuter $275.00, Camper $275.00

CHILD (age 5-12)

Dorm $250, Commuter $250, Camper $250

UNDER 5, Dorm free, Commuter free, Camper free

Cancellation Policy (Per Person):

Notice of cancellation must be emailed to, attn: “BCM Tour Retreat Cancellation - [YOUR LAST NAME, FIRST NAME].” Please do not phone in your cancellation.

For cancellations received on or before Aug 10, 2019, there is a refund minus a cancellation fee of $25.
No refund is available for cancellations received after Aug 10, 2019.


Please visit this link for more information on transportation, Getting Here. You will also receive a Ride Share Link in the confirmation after you register.

If you have further questions, please email us at, or call the monastery office at (845) 213-1782.