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Nourish the Heart: A Chanting Retreat
Dates: Feb 21, 2021 - Feb 25, 2021
Online Course

Instructor(s): Thanissara, Kittisaro, Jaya Rudgard

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In the famous Discourse on Blessings, the Buddha teaches, “Avoid people with no integrity, associate with the wise, and honor what is worthy of honor. This is the highest blessing.” Where, then, do we dwell? What do we hang out with?

Honoring what is worthy of honor is the essential principle underlying the great benefit and blessing of chanting practice. In Buddhist recitation practice we bring the body, speech, and heart together to wholeheartedly celebrate the energetic embodied experience of refuge, deeply connecting with the ancient lineage of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Great Teachers, subtle and elemental realms, and dedicated practitioners, uniting with the unlimited reservoir of wholesome, healing, protective power.

In this retreat we will be chanting verses and mantras from the Theravāda and Mahāyāna traditions. In chanting, we train in breathing, elongating the out-breath to sound sacred syllables and phrases through the tissues of the body, permeating all space and time with auspicious light and energy.

To consciously lift up in our hearts what we trust and cherish through chanting establishes a practical and tangible bridge between the subtle dimensions of meditation and the interactive contact of daily life. The use of mantra and holding of a sacred name, is also very effective for freeing the mind from conceptual proliferation.

In this retreat, there will be chanting, a bowing practice, meditation, and Dharma talks. We will also introduce the Kuan Yin Compassion Ceremony.


Online Retreat: Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and teachers in our online courses. When registering for an online retreat, please note that you should plan to commit to attending all scheduled sessions, please note that sessions will not be recorded.


This retreat intended to be accessible for practitioners in many time zones. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this retreat is presented in US Eastern Time, and can be viewed in additional time zones here


Sunday February 21

10:00 am – 12:30 pm Session One (Retreat Opening)

2:00 – 3:30 pm Session Two

7:00 – 8:30 pm Session Three


Monday February 22 – Wednesday February 24

10:00 am – 12:30 pm Session One

2:00 – 3:30 pm Session Two

7:00 – 8:30 pm Session Three


Please note that there will be an additional Morning Session daily (Monday-Thursday) for UK/EU time zone participants, 9:00 – 10:30 am UK/ 10:00 – 11:30 am EU. 


Thursday February 25

10:00 am – 12:30 pm Session One

2:00 – 3:30 pm Session Two (Retreat Closing)


Registration fees for online retreats are nonrefundable after the retreat start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the retreat will incur a $50 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.



  • Thanissara began practice in the Burmese school of U Ba Khin in 1975. She spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. She has facilitated meditation retreats internationally the last 30 years and has an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice. She is co-founder, with Kittisaro, of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa, and Sacred Mountain Sangha in California, which runs a two-year Dharmapala Training.

  • Kittisaro, a Rhodes Scholar and graduate from Princeton University, spent 15 years as a monk in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. He disrobed in 1991 and since then has taught internationally in the States, Europe, South Africa, and Israel. Kittisaro and Thanissara are founders and directors of Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in South Africa and Sacred Mountain Sangha Non Profit in California. They recently published a book Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism.

  • Jaya Rudgard began meditating in 1984, after first hearing the dharma at Chithurst from Ajahn Sumedho and Kittisaro. She spent eight years as a nun at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries. She has been a student of Kittisaro and Thanissara and their Kuan Yin practices for many years. A graduate of the Spirit Rock and IMS teacher training, she has been teaching retreats internationally since 2014.