Frequently Asked Questions

Can I register for a retreat outside of the retreat schedule?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate guests outside of our retreat schedule. We kindly ask that all guests visit our registration page calendar to see our latest availability. It is important to select the retreat type under “resource” and length of time under “duration” – this will provide the most accurate availability. Please note that our schedule may change, as new retreat opportunities become available. Also, we typically wait until about three months before a themed retreat is scheduled to open up registration; whereas, personal retreat availability is often displayed further in advance.

Can I come to the monastery a day or two before my retreat starts?

We kindly ask that all guests plan to arrive at the monastery on the day their retreat is scheduled to begin. This greatly supports our preparation and organizing for the retreat – and generally leads to more harmony in the community.

Is it OK if I arrive late on opening day of the retreat – or the day after?

We kindly ask that all guests plan to arrive at the monastery during the planned check-in time, of 3-5 pm Central Time on arrival day. Again, this greatly supports our preparation and organizing for the retreat – and generally leads to more harmony in the community.

Can I come for just a part of the retreat?

We kindly ask that all guests plan to attend the entire retreat, from opening day to closing day.

Can I have a room to myself? (e.g., I snore, uncomfortable sharing space, prefer privacy, etc.)

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide single rooms upfront, due to the need to accommodate all of our retreatants. Sharing space in community is also part of our practice at the monastery. However, if guests have particular needs, you are welcome to include additional information on your registration form in the notes section.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my retreat?

There is nothing in particular that guests need to do to prepare for their retreat. However, it is always beneficial to practice mindfulness and to become familiar with our Plum Village Tradition, if possible. You may like to visit this page from our website, called “Be Mindful in Daily Life,” which describes many of our practices. We also recommend listening to some Dharma talks or reading books from our teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, or from other teachers in our tradition.

Is the monastery able to accommodate my dietary needs?

All meals will be vegan (no dairy products and no eggs).  Unfortunately, we will not be able to cater to special dietary needs.  If you have special dietary needs, please bring enough food supplements for your stay.

What is the accommodation like?

A bed in a cabin or in a room in a dormitory building will be provided. There is a public bathroom block with showers and toilets. A pillow, a pillowcase and a mattress cover sheet will be provided. Please bring your own sleeping bag / blankets. If you wish to camp, please bring your own tent and other items necessary for your tenting comfort

What time does the retreat end on closing / departure day?

Retreats that conclude on Friday (e.g., one-week Personal Retreat) will finish after breakfast. Guests are then encouraged to prepare for their departure in the morning – as sometimes we will be receiving new guests that afternoon. Retreats that conclude on Sunday (e.g., Themed Retreats) will finish after lunch, which usually starts at 12:45 pm. Therefore, we are typically finished with everything by 2 pm, at which time guests may like to help with clean-up, visit our bookshop, say goodbye to friends, and prepare for their departure. Please kindly note that it is OK to leave earlier on closing day, as needed.

Can I stay longer at the monastery following my retreat?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate guests wanting to extend their retreats, outside of the designated retreat schedule. However, occasionally we can accommodate guests for an additional night (donation-based) on Sunday, if for transportation reasons (e.g., early morning flight on Monday).

How can I stay as a long-term guest?

At present, we do not have an online application process for long-term stay in our community. We are only open to receiving long-term guests at designated times, such as during our annual 90-day retreat – although we are considering more long-term options. (This information will be posted to News and Events, if/when available.) There are also periods when we can receive guests for up to two weeks of Personal Retreat (see calendar of availability on our registration page), which can lead to becoming a long-term guest. Magnolia Grove may review requests for long-term stays from guests that have booked for a regular, two-week retreat – guests may inquire during their visit, while at the monastery.

How can I become a monk / nun?

As a candidate to become a monastic you should stay at a Plum Village monastery for at least three months – this is generally during the annual 90-day retreat. In this way, you can have direct experience of monastic and community life, and the sangha can observe whether or not you have a strong monastic volition. If you are not sure about entering monastic life, you are free to take your time and practice as a layperson in one of our centers. However, long-term stays must be approved of by the respective monastery, and other regulations do apply. (See “How can I stay as a long-term guest?”)

How can I attend a Sunday Day of Mindfulness?

We kindly ask you to visit our Eventbrite page and click on the “select a date” button to see our latest schedule and to register. Please note that we ask for each attendee to register, as this helps us to properly plan and organize for the day.

How do I know if there is a Thursday Online Mindfulness Practice Session?

We kindly ask you to visit our “Weekly Online Meditation Practice” Zoom registration page. You can see our latest schedule by clicking in the box next to Date & Time. Please note that we ask all attendees to register each time, which helps us to properly plan and organize for the session.

Can I come to the monastery for a day visit? When can I visit?

Yes, you are welcome to drop in to the monastery for a visit – although we kindly request that you refrain from participating in regular daily schedule activities, unless you are registered as a guest. It is generally OK to visit during daylight hours. If unsure or you would like more information, please feel free to email our office.