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Fall 2014 Retreat


Other John Orr Retreats

Spring 2015 Retreat

April 10 through 12, 2015

Below are the details from the Fall 2014 retreat. The Spring 2015 Retreat details will be posted in early February. The Spring Retreat will follow the same format as the Fall Retreat but with a different focus.

new hope sangha water lillies on pond surface

November 14 through 16, 2014

Residential and Nonresidential Insight Meditation Retreat


Living From Our True Nature.

We all experience distortions of mind and body: heavy emotions, illness and more. The practices of meditation and loving kindness can help us soften the armor around the heart allowing us to go deeper into our selves; to explore our thought patterns, our areas of pain and holding. In this exploration, we can discover that we are not our thoughts of inadequacy, we are not our fears nor our physical discomforts. We are connected to something much greater than the every day world we inhabit. What is this true nature? Finding that answer is the theme of most dharma practice.

At the retreat we will use our vipassana practice and also metta (loving kindness) and other meditation to help support this open heart and allow the old negative self-concepts to dissolve. The retreat will be held in silence, with instruction for all levels, and small group meetings to allow time for questions and further clarity.

A retreat is an opportunity to develop calmness, wisdom, and compassion in a supportive environment. Emphasis is placed upon developing mindfulness in sitting, standing, and walking to help us access our innate understanding, joy, and peace. Beginners, as well as the more experienced, are welcome to attend. There will be instructions, practice, dharma talks, chanting from various spiritual traditions and noble silence.

Retreat flyer with registration form


John Orr received Theravada Buddhist ordination and training for a period of eight years while living in Thailand and India. He has been teaching meditation and leading retreats around the country since 1980. John is the guiding teacher of New Hope Sangha, an Interfaith minister, and teaches at Duke University.

Barbara Brodsky is a Quaker and trained dharma teacher in the Buddhist tradition. She is the guiding teacher of Deep Spring Center in Ann Arbor Michigan. Barbara has been deaf for over 35 years; living with silence has greatly influenced her life and teaching, as have years of active involvement with nonviolent action for social change. She is the channel for the discarnate entity, Aaron.

Aaron is a being of light who has evolved beyond the need to return to the physical plane. In his final lifetime on this human plane he was a Theravadin Buddhist monk in Thailand, a meditation master. We have created this page with an excerpted chapter from his book "Presence, Kindness, and Freedom," where Aaron speaks about himself.

Barbara and John follow an age-old tradition of freely and open heartedly offering the dharma. They receive no payment from the registration fees. Your dana (generosity) allows the teachers to continue their work of sharing the dharma. During the retreat there will be baskets available for your offerintgs.


The retreat will be held at Stone House in Mebane, NC. We are once again excited to be holding the retreat at Stone House. This is a beautiful center on 70 acres of rolling countryside. You can find more information about this center at their web site. Here are two maps for locating Stone House, far away and close up.

"What a joy it is to attend
a New Hope Sangha retreat.
I feel deeply loved and supported
by the teachers and
the other participants."


The retreat will begin with check in at 5:00 PM Friday. Following dinner at 6:00 PM, the weekend program will begin and continue until closing at 4:00 PM Sunday. The evening programming will end by 9:30 PM on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast will be served at 7:15 AM on Saturday and Sunday.

The retreat flyer with registration form in PDF format can be found here.

Fees include lodging, dinner on Friday, three meals on Saturday, and two meals on Sunday. The meals are vegetairan. The fees are based on your lodging preference.

Residing on site: $273
Tenting on site (bring your own tent): $243
Commuting: $183

For early registrations received before October 17, subtract $20 from your fee. For registrations received after October 17, include the full amount. About a week before the retreat you will receive directions to Stone House along with other information about the weekend.

Barbara and John will offer the retreat on a “dana” generosity basis. Participants will have the opportunity to offer dana to the teachers at the retreat. Your generosity is the main source of their livelihood.

For more information call Donna at (919) 667-5906 or email her.


We understand that circumstances may arise that will prevent you from attending the retreat after you have registered. If you cancel more than two weeks before the retreat, you will receive a full refund. For cancellations made less than 2 weeks prior to the retreat, we are not able to refund your payment.No refunds will be given for no-shows or partial attendance. Checks for refunds will be written after the retreat.


We are often so busy reacting to the world and trying to manage our affairs, that we do not really notice what is- sounds, smells, sites around us, nor the textures of mind…And the habits of mind that determine our experience of everything. Noble silence allows us to enter into a different mode of being. It invites awareness and a certain intimacy with life. Its nature is vastness and the experience of letting it gather around and within us can be profound. Disconnecting from our preoccupation with habits of mind, so that we can open to greater clarity, compassion and awareness, is a primary purpose of our practice. Silence does not need to isolate us. With time most people notice that silence allows a deeper appreciation of the simple things in life as well as an unusual depth of connection with others. We support each other with our silence and lack of eye contact. We contribute to the stillness by mindful walking, opening and closing doors quietly and being considerate as we eat our meals and return dishes.

We ask that you remain silent and avoid social contact except when talking with a teacher in your small group or in an individual session. The actions of one will benefit all.


Dana is a practice of generosity, kindness and letting go. By taking the opportunity to make dana a practice of awareness, brings it out of the realm of unconscious habit, and into the realm of wise attention. The teachers at this retreat follow an age-old tradition of freely and open heartedly offering Dharma talks. They receive no payment from the retreat registration fees. The fees cover room, board, rental of the facilities, office supplies and a little scholarship money. Dana is not intended as a tip, nor is it in exchange for receiving the teachings of the Buddha. There is no obligation to give. Offering dana indicates that we understand our interconnectedness. We realize that we depend on the generosity and kindness of others and they depend upon ours. We belong to what we support and what we support nourishes us. The decision of what to give is deeply personal. The practice of dana asks that we look within with wisdom and offer what we are able with loving-kindness. What we give allows the teachers to continue their work of sharing the Dharma. During the retreat there will be baskets and envelopes available for your dana offerings for Barbara and John.


Seva is the practice of unselfish service. At this retreat most of our needs are being taken care of by the retreat center staff and our retreat committee. There are, however, some opportunities for you to give service:

We have a practice at retreats of letting people know when sittings, instruction and evening programs are by ringing a bell five minutes before the scheduled time. We have a bell ringer sign up sheet. We ask only those who have previously attended retreats sign up for bell rigning. After your turn, please make sure to return the bell for the next person’s use.

We also need volunteers to help clean up after meals. Having volunteers for this duty keeps the cost of our retreats low and is also a wonderful part of our mindfulness practice. The duties are listed in the kitchen, or someone will be available to supervise. It would be helpful if each retreatant would sign up at the beginning of the retreat for one meal’s cleanup.

After the retreat’s closing we could use some help in packing our supplies into cars and returning the retreat center back to the state it was before our retreat. If you are not pressed for time, please consider extending your retreat a few minutes and lending us a hand.


Other Retreats & Classes with John Orr

May 30-June 1 Magnolia, MS

Dharma, A Beautiful Vessel For Our Lives: The Cultivation of Skillful Living, Meditation and Wisdom
Led by John Orr

For Information and registration go to: Flowering Lotus Meditation and retreat center 504-905-4090 or

June 21-27 or June 21-23 Brighton, MI

Self or No Self Isnít the Question! (Summer Silent Retreat)
Led by Barbara Brodsky, John Orr and Aaron

For Information and registration visit this page.
Registration deadline June 13. $20 discount if registered and paid before May 24, 2014.

July 27-August 10 (with optional third week) Abadiania, Brazil

Insight & Healing Trip to the Casa where John of God does his healing work. Led by John Orr

For Information and registration go to or contact John Orr.

October 17-19 Ann Arbor, MI

Deep Spring Center Fall Vipassana Retreat

Level 2/3- Continuing and AdvancedWith Barbara, John and Aaron
Registration and information available summer 2014

October 29 - Nov. 2 (4 nights) Holland, MI

Living From Our True NatureWorkshop and retreat with Barbara Brodsky, Aaron, and the Brothers and Sisters of Light with John Orr leading the Vipassana component

For Information and registration go to:

October 27-28 Holland, MI

Aging Consciously and With Love2-day pre-workshop gathering before Living From Our True NatureWorkshop and retreat with Barbara Brodsky, Aaron*, and the Brothers and Sisters of Light with John Orr leading the Vipassana component

For Information and registration go to:

November 14-16 Mebane, NC

With Barbara, Aaron and John

Information and registration will be posted here.

December 27-January 3 Hot Springs, NC

New Years Retreat with John

Contact: Southern Dharma Retreat Center 828-622-7112 or




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Photos are from previous
New Hope Sangha retreats