Becoming Free of our Self Perception - Bodhichitta Kadampa Buddhist Centre


Weekend Away Retreat

Bethlehem Centre – Nanaimo

DATES:  Friday, Nov 4 – Sunday, Nov 6

TEACHER:  Gen Kelsang Zopa

WHERE:  Bethlehem Retreat Centre, Nanaimo BC

COST:  $400/person, includes accomodation for 2 nights, 6 meals and all sessions.


Registration will close at 9:30pm on Sunday, October 23rd.

Becoming Free of our Self-Perception

Come join us for a special weekend retreat.  We will explore how our identity is merely imputed by consciousness.  Buddha taught that if we identify our self as mere appearance that is not other than the emptiness of all phenomena, we can liberate ourself from the limiting views of our body, our mind and our self and realize our full potential for happiness.  

We should know that we need to identify our own mind, our own body and our self correctly.  Since beginningless time our way of identifying our self has been mistaken. We believe that our self that we normally see is our self.  This belief is ignorance because our self that we normally see does not exist.”    Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Who are we, really?  Is our identity primarily based on gender, race, age, sexuality, genetics, family, religion, class, political views… or on something more enduring?  Can we create an identity that doesn’t erase our individuality while preserving our connectedness to every living being?  How can we cherish and respect people who identify themselves differently?  

This weekend retreat includes instruction, guided meditations, and group prayers.  There will be time to enjoy a stroll around Westwood Lake where you’ll find bluffs with a spectacular view of the lake and Mt. Benson.


  Gen Kelsang Zopa

A Canadian Buddhist monk, Gen Zopa has been presenting the profound and practical teachings of the Buddhist path for over 25 years.  Renowned for the clarity and depth of his teachings, his warmth and practicality bring to life the ancient art of meditation.


Bethlehem Retreat Centre is a healing environment that provides quiet and beautiful surroundings for a retreat.  Situated in a wooded acreage in Nanaimo, Bethlehem Centre looks out over Westwood Lake against the backdrop of Mt. Benson.  There is a well-groomed path around the lake, swimming for those who like a morning dip, and trails up Mt. Benson for the more adventurous.  Click here to go to the Bethlehem Retreat Centre Site.


Q. Do I need to be a Buddhist to attend?
No. Anyone can learn basic meditation and experience the benefits that come from having a peaceful mind.
Q. Do I need to have any experience?
No. Everyone is welcome, including beginners. All you need is the wish to improve yourself and the quality of your life.
Q. How should I dress? Is there physical exercise involved?

No special clothing is required.  You just need to be comfortable and prepared for weather changes.  The classroom area and the eating and sleeping areas are seperate buildings, so you will have to go outside between sessions.
Seating will be in chairs or you can bring your own cushion if you wish.   There is no physical exercise during sessions.
During breaks you may want to avail yourself of the hiking trails, but it is not required.

Q. What is the schedule for the retreat?

You can arrive anytime after 3:30pm on Friday and check into your room.  Dinner will be at 5:30pm.  The Introductory Session will be at 7:00pm on Friday.

There will be 3 meals and 5 sessions on Saturday and 2 meals and 3 sessions on Sunday.  The retreat will end at 2 pm on Sunday.

You may read and download a copy of the detailed schedule HERE.

Q. What are the accommodations like?

For the most part, each person will have their own room – very simple accomodations with a full or twin bed. Towels and sheets will be provided. 

NEW THIS YEAR – We have a limited number of rooms with 2 twin beds.  You can book these as a single or if you want to share with a partner or close friend, you can each book that type of room and identify your roommate.  (We still need one registration per person.)

Restrooms are shared in all cases.

If you need to avoid stairs or have other physical requirements for your accomodations, please indicate on your registration.

Q. What dietary restrictions can be accomodated?

Six meals are included starting with dinner on Friday night and ending with lunch on Sunday.  All meals are vegetarian. 

Gluten-free, non-dairy and vegan dietary requirements can be accomodated easily and you can identify this on your registration.  If you have food allergies or other dietary needs, please let us know and we will see what can be done.


Q. Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, you must book in advance.  You can book online starting Aug 30 at 8 pm.  Registration will be open until there is no space or Oct 22nd at 9 pm, whichever comes first.  If you have questions, please email us at

Q. What is the cost?

The cost per person for individual accomodation for 2  nights, all 6 meals and all sessions is $400.

A limited number of commuter spaces will be available for $250 each.  This includes all meals and all sessions.

Q. What is the cancellation policy?

Our cancellation policy reflects the deposit and cancellation  policies of Bethlehem Centre.

Full Payment is due at the time of registration. Refunds, less a $50 per person booking fee, will be available until Oct 1. For cancelations from Oct 1 to Oct 24 we will be able to refund you 50% of the fees. After that time, there will be no refund available unless a substitute is located.

Q: What are the applicable Covid-19 precautions/restrictions?

There are no specific restrictions at this time.  Any applicable government guidelines will be enforced if such occurs.

All sleeping accomodations are individual, but the bathrooms are shared.  Sanitizing materials will be provided to clean surfaces between uses.

We will eat communally.  You can elect in your registration if you prefer a table where there is silence during the meal or not.

Masks will be encouraged in the class room.