Freedom From Fear - Kadampa Meditation Centre Victoria


Weekend Away Retreat


DATES:  Friday Oct 15 – Sunday Oct 17

TEACHER:  Gen Kelsang Zopa

WHERE:  Bethlehem Retreat Centre, Nanaimo BC

REGISTRATION:  Registration is now closed.  Thank you for your interest.  Our next away retreat will be in the spring.  


Fear is present in all our lives.  As long as we have irrational fear we are not free. But once we discover why we feel fear we learn that fear is baseless; there is – literally – nothing to be afraid of.  Spiritual refuge means finding inner protection from our problems and fear by developing special insights and realizations. 

On this retreat we have a perfect opportunity to discover and deepen our experience of refuge by connecting with Buddha’s blessings and receiving the encouragement of spiritual friends. Then we can quickly and easily make progress on the path to liberation and enlightenment.

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 a quite 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 at this link.

Q. What are the accommodations like?

Each person will have their own room – very simple accomodations with a full or twin bed. Towels and sheets will be provided.  Restrooms are shared.
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. What is the cost?

The cost is $365 per person for individual accomodation, all 6 meals and all sessions.

A limited number of commuter spaces will be available (after we have booked at least 18 non-commuter participants) for $200 each.  This includes all meals and all sessions.

Q. Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, you must book in advance.  You can book online HERE starting September 1 at 8am.  Registration will be open until there is no space or October 5th, whichever comes first.  If you have questions, please email us at

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

All attendees will be required to be fully vaccinated by the date the retreat starts and to present their proof of vaccination upon arrival.

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

We will eat communally.  Since this requires taking mask off, 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.

Statement from Bethlehem Centre about their on-site procedures:
The health, safety and well-being of our employees and guests at the Centre is paramount, and we are following the lead of federal, provincial and local public health authorities at this important time. We are committed to providing a safe environment at the Centre, will continue to monitor developments. First and foremost, I want to assure our guests that we are taking all appropriate measures to ensure our rooms and facilities are safe and that we have plans in place to ensure they stay that way.
At Bethlehem Centre, we hold ourselves to very high standards of cleanliness at all times. However, we have taken additional steps to ensure safety, including:

  • All surfaces are being washed with our usual hydrogenic cleaner and then secondarily sprayed with quaternary sanitizer.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols in all high ‘hand touch’ areas, which includes more frequent wiping and sanitization
  • Extra deep cleaning is being done to each room after guest check out
  • Coronaviruses are easily eliminated by routine surface cleaning and the cleaning products we use are industrial-grade for general space and food-service approved for areas of food preparation and service
  • Frequent, daily communications updates shared and discussed with all staff
  • Increasing communications and reminders with guests and posted signage about the importance of precautionary health and safety measures

To protect yourself and others, we ask that anyone who is feeling unwell refrain from visiting us so that together we can ensure a safe and comfortable experience for everyone. Staff are aware that they are not to report to work if they have any indications of ill health. We are a small organization and are all interconnected.
We remain open and welcome guests every day. As with the rest of the world, we continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide updates as needed. We also encourage our guests to stay up-to-date through Canada’s Public Health website.