Female Followers of the Buddha

- Retreat for Women led by Megan Thorpe

Friday evening 3 November to Sunday lunchtime 5 November 2017

Booking is essential (before 20 October 2017)


This retreat will provide some biographical information and time for contemplation about a number of the female followers of the Buddha. The aim of the retreat is to have a closer look at the very human qualities of some of the women who were inspired to follow the Buddha’s example during his lifetime and how they, in turn, inspired other women.

Much is known about the Buddha’s life story. Many people were inspired by the wisdom, clarity and the demeanour of the Buddha on first meeting him. However, the women who took his teachings to heart are not mentioned in the commentaries to the same degree as the Buddha’s male disciples.

This retreat is designed to shine a light on the lives of some of the women who were motivated to improve themselves and the lives of others through self-development and practice. It will begin with a light supper on the Friday evening of 3 November and finish after lunch on Sunday 5 November.

Megan Thorpe has been leading retreats and offering teaching for the Association of Engaged Buddhists for a number of years. She has been practising Dhamma for nearly 30 years and for the last 15 has been a practitioner in the Thai Forest tradition. Her principal teachers are Bhante Tejadhammo and Bhante Sujato.
Megan works at Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst, Sydney, managing the Bereavement Counselling Service. For the last 10 years she has supported the Buddhist chaplains volunteering under the auspices of the Buddhist Council of NSW. She was formerly the President and Director of Training of the Australian Association of Buddhist Counsellors and Psychotherapists. 


The retreat will take place at Vejjasala, our retreat centre at Wingello in the Southern Highlands. Accommodation is in shared rooms with bathrooms nearby. You will need to bring your own bed linen and other items. See 'What to Bring' below for full instructions. There is also Kuti accommodation, single bed huts dotted around the retreat centre grounds, for those who like to have a little more solitude. If you prefer to stay in a Kuti, note this in the comments field in the application form below. Kutis are allocated on a first come first served basis.


Retreat activities commence at 7.30 pm on the Friday evening and finish after lunch on Monday.

Vejjasala will be open from 4pm on the Friday and there will be a light supper at 6.00pm before the retreat commences. It is advised that people arrive before the retreat commences to settle into their accommodation and familiarise themselves with the centre layout.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided for the duration of the retreat. Tea making facilities are also available. All meals are vegetarian. We are unable to cater to special diets, but feel free to bring special food with you if necessary. However please note that, apart from a microwave, you will not have access to cooking facilities.


Download or print the guests guidesheetpdficon_small.png for what to bring to the retreat and how to get to Vejjasala from Sydney by car. There is also more information on the Vejjasala page.


By car

Wingello is about 1.45 hours drive from Sydney and Vejjasala is a few kilometres from Wingello station, so travelling by car is the best way to get there.

By train

There is a train station at Wingello but someone will need to collect you and drive you to Vejjasala, so it may be better to get a lift from another attendee. The form below has an option to nominate that you would like a lift. If you still intend to take the train, Wingello is on the Southern Highlands line. Wingello is a small station and only a few services a day stop at this station. You will need to notify the retreat coordinator of your intention to catch the train to arrange someone to collect you from the station or the nearby Wingello Store.


The retreat cost is $160 for members, $200 for non members.  If the cost causes financial problems for you, please email the Retreat Co-ordinator.

Full payment for the retreat should be received by us no later than 20 October.

In the Buddhist tradition teachers are not paid for teaching the Dhamma but rely on the generosity of their students for support.  There will be an opportunity to make a donation to the teacher at the end of the retreat should you wish to do so.

Booking is essential as accommodation is limited. Please use the online form below.

Booking, cancellation and refund policy:

  • Attendance is at the discretion of the retreat teacher. An application is not a guarantee of a place on this retreat.
  • Places are only confirmed when approved and payment in full is received by the date mentioned above or on the registration form.
  • If you have secured a place but find you cannot attend you can apply to have someone take your place. This person must fill out the registration form and is subject to the usual processes. Inform the Retreat Coordinator of your intention at the earliest possible time.
  • If you wish to cancel and we can find someone to fill your place, we will refund the registration fee minus 10% to cover administration costs, providing the replacement has been accepted and paid the retreat attendance fee.
  • If you wish to cancel and we cannot find someone to fill your place, a refund cannot be offered.
  • If the retreat is full when we receive your payment, we will provide you with a full refund.

Retreat Application Form

  • Please use one form per applicant
  • Questions marked with a red asterisk are required fields (including all options in the Home Address block). 
  • If you need help with the application process, email the Retreat Co-ordinator. There is a comments field in the form if you need to provide the coordinator with further information
  • Please select the correct retreat from the list below

Select retreat name:

Applicant Details

Applicant's Contact Details

Emergency Contact

Travelling to Vejjasala

Retreat Cost & Payment - Select your Retreat:

Optional - Sponsor a Retreatant

Not all people who apply for a retreat can afford the full cost, due to personal or financial hardship. If you wish, you can donate to a Retreatant Sponsorship Fund that will be used at the discretion of the Retreat Coordinator. You can add any amount, large or small, to the Fund. If you wish to fully sponsor a specific person, make a note in the comments box below.

I am donating the following amount in addition to my retreat payment:

Combine the Retreat Amount and your Sponsorship Amount (if any) and enter the total below:

Payment Transfer Details

Refer to the retreat information for costs.

For Electronic Funds Transfers:

Account name: Association of Engaged Buddhists

Bank: St George BSB: 112-879 Account No. 131328823

Please include your name and some shorthand text identifying the retreat in the online banking transaction comments field, such as 'JSmith MindfulRet'

Email the Retreat Coordinator once you have transferred the funds and include your name, the retreat name and the date of payment. Some online banking web sites allow you to email a payment recipient directly from inside the online banking web interface. 

Agreement to Retreat Guidelines

By clicking the 'Yes' checkbox immediately below, I agree to abide by the Guidelines for Retreat Participants and Visitors to Vejjasala and the Booking, cancellation and refund policy.


Information for the Retreat Teacher

The information requested below will assist the retreat teacher understand your background and any difficulties you might encounter during your retreat. Many retreats include extended sitting meditation sessions or walking meditation and some include yoga sessions or long periods of silence, therefore we wish to understand any circumstances that may affect your practice. All information is strictly confidential.

Applicant's Declaration


Read this before submitting:

  • There will be a short delay after you click the 'Submit Now' button, where seemingly nothing happens. If there are no errors you will see a confirmation page after about 15 seconds. Do not click the Submit button twice.

If you encounter an error:

  • Error messages are displayed in red BELOW the 'Submit Now' button
  • Mobile phone users - you may have to scroll down to see the error messages
  • Don't forget to re-enter the Captcha code after attending to any error messages

'Captcha' validation code

Captcha Code

Enter the above Captcha code below.
If you get a Captcha error even after you retype the code - click on the Captcha image to refresh it and enter the new code displayed.