The Practice of Human Flourishing

Residential Study Retreat on Early Buddhism and Greek Philosophy

  • May 12
    Tuesday May 12, 2020 - Sunday May 17, 2020
    (Start time Tue 16:00 CEST - End time Sun 14:00 CEST)
    • VAT-Free
    Stephen Batchelor, John Peacock, Antonia Macaro
    • Please click on Register to explore and select options available
    30% deposit option now available, once registered, please select 'pay deposit' at the checkout.

Price Options:

1. Single: €640 (Sold out)

2. Shared: €570

Please note that single rooms will be allocated on a first come first served basis, however we have reserved a limited number of single rooms for people with medical needs, for more details please contact our coordinator.


This retreat will focus on the striking parallels between the teachings of Gotama, as found in the early Buddhist discourses, and those of Socrates, the Sceptics, Epicureans and Stoics as recorded in the texts of Greek philosophy.  Not only did these two traditions emerge in the same historical period (Gotama and Socrates were contemporaries), they took for granted that dharma/philosophy originated in astonishment at being alive, involved a therapeutic practice with teachers who were compared to doctors, and aimed at enabling human flourishing through the cultivation of an ethical way of life.

By returning to the sources of Buddhism and Greek philosophy we discover a common thought-world animated by similar questions about what it means to be human. In emphasizing the centrality of training (ascesisin Greek, sekhain Pali), both traditions encourage critical reflection, the refinement of attention, and commitment to an “examined life” in order to respond to these questions.

During this retreat we will draw widely from early Buddhist and Greek sources to find inspiration for the practice of becoming fully human in the 21stcentury. In addition to mindfulness and collectedness, we will introduce contemplative reflections on themes such as death. Our time will be divided between talks, enquiry (in large and small groups), and silent meditation. 

This retreat is a graduate course, open to all who have previously participated in Bodhi College retreats or completed one of our extended courses. Places are also available to experienced students who have familiarity with the core teachings of the Buddha and are committed to the practice of dharma or philosophy or both. 


Event Details


This retreat is offered on a dana basis – you will be asked to make an additional monetary donation at the end of the course to support the livelihood of the teacher.

Additional Information: 

  • For experienced Practitioners
  • Participants are asked to contribute 1 hour of work a day, in order to help with the running of the retreat
  • Periods of silent meditation practice, as well as teachings and study
  • Accommodation in shared and single rooms. Shared accommodation: Maximum of 2 students per bedroom.
  • All meals included – vegetarian food with the possibility of catering for special diets
  • If paying a deposit – balance to be paid no later than 4 weeks before the module start
  • A limited number of Bursary places are available for this course.


STEPHEN BATCHELOR is a Buddhist teacher and writer known for his secular or agnostic approach to the Dharma. Formerly a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Zen traditions, he is the translator and author of several books including Buddhism Without Beliefs, Living with the Devil and Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist. His most recent book, After Buddhism, was published by Yale University Press in 2015. He lives in southwest France with his wife Martine.

is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly fifty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. After doing a doctorate in philosophy, he taught Buddhist and Western philosophy and then Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. He went on to be Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, co-direct the Master of Studies programme in MBCT(Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University, and teach Buddhist psychology on the same course.  John is now retired from academia and continues to teach meditation, as he has done for more than thirty-five years.


ANTONIA MACARO is an existential psychotherapist and philosophical counsellor. She has a degree in Oriental Studies and an MA in Philosophy. She has a long-standing interest in both Buddhism and Hellenistic philosophy and is the author of More than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Age.



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