Silent Mindfulness Retreat: Meeting Suffering and Joy with Awareness


 flyer melissa david



This silent meditation retreat will be led by Melissa Blacker, Roshi  and David Rynick, Roshi,  both internationally renowned mindfulness and Zen Buddhist teachers.


The retreat provides an opportunity to deepen your personal meditation practice. We will focus on the possibility of waking up to our lives as they are in every moment, through meeting the suffering and joy that naturally arises in our own body, mind and heart with open and compassionate awareness. Developing the capacity to encounter these inner states with equanimity and curiosity creates a foundation for meeting your own experiences as well as those people you engage with in mindfulness classes, psychotherapy, medicine and other healing modalities.


Most of the retreat will be spent in silent sitting and walking practice. The retreat leaders will offer daily talks and individual meetings as well as facilitate a group inquiry process.


Towards the end of the retreat, there will be periods of guided interpersonal inquiry and dialogue to explore the connection between personal practice and serving others.




The retreat will include mindfulness meditation, mindful walking meditation,  dharma talks and group discussions with the teachers. The daily schedule is subject to change according to the unfolding needs during the time of the retreat. See the general schedule below.




-10th April -

4.30pm - 5.30pm: Arrival

6pm – 7.15pm: Orientation Session and Welcome

7.30pm - 8.30pm: Dinner

8.30pm: Rest



- 11st, 12th, 13th April -

6.30am: Wake up

7.00am - 8.00am: Sitting Meditation and Mindful Movement

8.00am - 10.00am: Breakfast & Rest

10.00am - 12.30pm: Sitting and Walking Meditation/Dharma Talk and Group Discussion, followed by Individual Meetings with Teacher

12.30pm - 2.00pm: Lunch & Rest

 2.00pm - 5.30pm: Sitting and Walking Meditation & Individual Meetings with Teacher

 5.30pm - 7.00pm: Dinner & Rest

 7.00pm – 8.00pm: Sitting and Walking Meditation



- 14th April -

6.30am: Wake up

7.00am - 8.00am: Meditation and Inquiry Practices

8.00am - 10.00am: Breakfast & Rest

10.00am - 11.30pm: Mindfulness Meditation: Sitting and Walking

11.30am – 12.30pm: Closing Session

12.30pm - 1.30pm: Lunch




The retreat requires no adherence to a particular faith tradition. It is suitable for those seeking an immersion in mindfulness and silence as well as anyone teaching or aspiring to teach MBSR and other MBP’s in a range of institutional and social settings. It fulfills one of the silent retreat requirements for becoming an MBSR or MBP teacher. No prior meditation/mindfulness experience is needed; however this is an in-depth retreat with multiple practice hours per day and noble silence during the entire 5 days.






Melissa Myōzen Blacker, Rōshi, is a Guiding Teacher and the abbot of Boundless Way, a Soto Zen priest, and a Dharma heir to James Myōun Ford, Rōshi in two lineages: an ordained Soto transmission through Jiyu Kennett, Rōshi and a lay koan-teaching lineage through John Tarrant, Rōshi. Melissa is a resident teacher at Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA. She holds degrees in anthropology, music and counseling psychology. From 1992 to 2012 she was a teacher and director of programs at the Center for Mindfulness, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Her writing appears in a number of collections including Best Buddhist Writing, 2012, The Hidden Lamp, and Zen Teachings in Challenging Times, and she is co-editor of The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan. Her writing also appears in various Buddhist magazines, including Shambhala Sun, Lion’s Roar and Buddhadharma.


David Dae An Rynick, Rōshi, is a founder and Guiding Teacher of Boundless Way.  He received Dharma transmission in both the Korean Rinzai lineage through Zen Master George Bowman and in the Japanese Sōtō lineage through James Ford, Rōshi. He is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association, and the author of This Truth Never Fails: A Memoir in Four Seasons. David is also a life and leadership coach who works with spiritual leaders from many different traditions as well as with individuals seeking to align their lives with their deepest wisdom.  More information and his blog can be found at





The retreat will be guided in English, without consecutive translation.



Casa da Torre, Soutelo, Vila Verde, Braga, Portugal (info here)



The accommodation at Casa da Torre is in individual and double rooms with private bathroom. The rooms are not luxurious, but rather very simple with all the comfort for you to have a pleasant and peaceful stay during the retreat. The Center has several gardens in the exterior that you can use during the entire duration of the retreat. It also has a beautiful terrace with an amazing view over an extensive natural area.

                                                 Jardim Entrada Casa da Torre    IMG 04623 

                    IMG 04566   IMG 04586  IMG 04633

                    Terraco Casa da Torre    Jardim Casa da Torre  Floresta Casa da Torre

                                                     Quartos Individuais Casa da Torre 004   Quarto Duplo Casa da Torre 007   Quartos Casa de Banho Casa da Torre 008 

* Casa da Torre is a Jesuit Monastery and the choice of this type of retreat center is not because of the religious thematic of the place, which is not essential for a mindfulness retreat but rather because it meets several criteria that we find important for a retreat: silence, simplicity, high number of single rooms with private bathrooms available and great quality of the meals (variables that are requested for many of the people that are interested in our services)



Meals are vegetarian and they will include: complete breakfast, lunch and dinner & snacks at the bar (coffee, tea, biscuits)

If you need any special adaptation in terms of meals please let us know.




Retreat Tuition:

Standard Rate: 675 euros euros (participants registering in individual name) (Payment can be completed in full or in two installments - one at the time of registration and another in January 2024)

Standard Rate for Companies: 675 euros + 23% VAT (for participants registering through companies)

Financial Difficulties Low GPD countries (see below conditions) : 500 euros


Meals and Accommodation:

500 euros (individual ensuite rooms and if you wish we can accomodate double ensuite rooms)


Please note that the crucial factor for the reduced Low GDP fee is not the country of origin but the country of residence.


The only countries eligible for the low GDP(Gross Domestic Product) reduction are:

  • African countries
  • Asian countries (with following exceptions: Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Macau SAR, Qatar, Singapore, UAE)
  • Latin American countries (exception: Bahamas)
  • and the following countries in wider Europe:
    Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia,Turkey and Ukraine.


The limit date for registration is the 30 July 2024. After this date we won’t accept any further registrations.


The number of places is limited, so we advise your registration as soon as possible.


To register in the retreat:

  • Make the payment of the value of the retreat using the payment options below:

Mindfulness Retreat: Meeting Suffering and Joy with Awareness (Full Tuition) Mindfulness Retreat: Meeting Suffering and Joy with Awareness (Two Installments)


Mindfulness Retreat: Meeting Suffering and Joy with Awareness (Low GDP Countries or Financial Difficulties)



In the first day of the retreat you will have to pay your accommodation/meals fee directly to Casa da Torre in the total value of de 500 euros.

After the reception of your email we will send you a reply confirming your place in the retreat and with information relating to the retreat. If you don't receive our reply please contact us. 



  • If your retreat is canceled until the 30th of July 2024  you will receive a full reimbursement of the retreat minus an administration fee of 50 euros plus fee for the international bank transference. After this date we won’t make any reimbursements.
  • If the event is canceled due to an unexpected reason, Ser Integral: Centro Português de Mindfulness, will provide a reimbursement of 100% of the value paid for the retreat, but we won’t be responsible for any other costs (i.e., travelling and accommodation) associated with your participation in the retreaT

- The retreat will occur with a minimum and maximum number of participants (limited places available). In the eventuality of the retreat not having the minimum registrations established Se Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will have to cancel the event.

- Please bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, yoga mat and blankets for your own comfort in the practice room. Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.

- The program is subject to minor changes according to the needs met during the retreat.

- The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc)

- Individual rooms are limited and they will be offered on first registration basis. The cost of a private room per person is the same as a double room per person.




How to get here?

Please see the information on:

The closest airport is PORTO (OPO). From here you can rent a car to drive to Vila Verde (use the GPS coordinates and address below), take a taxi to the Bus Station in Porto (, Address: Campo Mártires da Pátria, 37, Porto) to get a bus from Porto to Braga and from Braga please see the details below: 

By Bus: Between 7am and 8.15pm you can find several buses that leave the Bus Central Station of Braga to Vila Verde, Arcos and Monção. You need to get out at the stop – Rio Homem, make a left and you will have Casa da Torre ahead (with a big gate).

By Taxi: From the Central Bus Station or Train Station of Braga to Casa da Torre you will pay around 12 euros.

By Car: GPS coordinates :41º36’.08”N 8º26’17.05”W or the address: Casa da Torre, Avenida Viscondes da Torre, nº 80 4730-570 Soutelo – Vila Verde.

By Shuttle: Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness will organize shuttles from the airport to the retreat center if a minimum number of participants from other countries registers in the retreat. There will be a fee for this service (to be determined).

At what time should I arrive? When will we finish?
Arrival is on the 10th of October between 4.30pm and 6.30pm so that we can process your arrival and registration. You will then be assigned to your room and we will meet  at 6.30pm for dinner. In the last day of the retreat we will have lunch at the retreat center and after this we will all leave the retreat center.

Is there wireless and mobile phone connection?

Yes, but usage of mobile phones and internet is not allowed during the 5 days of the retreat.


Is it possible to arrive earlier or stay after the retreat ends?

Yes, if you need more nights at the retreat center you have to contact Casa da Torre directly.

What do I need to bring?

It is advised to bring confortable clothing, a meditation cushion, a yoga mat and blankets for your comfort during the practices. The room has bed sheets, towels, blankets, but you should bring all the toiletries that you usually need (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc). Also bring confortable walking shoes to use on the gardens/forest and you might also be interested in bringing a mosquito repellent.


Is this retreat accepted as a pre-requisite for the teacher training in mindfulness?

This retreat meets the pre-requisites for the teacher training program in MBSR. If you want to know if this retreat is acceptable by other institutions, please contact them directly.


I’ve completed the MBSR in a retreat format or 8 week format. Should I expect the same dynamics in this silent retreat?

No, a silent retreat in mindfulness meditation does not follow the same dynamic of an MBSR program. This retreat will have almost no guided meditation practices, in order to help you cultivate the ability to practice in silence. There will be group discussions daily after the morning Dharma talk, and at the beginning and end of the retreat, but no other group discussions.   You will also have the opportunity to meet individually with the teachers throughout the retreat.


What do previous participants have to say about their experience on other retreats organized by Ser Integral: Portuguese Center for Mindfulness?

"Thank you so much for organizing this retreat in Braga, it was a true gift for me and I got so much out of it...words cannot even describe. The organization was excellent, I loved the monastery and Paul and Anna were wonderful teachers!" - Myrto Legaki, Greece (2017)


"I flew from Denmark and joined a 5-day silent retreat organised by Ser Integral in Porto. The retreat place was perfect and I was very impressed by the genuine care of the organisers. They were truly helpful, professional, attentive and loving throughout the whole event. We stayed in single rooms and having this privacy was very helpful for me to extend deepening the silence. And if you are wondering, the food was great as well!:) I am looking forward to coming back for more retreats." Esen, Denmark (2017) |

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