2024 – Kandy Mountains Retreat, Sri Lanka

January 6th to 17th

10-Day Natural Samādhi Retreat

Boundless Love Meditation to Nibbāna

With Bhante Ānanda

Natural Samādhi is the original teaching of the Buddha on how to develop mental collectedness (Samādhi), by way of uplifting the mind and relaxing bodily tension. This is what the Buddha called wise practice (Right effort). Learning to use the vehicle of Calm and Clarity (Samatha-Vipassanā), meditators deepen in their experience of a happy and composed mind, and drink deep, the bliss of the higher mind (Adhicitta).


For a mind well trained in this timeless wisdom and free from the five mental obstructions, there is no need to wish for happiness, since happiness pervades every moment of existence. The collected mind is happy, and a happy mind is collected (Sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati).


Developing awareness of Loving-Kindness to Nibbāna, using right effort (6Rs). In the spirit of Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM) taught by Most Ven. Bhante Vimalaramsi, Bhante Ānanda’s teacher.

Retreat Experience

January 6th to 17th

Sandun Arana

Kandy Mountains, Sri Lanka

Sandun Arana, Kandy Mountains, Sri Lanka

Nestled at the foot of the Knuckles Forest Reserve, Sandun Arana Monastery is a truly unique and inspiring setting to pursue the training of the Higher mind and heart. The palpable loving energy of this natural beauty fosters exceptional conditions for deepening in meditation practice, in comfort and safety. A prime location, by the slow river side, to heal and grow

About the Teacher

Bhante Ānanda

Bhante Ānanda is a Canadian Buddhist monk trained in the teachings and the monastic way of life of early Buddhism. In 2018, after practicing and learning from a vast spectrum of different spiritual practices including Hinduism, Hatha yoga, traditional Native American wisdom, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Vipassanā meditation and much more, Bhante Ānanda discovered the Teachings of Bhante Vimalaramsi.

Highly impressed with his meditation technique and his wisdom, he decided to go forth (Pabbaja) at his center, Dhamma Sukha Meditation Centre (DSMC) in Missouri, and spent a whole summer in the presence of Bhante Vimalaramsi. During his stay at DSMC, he had the opportunity to attend closely on his teacher and to sit on meditators’ interviews by Bhante Vimalaramsi’s side for the whole summer, directly learning from him for several months. At the end of the summer, Bhante Vimalaramsi gave Bhante Ānanda his permission to teach, before he left for Canada. Bhante Ānanda then moved to Canada as a solitary forest monk and founded the HeartDhamma community and the Heartwood Hermitage. https://heartdhamma.love


Since then, Bhante Ānanda has been teaching many meditation retreats around the globe, whether in Canada, Sri Lanka, India and even online. He received higher ordination in Sri Lanka, at a forest monastery near Balangoda. Bhante shares his time between Canada and Asia, helping many in their meditation practice, teaching retreats, studying and translating the suttas from Pāli to contemporary English while dedicatedly attending to his own practice. https://heartdhamma.love/retreats/

Begin the Journey

Embracing the whole of the Buddha’s teaching, Bhante Ānanda’s approach tends toward Natural collectedness of mind (Dhamma Samādhi) through, what he calls the two wings of awakening; Joy and letting go. Which culminates in the direct experience of Nibbāna, by way of wisely developing the seven supports of awakening (Sambojjhaṅgas) and Boundless Love (Mettā).

He is the author of:

Open Heart: A Guide from Boundless Love Meditation to Nibbāna

Bhāvanā: The Buddha’s Path to Awakening & Wholesome Mental Development

Pūjā: Recitals of Dhamma

Most Ven. Bhante Vimalaramsi’s Teaching

On his personal journey to liberation, Bhante Vimalaramsi practiced and learned from many renowned meditation teachers from Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. 

But it is only after many long retreats that he discovered the first modern translation of the the Majjhima Nikāya, the Buddha’s original discourses by Bhante Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi.

He was then so inspired by the Buddha’s own words that he left for a cave in Thailand, where he started practicing directly from the Buddha’s own words. His discovery was life changing and shortly afterwards, he synthesized a meditation technique which called Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation (TWIM). Teaching how to use the four immeasurable states of the heart: Boundless Love, boundless compassion, boundless joy and boundless calm, in a natural, gradual and linear sequence, using as a compass what he called the 6Rs (Recognize, Release, Relax, Re-Smile, Return, Repeat). The culmination of which leads to a perfectly clear and still mind and the direct experience of Nibbāna. Thousands of meditators have now greatly benefited from Bhante Vimalaramsi’s teaching and have experienced profound levels of liberation, freedom and happiness.

Retreat Overview


The retreat welcomes you with a grounding orientation, along with beginning Loving-Kindness (Mettā) meditation instructions on the first day, as well as how to use the 6Rs.


Morning Routine:

Waking up early to make the most of the day, meditators gather in the meditation hall every morning to freshen their minds with renewing their virtue and remembering the highest refuges, and letting their minds soak in a few short essential sayings of the Buddha.


Meditation Periods:

Meditation periods are flexible and alternate between sitting and walking meditation, as per everyone’s level. There are mainly two blocks dedicated for meditation, which allows advance meditators to sit for longer periods of time, without being disturbed and insures that those who begin on this path, have the freedom to follow their own needs, under the guidance of the teacher.


Daily Interviews:

Participants will receive personal guidance from the teacher, on meditators’ interviews. This ensures that each participant’s meditation is carefully nurtured by insightful advice and ensures good, steady progress. Since this meditation changes and evolves constantly, close monitoring is necessary and new meditation instructions are usually given during these personal interviews.



Breakfast is served early and lunch is taken before noon to allow an optimal diet for meditation, following the Buddha’s advice. Tea is available in the afternoon and no evening meal is served in order for meditators to enjoy lightness and strength in their meditation. An exception is made for participants with a medical condition who require an evening meal.


Evening Discourse:

Every evening at 7 pm, all meditators gather in the hall of a discourse on the Buddha’s teaching (Dhamma). The talks are framed around the original discourses of the Buddha (Suttas). Themes vary and include practical, down to earth meditation instructions, methods to let go of mental distractions, the development of the Buddha’s wisdom, the cultivation of wholesome, skillful mental states and so forth… Meditators will get to hear various suttas complimented with anecdotes, real life stories, relevant and inspiring poems along with a certain dose of good humor.


Rest and Sleep:

Bedtime is at 10 pm. Rest during the day is recommended, especially in the beginning, to ease the transition from the busy house life, to the purely meditative lifestyle of retreat. Feeling rested is essential in this practice.

05:30 am – Wake up
06:00 am – Refuges, Virtues and Meditation
07:30 am –  Breakfast
08:00 am – Meditation

09:00 am –  Personal Interviews
 11:00 am –  Lunch
01:00 pm –  Meditation and interviews
05:00 pm – Tea 
07:00 pm – Discourse
08:30 pm – Meditation
10:00 pm – Sleep or Personal Meditation

Almsround on Retreat

At lunch, Bhante Ānanda comes for alms in the dining area.

Participants may get a chance to practice their generosity and offer food in his bowl and receive well-wishes.


Please note,

The retreat will begin on the evening of Jan 6th with a brief orientation at 6 pm,

and will end on the morning of Jan 17th after breakfast.



Comfortable amenities. 

Spacious dormitory-style rooms.

Up to four people are expected to sleep in a room.

Clean. Open. Spacious. Comfortable.


Meditators are expected to follow some of the Sri Lankan customs around eating food at the monastery. Eating food sitting either on the ground or on a stool on the verandah outside. Please be aware there are no tables for eating.


If some meditators prefer to pay for individual accomodation, they can look for B&Bs nearby.

Monastic Sangha

Because of the very limited space for monastics available, we can only accomodate two or three monastic members of the Sangha in this setting. Monks and nuns are asked to please write to us directly to register. Online registrations for monastics will not be accepted. as we will most likely have too many monastic registrations for the capacity of the monastery like the previous retreat. Please write to info@heartdhamma.love to register. Thank you for your understanding.


On a Donation Basis /// The Dhamma is priceless /// There is no fixed price.

Retreats organized by HeartDhamma are sponsored by the generosity of old students who have benefited from these retreats in the past and faithful donors who genuinely wish to see the teaching of the Buddha on mental development and meditation help as many as possible. Participants are invited to practice their generosity in order to make these retreats possible to all in the future! Without your support, these retreats cannot exist!

On retreat, meditators are expected to follow instructions precisely and practice sitting meditation for a minimum of 7 hours everyday, without any other activities than meditation, as taught by the teacher.


Please book a retreat only if you are certain to fulfill these conditions and are certain to attend.  Those who do not follow these criteria will be asked to leave. This is not a free vacation. Please respect the donations of those who have truly benefited in the past and practice wholeheartedly!


Please bear in mind that we are a small and humble organization with very limited financial means. What is offered to us, we give it back to our community in the shape of donation-based (free) retreats, books for free distribution only, and other  freely offered Dhamma material.


Our small team cannot always provide the highest quality and immediate meditators’ service (Otherwise called “customer service” in the business world). We ask for your kindness and understanding in this regard as we aim to become a completely donation-based, generosity-run organization for all of our activities. Offering these wonderful retreats to all those interested makes us truly happy, yet our means are limited as we do not have any paid staff. We rely solely on inspired and faithful practitioners’ services and generosity. Thank you for helping us keeping the Dhamma freely accessible to all!

We are deeply grateful to receive the generous support of Most Venerable Seelagavesi Thero for this retreat. His warm friendship and genuine heartfelt support, in the name of the highest good, are greatly contributing to the loving and peaceful atmosphere of this sanctuary. We are very fortunate to have him protecting us on this journey!

Our most sincere respects go to him. 🙏❤️☀️