Frequently Asked Questions

Registration (3)

Online
Our preferred method of registration is online, which is very simple. You may do so in the programmes section of this website. Just click on the "Register now" button and follow the instructions.

In Person
Contact the main registration desk during office hours. Please have your programme, payment, and travel information ready.

Usually we accept registration until late before the programme starts. However, due to organisational reasons, we highly appreciate an early registration, at least 1 month before the first day of the programme. Thank you!

Dechen Chöling welcomes visitors for in-house retreats and day visits. Only during the big summer programmes may in-house retreats be difficult. Free meditation instruction is offered to all visitors. People are encouraged to contact the main desk to make inquiries and arrangements.
Visitors are welcome either to participate fully in community life or to concentrate more on practice. Normal lodging and meal fees apply (€ 35 per day). If people work three hours a day in addition to their practice they get a € 10 discount.

If you'd like to come one or more days prior to the start of your programme and/or stay afterwards, your are very welcome to do so. Please let us know in advance, during the registration process, how long you would like to stay here.
Very rarely in the summertime this option will not be possible, usually only when large programmes are happening. Thank you for your understanding.

Prices & Payment (7)

Most conveniently for both of us, please pay via our online payment process which is safe and secure.

You may also use the following options:

Dechen Chöling can accept: cash, French bank cheques (payable to: Association Shambhala Europe), deposits through country accounts (see account details below or contact the finance office), Visa and MasterCard or internet banking. Also, you can send French cheques to our mail address.

Please transfer at least a deposit of 30% of the programme price within a week of your registration. Please make sure to transfer the remaining 70% of the price at least two weeks in advance of the programme, unless otherwise indicated in your programme fact sheet. Of course, you may also pay the full programme price right after your registration.
Please note: Dechen Chöling may cancel any registration for which the deposit has not been received within a week of registration.

Bank account information:

FRANCE
Association Shambhala Europe
Banque Tarneaud, 2-6 Rue Turgot, F-87011 Limoges Cedex
Phone +33 5 55 44 58 31
Code Banque : 10558
Code Guichet : 04507
No. De Compte : 11751600200
Clé RIB : 22

OUTSIDE FRANCE
Association Shambhala Europe
IBAN: FR76 1055 8045 0711 7516 0020 022
Swift/BIC : TARNFR2L
Bank: Banque Tarneaud, 2-6 Rue Turgot, F-87011 Limoges Cedex
Phone +33 5 55 44 58 31

NETHERLANDS
Shambhala Nederland
Triodos Bank
Account Number: 784912068
IBAN: NL83 TRIO 0784 9120 68
SWIFT/BIC: TRIO NL 2U

The price listed for your programme includes: the tuition fee, basic lodgings, and meals. Additionally each participant must pay a Dechen Chöling membership fee of 15 euro (once a year only).

For your calculations please consider that in addition to the programme price, you may have one or more of the following costs:
- An additional lodging fee if you choose to upgrade your lodging
- Additional lodging and meal fees if you stay longer than the length of the programme
- A practice material fee (if applicable)
- Childcare fee (if applicable)
- Transportation fee
Note regarding the membership fee:
Dechen Chöling's legal name is "Association Shambhala Europe". This legal entity is a non-profit organization. By French law it is required that everyone participating in its activities should be a member and pay an annual fee. The membership fee is 15 euros.

Children aged 5 to 12 pay half price; children up to the age of 5 only pay a food fee of 5 euros a day.

Programme Scholarships
For Shambhala Buddhist programmes—Sutrayana Seminary, Vajrayana Seminary, Rigden Abhisheka and Warrior Assembly—please visit the Shambhala International website for a scholarship application at www.shambhala.org.

Spring & Summer Season - May to August 2017
Basic lodgings are € 17 per day and this is included in your programme price. It consists of furnished tents sleeping two people.
Upgrades or Savings:
You can book a place in indoor dormitory-style rooms for 4 to 10 people (+ 5 euros a day), or a double room (+ 12 euros a day) - all options upon availability.
If you bring your own tent, you pay 5 euros less per day.

Autumn & Winter Season — September to April 2017
Basic lodgings are 17 euros per day and are included in your programme price. In winter time the basic lodgings consist of indoor dormitories, sleeping up 4 to 10 people.
Upgrade: Double room (+ 12 euros a day) - upon availability.

Please note:
- All programme prices listed include basic lodging and meals, if not otherwise indicated.
- Meals and lodging prices are fixed and the graduated income scale does not apply.
- Lodging rates for children are the same as above, except for children under the age of four, who are free.
- All lodgings include shared toilet and washroom facilities.
- Dechen Chöling provides fitted sheets for the mattresses and pillows with pillowcases for the dormitories and rented tents. Please plan to bring your own sleeping bag and towels. There is a limited amount of bed linen and towels available for an additional fee of 10 Euros, especially for overseas visitors. Please notify it to the office in advance if you require a full bedding. For the double rooms, we provide full beddings including towels at no extra costs.

Transportation via Bus or Taxicabs

BUS:
For a very cheap ride from Limoges to Dechen Chöling (2 euros) you can use bus 70 (Limoges - Cognac la Forêt). Get off at St Yrieix sous Aixe, La Garenne (10 min walk from Dechen Chöling). The stop CIEL Bénédictins corresponds to the train station. The ticket is bought on the bus and the ride is about 55min. Click: http://hautevienneencar.cg87.fr/fileadmin/user_upload/fiches_horaires/70...
Please check the schedule carefully, - these buses do not run very often and not daily.

TAXI SHUTTLE SERVICE - Arrival and departure days only!
- St Victurnien train station: 9 euros (from 7:00 to 20:00 h)
- Limoges - Bellegarde Airport: 20 euros (from 7:00 to 20:00 h)
- Limoges - Bénédictins train station: 20 euros (see the specific shuttle times below)
In case of delay, if you arrive after 20:00 we will be obliged to charge the Nighttime taxicab service.
NEW: Limoges-Bénédictins shuttle times:
- If arrival day on Saturday: pick up at 14:00 and 17:00 h
- Arrival day on week day or Sunday: 15:00 and 17:00 h
- Departure day: leaving from Dechen Chöling at 8:00 after long programmes and at 18:00 after weekend programmes on Sunday (the ride takes about 30 minutes).

REGULAR TAXICAB SERVICE*
Monday to Saturday (from 7:00 to 20:00 h) / Sunday, Public Holiday and Nighttime
- St Victurnien train station: 16 euros / 16 euros
- Limoges - Bellegarde Airport: 28 euros / 43 euros
- Limoges - Bénédictins train station: 38 euros / 58 euros
*Regular taxicab payment: Taxicabs St Victurnien train station are to be paid to Dechen Chöling. All other fares are to be paid directly to the cab driver. Please make sure to bring enough cash!

IMPORTANT: To arrange for your shuttle or taxi, please notify the Office: +33 5 55 03 55 52 or dechencholing@dechencholing.org at least ONE WEEK before your arrival.

Food is charged at a fixed rate of € 23 per day and is included in your programme price. This includes a self-serve breakfast, two meals and a tea snack.
The cost per day for children’s (5 – 12 years old) meals and snacks is € 11,50; For children below 5 years: €5.
Visitors wishing to stay for one meal are asked to make a donation of € 7.

The Aloka programme for children aged 3-12 costs per day:
€ 10, discounted € 8
For your calculations, please consider that the total rate per day for your child will also include an accommodation fee and a meal price. Children up to 4 years old are free of charge. Children from 5-17 years pay half price.

1/ Up to two weeks prior to the programme start date, deposits and payments can be refunded, less a standard 5% cancellation fee of the total price of your stay. This 5% must be payed by the participant even if no deposit or payment had been made before.

2/ After the two-week deadline, no refunds are possible. Dechen Chöling will retain your payment as credit towards any programme at Dechen Choling for up to one year – this amount of credit is subject to a standard cancellation fee of 5% of the total price of your stay. This 5% must be payed by the participant even if no deposit or payment had been made before.

3/ For cancellation on or after programme arrival day, no refunds are possible. Only the cost of accommodation and meals not consumed will be converted to a credit usable at Dechen Chöling for any programme for up to one year.

Please note : Dechen Chöling may cancel a programme up to one month before the arrival date of a programme. In such cases, any deposit or payment already made to Dechen Chöling will be fully reimbursed. We do not cover the costs of any other expenses made by the participant.

Travel (4)

By Car
Dechen Chöling is a 30-minute drive from Limoges, 350 km south of Paris. To share a ride with fellow program participants, visit our Ride Share Board: http://www.dechencholing.org/rideshare

By Train
From Paris, you will depart for Limoges at the Paris-Austerlitz train station. When arriving by train, please try to arrange to take the following connection, which will allow you to connect in Limoges to St. Victurnien, the closest town to Dechen Chöling. The 13:52 train from Paris-Austerlitz arrives in Limoges at 16:54, where you can take the 17:25, arriving in St. Victurnien at 17:55. For train schedules and more detailed information, please visit the "travel" section on this website and www.sncf.com.

By Plane:
The closest airport is Limoges Bellegarde, followed by Bordeaux and Paris.There are direct, cheap flights from several airports in the UK (London Stansted, East Midlands, Liverpool and Southampton) and France (Lyon, Nice and Paris) to the Bellegarde Airport. Companies flying to Limoges from France are Hop!, Twin Jet and Air France. From the UK, Ryanair and Flybe. Please note: If you arrive at Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport (Roissy) and plan to use the metro to travel to Gare d’Austerlitz (your departure train station to arrive in Limoges), be sure to allow two hours for the correspondence.

Dechen Chöling can arrange for taxicab service from the train stations and the airport. Please notify us at least one week before your arrival if you need a transport.

Dechen Chöling has set up a partnership with several taxicab companies to transport you to Dechen Chöling at a discounted price if you are traveling by train or plane (see below).
IMPORTANT: To arrange for your shuttle or taxi, please notify the Office: +33 5 55 03 55 52 or dechencholing@dechencholing.org at least ONE WEEK before your arrival.

TAXI SHUTTLE SERVICE - Arrival and departure days only!
- St Victurnien train station: 9 euros (from 7:00 to 20:00 h)
- Limoges - Bellegarde Airport: 20 euros (from 7:00 to 20:00 h)
- Limoges - Bénédictins train station: 20 euros (see specific shuttle times below)
In case of delay, if you arrive after 20:00 we will be obliged to charge the Nighttime taxicab service.
NEW: Limoges-Bénédictins shuttle times:
- Arrival day: pick up at 17:00 h

- Departure day for long programmes: leaving Dechen Chöling at 8:00 (the ride takes about 30 minutes).

- Departure day for short programmes (such as weekend programmes): leaving Dechen Chöling on Sunday at 18:00

IMPORTANT: These shuttle times are aligned with the main trains arriving from Paris Austerlitz, so the shuttle will not leave before the passengers from the corresponding trains have arrived. For example if your train's arrival time is 16:55, the 17:00 shuttle won't leave at 17:00 sharp, but will wait for the passengers.
Note: We may provide one or two additional shuttle times for a few large programs, depending on demand: Scorpion Seal Assemblies 2 and 6, Golden Key and Warriors Assembly, Life is Ceremony Retreat, Rigden Abhisheka and Enlightened Society Assembly.

REGULAR TAXICAB SERVICE*
Monday to Saturday (from 7:00 to 20:00 h) / Sunday, Public Holiday and Nighttime
- St Victurnien train station: 16 euros / 16 euros
- Limoges - Bellegarde Airport: 28 euros / 43 euros
- Limoges - Bénédictins train station: 38 euros / 58 euros
*Regular taxicab payment: Taxicabs St Victurnien train station are to be paid to Dechen Chöling. All other fares are to be paid directly to the cab driver. Please make sure to bring enough cash!

The program dates you can find on our website correspond to the arrival and departure days of the program.

Arrival Day
We ask you kindly to arrive in Dechen Chöling in the afternoon so you can check in your accommodation, register at our Office (usually between 16:00 and 18:45h), and be in time for dinner (18:45h). Most programs then start in the evening around 20:00h, with an orientation talk and a presentation from the teacher.

Departure Day
To enable us to prepare accommodation for following retreats, we ask you kindly to leave your room by 10:30h. There is no program on departure day.

Remember to make your return travel arrangements before arriving at Dechen Chöling. If you wish to stay longer after the programme has ended, please notify us well in advance of your arrival, during the registration process. Please note that in a few cases during peak season this might not be possible.

For taxicab service please inform the office 7 days in advance.

You may wish to take the phone number of Dechen Chöling's Office: +33 5 55 03 55 52 and our Emergency phone number: +33 6 72 85 82 16 in case you experience delays or difficulties during your trip to Dechen Chöling.

Share a ride with fellow participants of the programme that you are attending. On our Ride-Share-Board you can easily offer or search for rides to or from Dechen Chöling: http://rideshare.dechencholing.org/

Board & Lodging (4)

Dechen Chöling offers different accommodation opportunities:
- There are six campgrounds situated around the land. During the summer months we offer large two-person tents. Each tent is built on a platform, allowing it to be carpeted and furnished with a bed and shelf. You may also bring your own tent.
- Indoor dormitory-style rooms that accommodate up to 10 people, located in the Chateau as well as in other buildings.
- Double rooms
All lodgings include shared toilet and washroom facilities.

During your online registration process you can choose different accommodation options.

Please go to "Prices & Payment" to find out about lodging prices.

There are also private accommodation possibilities around Dechen Chöling. Please contact the registration office to find out about private rooms, guest houses, and hotels. You will need a car if you choose an off-land accommodation.

Please bring your own toiletries, and if you are lodged in a rented tent or dormitory, please bring towels and a sleeping bag or duvet. A sheet and a pillow with pillowcase are provided by Dechen Choling. A small number of towels and beddings are available to rent by oversea guests for € 10. For the double rooms, we provide full beddings, including sheets and towels at no extra costs.

Also, we recommend bringing house shoes for use inside the chateau. A raincoat and outdoor boots are useful too.

You will be informed by email in advance of your programme if there are additional items you should bring.

There are various private accommodation possibilities around Dechen Chöling. Please contact the main office to find out about private rooms, guest houses and hotels. You will most likely need a car if you choose an off-land accommodation.

Dechen Chöling generally offers buffet-style meals, three times a day, plus a teabreak. Usually there are always fresh fruit and tea offered during the day.

Due to the season and down to the cooks whim we serve a variety of international dishes. Since 2010 Dechen Chöling has gone 100% organic and prefers food supplies from local farmers as well as from its own garden.
A vegetarian option is always available, meat or fish is served irregularly, but mostly 2-3 times a week.

Programme Information (2)

Every programme and even every day is unique and different. Thus the format depends on the programme and how the teacher sets up the schedule, as well as responds to the group's needs and other considerations. Nevertheless, to give you an idea of a "typical" programme day, here is a description and sample schedule.

The day usually starts with a wake-up call at 7:00, followed by morning meditation practice (some programmes start at 9:00). Breakfast is served from 8:00 - 9:00. Then, starting at 9:00 there is time for practice, talks, study or discussion groups. Usually there is a break for lunch at 12:30 followed by some free time or a work period until 14:00 or 15:00. In the afternoon another practice period is scheduled, sometimes including a tea break, until 19:00 when dinner is served. In the evenings there are occasionally talks or other activities scheduled.

Overview:
7:00 - practice
8:00-9:00 - breakfast
9.00-12.30 -practice, study, talks, discussions
12.30 - lunch
13:00-15:00 - free time
15:00-19:00 - practice including a tea break around 5pm
19:00-20:00 - dinner
20:00 - evening activities

At most programmes a working period, also called "rota", of about one hour per day is requested from participants. Rota can take place in the kitchen, household, in landscaping and other departments that need support. As always, it is a great opportunity to put meditation into action, in our everyday life, as well as getting a glimpse of community life. Dechen Chöling very much appreciates you joining and supporting our work.

At all Shambhala centres throughout the world, you will encounter an established system of so-called "rota" which is an abbreviation of "rotation" which is used to refer to chores. During programmes participants are asked to join in short working periods. This could be helping out in the kitchen, household, clean-ups after meals, etc. Typically each participant is asked to contribute up to one hour a day.
In a Buddhist perspective, working is always considered as part of mindfulness practice: a good opportunity to bring meditation into action, into daily life.
Participants tend to enjoy this part of their stay here very much, since it is always also a opportunity to join in community life and meet fellow participants and staff in a different context.

Special Needs (10)

Programmes are taught in English, unless otherwise announced. However, we provide interpretation into French, German, Spanish or other languages when requested well in advance and when interpreters can be obtained.
If you need interpretation, therefore, we kindly request you to make yourrequest during the registration process at least two months in advance of the programme date so that we have time to find a suitable interpreter.

Dechen Chöling offers the Aloka Children's Programme during the Summer months. The programme contains 5-6 hours each day, divided in two sessions, and does not include arrival and departure days. This may not cover all of the schedule of parent's programme, so they will need to make their own arrangements for childcare during these times, as well as during all meals.
The Aloka programme is designed for children aged 3 to 12. For children under the age of 3, parents will need to bring their own childcare provider, or at least make special arrangements with the office.
All children under the age of 13 must be accompanied while on our land. Young adults between the ages of 13 to 18 are required to have a supervising guardian on the land. Additionally, they will also be asked to participate in daily rota (working periods).

Please contact the office to make arrangements and please try to notify the office at least 1-2 months in advance.

Aloka programme fees per day and child:
€ 10, discounted € 8

For your calculations, please consider that the total rate per day for your child will also include an accommodation fee and a meal price.

Parents may bring their own Nanny/Babysitter. Dechen Chöling offers a special rate of 15 Euro per day (accommodation/full board) for this. Please try to bring an own tent for your Nanny, particularly during large programmes in the summer months like Sangha Retreat or Sacred World Assembly. Thank you.
Parents may also want to hire people living and working at Dechen Chöling for babysitting in the evening hours.

Our kitchen is prepared to accommodate vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. For participants who have special dietary needs for medical reasons, we request that you contact the office well in advance of your visit and let us know what your special needs are. We will try to accommodate them to the best of our ability, but please be aware that our limited kitchen staff may not be able to meet all your needs. It would be advisable to bring some special food items with you.

Dechen Chöling has people who are responsible to care for everyone's health and wellbeing. In the event that you become ill, we will help you to get necessary medication from a pharmacy, take you to see a doctor, or, in the event of an emergency, take you to the hospital in St. Junien, which is about 15-20 minutes away. Please inform us in advance if you have any chronic illnesses that you think we should know about. It is also wise to have health insurance information with you.

People from outside may contact participants via the contact information provided on this website. Please indicate clearly to whom you would like to speak and if it is an emergency. Thank you.

There are no cash machines available at Dechen Chöling. Thus you want to bring enough cash to cover your various needs, such as purchasing items from the Boutique, a coffee, offering a donation or a teacher's gift. We also accept VISA, MasterCard and French cheques.
ATMs are available in villages and small towns nearby that are about 10km from Dechen Chöling and accessible by car. Limoges (20km distance) and St. Junien (15km distance) are towns nearby with banks, supermarkets, etc. There are buses going daily to these towns.

Most of the mobile nets are accessible here and you may use your phone to stay in contact with your family or other important cases. In general we recommend that participants not use phones unless it is absolutely necessary and that you respect the need and desire for tranquility and enjoy some time away from our usual speediness that is the reason many people come here.
In the event that you have to use your phone, we ask that you please go to places that are not frequented by many people in order to not disturb them.

You should not expect to use the Internet at Dechen Chöling for two reasons: 1) we are a place dedicated to retreat and renewal as well as giving oneself and others the time and space to focus on our programmes and practice. Thus we don't provide Internet access terminals or WLAN access, 2) due to our rural location we have only a weak Internet connection which is needed by the staff to do their work.
Please note: If you need Internet access to make travel arrangements for departing Dechen Chöling, we highly recommend that you make those arrangements before you arrive here.

Thank you!

We offer laundry service for a fee of 5 Euro per load. Since there are only a few washing machines here and mostly reserved for the staff and household, we suggest that you please try to bring enough clothes for your entire stay or plan to do hand washing. We have open air places to dry your washed clothes.

We love pets, but we're sorry to say that, for various reasons, Dechen Chöling has a no-pet policy, so please do not plan to bring your pet with you.

Jobs & Staffing (2)

For each programme held at Dechen Chöling, there are numerous staff positions that need to be filled. The level of experience and practice required varies with the programme and staff position. All applications are very welcome.
Programme staff are expected to pay a fee of € 10 per day which covers food and lodging costs.

If you have questions or would like to discuss upcoming opportunities, please contact our head of programmes at programmes@dechencholing.org.
You'll find more information and an application form in the "Jobs" section of this website.

Dechen Chöling regularly needs volunteers and long-term staff members, which is an excellent opportunity to live and work in a contemplative community.
Positions vary according to season and projects, so please visit the ‘jobs’ section of this website for more information. You may also contact our personnel office directly at personnel@dechencholing.org.
For short-term commitments there is also the possibility of a "working guest". If you'd like to spend some days or a few weeks here while joining in with our work for 6 hours a day, please contact the registration office. Please also see your "jobs" section.

Didn't find your question answered?

Contact us if you didn't find your question answered here.