Embodying the Dharma in Everyday Life


Jean Esther. Assisted by Bernadine Mellis

October 13-20, 2023

Le Manoir de la Forêt
Cantley, QC


It is notable that the Buddha did not limit his teaching to those who committed to a monastic life. Indeed, his teachings also addressed the ‘householder life’ as experienced by lay practitioners. The Buddha laid out very specific maps of engaging within our lives from a place of non-harm, mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion.

In this weeklong silent retreat, we will take time through our practice to meet our direct experience with receptivity, wisdom and compassion. Though dharma talks and small group discussion we will apply the Buddha’s teachings to our direct experience. The more we practice in this way the more these teachings take root in the ground of our being, informing our lives well beyond our meditation cushion. They become refuge, resource and guideposts for an embodiment of dharma in our everyday lives.

This retreat is taught in English.




Beginning her formal training in meditation in 1975, Jean Esther has trained in the Buddhist Theravadan tradition with renowned senior lay teachers as well as Burmese and Western Monastics since 1982. Over a number of years, Jean has engaged in intensive teacher training in both Vipassana practice and non-dual awareness. Her teaching is also informed by over 40 years of practice as a psychotherapist, focusing on the healing of trauma through an embodied somatic approach. She trained for over 20 years in Jungian psychology with Jungian analyst Marion Woodman. Respecting all of life through a social justice understanding informs her life and her teaching. Jean teaches at Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, USA, Insight Meditation Community of Western MA, USA as well as various other locations across the US and Canada. Jean has served on the Guiding Teachers Council of True North Insight since 2015.


Bernadine Mellis

Bernadine Mellis completed the True North Insight Community Meditation Teacher Mentorship Program in 2023 and recently began another long term Buddhist training, the Dharmapala program, through Sacred Mountain Sangha. She is also a part-time student in the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, where she is learning about both Theravada and Mahayana lineages and scriptures, while also exploring sangha as a practice. She works as a staff member at Insight Meditation Community of Western Massachusetts and is a teacher-in-training there. At IWM, Bernadine is engaged in programming, community building, clarifying communication, and supporting affinity sanghas. She is part of a group there seeking new organizational forms that allow for power to be both distributed and accountable, while continuing to center the Dhamma. Alongside her path in the Theravadin Insight lineage, Bernadine has been engaged in Pagan earth-based spiritual practices, working closely with her mentor on that path, for many years. She is also a filmmaker and a mother.


Registration Information


LOCATION: Le Manoir de la Forêt, 32 Chemin River, Cantley, QC J8V 3A1

Most of the rooms at Le Manoir de la Forêt are double rooms. Washrooms are shared. The rooms and the meditation hall are on the second floor, accessible only by stairs.


ARRIVAL TIME: 3:30-5:30 pm, Friday, October 13. The retreat will conclude by lunch on Friday, October 20. Everyone is welcome to stay for lunch. The teacher requests that you plan to attend the entire retreat – please arrive on time and stay through the closing talk.


COST: TNI is dedicated to offering affordable rates to all. TNI retreat fees are on a sliding scale basis that allows participants to pay according to individual means. Fees do not include compensation for the teachings, and teachers rely on the generosity of retreatants for a sustainable income. There is an opportunity to offer dana (donations) to the teachers at the end of each retreat. 

A deposit of 50% of the base rate is required to register to the retreat. The deposit is included in all of our fees. 


Sliding Scale:
  • Benefactor: $2 730
  • Sustaining: $1 750
  • Base: $1 400
  • Reduced: $1 225 
  • Scholarship: upon request (limited number of scholarships are granted)

 Deposit: $700


The Benefactor rate provides the opportunity to offer more substantial support for TNI.

The Sustaining rate represents the actual cost to TNI to operate our programs. If you can afford this level or higher, you assist our efforts to offer lower sliding-scale rates and ongoing financial subsidies.

The Base rate covers 82 % of what is needed to run our organization. To balance our budget and to wisely steward our resources, donations must supplement our registration income.

Payment at the Reduced rate covers only 71 % of what is needed to run our organization. To balance our budget and to wisely steward our resources, donations must supplement our registration income.

TNI offers scholarships of up to a 50% reduction of the low rate on our sliding scale to those who request it. Limited number of scholarships are granted.




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