Gentleness is the Best Whip - A Two to Five-Day Summer Retreat at the Shambhala Centre (In Person)

with Donald Eckler

August 24th—August 28th

Date details +
  • $250.00 Program Price
  • $300.00 Patron Price
  • Partial Attendance - $50.00 (program) / $60.00 (patron) multiplied by the number of days you plan to attend.
Room: Meditation Hall

“Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness.”

~Pema Chödrön


This two to five day retreat is an in-depth meditation retreat. It is a powerful introduction to and deepening of mindfulness-awareness meditation -- a technique that transforms how we relate to ourselves and everyday life.


"Gentleness is the Best Whip” is founded on the Shambhala principle that everyone, at their core, is worthy and complete. From this point of view, meditation is not so much a tool to fix ourselves or improve our abilities, but a powerful way to connect with the inherent goodness and wisdom within our present experience. 

The daily meditation practice and routine of the retreat supports our journey of gently making friends with who we are and giving rise to fearlessness. The design of this program creates an atmosphere in which we can trust in the experience of truly feeling ourselves, the natural world, and human society. 

About the Retreat
This retreat is a "city retreat" and takes place at the Shambhala Meditation Centre of Toronto. Practice includes: 

  • Sitting and walking meditation 
  • Meditation instruction 
  • Working with stress and difficult emotions
  • Talks/Discussions 
  • Daily yoga session 
  • Study periods
  • Silence practice
  • Aimless Wandering


This retreat is open to everyone from beginning meditators to experienced practitioners.

Please note: This program does not include lunch. There will be a 1.5-2 hour lunch break at 12:30. You are free to bring a lunch and keep it in the fridge. You may also buy lunch in the neighbourhood. If you are buying lunch, you are encouraged to bring your lunch back to the centre and eat with “noble silence,” in order to help us maintain a “retreat-like” container.



Participants are encouraged to attend the entire program. 

It is possible to attend less than 5 days. If you need to do so, please write in the comment line on the registration page which days you are planning to attend.  

*Only those who have received meditation instruction at the Toronto Shambhala Centre may attend after Day Two



Full retreat $250/$300 patron price 

Partial attendance $50 per day/$60 patron price (for this option choose pay what you can and add the cost for the number of days you plan to attend) 


About Your Teacher

Donald Eckler is a senior teacher and mindfulness instructor at the Toronto Shambhala Meditation Centre where he teaches regular programs as well as yearly multi-day retreats. He leads weekly mindfulness classes for faculty and staff at Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson) and for many years at the Adult Mental Health Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In early 2019, as a teacher for the Centre for Mindfulness in Public Safety, he facilitated a mindfulness-based wellness program for correctional officers at the Elgin-Middlesex maximum security facility. Donald has trained in end of life care and he  has offered ongoing spousal-loss programs for Bereaved Families of Ontario. Over the past thirty years he has presented mindfulness programs at schools, universities, YMCA’s, community groups, and symposiums. 

For 37 years he was a teacher with the Toronto District School Board where he taught emotionally vulnerable children. He was responsible for designing and introducing the first class in the TDSB to integrate these sensitive, yet inherently good students into regular classrooms.