Frequently Asked Questions

Arrival and Departure

Arrival day is Friday June 15th. You may arrive at any time that day to register. The first event is dinner, at approximately 6pm, followed by a welcome talk by Judy Lief at approximately 7pm and a brief initial orientation.

The retreat ends on Sunday June 24 with a final talk and ritual for the entire group to take down of the shrine. This is followed by lunch at noon. We will have to vacate our rooms by 9am except for the small group staying over for debrief on Sunday. Instruction will be given for where to leave luggage.

Please make your travel plans accordingly. If you must arrive later than dinnertime on June 15th or leave earlier than lunchtime on June 24th, please let us know as soon as possible. Please provide this information on the Participant Questionnaire in the section Late Arrivals/Early Departures. Or you can always email us at .
During your travels to the retreat on June 15th, if any emergency should arise please email us at Volunteers will keep an eye on this account throughout the day. Be sure to include a number where you can be reached in transit in your email.

Travel Information

The Ferry Beach Conference Center and Resort has very good information on travel options, including driving instructions from all four directions. You can check that out on their site at Getting Here.
The Profound Treasury Retreat staff has gathered some additional, specific information captured in these Travel FAQs that are specific to the retreat and arriving by plane, train and bus.
For those who are flying, there are three airports in the vicinity of Saco, ME where Ferry Beach is located:

  Portland Jetport in Portland, ME    Logan International Airport in Boston, MA, and    Manchester Airport in Manchester, NH.

The closest airport is Portland, ME, but you might get a better deal flying into Boston Logan Airport. From Boston, you can then either rent a car or take an Amtrak train to the retreat center in Saco, ME.

Another option is to come by train on the Amtrak Downeaster, which runs between Boston, Saco, and Portland.  Amtrak now uses similar pricing strategies as airplanes so best to book ahead of time for significantly lower rates than closer to departure date.

You can also take a bus to Portland from Boston Logan International Airport on Concord Coachlines.  See our other FAQ on getting from Portland down to Saco and vice versa.


There are options in getting from Portland to the Retreat and some have more legs in the journey than others.  We’ve laid out a few paths for you here.  The journey you’ll make is getting from Portland to Saco and then Saco out to where the retreat happens which is about 4 miles outside of the village of Saco proper.

First, Portland > Saco

You can take the Amtrak Downeaster train from Portland to Saco.  If you fly into Portland, you’ll need to get a cab or bus from the airport to the Amtrak station there.   Here’s some information on Ground Transport to and from the Portland Airport.

You can take a Shuttlebus/ Bus that runs frequently between Portland and Saco from 6:30am – 6:30pm.  It’s about $5 one way.  Complete information to help you make your choices on the bus is available on the bus site.

Depending on interest, we may again offer a special Ferry Beach Shuttle from the Portland Airport to our retreat at Ferry Beach for $20 each way.  This must be reserved in advance and cancellations cannot be refunded.   We will have more information on this option and a place to indicate interest shortly.

Check out our next FAQ in this section on getting from Saco proper out to the Ferry Beach site where the Retreat is held.

Ferry Beach is about 4 miles from downtown Saco. You can take a cab for $10 – $15. Uber also serves the Portland area. Note: If you are flying into Portland, you may also be interested in the Ferry Beach Shuttle provided by the Retreat host between Portland and Ferry Beach. This service is reservation-based and makes only scheduled runs. Please see How do I get from Portland to Saco? for the details.

If you are interested in sharing a ride either the whole way or say, from Boston Logan, participants in the past have had good luck with a ride board. We have contracted with an excellent online provider and our ride board will be available May 1 until June 30th to allow plenty of time to make arrangements.

What to Bring

We will provide gomdens and zabutons. However, if you use something other than or in addition to that for sitting, such as a zafu or a meditation bench, please bring those items with you.

We also have a limited number of support cushions, so if you’re accustomed to using one and can fit it easily in your luggage, bring it.

Ferry Beach provides each participant staying in a dorm with 1 set of linens, which includes sheets, towels, a pillow, and a blanket. If you need anything else, you will need to bring it. For example, you might want to bring a beach towel or an extra blanket or that special extra-fluffy pillow.

Those camping do not receive linens or towels. Please bring these with you when you come.

Daily dress for the program is casual but not overly casual (in other words, not loose funky work-out clothing). Please refrain from clothing with complicated designs and messages as they can become distracting entertainments or annoyances during long sitting periods.  We advise you to check the weather in Saco, Maine for the period just prior to coming and bring appropriate outdoor clothing. Maine in June is likely to be chilly in the evenings so layers are recommended.

You should have rain gear and/or an umbrella, especially if you are camping.

We have a celebratory banquet on the last night, so please bring one dressy outfit for that occasion.

Bring all your own toiletries including soap and shampoo. These items are not provided. Also bring any other personal care items and prescription/non-prescription/vitamins/supplements that you use or may need. Again these items are not provided and unless it’s an emergency we are not able to shop for them during the retreat.

Ferry Beach Retreat Center is located 4 miles away from any kind of shop so there is no opportunity to pick up items once at the retreat. There is no store on the location of the retreat. Consider things like snacks, contact lens solution, soap and deodorant when packing for the trip. It’s Maine, so mosquito repellent as well as sun protection are great to bring.

A table or window fan, if it’s hot; a flashlight; bathing suit for the beach; flip flops for the showers. You may want a shawl or a throw for chilly mornings or evenings in the shrine room. If you’re driving, consider bringing a small lamp for your room. The rooms have overhead lights but not lamps and this has been a desire of past retreatants.

Consider bringing a water bottle or a themos bottle if you enjoy hot coffee or tea late in the evening. To bring liquids into the shrine room we ask that they are in only spillproof bottles. No open containers such as glasses or mugs.


Keeping in mind that Maine can be chilly in June, especially in the evenings, bring warm sleeping bags and blankets. Be prepared for rain.
There are a limited number of platformed camp sites, which also include electrical outlets. Especially if you don’t get one of these sites, it is recommended that you bring a tarp.

Since the camping area is in the pine forest across from the Retreat Center, consider mosquito netting or repellent, a light source such as a lantern or flashlight, and perhaps a pad or air mattress for your sleeping bag. Flip flops or other easy on/off shoes are great for the trek to the showers and WC.

Campers should also bring their own towels and any other creature comforts.


Practice. Practice. Practice.

The most important preparation you can do for the retreat is to have a regular sitting practice. Try to meditate every day and do longer sessions on the weekends. If you are able to attend group meditation sessions, that would be excellent. If you have been introduced to tonglen practice, make it a point to incorporate this into your daily and weekly practice so that it feels familiar to you.

We will post study and readings to complete prior to the retreat as soon as we have them. They will be here and also listed under Readings in The Retreat menu item on the home page.
A great way to prepare for the retreat is to watch the video courses of past Profound Treasury Retreats produced by Shambhala Publications.


We do have ROTA at the retreat on a regular basis and this is seen as an important part of the practice and being part of sangha.

At The Profound Treasury Retreat the responsibilities include shrine room duties such as umdze, ikebana, gatekeeper, shrinekeeper, drummer during chants. If you have an interest in any of these positions, there is always an opportunity for training and practice in a supportive atmosphere. You will have the opportunity to sign up for these positions at a board in the Shrine Room Building where daily announcements are posted.

We also have a number of events that require extra effort from our community for our community. These include building a bonfire one night, setting up for the final banquet, and help with any feasts. Opportunities abound for you to come deeper into the sangha to contribute. It’s a great way to meet people if you’re new.

Food and Drink

Ferry Beach provides vegetarian and vegan options for those who request them prior to the retreat. In February, all participants will receive a Participant Questionnaire which includes information about food needs and preferences. It’s important to fill this out so that the kitchen staff can plan food preparation to meet dietary needs.

There are also gluten free indicators on the meals that are prepared to help make those choices. At the beginning of the retreat, a Food Liaison is appointed and all food related communication to the Kitchen staff is routed through her. Listen up for her name on the first day.

There is a fridge in the dining room next to the coffee station for personal food stores. All personal food items requiring refrigeration should be stored here and marked clearly with your name.
There is no consumption of alcohol during the main period of the retreat. For the celebratory closing banquet on Saturday, June 23, libations will be available for those who wish to partake.


We have the OCEAN! Nope, no pool and the brisk water of the beaches will awaken you if sitting does not.
There is no ATM on premises or nearby. Please plan for cash needs before arriving since we cannot make trips into the village to get money.
There are a few coin-operated machines across the street at the campground. You’ll need to bring laundry pods since no detergent is sold there. 24 Hour access but after dark you will need to flashlight to make your way there.

Photography and Use of Electronic Devices

A professional will be taking photographs at various times during the program. If you would like to take photographs of your own, please make a request in writing to the coordinators. This is to avoid photo-mania. In addition, you may not video tape or audiotape the talks under any circumstances, as we have made an exclusive arrangement with Shambhala Publications for that purpose. Shambhala Publications will be asking you to sign a form giving permission for you to appear in the videos (e.g. in the event you ask a question at a talk and the camera pans to you). Also, as is standard practice at programs of this type, during registration/arrival we will be asking you to sign a general waiver of liability. Finally, to maintain the contemplative atmosphere of the retreat, we ask that you not use your phone in public spaces for email, internet or, voice, and if possible, you only use it for business or personal necessity.

Costs and Money

Prices range depending on the type of accommodations you select. Please see the pricing page for more details.

If you withdraw after Feb 28 then 50% of the your full attendance fee is non-refundable. If you withdraw after June 1, a refund is unlikely as we will be committed to the full cost of your participation. Our refund policy is based on when we are required to make a financial commitment to Ferry Beach for the number of attendees and rooms. After the retreat, the Administrative Group will review our finances and determine if any additional refunds can be made to individuals who had to withdraw.

There is a separate refund policy for the Application Fee. If you apply and are accepted but do not attend for whatever reason the Application Fee is forfeited. If you apply and are not accepted we refund the Application Fee. If you apply and attend, we place the Application Fee towards payment of your tuition.

We do provide a limited amount of scholarships. Please see our Pricing page for more details.

Application for Scholarship funds is made during the Application process and awarded on a first come first served basis so it’s important that you apply as early as possible. You will be notified of your award amount when notified of acceptance into the retreat in order to plan your path forward.

There is no ATM on premises or nearby. Please plan for cash needs before arriving since we cannot make trips into the village to get money.
You may also want to bring cash and/or a check book: this is for minor expenses, to donate to a gift for the head teacher which is a traditional offering and useful if you want to purchase material at the on site bookshop. We also collect a small offering for the kitchen staff annually who have taken very good care of us to show our appreciation. We will also be accepting credit cards for teachers gift.

Sometimes retreat members who are artisans are invited to bring some of their work to sell during the retreat, you may want funds for that.