Nona Tepper

Nona Tepper is a freelance journalist based in Beijing

Posts by Nona Tepper

Get Enlightened Quick

Beijing's worst Buddhist retreat – by Nona Tepper


After one prostration too many, the weak among us fled the Buddha Room in order to catch some sleep, steal breakfast from the Snack Room, and walk from Longquan Monastery to the foot of Phoenix Mountain, where they shivered in the February darkness to wait for the earliest bus.

It was 4:30am on the final morning of a three day Six Steps Buddhist Retreat, a free workshop near Beijing’s summer palace established to spread knowledge of Buddhism. Twelve of us had signed up for the retreat, having been promised that we would “feel less tired,” “be sick less often” and live “without any stress”. Instead, for the last 48 hours we had listened to lectures on the “Holocaust, dharma-ending time” (how and why the world is ending), kitchen advice on how to please your Buddhist man – and had performed endless prostrations, the spiritual answer to burpees.