Sakya Losal Choe Dzong

Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra

SIBA Retreat Centre

SIBA Retreat Centre is a beautiful and friendly Buddhist retreat centre in the Snowy River country of East Gippsland, Victoria. Formerly ONTOS, it was founded by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and formally opened and consecrated by His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche in 2006. During this time His Eminence gave the centre the dharma name 'Tsarchen Choeling'.

SIBA has all the conditions for the perfect retreat. Simply being at SIBA calms the senses and heals the mind. SIBA is a welcoming and peaceful refuge and it's unique atmosphere is well known to visitors.

SIBA Photo Gallery


All activities are open to the public. Please call SIBA to let us know if you would like to attend as the Weekly programme is sometimes interrupted when there are retreats and other special activities. You're welcome to stay at SIBA as a guest, group or solitary retreat participant, volunteer or resident. Please contact SIBA for more information.

Retreat Programme

Welcome to SIBAThere is a year-round varied programme of retreats, some lead by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and some by resident or guests teachers. These include:

  • Calm Abiding Meditation - each year Lama Choedak Rinpoche leads a four-day retreat during the March Labour Day holiday (VIC) and a ten-day retreat late September/early October which is the most popular retreat of the year.
  • White Tara (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - a beautiful meditation for developing kindness and compassion, increasing spiritual vitality and overcoming fears. Australia Day holiday, January.
  • Health and Wellness - revitalise your mind and body through yoga, meditation and alternative health practitioner consultations. Easter holiday.
  • Medicine Buddha (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - discover the connection between wholesome thoughts, your health and happiness. August.
  • Tai Chi and Meditation - Tai Chi Academy of Canberra present the teachings and practice of moving and sitting meditation. Mid-April.
  • One-month Ngondro (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - intensive group and individual practice sessions on the preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. End of year.
  • Nyung-ne - devotional meditation practices combining the Eight Buddhist Precepts.
  • Yoga - several times each year yoga retreats are held by visiting teachers.

For a full list of upcoming retreats please see EVENTSEvents

Daily Programme

Daily 6am Green Tara Puja -  Traditional Buddhist prayers and chanting. You are welcome to request that a puja is dedicated to those who are going through difficulties as well as the deceased.

Weekly Programme

  • Please call us in advance to ensure someone is here to welcome you: 03 5155 0329
  • Sunday 9am Ngondro preliminary practices - includes Refuge and Prostrations, Generation of Bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, Mandala Offering and Guru Yoga.
  • Sunday 11am Calm Abiding Meditation - single-pointed meditation on Mindfulness of Body and Mindfulness of Feeling. You are welcome to stay for Sunday lunch after this session. 
  • Tuesday 6pm Buddhist Philosophy Studies - listening to recorded teachings by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and other teachers.
  • Wednesday 6pm Chenrezig or Soor Practice - Meditation on Buddha of Compassion and recitation of mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. If you would like us to dedicate this practice to those recently deceased please send names to us.

Monthly Programme

Bairnsdale Monthly Meditation Group - Meditation session and dharma talk presented by a resident of SIBA. This group is suitable for complete beginners. All are welcome. Bring your meditation cushion if you have one.

When - 10am to 12 noon Sunday

Where - Yoga East, Main Street, Bairnsdale

How Much - donations towards fuel costs and hire of premises is gratefully received

The Sunday of the month on which the meditation group meets varies to work around SIBA events.

We send a group email to our East Gippsland friends at the beginning of the week to let them know there will be a group the following Saturday. If you are interested in being notified when these get-togethers are being held please Subscribe to our East Gippsland email list

8-week Calm Abiding Meditation Course

8-week courses are conducted in the theory and practice of Calm Abiding Meditation in Bairnsdale and Sale annually.


SIBA is run and maintained by a group of friendly residents dedicated to the principles of peacefulness, service and kindness. Every morning at 6am they gather to greet the new day with Praises to Buddha, Green Tara puja and other prayers and chanting in the beautiful meditation hall that overlooks W Tree sending out positive vibes through the district.


The Fortunate Flock

Fortunate Flock is a rescue programme for seventy lambs that were destined for slaughter. Read more about this special project and how it brings happiness and benefit to all sentient beings... and how you can help!


SIBA is set on 108 acres with a one-acre veggie garden, five-acre orchard, pasture lands for rescued animals and plenty of bush with wildlife.

The property includes three large meditation halls (the largest seating over 300), large geodesic domed dining room and commercial kitchen. Accommodation includes 16 well fitted en-suite accommodation units and six solo cabins. There are also facilities for solitary retreat.



Shared Room accommodation rates are for comfortable ensuite motel-style rooms in bunk beds. There is generally up to four people per room with two rooms able to accommodate up to eight people.

Pillows, doonas and mattress protectors are provided but we ask that you bring sheets and a pillowcase. If you are unable to bring your own bedding please let us know and we can provide it for you.

We also have single, double and twin room ensuite accommodation. Please book early as availability is limited.

Bush Cabins

SIBA also has six bush cabins that are ideal for solitary retreat with their own kitchenette facilities. Toilet and shower are provided in a shared amenities block.

There is also accommodation nearby in the region in Buchan (25 mins) and Lakes Entrance (1 hr).


There are many beautiful locations for tents and campervans on unpowered sites. Campers need to bring their own equipment. There is an amenities block with toilets and hot showers.

Families and Children

At the beginning of every year, SIBA conducts a five day Family Retreat in conjunction with a White Tara Retreat. This allows people to come together and enjoy a summer holiday with a difference. Be sure to check the Events section for this retreat.

Delicious Vegetarian Food

All food is vegetarian, delicious and much of it is sourced from the garden. Three meals are served daily with the main meal being lunch. On Buddhist Precept days (once or twice a week) no food is consumed after lunch.

Special dietary requirements can be catered for. Please let us know at the time of registering for a retreat.

What to bring and how to get here

For advice on how to get here, please visit this page for more information

Keep in Touch

If you would like to keep informed events at SIBA and in the East Gippsland area subscribe to our email updates.

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Contact us

SIBA Retreat Centre
2592 Gelantipy Rd
W Tree, Victoria, Australia 3885 | Ph 03 5155 0329

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