Liberation Park logo Kevala Retreat (Liberation Park) Midwestern Dhamma Refuge
grounded in contemplative practice
for a peaceful, just, & sustainable society
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Liberation Park logo Kevala Retreat (Liberation Park) Contemplative Refuge


Kevala Retreat

has its roots in Liberation Park

We have existed as an organization, in one form or another since 2002. The new name Kevala Retreat reflects our evolution and current vision (2018) of who we are and what we are about. "Retreat" better expresses our purpose here than "Park." Our primary mission is to host personal retreats for mature contemplative practice.

Kevala is a Pāli word (kay-vah-lah) meaning whole, complete; wholeness; and Nibbāna, the aspiration of Buddhist contemplative practice. Kevalatā, wholeness, speaks to the yearning throughout our society for healing. While liberation from ego-clinging, and the destructive passions and suffering born of it, remains vital, we find ourselves orienting towards the wholeness into which we may be healed. In fact, liberation and awakening to wholeness are inseparable.

Suan Mokkh, the Garden of Liberation founded by Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu in southern Thailand, remains a vital reference and anchor for us. Santikaro remains in close contact with Suan Mokkh's network of friends in Siam and around the world. He continues to be involved with new translations, supported by Jo Marie's editing skills. He remains a primary English language resource for anyone interested in Ajahn Buddhadāsa's Dhamma teaching.

Kevalatā, wholeness, was a theme Ajahn Buddhadāsa explored in a series of lectures expressing his perspectives on what is universal in religion and the deepest spiritual aspirations of humanity. The Sanskrit form of the word, important in Jainism, was the title of the only book he ever suggested Santikaro should translate. Thus, like mokkha (liberation, release), kevala maintains our connection with Ajahn Buddhadāsa's inspiration

After more than a year's reflection, we are transitioning to Kevala Retreat. We feel it expresses what has evolved after 12 years in southwest Wisconsin's driftless region and deepening partnerships with sanghas in the Upper Midwest.