Retreat General Points

General points

  • Please keep your 8 precepts strictly while you are on retreat. We say them daily in the morning.
  • Inform your family, before you arrive, that the standard procedure for a retreat is that you will be out of touch for the period of the retreat. We will provide an emergency contact, which you can provide to your family.  We will alert you if you are needed. 
  • Of course, there are no drugs or alcohol allowed.
  • Please, let us know if you are using antidepressants or other prescriptions on your paperwork.
  • Smoking is allowed only outside. (Many people have given up smoking in just one 10 day retreat!)
  • No reading unless the book is assigned or given to you.  Bhante will give you all the instruction you need in the Dhamma talks.
  • Be quiet and do not talk unless it is a necessary communication. No chatting with other meditators. Please allow everyone the chance to do a silent retreat.
  • Should you become aware of another meditator having any sort of problem, and for whatever reason not making our staff aware of it, please do bring it to our attention. If you see anything out of the ordinary, please don’t assume it will just solve itself.

 Dining Hall -Do’s and Don’ts

  • Bells will be rung for the Breakfast and for the Noonday meals. Please be on time.
  • Be quiet and do not talk, unless it is necessary, for example “please pass the salt”.
  • At the noon-day meal a general blessing is performed with Bhante leading it. Please come to the buffet and place both hands on the counter to join us while he chants the blessing.
  • Monks and Nuns go first in line to be served food at both meals.   Not all monastics attend the morning meal so no need to wait unless they are there.
  • After breakfast please stay to be assigned your morning task for a short work period of 30-60 minutes long.  Never work more than 1 hour on any assigned task.   Bring your meditation to your job with a smile and remember that “Meditation is life, Life is Meditation”. It isn’t quite done but the quality of your mind and using the 6Rs doing the tasks.
  • After each meal we ask that you to please help us by washing your dishes in the kitchen.
  • Tea is placed out and only available at Tea time. Wash your cups after tea in the kitchen. Please write your name on the provided stickers and put it on a cup, so it’s yours for the duration of the retreat.
  • The kitchen and dining hall is off limits other than at the meal times. If you are having difficulties with the amount  or type of food, please talk to the retreat manager. If you have medical needs concerning food, please alert us and we’ll make sure they are met.

Your Room

  • Please keep your beds made and your cabin neat.
  • Please do not listen to music or read anything during your retreat. This is your time to discover your inner mind by being quiet. Your cell phones will be taken for safekeeping.

Dhamma Talks Etiquette 

  • Please be on time for the 6:30PM talks.
  • Please remove your shoes before coming into the Dhamma Hall and leave outside.
  • Stand when the monk enters. Stand when he leaves – out of respect. 
  • You can address Bhante Vimalaraṁsi as just “Bhante” (Reverend Sir).
  • Please don’t cross your arms or legs while listening to a Dhamma talk. This is a closed thinking position, you cannot retain the information while receiving it in this position. It is disrespectful to a member of the Sangha who is teaching the Dhamma and against monks’ rules. Yes, it is in the Vinaya (Monks Discipline).
  • You may sit in the chairs while listening to talks or meditating. There is no “magic” in the floor. Chairs are good for long sits.
  • Don’t close your eyes during the talk, please give full attention to Bhante.
  • Please take your bathroom breaks before the talk begins. Do not leave after the talk starts without permission.
  • Dress Code – Do not wear tight or low cut clothing. Do not wear above the knee shorts or sleeveless shirts – No tights please and avoid showing excessive skin. Women kindly please wear bras and cover up.
  • You are invited and urged to ask questions during the talks if you hear something you do not understand.
  • You may take written notes. No laptops please.
  • There will be a Q&A time at the end of each talk. You may also ask questions about your practice.

Dhamma Hall Meditation Etiquette

Please remove your shoes before coming into the Dhamma Hall.

  • Do not use timers. If your sitting is going well, sit longer. You can open your eyes to check the clock occasionally. We have placed clocks everywhere, so you can see the time.
  • Always follow Bhante’s instructions and don’t mix practices. This confuses the mind and slows down your progress.
  • Always sit for at least 30 min and walk 15 minutes to 45 min -longer walking periods will tire you out.
  • Do not discuss your meditation with other meditators- just the teacher at interviews.
  • Always give honest answers in your interviews so that the teacher can properly assess your progress and offer you the best advice.
  • Please let us know whether you are maintaining a Bodhisattva vow as it may affect your meditation. Video here
  • At night please don’t turn off the lights in the Dhamma Hall while you are meditating. It will lead to sleepiness.
  • Last person out at night can turn all the lights off. Thankyou!

Exiting your Retreat

    At the end of your retreat, on the last day,  please clean your room and participate in the final cleaning under the guidance of the center staff

  • Empty your trash bag and replace it with a new bag.
  • You have only paid your room and board at the center. Bhante gives you these teachings for free. At the end of the retreat you may offer Dana (Donations) for the teacher/center), in envelopes, to Bhante at either your last interview or following the last talk. When you offer Dana to a monk, it is proper etiquette, to offer it with two hands and have a happy thought that you are offering to the whole sangha with the Buddha at its head.  Bhante receives this Dana as a representative of the Sangha. These are not personal gifts to one monk. Dana supports the Center and monastics here. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!  ( Well-done!)