Retreat General Points

Upon final registration or upon arrival you will receive a detailed booklet which will provide you information on the retreat, the practice and practical points. You might want to review the points below as a starting point

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.
  • 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.  The teacher will give you all the instruction you need in the Dhamma talks.
  • Please maintain silence 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 that meditator does not make 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 may be performed by Monks and Nuns if they are present. If no general blessing is performed please offer a thought of gratitude in your own mind towards the food and people that made it possible.
  • 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.
  • Tea is placed out and only available at Tea time.
  • 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 assigned room 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 6:00 pm talks.
  • Please remove your shoes before coming into the Dhamma Hall and leave outside.
  • Stand when any monk enters. Stand when they leave – out of respect. 
  • Please don’t cross your arms or legs while listening to a Dhamma talk. This is a closed thinking position and 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 the teacher.
  • 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.

Meditation Room 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 the teacher’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 Meditation Room while you are meditating. It will lead to sleepiness.
  • Last person out at night can turn all the lights off. Thank you!

Exiting your Retreat

  • You have paid your room and board at the center. The teacher gives you these teachings for free. At the end of the retreat you may offer Dana (Donations) for the teacher/center, in envelopes, to the teacher at either your last interview or following the last talk. When you offer Dana to a teacher, 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.  The teacher receives this Dana as a representative of the Sangha. These are not personal gifts to one person. Dana supports the Sangha and the retreats for other meditators. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! (Well-done!)