RETREAT RULES AND PRACTICES
THE BUDDHAPADIPA TEMPLE, LONDON
‘Harmonious Practices towards a Noble Community Living’
The Buddhapadipa Temple London and its retreat organizers gladly welcome all meditators to the Residential Meditation retreat. We hope this retreat will provide a good opportunity for meditators to develop mindfulness necessary for spiritual insights that lead to enlightenment.
Although this retreat is ideal for experienced meditators, however on the first day of the retreat, meditation teachers will give instructions to all meditators including beginners on sitting meditation, walking meditation as well as observing other daily activities. During the retreat the meditation teacher will advise meditators on how to develop progressive insights according to meditator’s report during the interview.
This is a residential retreat; all meditators are required to stay overnight at the Temple. The Temple will provide mattresses, blanket, pillow and sleeping bag, but if you like, you can bring yours. Each meditator will stay in a separated room unless one would like to share their room with others.
Charge & Fee
There is a charge of £70 for attending this retreat. This amount of money will be mainly for preparing foods and drinks (vegetarian). We accept cash or cheque (please make it payable to ‘the Buddhapadipa Temple Trust’).
Things to Bring and Not to Bring
You will need to bring:
- sufficient clothing for the retreat as no washing of clothes is allowed for retreat. White clothes are ideal; however, polite colours are also acceptable.
- a torch/flashlight, personal toiletries, alarm clock, personal medication, water tumbler etc. You are welcome to bring your own meditation cushion, bench or meditation mat if you wish.
Please do not
- bring a laptop or use any emailing or other social medias such Facebook, Instagram/twitter ect.
- use mobile phone except in cases of emergency.
- bring valuable items to the retreat.
- set your alarm clock earlier than the wake up time ie 5.00 A.M.
- use beeping watches in the Meditation room.
- wear shoes in the Meditation room. Slippers are allowed.
Most importantly, meditators should not be fussy and ought to behave in a dignified manner.
Smoking and Fires
Smoking or fires of any kind, including candles, are prohibited due to the risk of fire. Do not forget to switch off the light and unplug any electric lead & cable every time before leaving the room.
Upon arrival, make sure to confirm your registration, pay the fee to the coordinator, collect the room’s key and sleeping items at the house. Please park your car in the car park.
All participants are expected to stay for the entire period of the retreat except in the case of illness or emergency of compassionate nature and with permission from the teachers.
- The organizers reserve the right to amend or to add any rules and regulations which they deem necessary for the smooth running of the retreat.
- The number of participants for this retreat is limited due to space constraints and other considerations.
- Acceptance of participants is at the discretion of the organizers. All decisions by the organizers are final. The organizers are not obliged to offer any reasons for not accepting any applicant.
Retreat Orientation: Basic Rules and Regulations
In order to make spiritual progress during the retreat, meditators need to have faith, effort and perseverance. Faith in the teacher and in the method, will inspire meditators to practise. Faith alone is not sufficient, however, meditators also need effort and perseverance to progress along the spiritual path leading to enlightenment and emancipation. Therefore, faith, effort, and perseverance are indispensable qualities for meditators during the retreat. For the retreat to be smooth and fruitful, all meditators are requested to observe all the retreat rules. The rules may seem demanding but they are created for the benefits of all the meditators who are ready to practise wholeheartedly. They are as follows:
- Practise seriously. During the retreat, upon seeing meditators not mindfully focusing on their practice, the meditation teacher(s) or the retreat coordinator(s) will remind them so.
- All participants are to observe the 8 precepts. Those with permission from the meditation teacher due to physical sickness may be exempted from observing the sixth precept.
The 8 precepts are:
- 1st: Abstaining from killing any living being.
- 2nd: Abstaining from taking what is not given.
- 3rd: Abstaining from sexual activity.
- 4th: Abstaining from wrong speech—lying, gossiping, divisive, or harsh speech.
- 5th: Abstaining from intoxicants.
- 6th: Abstaining from eating after noon (i.e. drinking milk, soy milk, milo, 3 in 1 coffee, etc.)
- 7th: Abstaining from dancing, singing, listening to music, watching movies, or adorning oneself with garlands and perfumes.
- 8th: Abstaining from using high or luxurious seats & beds.
- Keep noble silenceall the time, talk only when really necessary such as during the interview or during the question-and-answer session.
- Bow before and after each sitting meditation, each Dhamma talk, and each interview to display gratitude and humility. Please do not take bowing as a behaviour of lower social status.
- Meditators must do all activities mindfully in slow motion. However, when lining up for taking foods, resume normal pace with mindfulness to have time to finish meal by noon. Look down while walking, standing, eating and during interview reporting.
- Avoid greeting each other, smoking, making calls, listening to electronic devices, reading books and materials not related to the practice, and wandering.
- Avoid stretching legs toward the Buddha shrine to show respect.
- Show respect toward meditation teachers by waiting for them to exit the meditation hall first after every sitting meditation or Dhamma talks except when they remain for further meditation.
- Refrain from seeing meditation teachers besides the scheduled interview time and the question-and-answer session.
- After one full day of practice, meditators are scheduled forinterview every day between 4-5 P.M.
- Come to the meditation room on time to avoid disturbing other meditators.
- Open and close the doors gently, slowly and mindfully to minimize noises.
- Meditators should arrive at the meditation room at least five minutes before the daily chanting and Dhamma talk at 6.30 A.M. and 6 P.M.
- Meditators are encouraged to suffuse loving-kindness (mettā) each time at the end of their sitting meditation.
- If communication is needed, please talk to the teachers directly.
Guideline for Reporting during Interview (short version)
Your observation of body and mind should be reported according to the following three-step procedure:
- What object you note i.e. the rising and falling movement of the abdomen or any other object becoming most prominent at the present moment.
- How you note it i.e. how you become aware of it with or without labelling.
- What experience you have of it or what happens to the object when noted i.e. you are aware of its shape, manner or characteristics (individual characteristics or common characteristics).
Meditators are supposed to start the report with their experience of the primary object of rising and falling movement of the abdomen according to the above-mentioned procedure.
(a) I watch the abdomen rises (or falls)
(b) I label it as “rising, rising” (or “falling, falling”)
(c) I become aware of stretching, pressure, stiffness, tension etc. I felt pressure increased gradually (when falling, I felt relief or pressure decreased.)
It is very important to describe your primary object in clear, simple and precise terms with all the accurate details you have observed. Only after that should you continue to report on the secondary objects.
The secondary objects are as detailed but not limited to:
(a) bodily sensations: pain, itch, etc.
(b) Thoughts: ideas, planning, remembering, thinking, etc.
(c) Emotions: anger, pride, joy, happiness, etc.
(d) Noises (hearing), images (seeing), etc.
While mindfully following the primary object, if any of the above secondary objects become prominent (more than the primary object), meditators turn the mind toward that object and mindfully observe it. During the interview, after the reporting on the primary object, meditators also report the experience of the secondary objects according to the above three-step procedure.
- Body sensation is the most prominent secondary object:
- (a) I felt painful on the knee or pain arose in my knee.
- (b) I noted it as “pain, pain.”
- (c) I found it changed from stabbing pain to hard pain.
- (d) I noted as “hard, hard.”
- (e) I felt it as slow pulsating hardness, later found it decreased, and after a few minutes disappeared.
- (f) Then, I went back to the primary object which is the rising and falling movement of the abdomen.
- Thoughts and emotions as the most prominent secondary objects:
When reporting different kinds of thoughts such as planning, imagining, judging, daydreaming, etc, or emotions such as anger, frustration, happiness, etc, meditators should report them objectively without mentioning whom or what they are thinking about or who or what makes them angry, etc.
- (a) I found myself deep in thoughts.
- (b) I noted as “thinking, thinking” (in general) or “planning, planning” or “remembering, remembering (in specific).”
- (c) I felt myself angry.
- (d) I noted “anger, anger.”
- (e) I found it disappeared after a while.
- (f) Then, I went back to the primary object which is the rising and falling movement of the abdomen.
A Sample of a Comprehensive Report
I note the rising and falling movement of the abdomen as a primary object of meditation. When I note the rising, I experience tension and heaviness. I then noted the falling as “falling, falling,” my experience of falling was not clear. I found my mind wandered and noted it as “wandering, wandering,” and after a while it stopped. I then went back to the primary object of rising and falling movement of the abdomen.
And then, a pain arose in my knee, I noted it as “pain, pain” but it intensified and began to throb. I noted “throbbing, throbbing” then it lessened and finally disappeared. I then returned to the rising and falling movement of the abdomen.
Suddenly, a sound occurred. I noted “hearing, hearing” and meanwhile an itch took place in the face. I noted it as “itching, itching.” After a while, the itch disappeared and I then returned to the primary object of the rising and falling movement of the abdomen.”
An Advice to Meditators
- Report your own experience, not imaginary images or made-up stories.
- Keep your interview short and to the point by following the above-mentioned procedure and reporting examples.
- Labelling or noting must go concurrently along with precise awareness of the object. Otherwise, it will bring no result.
- Help the meditation teacher to help you develop insights by practising diligently as instructed and by reporting your practice experience properly as suggested.