Suan Mokkh Meditation Retreat

by kaiconfusion

What is an meditation retreat?

In Buddhism

A retreat can either be a time of solitude or a community experience. Some retreats are held in silence, and on others there may be a great deal of conversation, depending on the understanding and accepted practices of the host facility and/or the participant(s). Retreats are often conducted at rural or remote locations, either privately, or at a retreat centre such as a monastery. Some retreats for advanced practitioners may be undertaken in darkness, a form of retreat that is common as an advanced Dzogchen practice in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Spiritual retreats allow time for reflection, prayer, or meditation. They are considered essential in Buddhism,[2] having been a common practice since the Vassa, or rainy season retreat, was established by the founder of Buddhism, Gotama Buddha. In Zen Buddhism retreats are known as sesshin.   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_%28spiritual%29#Buddhism)

Meditation hall #5 – were we have been sitting for most of the 10 days retreat.

Basic Rules at the international hermitage Suan Mokkh

During the retreat, all participants are required to observe some basic rules. This is for the ben­e­fit of everyone – a very important part of getting you to the right frame of mind for med­ita­tion – and because you will be staying on monastery grounds. You must:

  • Keep complete silence throughout the retreat
    (exceptions: personal interviews from Day 3 to Day 6 and emergencies).
  • Stay within the boundaries of the retreat center.
  • Keep the Eight Precepts, which are:
    1. Intend not to take away any breath(abstain from killing).
    2. Intend not to take away what is not given (abstain from stealing).
    3. Intend to keep one’s mind and one’s body free from any sexual activity.
    4. Intend not to harm others by speech.
    5. Intend not to harm one’s consciousness with substances that intoxicate
      and lead to carelessness (no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking etc).
    6. Intend not to eat between after noon and before dawn.
    7. Intend not to dance, sing, play or listen to music, watch shows, wear
      garlands, ornaments and beautify oneself with perfumes and cosmetics.
    8. Intend not to sleep or sit on luxurious beds and seats.

This is the moral code for those who seek normalcy plus lightness and simplicity in living.

Schedule

Our daily schedule looked something like that:

04.00 wake up
04.30 morning reading and sitting meditation
05.30 yoga
07.00 morning talk and sitting meditation
08.00 breakfast and chores afterwards rest
10.00 Dharma talk, sitting and walking meditation
12.00 lunch and chores afterwards rest
14.00 Dharma talk, sitting and walking meditation
17.00 chanting
18.00 tea
19.15 sitting  and walking meditation
21.00 bedtime
21.30 lights out

Quite tough!

Teachings

Impossible for to outline in a few words.

list of links:

http://www.suanmokkh.org/
http://www.suanmokkh.org/basics.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhadasa
http://what-buddha-taught.net/Books6/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu_ABC_of_Buddhism.pdf
http://www.audiodharma.org/series/1/talk/1797/
http://www.liberationpark.org/audiox/tanaj01.htm

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