The “Monastery Stay – Self Retreat” program welcomes beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners, both monastic and laity. The program includes observing the day-to-day activities of the monks, like sitting and walking meditation with community of monks, practicing loving-kindness (mettā) meditation, doing daily morning and evening pūja services, listening to dhamma and discussion, etc.
This program will surely enhance your spiritual life which bring peace, productivity and develops compassion, which eventually will be giving you a proper insight into the realization of the Buddha-dhamma.
Practice alone is not always an easy one, especially in the home environment. We promote wise and spiritual friends (kalyāṇa-mitta) who are of importance in building a bond between peers within the Buddhist community.
There is a beautiful teaching in which the Buddha’s cousin, Ānanda, comes to the Buddha and says, “O Blessed One! I figured it out. I figured out that spiritual friendship is half of the spiritual life.” And the Buddha says, “Not so, not so, Ānanda. Don’t say that it’s only half, it’s the whole of the spiritual life.”
Focusing on friendship is such a good way to start with this program because we all need to build a habitual pattern of moving through our environment with more compassion, wisdom and mindfulness. It is particularly important and timely, in the world that has been in isolation due to the pandemic, and this program focuses on what the Buddha had to say in terms of kalyāṇa-mitta practice. Learning how to be a wise and spiritual friend feels necessary right now.
Just as we cultivate friendships with ourselves, we can step out into the world and bring those same qualities to those around us. It’s often hard to be a wise friend. It’s difficult not to judge. It’s difficult to be honest sometimes. But this program and practice helps us not to turn away, not to abandon, and not to fear. It helps us cultivate the steadiness and willingness to do what’s hard. To say, “I’m in it with you. I won’t leave.” That kind of messaging is so important these days.
Doing a retreat is another way to be a spiritual friend. Our practice has the power to help us cultivate courage and clarity and feel deeply connected to the world. Retreat helps us grow a heart that is strong enough to go back into the world and endure what’s hard to endure and be with people in a very real and honest way.