During retreat we take care of our conduct 24 hours a day, as part of calming and training our mind. The point of being here is to completely focus inwardly, and by knowing what to do and to expect in outward behavior, we can more easily concentrate on that.
- During the seven days of silent retreat, we must not talk at all, even in the privacy of the dorm. Gestures may be used but only the minimum necessary to get our point across during some necessary activity, such as pointing out a broom during chores.
- During the seven days, we never leave the Kow Tham grounds. If you find it necessary to do so, please talk to the Manager or staff.
- No reading materials, writing, phones, etc allowed.
- No food or drink brought to the rooms.
- Of course, no smoking, drinking, drug-taking!
Anyone unable to follow these points will be asked to leave.
There are also points of courtesy that help us take care of each other and of the flow of the retreat.
- The Shoe Pile: When slipping out of your shoes at the entrance to a building, please keep them at either side of the entrance. There are people who may have physical problems that are not obvious, but that make stepping over or through a swath of shoes anything from an annoyance to a huge obstacle! These problems can include poor eyesight, balance issues, bad back, sore knees, painful feet, and more. There is at least one person regularly at retreats who has several of these issues. We can care for them.
- Mosquitos: Yes, there are always mosquitos, and we pretty much need to use mosquito repellent, especially in morning and evening. But don’t apply repellent inside spaces such as the meditation or dining halls; do it before you enter. The activity is disturbing to meditators, and the smell and fumes are unpleasant in enclosed space, or even worse for those with breathing problems.
- Water: When drinking the nice clean filtered water, we can be remembering all the people who filtered it, put it in the big bottles, loaded bottle onto truck to distribution, unloaded, loaded again onto truck to bring to us, unloaded, and lifted that big bottle to pour it into our big water can! Then we won’t idly drink half a glass and throw the rest out, thinking of all the muscle power that it took to get it to us. 🙂
- Electricity: Being mindful that Kow Tham exists entirely on donations, we can take care and use lights only when needed.
- Giving back: Being mindful that Kow Tham exists entirely on donations, we can think what we have received here and give back so that Kow Tham can continue on to provide for the next person … or even you, to come back again!