The core of doing retreat is the things we practice during it.
Our practices during the regular 10-day retreat are alternating sitting, walking, and work meditation through the day. We also promise daily to abide by the standard Eight Precepts of Theravada, do 15 minutes of Buddhism chanting in the morning and evening, and express our strong respect to the Buddha and the teacher.
On this page:
The main practices:
Acceptance and letting go
Study, reading, and writing
The Main Practices
Starting on the evening of the second day (11th of the month) we keep complete silence until the evening of the 8th day (18th of the month). This means absolutely no talking or extended gesturing to anyone for any reason. Exceptions are for asking questions of the teacher, and at scheduled Interviews. (And of course, in the case of some emergency.)
about silence. Meditation
Sitting meditation …
Walking meditation … Sitting
Sitting is the basis of meditation practice. We find a comfortable and stable sitting position so that we can breathe well and free our minds. This position usually turns out to be the “Burmese position” (legs crossed next to each other) or half-lotus position (one foot on top of the other leg). For some the full lotus may be great. Other possibilities are using a meditation bench with feet tucked under, or a chair.
about sitting. Walking
… TBD …
About the practice of
In the normal retreat at Khao Tham, we practice a subset of the traditional Theravada Buddhist chants.
What are the chants? Why Pali? … Read more
here. Mettā bhāvanā
Our core practice is
bhāvanā, one of the mettā — explained more on the four brahamaviharas metta page. Taking the Precepts
Why do we do this?
The Eight Precepts Bowing, or prostration
Before and after meditation, and before and after a teaching, we do the “five-point veneration” (
patitthitapanca) to show honour to the Buddha and to our teacher. While bowing we repeat “Anjali”, “Vandana”, “Abhikar” …
Exactly how do we bow? What is the meaning? and why do we do this? Read more
here. Acceptance, Letting go
When there is mindfulness and right understanding,
then I can’t find any suffering at all in this moment, now. — Ajahn Sumedho
The Auxiliary Practices
The Rules and Regulations
They are really “boundaries” — like a small child playing, they keep us safe while we explore our minds, our selves, and the
We are safely bounded on four sides by the
customs of our Thai hosts, our Code of Conduct, our Dress Code, and the eight Buddhist Precepts which we take at the beginning of retreat.
If a person cannot follow the Rules and Regulations of the retreat, they will not be able to attend.
We say this all together before eating a meal:
Considering it thoughtfully, I eat this food,
not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification,
but simply for the survival and continuance of this body,
thinking: ‘Thus will i destroy old feelings (of hunger)
and not create new feelings (from overeating).
I will maintain myself, be blameless, and live in comfort.’ About doing personal practices during retreat
It is not beneficial to do other practices during a
. it would be like practicing your basketball moves at a football camp. They are all part of the same thing, but the purpose of being here is to concentrate on the specific practices here. retreat Study, reading, and writing
There are two points of view about studying, reading, and writing during a retreat.
One view is that the retreat is for letting go of the information-gathering, analytical, rational aspects of the mind, to help oneself into true non-verbal insight experiences.
Another view is that taking notes helps us remember what the teacher said and think about it later, reading texts helps us understand all these concepts better, and writing helps in both, and in observing our mind.
Which one we will follow, will depend on the view of the teacher. If it is not made clear during
Orientation, please ask. Listening to teachings
Listening to teachings can be done with the same mindful attention that you give to the arising thoughts of your own mind. So a meditative posture and relaxed breathing is very helpful. Here is
more information about sitting at teachings. Sleeping
You can carry your breathing and mindfulness into your sleep, and have a very restful sleep, or even very interesting experiences during it.