There are two main methods Buddhists use to try to familiarize the mind in the motivations and understandings that should pervade their practice and so seep out into daily life.

The first is to set up a regular meditation practice. For a Mahayana Buddhist this will usually contain at least three elements: a practice to develop true altruism, a pracrtice to strengthen stability and focus and a practice to help see the reality of our daily lives as it is, free of superstitious overlay.

The second is to set aside time to do retreat. The joy of retreat is that it allows a meditator to work more intensively with the mind through whatever is the practice that they have either chosen, or been advised to focus on.

This doesn't necessarily mean that retreat is always a joyous experience, sometimes when the mind is very unruly, it can be tough going. But it is always an opportunity for growth and is the clearest pointer to where we actually are on the path.

Though retreat can be for years, a retreat can also be a lot shorter and still enormously beneficial. Even two days or a weekend consciously spent in retreat - not listening to the radio or TV or using the computer, taking a break from the phone - and focusing on just one topic or practice gives us the space to attend to turning the mind around from self centred to other-centred. A space we so rarely offer ourselves.

Additional training for retreat:

Depending on the style of retreat and the preferences of the retreat leader retreatants may be encouraged to try out three additional kinds of training in addition to the discipline of retreat.

The first is to keep silence for part or all of the day.

The second is to take the Eight Mahayana Precepts for a period of 24 hours. These precepts are taken in the morning, run for 24 hours, and require participants:

1) not to kill,
2) not to steal,
3) not to lie,
4) not to engage in sexual activity,
5) not to take intoxicants,
6) not to eat after noon,
7) not to act in a way that inceases arrogance, or
8) not to act in a way that increases attachment.

Third, as this set of trainings come from the Buddhist Kriya Tantras these are sometimes supplemented by the dietary restrictions of the Krya Tantras. So in addition to the usual Jamyang restrictions - of food not containing fish, flesh, fowl or alcohol - the food also contains no onions, garlic, radish or eggs.


Jamyang is an affiliated centre of the 
Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

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