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  • Monastic Schedule

    Hello Venerable Upekkha,

    I hope you're well! I asked you a follow-up question about anussati ("recollections") in the thread "Dhamma Practice and Leaving Worldly Pursuits", but I think it might have been overlooked. So it would be great if you could kindly have a look at the question and answer when you have time

    1) I have another brief question. If possible, I wanted to know roughly what is the monastic schedule like at Bodhinyana and Dhammasara? Meaning wake up time, morning chanting/ meditation, how many hours of individual walking /sitting meditation, other duties, sleep time, etc? I know each monk and nun might have some variations such as individual time spent in meditation, but I just wanted to get some idea of the schedule at forest monasteries like Bodhinyana and Dhammasara so I can be inspired by it.

    2) Also kindly outline the monastic schedule at Bodhinyana and Dhammasara during rains retreat and also the rest of the year, normal season (since I'm assuming it might be slightly different).

    Thank you very much Venerable.

    Kind regards.
    Last edited by Haca Ce; 13th-September-2020, 08:55 PM.

  • #2
    Dear Haca Ce,

    Sounds good! From what I understand, if a perception leads to less greed, less hatred and less delusion, then that is what matters.

    One thing to bear in mind something that I have come up against is peace alone is not the end. Remember it is the wisdom seeing things as they really are - that liberates the mind. It is so easy to just stay at some level of ease and well-being but we are not liberated. We are still very much bound by delusion.
    At some stage one has to turn the mind from creating perceptions to being with things as they are and then we see the unsatisfactory nature of existence.
    I'm not sure if this useful to you, like I said, this is a problem that I came up against with anussatis, it may or may not be the case for you.

    But I leave you with one of my favourite verses from the Ratana Sutta.

    Vanappa gumbe yatha pussitagge, Gimhana mase patamasmin gimhe
    Tathu-pamam Dhamma varam adesayi
    Nibbana gamin param hithaya

    Just like a forest flowers on the top - in the first month of summer
    So also the sublime Dhamma has been taught, leading to Nibbana, the highest good.

    As for your second question, our routine here at Dhammasara monastery is quite uncomplicated. We spend most of the day by ourselves. We meet at 6.30am for breakfast and after that we have our work period followed by dana at 10.30am. Most duties end after dana, that is around 12.30pm and we are free to do our own practice after that. We have only four group meditation-and-chanting sessions a week, twice in the morning at 5am and twice in the evening at 7.30pm.

    We have very few weekly classes per say (Sutta discussion, Vinaya, Pali etc), we mostly study on our own using MP3s. We have some teachings from Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Brahmali or Ajahn Hasapanna every couple of weeks.

    As for the number of hours we meditate - I personally think of it as being mindful all day long. Though I probably do spend at least 4-6 hours per day walking/sitting but I feel I can't count all of them, as some of them are quite low quality! At the end of the day, it is a combination of sitting and serving that works.

    As for the Rains retreat our schedule goes down to bare bones. Our work period gets cut down to 2-3 weeks out of the whole 3 months that is, we have all the time to ourselves except for the 2-3 weeks when we have to follow our normal work period routine (i.e. 6.30am - 12.30pm). We have no group sits or classes during this time, though we do have some teachings from Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Hasapanna.

    Hope this answers your question.

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    • #3
      Thank you always for your kind and insightful comments Venerable Upekkha.

      You make a great point about anussati. From what I understand, the recollections are to be used (or at least I use them) as a temporary strategy to inspire the mind particularly when it's stuck in a rut so to speak. Once inspired, we can carry on with our work, which as you explain, is "being with things as they are" so that "we see the unsatisfactory nature of existence." This strategic use of such an image, pasadaniya nimitta, "satisfactory image", is explained in the Bhikkhunupassaya Sutta here:

      https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....010.olen.html

      Thanks for a summary of your monastic schedule. It's very beneficial and inspiring for me.

      "As for the number of hours we meditate - I personally think of it as being mindful all day long. Though I probably do spend at least 4-6 hours per day walking/sitting but I feel I can't count all of them, as some of them are quite low quality! At the end of the day, it is a combination of sitting and serving that works."

      I can totally relate to this!

      I know you have a monastic life to look after, so I'm keeping this post brief. It's enough that you take time out from your schedule to patiently answer our questions. I hope it's not too much trouble.

      Kindest regards.
      Last edited by Haca Ce; 21st-December-2019, 09:27 PM.

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      • #4
        Dear Haca Ce,

        Thank you for the most useful reference!

        Its a pleasure to converse with a sincere practitioner - it is a privilege.

        And Happy New Year (whatever that means!)

        With metta,
        Ven Upekkha

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