ABM Retreat Guide
Welcome to the Atammayataram Buddhist Monastery and Meditation Center (ABM). The ABM was founded by the Venerable Ajahn Rithi and Buddhist in Washington State in 1998. With the limited of space, Ajahn Rithi start teaching meditation in small American group on every Wednesday. Until the new meditation hall was build and open in September 30, 2012. The new hall can accept more participated in the monthly meditation retreats.
The retreat allows you to withdraw from our usual activities into a quiet and secluded place and devote our time to study, contemplation and meditation. The teachings and the structure of the retreats at Atammayataram Buddhist Monastery are designed for a Weekend or a Saturday, and therefore we ask the participants to commit themselves for this period of time.
Besides learning and practicing how to meditate, participants will be introduced to the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
Doing a Weekend Retreat is, especially for beginners, is not easy. You have to adjust your body and mind to the retreat schedule:
- Getting up early and adjusting to less sleep.
- Following a meditation schedule.
- Living on just 2 vegetarian meals a day.
- Dealing with bodily discomfort.
The body and mind are not used to these very different circumstances and may react with discomfort, restlessness, boredom, doubt, and feeling very tired.
In order to have a successful retreat, you must be completely free from all commitments. Please do not make phone calls (unless in an emergency), email, text, or use Facebook.
You must be in good general health, both physically and mentally. The retreat is not suitable for people with mental disorders or drug addictions.
- Loose clothing e.g. (T-shirt, and pants). Due to monastic custom the body should be completely covered from the shoulders to below the knees, including the upper arms. No see-through clothing, tank-tops, or shorts. It is not necessary to dress in white during the retreat.
- Slippers, since shoes have to be taken off in all buildings.
- Personal toiletries, towel, hand mirror for shaving.
- Sleeping Bag, Tent (summer).
During the retreat, all participants are required to observe some basic rules. This is for the benefit of everyone. They are a very important part of getting you into the right frame of mind for meditation. Because you will be staying on monastery grounds, you must observe Temple behavior:
- Do not point your feet at a Monk or a statue of The Buddha.
- Do not touch a Monk.
- Keep complete silence throughout the retreat.
- Stay within the boundaries of the retreat center.
You will be asked to follow the Eight Precepts, which are:
- Abstain from the destruction of life (killing).
- Abstain from not to taking what is not given (stealing).
- Abstain from sexual misconduct.
- Abstain from false speech (lying).
- Abstain from intoxicating your mind with alcohol, or drugs.
- Abstain from eating between afternoon and before dawn.
- Abstain from dancing, singing, playing or listening to music, watching shows, wearing jewelry, and beautify oneself with perfumes and cosmetics.
- Abstain from sleeping or sitting on luxurious beds and seats.
Meditation ‘Bhavana’ or Mind Development
You will be practicing two forms of Meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing (anapanasati), and Insight (vipassana). ‘Mindfulness of Breathing’: which is concentration or awareness of your breathing-in and your breathing-out; letting your mind watch and observe your breath. ‘Insight’: which is awareness of the (body, feelings, thoughts, and objects (nature)), and to see how they are ‘impermanent’ (anicca), ‘uncontrollable’ (anatta)’, and ‘unsatisfactory’ (dukkha).
Meditation is a way to train and cultivate the mind, to develop concentration, mindfulness and awareness. During the first days of the retreat we will mainly teach you concentration meditation by focusing attention on breathing.
Detailed instructions and Dharma talks are given in English, there will be a period available to ask the Monk questions.