Here I am again for my second stay in a Theravaden Forest Buddhist monastery here in Victoria, Australia
Any monastic that stays at monastery is required to adhere to the appropriate precepts for their type of ordination. The accepted standards at monastery conform to what is found in both Bhikkhu (monk) and Bhikkhuni (nun) Patimokkhas (rules of conduct). The standards are:
Bhikkhu/Bhikshu: 227 precepts (Mahayana & Vajrayana Bhikshus may have more precepts that they may wish to observe).
Bhikkhuni/Bhikshuni: 311 precepts (Mahayana & Vajrayana Bhikshunis may have more precepts that they may wish to observe).
Samanera/Samaneri: 10 precepts + Sekhiya rules (75 observances)
Allowed by the Blessed One is the expulsion of a samanera (includes samaneri) endowed with (any) of these ten factors:
1. They are a killer of living beings;
2. They are a taker of what is not given;
3. They are not celibate;
4. They speak deceptively;
5. They drink alcohol;
6. They speak in dispraise of the Awakened One 7. They speak in dispraise of the Dhamma;
8. They speak in dispraise of the Sangha;
9. They are of wrong-view;
10 They have raped a bhikkhuni.
Allowed by the Blessed One is the expulsion of a samanera (includes Samaneri) endowed with (one of) those ten factors. It is allowed by the Blessed One (to give) penalty-work for a samanera (samaneri) endowed with five factors. What five?
1. He strives for the non-gain of bhikkhus; 2.
2. he strives for the non-benefit of bhikkhus;
3. he strives for the non-residence of bhikkhus;
4. he abuses and reviles bhikkhus;
5. he causes bhikkhus to split with bhikkhus
The lay people
The 8 precepts are as follows:
1) I undertake to abstain from killing beings (includes insects).
2) I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given.
3) I undertake to abstain from any sexual activity (in public or private). 4) I undertake to abstain from false, harmful speech.
5) I undertake to abstain from the use of intoxicants (includes alcohol and any recreational drugs).
6) I undertake to abstain from eating after the midday meal (exceptions can be arranged for legitimate health concerns such as pregnancy & diabetes etc.).
7) I undertake to abstain from dancing, singing, music and watching entertainments*, and from using beautifying objects i.e. jewellery, perfume, cologne, fragrant antiperspirants, make-up etc. (*includes entertainment through modern hand-held technological powered gadgets like smart phones, i-pads, laptops…)
8) I undertake to abstain from indulging in high and luxurious seats and beds.
This time I am here for seven days and it makes much more sense the second time around. The first time was for fourteen days and in the quiet season, – Vassa (Pali: vassa-, Sanskrit: varṣa-, both “rain”) is the three-month annual retreat observed by Theravada practitioners. Taking place during the wet season, Vassa lasts for three lunar months, usually from July.
The fascinating thing about two meals a day is how quickly I adapted. Also, the other unusual thing that happens to me is I dream more. The quiet might be difficult for some I could imagine. However, for me with such a quiet life already its perfect to read and meditate. Time and days move quickly surprisingly. The food is delicious and mostly vegetarian. I am vegan and normally I find plenty to eat. However, they are kind enough to allow me to bring some frozen meals too.
I also get involved with work according to the roster and days allocated. It has an extremely nice rhythm and feels tranquil. The rules and structure seem natural and not difficult to follow. The property is situated in a beautiful forest with plenty of wildlife who enjoy safety and lots of food. I highly recommend staying at a monastery if you get the opportunity.