Non-Residential Retreat Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dana?


Dana (pronounced "dah-na") is a Pali word meaning generosity. Dating back more than 2,500 years to the time of the Buddha, there has existed an interdependence between those who offer the teachings and those who receive them. The teachings are given freely, since they are considered priceless. According to the Buddha, generosity - or sharing what we have - is one of the central pillars of a spiritual life. In the act of giving we develop our ability to let go, cultivate a spirit of caring, and acknowledge the interconnectedness that we all share. The Buddha created a system to develop this quality of open-handedness whereby those who share the teachings are dependent on those who receive them. To this day in the East, monks and nuns go on daily alms rounds with a begging bowl, relying on the generosity of lay people for support in continuing their teaching and spiritual life. As this ancient teaching moves to the West, we hope to keep alive this joyful tradition. At BCIMS, our goal is to maintain reasonable fees for retreats and classes so that everyone in our community may participate in the programs we offer. Registration fees cover venue rental, food, and teacher transportation. None of this money goes directly to the teachers. To allow the teachers to continue their dharma work, support from students is needed. There will be an opportunity to contribute during each non-residential retreat




What is a Non-residential Retreat


Non-residential means that you leave at the end of each day of the retreat and return home. Each day includes: - alternating sitting and walking meditation session (approximately 45 minutes in length each). - instructions, guided meditaiton and dharma talks from the teacher - group Q&A sessions with the teacher




What should I bring?


There are three things to remember to bring on the weekend ... a bag lunch, a blanket or shawl because the meditation hall can sometimes be quite drafty and cold and a mug for the hot water that will be available during lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Please bring any tea that you wish to use. There are chairs provided. If you wish to sit on the floor, you will need to bring your own sitting gear (cushions, mats, pillows, etc)




What not to bring?


Please do not bring perfumed products on your person or on your clothing. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.




What is Noble Silence?


The retreat will be held in silence. This means that we do not talk with one another while we are practising. Please preserve the silence in the hall and throughout the building.




What if I have a question during the retreat.


If it is about your meditaiton practice, you could ask the teacher during a scheduled Q&A session. If it is something about the retreat schedule, the venue or anything else, you can quietly approach the retreat manager outside of scheduled sitting meditation times.




Anything else I should know?


It helps to know a little retreat etiquette. Here are a few things to keep in mind: - Keep Noble Silence: this includes avoiding unnecessary direct eye contact, signals and notes except to the manager and teacher. It’s useful practice to keep your mind to yourself. You’ll find it’s a full-time job. - As best you can, undo velcro, zippers and noisy snaps, outside the dharma hall. Be on time: out of respect for the practice, your fellow retreatants and yourself, be settled in your place when the sitting starts and stay until after the sitting has ended. - Unless you’re not well, (in which case, you let the retreat manager know) keep to the schedule: it’s designed to support your inner process. - Learn the vipassana sneeze and cough: into the inside of your bent elbow, or upper arm - not into the hand.





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