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International Dharma Hermitage    
Information & Rules   

         
1. Boundaries. During free time you can walk within the boundaries of the Retreat Center.  Participants are required to stay within the boundaries during the 10 day retreat.   

2. Dorms. The women's dormitory is off limits to men and the men's dormitories are off limits to women. Do not stand outside of each other's dorms. Electricity is available from sunset to 9:30 p.m. and from 4:00 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. The dorms will be locked at 9:15 p.m. and opened at 4:00 a.m. YOU MUST BE IN THE DORM DURING THIS TIME. Do not take a bath or turn on the taps before 4:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. to avoid disturbing others. You may use candles in your rooms but please be careful not to burn the mosquito nets.

3. Meditation Hall # 2. When sitting in the meditation hall, men sit on the left, women sit on the right. Place a mat & cushion on a spot and stick to it for the whole retreat to avoid confusion. Stay mindful of bodily silence while getting on and off the cushion. When you sit, do not point the feet towards the speaker. According to Thai custom feet are the lowest part of the body and pointing the feet towards a Buddha image or a person is considered very rude. If you cannot sit cross-legged or with folded legs, it's possible (after consultation with a staff member) to sit on a stool/chair at the back or to the sides of the meditation hall. If you have to stretch the legs, point them towards the sides of the hall. Do not use mosquito coils in the hall.

4. Dress. For convenience in meditation, please wear clothing that is comfortable & lightweight but not see-through. Because this is a Monastery we ask also that your clothing be clean, neat and sufficient to cover your body from knees to upper arms. This includes covering the knees while sitting in Meditation. Please ~ no shorts, sleeveless tops or bare midriffs. Everyone, men & women, should wear undergarments (bras, shorts, under shirts when necessary etc.)

5. Smoking. Smokers arc required to give up smoking during their stay here. We do not allow people to sneak away for a cigarette outside the boundaries or wherever else. People who cannot commit to this should not attend the retreat.

6 .Women & Monks. To help monks in their training they cannot touch or be touched by women. If a woman needs to give something to a monk she puts it down on a table. Only then can the monk take it. The monk cannot take it directly from the hands of a woman. A man can pass things directly to a monk. The same applies to nuns and men.

7. Torches. While walking to the meditation hall at night and before sunrise, use a torch to avoid unnecessary problems.

8. Lying down. During free time, you may lie down in your room. In Thailand lying down in public is considered very impolite. A monk is not even allowed to speak to someone who is lying down. We do not lie down anywhere on these grounds except in our private rooms or during Yoga class.

9. Sunbathing. Sunbathing is not permitted here, whether inside or outside the dorm, since we are in a monastery and not a bungalow resort.

10.Taking a bath. Inside the women's and men's dorms are round wells to bath / shower. Women must, wear a sarong while taking a bath (no bathing suits). Men must wear shorts or a sarong. Use a dipping bowl to take water from the well. Pour it over yourself, then soap the body. Clean the hands with some water left in the clipping bowl before getting new water for cleaning off the soap. Do not use the well as tubs, and take care not to pollute the wells with soap.

11. Hot Springs. The hot springs can be used every day after breakfast and tea only. Women must keep shoulders and knees covered while walking to and from the hot springs and must wear a sarong in the springs (no swimsuits). Men must keep shoulders covered while walking to and from the hot springs. Shorts may be worn in the springs. Do not stay too long inside. Do not overestimate your body. Five to ten minutes is enough. Respect the environment -don't use soaps or shampoos. Thanks !

12. Smiling and Eye contact.    Feel free to smile! Sometimes people make serious faces. Since we are in a retreat practicing mindfulness and Concentration, people might look like zombies. Do not worry. If you feel like smiling, smile; however, do not expect others to return the smile. Looking into people's eyes may distract your practice. We are in a solitude retreat. Concentrate on looking inside. However, if you do make eye contact, please- remember to smile first. This can cheer someone without disturbing them. To avoid eye contact, looking up or looking away is an option.

13). Drinking Water.  There are 4 taps with filtered rainwater outside Mediation Mall 1 (eastside & westside) where you can refill water bottles.

14. Wooden Pillows & Cushions. The wooden pillows in the dorm are for resting the head only. Do not sit on them. The cushions in the meditation hall are for sitting on only. If your cushion has holes, it would be appreciated if you could fix it. Ask the staff for needle and thread.

15. Dining Hall.  Women sit on the left and men sit on the right while eating. We eat together after the reading of a short food reflection. Do not be in the dining hall during meditation time.

16.Cell phones, watches, alarm clocks. To maintain the silence, deposit cell phones with your valuables, shut off any hourly watch alarms and don't use alarm clocks. Actually, we have no need for watches here because- we have bells.

17. Shop. There is a small shop m the dining hall where one may purchase soap, mosquito-repellent, toothpaste, etc. This shop is open even-day after lunch (1: 00-1 :30 p.m.)

18. Reading and Writing. Writing and reading anything other than "The ABC of Buddhism" is not allowed. Reading and writing are escapes from looking inward.

19.Questions. If you have any questions from day 3 until day 8 you can have a personal interview with a Monk, Nun or Lay person.' These interviews are optional and will take place in the afternoons between 3-30 - 5:00 p.m. Interviews should not exceed 15 minutes in duration.

20.Excercise. Exercise with mindful awareness will be offered each morning. Do not do exercise during meditation time. You may quietly exercise in the dorm during free time if you wish.

21 Jogging.  Please do not JOG as a form of exercise during the retreat.

22.Leaving. This meditation retreat is not something one does just for fun. If you arc not certain that you want to participate, you should leave before the retreat gets underway. If you decide to leave once the retreat has started, it is most important that you give the staff at lease one day notice.

23. Wildlife. Mosquitoes, ants, frogs, snakes, butterflies, geckos, birds, squirrels, bats, spiders, centipedes and scorpions are among the most common creatures living in this area. They have been living here long before us and they have same rights to live here as we do.   Be kind to our friends and be careful not to hurt them or yourself. The spiders may be impressive, but they are absolutely harmless as well as the geckos and millipedes. Most of the snakes in the area are not poisonous, although on rare occasions a cobra may visit. If you find a snake in your room, consult a staff member if necessary. Snakes are generally gentle by nature. If you like, prior to going to sleep, check your room for creatures, and remember to tuck the footing of the mosquito net under your straw mat.

If you see a scorpion in the dorm, cover it with a dipping bowl or cup, then slip a sheet of paper between the dipping bowl and floor and gently take the scorpion for a walk far from the dorm and deposit it back to nature.    
                                            
Centipedes are red to red brown in color and flat with legs spread out to both sides of the body. They are 2 to 15 cm long. Catch them as you would catch a scorpion. Centipedes sting like scorpions if they feel endangered, so please again be gentle. Relocating any insect is a good opportunity to practice Loving-kindness, compassion and fearlessness.

Thank You



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