The following Codes of Discipline is designed for the maximum benefit of students and harmonious atmosphere of the Hermitages. With best wishes for success we offer the following information.
The Teaching Style at the Hermitages is very Eastern Traditional. All students are expected to come with a true-heart, flow along with the training, culture, and accept whatever comes to them. Dhamma training means putting down one’s ego/pride and overcoming defilements. Only those who can honestly and scrupulously follow the discipline should apply for admission. Those not prepared to make whole-hearted efforts will only waste their time and worse, cause a disturbance to those others who wish to practice seriously.
The Tusita Sangha Council may give a removal notice to any unsuitable resident.
Teaching & Training
At Tusita and affiliated Hermitages there are only two types of residents: Teachers & Students. The focus of the Hermitages is to provide the best environment for meditation practice. All Teachers of Dhamma and Vinaya must be invited by the Tusita Sangha Council. Through a unanimous resolution, the Tusita Sangha Council determined that all meditation teachings must be approved by the recognized group of Theravada Meditation Teachers from the Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery.
Acceptance of the Teacher
For the period of the retreat the student must obey the Teacher’s instructions, rules and regulations, codes of discipline and the retreat timetable. Only with the attitude of full cooperation and true-hearted effort can one practice diligently and thoroughly. Such confidence in the Teacher and technique is essential for the student’s proper guidance and protection. Students joining a retreat will be expected to work exactly as they are instructed by the Teacher without subtracting or adding any step on their own. Doubts or confusions should always be clarified by meeting with the Teacher.
10 days Probation Period
All new yogis who are visiting Tusita Hermitage for the first time will undergo a 10 days probation period. They will need to request for extension of their stay from the Teacher from Tusita Teachers Panel. They will have to leave Tusita Hermitage should the Meditation Teacher does not find them suitable to be trained in Tusita Hermitage.
Management of the Hermitages
The Tusita Sangha Council (Council) chairs the management and administrative system of Tusita and affiliated Hermitages. Its primary role is to provide an advisory role for the Kuching Bhagavan Buddhist Society for Dhamma leadership and ensure efficient operations of the Hermitages to provide the best meditation conditions for all students.
- Sayalay Committee
The Council established the Sayalay Committee to provide daily administrative support for the female’s side of the Hermitages. Falling under direct administration of the Tusita Sangha Council, the Sayalay Committee will resort to the Council to resolve difficult issues. The Council also reserves the right to override decisions of the Sayalay Committee if necessary.
- Sangha & Sayalay Officer(s) are appointed by the Council on a rotational basis to facilitate monastery operations.
The Duties and Services of Sangha & Sayalay Officers:
- Temporary monastery liaisons for the Hermitages
- To implement management resolutions on behalf of the Tusita Sangha Council
- To help as the administrative manager for the respective male and female residents of the Hermitages
Issue Resolution Procedure
The following chart represents the hierarchy of how issues and concerns are handled and managed at the Hermitages.
Tusita Sangha Council
Breach of Regulations
It is the responsibility of all students to report any breach of Hermitage rules and regulation as well as problems or improper behaviours to the Sayalay Officer(s). Students are advised not to handle or manage violations of the regulations themselves but only report them to the Sayalay Officer(s).
Distribution of Dhamma Books, CDs, etc
Distribution of Dhamma books, CDs or related paraphernalia at the Hermitages is strictly the prerogative of the Tusita Sangha Council. Please do not bring such Dhamma material for distribution without the direct consent of the Council.
Purification of Virtue
As the foundation for Samatha and Vipassana practice, all students should observe the Fourfold Purification of Virtue. This purification consists of:
- The 5, 8, or 10-Precepts for laities
- Restraint of the Six-Sense Faculties of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind
- Purification of livelihood (Right Livelihood) – livelihood that accords with the precepts
- Reflection on (moderation in) the use of the four requisites: clothing, food, shelter and medicine
The daily morning chanting is mandatory for all students. Chanting is a form of protection as well as reflections of the Suttas.
Besides the Meditation Teacher, Sayalay Officers, and the weekly Dhamma sharing, Students must observe Noble Silence from start to finish of the retreat. Noble Silence is silence of body, speech and mind. Any form of communication, whether by physical gestures, written notes, and sign language should also be minimized.
Yoga and Physical Exercise
Daily physical exercise is mandatory for all students. One to two hours a day is recommended with a minimum of 30 minutes. Although yoga can be complementary to meditation, please consult the Meditation Teacher to see which yogasanas are more suitable; the same for various qi-gong techniques.
Rituals, Healing Techniques and other Practices
For the period of the retreat it is absolutely essential that all rites and rituals, healing techniques and other meditation practices must be entirely suspended. This includes reciting mantras, fasting, acupuncture or other intensive alternative medicines.
Electronic devices such as computers, hand-phones, personal digital assistants (PDA), and radios must be turned over to the Sayalay Officer upon arrival. These items can only be used with specific permission by the Sayalay Officer.
Please do not bring any jewellery or valuables as proper arrangements for their safe-keeping do not exist. If however these items have been brought, neither the Hermitages nor the Tusita Sangha Council are liable for their loss, damage or ruin.
Accommodation, Supplies, Health & Travel Issues
Students should bring all their supplies such as flashlight, towel, soap, toothpaste, mosquito repellent etc. Please consult the Sayalay Officer for all accommodation, supplies, health and travel concerns.
Intoxicants and Drugs
The laws of this country prohibit the possession of cocaine, marijuana, etc. These items as well as alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden in the Hermitages. Those taking medicines or drugs on doctor’s prescription should notify the Meditation Teacher and the Sayalay Officer.
Smoking, chewing tobacco or betel nut is not allowed inside the Hermitage compounds
There should be modesty and decorum in dress within the Hermitages, suited to the spiritual nature of the work. Even during hot weather, backs, chests, legs etc. should be kept well covered. Skin-tight apparel, transparent and revealing dresses and skirts are not allowed. Sun-bathing is also forbidden.
Students will have to remain inside the Hermitages for the entire retreat. They may take leave only with the specific consent of the Sayalay Officer and the Meditation Teacher. All telephone calls, letters and contacts with visitors will have to be suspended. In any emergency a student should immediately contact the Sayalay Officer. Students are requested not to communicate with the KBBS Committee, members or other devotees without the consent of the Sayalay Officer.
The students are requested to wisely reflect, appreciate and make-do with the offerings made by the devotees. If a student has been prescribed a special diet because of ill-health, one should inform the Sayalay Officer and registrar in advance at the time of applying for the retreat. The Hermitages may or may not be able to fulfil special or unique needs.
Reading and writing
During retreat time, students should not read or write with the exception of one’s meditation report. At the end of the retreats, students are welcome to take home Dhamma books or materials that are for free distribution.
Supplemental Dhamma Talks
Students may request for and listen to recorded Dhamma Talks with the permission of the Meditation Teacher. Please consult the Sayalay Officer to obtain the MP3 recordings.
Leaving Personal Items Behind
The Hermitages do not have storage areas for lay yogis. Besides vital items such as IC, hand-phone, wallet, passports, etc., anything left behind will automatically be regarded as relinquished. The fate of these items will be left to the Tusita Sangha Council’s discretion.
May this information help you obtain maximum benefit from your meditation retreat!
May All Beings Be Happy!
(Applicant who submit the student application form online will receive a copy of this ‘Codes of Discipline’ via email).