A Helpful Mindset to Have
It is important to understand that this is a training program in order to become a monk, and so although meditation is a cornerstone of IDOP, this program is more strict and very different in nature from a meditation retreat. The 8 and 227 precepts are rules of higher spiritual discipline that were established by the Buddha to create an internal and external environment that is conducive for those wishing to develop themselves spiritually. So in order to both support your personal practice and uphold the image of the Sangha, it is important that you maintain humility, patience, an openness to feedback, and a willingness to adjust your habits according to the guidelines of the program and the coaching of the staff. In this way, you can contribute to a quality experience for all.
Once you enter the program you will be expected to follow the 8 Buddhist Precepts listed below:
- Refrain from destroying living creatures.
- Refrain from taking that which is not given.
- Refrain from all sexual activity.
- Refrain from incorrect speech.
- Including: untruthful, gossip/divisive, coarse/offensive, and nonsensical speech
- Refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
- Including: cigarettes or vapes
- Refrain from eating after midday.
- Refrain from wearing garlands, using perfumes, using cosmetics, dancing, singing, listening to or playing music, and all other forms of engaging in entertainment.
- Refrain from lying down on a high or luxurious sleeping place.
Precepts 6 & 7 are in bold to bring attention to some habits that many people have before becoming a monk. Please prepare yourself not to engage in these activities (and the other 6 activities outlined in the 8 precepts) for the duration of the program.
After ordination as a monk, you will be expected to follow the 227 Precepts of Buddhist monkhood. However, you are not expected to memorize these rules. The teachings, the structure of the program, and your mentor and teacher monks will help to support and correct you when you make mistakes as you learn and practice these rules.
These rules will guide you towards conducting yourself in a way that is proper and appropriate for a Buddhist monk. Conduct in accordance with these rules will increase your mindfulness, support your meditation, as well as increasing the faith of the lay people who support monks to live this lifestyle.
In order to maintain a quality program, you should try your best to avoid all sorts of conflict, arguments, or debates about contentious topics. Of course, disagreements are natural in a community setting, but it is important to respect differences of opinions, not engage or instigate arguments, and try to resolve any issues that arise in a diplomatic and peaceful way. In the event that such a situation arises, it may be best to include a mentor monk to mediate the issue. It is important to note that we have a zero-tolerance policy on physical altercations. If you instigate a fight, then you will be asked to leave the program.