The other thing is, the preparation for the three years retreat, I think is depending on the different monastic abbott. Like some monastic abbott, head of the monastery, functions differently. Some of them they compromise, they tolerate more easily. Like an example, some of them, they say “Oh, yeh, yeh, you need to learn this one, you need to learn that one, and then you need to remain in the monastery for at least few years, and then you can enter the three years retreat” and so on, so forth. And then there’s some masters who, you just simply go there, and you stay, simply learn some Tibetan, and then some instrument for one year and half, and then you enter the three years retreat. So it depending on that.
But, rather you have a tolerant master, or intolerant master, doesn’t matter. The point is, you need to know, and you need to adapt, how to live with a community, with a people. People who like to depend on each other, and also with people who doesn’t have to depend on each other. Either way, learning how to live with the people that is not your husband, or wife, or children, or parents. Simply with the stranger people. So if you are able to adapt to that, and then adapt, overcome, with some minor obstacles here and there.
And then when you go to three years retreat, you will be ready. Because in the three years retreat, not everybody is your biologically brother, sister. They all come from different walk of life. Many of them have gone through a very tough time, some of them have not gone through a tough time, some come in with a mixed intention, some come with a pure intention. So in order to adapt to that, first you need to adapt to much more bigger open space, with similar group of people, and if you can survive that, then you can survive in a retreat.
And of course, we say that, in a retreat “Ah, what people say doesn’t matter, we just simply have to practice”, yeah, that is kind of a crap. It’s little bit like trying to put a blind eye, because in a retreat, you always have to depend on other people. If you have to clean, if you have to make a preparation to the shrine, if you have to make a mandala, mandala offering, and then you have to dry the rice, and then maybe you don’t have a color for the coloring for the rice, you need to Dharma brother or your sister. So you always have to depend. If you have a butter lamp that is running out, you don’t have a candle anymore, so have to ask your friend, then you say “Ah, do you have some extra butter that I can use for my candle?”
So you need all these small things. It’s not simply a meditation box and a text. In reality, you need to learn how adapt with ordinary people, who are not biologically your family, or parents or best friend. Just a stranger, group of people, who come with pure intention to practice Dharma, but in a larger space. Whether it’s a monastery, or whether it’s a Dharma center, doesn’t matter. And then if you if can adapt to that for six months, seven months, and then the possibility to do a three years retreat successfully, yeah, then it’s much more realistic preparation.
Otherwise, if you just say “I had a very beautiful dream, I had a very amazing auspicious sign, I’m meant to do retreat”, don’t, don’t do that. Because if you do that, you are bound to, you are bound to fall down. Because being a practitioner, being a Dharma practitioner, means being realistic. It’s nothing to do with being magical and superstition. So to be, make a right preparation, you need to adapt in a much more larger space, and then when you enter into the solitary space, and then the possibility for succeeding three years retreat, you have a more greater chance.
FB Livestream 4 July 2020