The Middle Way Meditation Institute Sites > MMI-Australia > Course > Retreat > Guideline
Guidelines for joining the retreat
Our meditation courses are designed for the purpose of learning and developing one’s meditation practice. The keys to success in the Middle Way Meditation technique are being relaxed, placing your mind at the center of the body, and meditating consistently. In order to maximize the benefits from learning the Middle Way Meditation technique, it is necessary: “to be familiar with and to clearly understand the guidelines for participating in our retreat”.
These guidelines are based on the practical experience of thousands of meditators from around the world who have utilized the Middle Way Meditation technique. Therefore, these guidelines can be considered as one of the key foundations to your success in learning and practicing The Middle Way Meditation.
- 1. Staying for the entire course
- Participants are required to stay for the entire program in order to learn the Middle Way Meditation Technique in its entirety and to familiarize with meditating in an environment dedicated solely to that purpose – important for any further practice in the Middle Way Meditation Technique.
- 2. People with Any Serious Mental Illness
- Participants should be in good physical and mental health to attend our meditation retreat. Although meditation provides much good in many areas of life for everyone, it is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric treatment. We do not recommend this meditation technique to individuals diagnosed with any serious mental illness.
- 3. Qualifications
- We welcome people from all over the world regardless of race, creed or religion. However, a keen interest in meditation is very important and the following qualifications are required:
- Participants should be above 18 years of age.
- Participants must be able to both observe the course guidelines and the teaching monk’s guidance throughout the duration of the program.
- Participants are willing to adapt themselves to the accommodation and simple living conditions provided.
- 4. The Foundation of Living Together
- 4.1. Mindfulness Training
- Living in a meditation community is an essential experience in learning to live harmoniously and to exercise a positive attitude for the benefit of all. Participants are encouraged to practice basic mindfulness training as follows:
- To refrain from killing any living creature
- The thought of the destruction of any life, even as small as a mosquito, can give rise to negative attitude which will adversely affect your meditation experiences.
- To refrain from taking things without permission
- This encourages us to be satisfied with what we have. We will be content and would like to share belongings or helping in communal activities; i.e. washing dishes and preparing meals, etc. Sharing your kindness will create a very harmonious atmosphere. Generosity softens our mind, and peaceful thoughts are very conducive to meditation.
- To refrain from all mental, verbal, or physical/sexual misconduct
- When we meditate, your mind is supposed to be with you. If you are stimulated in a sexual manner, your mind will be affected from such distraction. A wandering mind or a mind preoccupied with attachments is impossible to settle down to a station of stillness.
- To refrain from false speech
- False speech includes the telling of lies, harsh speech, divisive speech, and idle chatter. Endearing speech, truthfulness and honesty bring the community happiness. Words that encourage or inspire others to find inner peace are the most wonderful words in the world. By being mindful and refraining from false speech, your meditation practice will progress.
- To refrain from the use of intoxicants
- There is no doubt that intoxicants weaken both physical and mental health, including spurring lapses in consciousness. These substances could be a major hindrance to your progress in meditation. To learn meditation together in a group, it is necessary to cultivate and preserve peace, a real sense of well-being and joy.
- 4.2. Alcohol and Tobacco
- Participants are asked not to bring any alcoholic beverages or cigarettes to the retreat. For those who do smoke or drink alcohol regularly, we request that you refrain from the use of both during the retreat. Thank you for your cooperation.
- A participant should join the retreat with the intent to learn meditation. Participants’ meditation experience will be adversely affected if s/he cannot control either inappropriate feelings or emotions. Sexually oriented thoughts can cause unmindful actions that affect the quality of the meditation retreat. The separation of men and women helps participants move towards calmness and self-realization.
- 4.3. Accommodations
- The Middle Way Meditation Retreat provides each course participant with a moderate, one-person cottage throughout the program. Men and women have separate quarters. Toilets and hot shower facilities are provided in a separate area within the village. However, for your comfort, you may bring your own sleeping bag, sheet, towel, and pillow.
- 4.4. Outside Contacts
- Participants should refrain from interacting with individuals outside the program or the facilities throughout the meditation program. Communication with individuals outside the program or facilities will bring distractions to your mind and can interfere with the progress of your meditation.
- 4.5. Staying within the Boundaries of the Retreat
- During the precious period of time at the retreat, please stay within the boundaries throughout the meditation program. Going beyond the retreat perimeters/area will bring distractions to your mind and can impede your meditation progress. Only in emergency cases and where the Teaching Monk has approved are we permitted outside the retreat.
- 4.6. Communication Devices
- It is very difficult to sacrifice and leave the hectic world behind in search of true happiness and Peace of Mind. Therefore, we believe this very special time should not be interrupted. Communication devices such as computers and mobile phones are recommended to be turned off during the time of the meditation retreat.
- 4.7. Books, magazines or music
- Books, magazines or music that will create a distraction to meditators are not allowed at the retreat center.
- 4.8. Clothing and Laundry
- For your comfort when meditating, clothing should be loose, simple, and comfortable. Sleeveless shirts, short, tights and leggings, see-through, tight-fitting or revealing clothing should not be worn in the Retreat Center. Light colors are highly recommended.
- At the retreat center, we provide a laundry service; but, there is a service charge of 10 Thai Baht per piece. Small items may be hand washed by the participants.
- 5. Voice Recorders
- Voice recording is not permitted during the meditation session.
- 6. Summary
- All the things we have explained herein were planned so as to maximize the benefits and optimize the experience of practicing The Middle Way Meditation. We are more than happy to serve you on the highest path of all- self-purification, real peace and a genuine happiness in life. We can live together as one family in peace, harmony and compassion.
Next topic, you will read about what to prepare for joining the Middle Way Meditation Retreat. Please CLICK HERE to browse the retreat preparation page.