Insight Retreat Center
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The Eight Precepts

Following the Eight Precepts on retreat offers lay practitioners an opportunity to practice in a way similar to the Theravada monastics who have devoted themselves to purifying the mind, through simplicity and the cultivation of kindness, generosity, and wisdom. These Eight Precepts simplify daily living so that effort and attention can more easily be directed to the training of the mind.  

The Eight Precepts 

  1. Non-harming: Not taking the life of any sentient being (including insects), and not acting out of hatred or aversion in such a way as to cause harm to any living being.
  2. Non-stealing: Not taking that which is not freely given, respecting the property of all beings.
  3. Refraining from lying: Speaking only what is true and useful, speaking wisely, responsibly, and appropriately. In the context of this retreat this involves keeping noble silence.
  4. Refraining from sexual activity: Refraining from all sexual activity during this retreat.
  5. Refraining from the use of intoxicants and drugs which lead to carelessness: Abstaining from the use of alcohol or other non-prescription drugs. This does not apply to medically required drugs. Please DO continue to take any prescription medications you normally use.
  6. Refraining from eating after the noon meal: Not eating after the sun has reached its zenith, i.e., from noon until dawn the next day. There will be a light morning meal and a main meal that is completed by noon. Around 5 pm tea and clear fruit juices will be available.  (Sometimes dark chocolate, hard candy, candied ginger and hard cheese are provided.)
  7. Refraining from entertainment, beautification, and adornment. Not indulging in entertainment, or adorning the body with jewelry, makeup, or other distractions that draw the attention of others or distract from turning inward.
  8. Refraining from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place. Not overly indulging in sleep or using sleep as a means of distraction.