A month and half monastic "SUMMER RAIN RETREAT" (Yar Ney in Tib), (Varsha or Varshika in Sanskrit); (Pali vassa); at Jangchub Choling Monastery, which runs from 22nd July to 6th Sept 2013, will be starting on coming Monday.

Summer Rain Retreat

This SUMMER RAIN RETREAT is one of the most important parts of the monastic calendar during Buddha time. When the Lord Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma and established the Sangha and his followers spent most of their time wandering on foot throughout northern India. However, during the rainy season there were many insects and other living creatures underfoot, so Buddha made this "Summer Rain Retreat".

It has also great significant for the monastic Sangha to gather together for a period of study and practice to deepen not only their understanding of the teachings but also to preserve and propagate the monastic traditions taught by the Buddha. Every day during the Rains Retreat, the sangha recites the Three Daily Practices and takes a formal midday meal following the regimen described in the Vinaya scriptures. They take great care to follow the guidelines for monastic life the Buddha established as a way to remember the Buddha¿s great kindness.

The Lord Buddha also sees that it is an opportunity for the lay community to deepen their connection to the sangha and further their own practice. During the time of the Buddha, laypeople would offer food to the Sangha during the retreat and give the monks and nuns new robes at its end. These days as well it is a chance for people to practice generosity by making offerings to the Sangha. In addition, seeing a Sangha of bhikshus wearing all three dharma robes while sitting in rows and mindfully taking a meal or performing an ancient monastic ritual can instill a sense of faith and devotion and also remember the kindness of the Buddha and Sangha in giving us the precious teachings and preserving them for over 2600 years.

On the first day, two piles of sticks are placed in the prayer hall. The pile of longer sticks is for "Ge Long" (monks who have taken the full 253 vows), and the pile of shorter sticks is for "Ge Tsul" (monks with only 36 or 58 vows). In the days before registers and official census taking, this was the method to make a reckoning of the annual numbers of Gelong (monk who have full ordination) and Getsuls (novice ordination) in the main monasteries.

Following this ceremony, the monks make prostrations to senior monks, vowing to abide by the Yarney promises for the 45 days. (Special allowances are made for illness or important work).

Shangpa Rinpoche and I wished this Yar Ney (Summer Rain Retreat) since long and today it is happening 1st time in JCM. We would like to thanks everyone who supported this great virtuous deeds; specially to Acharcya Khenpo Tsultim Tharchin la, who took the responsibility of YAR DAG during this retreat.

May we rejoice this meritorious activities of the JCM Sangha and may i request JCM Sangha to dedicate for all our sponsors and sentient beings.

Love Urs

Shangpa Rinpoche and Dupsing Rinpoche.

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