30 May 2012 - 12:15am Comments Off

Spiritual or Buddhist retreats is personal time away for reflection, prayer, or meditation; a chance to put aside our everyday worries and demands and to break from our usual routine. By removing ourselves away from the usual environment which we associate with clutter, noise and stress, we can give ourselves a chance to relax and open up our hearts and minds.

Retreats are considered essential in Buddhism, having been a common practice since the Vassa, or rainy season retreat, established by Buddha Shakyamuni.

A retreat can either be a time of solitude or a community experience. Many people who went on Buddhist retreats would tell you that they feel more grounded, calmer and in touch with themselves after the retreat. In the short run, one would experience an uplifted sense of well-being and positive energy or outlook after a retreat session. For those who regularly go for retreats, they would find these qualities pervading throughout their lives.

Butterlamp retreat. Photo courtesy of Khong Jean Ai

Retreats at Kechara

Our Spiritual Guide, H.E. Tsem Rinpoche would sometimes recommend or prescribe to individuals, groups, or an organization as a whole to do certain retreats to clear obstacles, purify negative karma and accumulate merit for the purpose of their spiritual growth.

Examples of individual retreats which students have engaged in under the advice and guidance of H.E. Tsem Rinpoche include: Manjushri Retreat, Black Manjushri Retreat and water offering retreat.

Kechara has held a series of Setrap retreats in 2011 as advised by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. There was also the Migtsema recitation retreat which was offered to Rinpoche for his birthday in 2009. Kechara had also previously held a Tara Retreat and Prostrations Retreat in 2009 and 2011 as an offering to the long life and good health to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche. Not to forget, Kechara also had a Dzambala Retreat in 2010. Read about one of the participant’s experience with the Dzambala retreat.

Our study groups also organise retreats such as Tsongkhapa Retreat.

Retreats are not “holidays” where we indulge in ourselves and be lazy! They are opportunities for us to increase our awareness of others, our surroundings, and our own mind. Hence, a retreat could be challenging, and even life changing.

Current On-Going Retreat – Lamrim Recitation Retreat

Currently Kechara is having an on-going Lamrim Recitation Retreat, which began in 2011 and Rinpoche has set a target of 8,000 recitations of the Lamrim to be completed. Watch Rinpoche’s teaching on this powerful retreat.

Going on community retreats is a good chance to share experiences and inspiration with like-minded people from diverse backgrounds. Many of our members have found a sense of camaraderie developing as a retreat progressed, and have now forged lasting friendships from their experience.

Our Dream – Kechara Forest Retreat

For now, the Kechara Gompa is the sanctuary within the city where we hold our retreat sessions. In the future, we aim to create a dream retreat centre for our “retreatants” in a place surrounded by nature, fresh air and bird song. With the help of loyal friends, helpful volunteers and kind sponsors, this dream is being turned into reality and is now known as the Kechara Forest Retreat, located in Chamang. Discover this secret gem and what it has to offer.

For enquiries on the Lamrim Recitation Retreat or Kechara Forest Retreat, contact Kechara Front Desk at 03-7803 3908.

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