While the Community Code of Conduct will support you in your meditation practice, its primary function is to help you support everyone else in theirs. While it may only slightly impact you to, for example, check your text messages one time on the retreat, if others see you looking at your phone, it communicates to the group that we are not as serious about meditation. The code begins with slight variations on the five Buddhist precepts.
1.) Refrain from killing, except to defend yourself (e.g. from a poisonous insect).
2.) Refrain from taking something that isn’t clearly yours, and ask if you’re not sure.
3.) Refrain from any sexual activity with another person.
4.) Complete abstinence from mind-altering substances, unless they are prescribed by a doctor and/or would cause withdrawals if you abstained (e.g. caffeine, nicotine). Marijuana is generally not permitted; please let the teachers know if abstaining from this isn’t medically feasible for you.
5.) During periods of noble silence, refrain from speaking except with the teachers or when truly necessary (e.g. if you need to know about food allergens, you’re working on a retreat task with someone, etc.)
6.) Use of cell phones, computers, tablets, etc. is not permitted for any reason except as an alarm, clock or flashlight, and we’d encourage you to bring an alarm (that makes a nice sound) and flashlight (most retreat centers can lend you a flashlight) so you can completely refrain from device usage. Even non-communicative functions, such as taking notes, are prohibited. This rule applies even if you’ve walked away from the retreat area. The teachers may need to use these devices, as they are not in silence, but commit not to use them in front of students, except for the reasons listed above. You are welcome to leave your phone with the teachers, and teachers may request that students do this who violate this precept. If there is a reason you might need to use your phone or laptop, please coordinate this with the teachers in advance. All retreats will have an emergency contact number that people can call/text for you.
7.) Refrain from reading and writing. The one exception is if you are reading a book that is a manual for meditation (not a general dharma book), and if you are only reading the section of the manual immediately relevant to your technique at the moment.
8.) Do not use money, and do not enter places where it would be possible to do this (e.g. shops and cafes).
9.) Do not leave the retreat earlier than the agreed-upon end-time, except in the case of an emergency. While we obviously respect your freedom of movement, we ask that anyone considering leaving early discuss this with the teachers first.
10.) (Especially for retreats in non-English-speaking countries) When we are not in silence, please only use English, as this is the one common language that everyone in the sangha can speak. The purpose of this rule is to prevent excluding people from conversations.
11.) While much time on the retreat is yours, certain daily group sits, and scheduled meetings with the teachers, are a required commitment for attending retreats.
12.) Ascetic practices, such as fasting or intentional sleep deprivation, are generally not permitted. If you’re really into doing these, please ask the teachers for permission before the retreat begins.