What other essential items should I bring?
-- Indoor-only, soft-soled shoes or slippers. This helps contribute to the silence and overall cleanliness of our retreat environment.
-- For a Retreat Center course, sheets, pillowcase and towels. (Please note there is a limited supply for those with travel weight restrictions.) For a Forest Refuge retreat, linens and towels are provided.
-- All necessary special foods and beverages.
-- Plastic containers for special foods.
-- Medicines, vitamins, supplements, etc. If you have an existing medical condition, bring enough of all prescription medicines to last throughout the retreat.
-- Unscented personal hygiene products. We ask that you anticipate your needs and bring unscented soap, body lotion and other hygiene products with you. (We stock a small selection of these items, for those with travel weight restrictions.) IMS provides unscented shampoo and conditioner in all the bathrooms.
-- Please consider washing the items you bring with an unscented laundry detergent and softener before you come. Please do not wear any scented products on the day of your arrival and throughout the retreat.
-- If you are acutely chemically sensitive, please let our office know.
-- If you have ever been to an emergency room because of a medical condition, bring your doctor's telephone number in case the condition comes up while you're on retreat.
Are there ethical guidelines for retreat life?
The Five (or Eight) Precepts
A core aspect of the Buddha’s teaching is the importance of living by certain ethical guidelines. At IMS, these guidelines – known as the Five Precepts – form an integral part of daily life, and are adopted by everyone here, from retreatants and visitors to teachers and staff.
A commitment to undertake training in these precepts helps ensure our retreat environment of safety, refuge and non-harming.
While on retreat, all participants undertake:
-- To refrain from harming any living, sentient beings – not to kill or intentionally hurt any person or creature, even an insect.
-- To refrain from taking what is not freely given – not to steal or 'borrow' without the consent of the giver; to accept what is offered and not try to change it or get more.
-- To abstain from sexual activity.
-- To practice noble silence and to refrain from harming by one's speech – not to lie, gossip or use harsh or hurtful language.
-- To abstain from using alcohol, recreational drugs and other intoxicants that cloud the mind and harm the body. (This does not apply to prescription medicines.)
During most IMS retreats offered by monastic teachers, retreatants are asked to abide by Eight Precepts. The additional three precepts are:
-- To refrain from eating after 12pm.
-- To refrain from dancing, singing, music, shows; from the use of garlands, perfumes, cosmetics and adornments.
-- To refrain from using high and luxurious seats and beds.