General Guidelines for your Visit
Monastic life is significantly different from daily life outside the monastery. To help you prepare for your visit, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the guidelines below. These are established to help maintain a peaceful, harmonious, and safe environment conducive to spiritual practice and moral development.
Following the Five Precepts
The Buddha taught these precepts to facilitate and aid our spiritual practice.
The five precepts are:
- Refrain from killing.
- Refrain from stealing.
- Refrain from engaging in sexual misconduct.
- Refrain from lying or slandering.
- Refrain from using intoxicants [drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, etc.].
Separation of Men and Women
Buddhist monks and nuns in our tradition observe a vow of total celibacy. Men and women are separated and do not engage in conversation unless necessary. In addition, monastics do not engage in long conversations with a person of opposite gender without the company of a third person. We ask that visitors to the monastery be sensitive to this monastic code of conduct and respect the separation of gender during the retreat. This allows the community to focus on contemplative practice with fewer distractions.
Comfortable and Modest Clothing
Clothing in the monastery should be comfortable and modest. Comfortable clothing is ideal for meditation and cultivation because it allows one to bow and sit cross-legged unimpeded. Modest clothing is important because it causes fewer distractions for others. As a visitor, please refrain from wearing clothing such as mini-skirts, shorts, and sleeveless shirts.
Cherishing All Forms of Life
Please refrain from killing any living creatures in the monastery, including even small insects such as spiders, ants, flies, or mosquitoes. In Buddhism, all life forms are interconnected, and all creatures are considered “family.” With this in mind, CTTB residents and community members practice non-harming in order to cultivate a heart of compassion and empathy for others.
In line with our philosophy of non-harming, all food at CTTB is sattvic vegetarian, and for those who choose, vegan as well. There are many reasons people in the monastery are vegetarian: compassion for animals, protecting the environment, and personal health and well-being. We try to minimize the amount of suffering we create through our lifestyles and eating habits. Buddhism also teaches that food has a profound connection with our thoughts and desires, and being vegetarian helps us have clearer minds and more compassionate hearts. We also do not serve onions, garlic, chives, shallots, leeks, or eggs on CTTB grounds.