Becoming a Resident

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Life at the Abbey

 

GentleHands

Discipline

Discipline is the foundation of monastic life which provides a simplified environment conducive to waking up. All residents are required to live by the five Buddhist precepts and adhere fully to the Abbey schedule.

The five precepts are:

refraining from taking life

refraining from stealing

refraining from sexual activity

refraining from lying

refraining from intoxicants.

The schedule includes up to four hours of meditation daily, observing silence before noon and after 8pm, attending morning and evening chants and other liturgical ceremonies.  Each resident also has house chores, dish clean-up, and a four-hour service period five to six days per week. Life at the Abbey is rigorous,  you should be in good health if you want to consider applying to be a resident. You may also enjoy visiting the “Monastic Ordination” section of our website.

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Meditation

Gampo Abbey follows the view and the meditation practices as taught by our founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Abbey follows the forms and traditions of a braided lineage which included the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyningma School, and the Shambhala lineage of teachings as presented by Trungpa Rinpoche. Shamatha/vipashyana meditation is the meditation technique shared by all Abbey residents, as well as tonglen. Students who have received ngondro, sadhana, or other advanced practices will be supported to practice these, as residents typically have a three hour period each day to engage in their main practice. Other Buddhist practices can be done during free time.

Central to the practice life of the Abbey are various liturgical ceremonies, such as taking the daily precepts, evening chants and supplications to protectors. All community members are required to participate fully in these.  Each Abbey resident meets regularly with a Meditation Instructor.

Wisdom

Education at the Abbey is an opportunity to allow the dharma to soak in at a pace and in a container difficult to find in the modern world. Like everything at the Abbey, our education is both a journey of community and an individual path. A certain times of the year residents will join together to pursue common learning and other times residents set an independent learning plan with the guidance of a senior practitioner.

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Community Life

The Abbey is a vibrant community, living and working in close quarters. Community life can be joyful, as well as challenging.  All of our time outside of formal meditation is considered meditation in action. Taking care of each other, our home, and our environment, are essential components of our training as monastics.

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Cost of Staying at the Abbey

When planning for your stay as a resident at Gampo Abbey you need to consider two different types of costs — the resident’s program fee, and personal living expenses.

Resident’s Fee:This program resident’s fee covers only a portion of the actual costs of life at the Abbey. We rely on the generosity of our donors to cover most of the operating costs of the Abbey and to help us to keep the resident’s program fees low enough so that the fee will not become a barrier to those who wish to explore monastic life at the Abbey.

Personal Living Expenses: You should also budget for any additional expenses like purchases from the Abbey bookstore, stamps, long distance calls, or personal items like toiletries that can be purchased through the bi-weekly town trips.

Suggested Readings

If you are not very familiar with Tibetan Buddhism or the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, or other Kagyu and Nyingma masters we ask you to have read at least the first two books on the list below.

Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche Shambhala Publications
The Myth of Freedom Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche Shambhala Publications
The Practice of Tranquility and Insight Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche Snow Lion Publications
The Wisdom of No Escape Pema Chödrön Shambhala Publications
When Things Fall Apart Pema Chödrön Shambhala Publications

Health and Well-Being

The diet at the Abbey is vegetarian. Special diets are not provided. For medicinal purposes canned tuna is available once a week on open days. Evening meals are “medicine meals” consisting of soup. Alcohol and smoking are forbidden.  The daily schedule provides one and a half hours for mind/body work including hiking, yoga, tai chi. While the discipline and schedule at the Abbey are extremely enriching, they are also rigorous and demanding. Therefore, it is important that you are in good mental, emotional and physical condition for your time at the Abbey

Daily Schedule

Although the schedule can vary occasionally, generally we work Monday through Friday. Saturday is an open day (no schedule) and Sunday is nyinthün (all day practice and silence). See the practice schedule for the usual schedule at the Abbey.