Frequently asked questions

1. Why is it necessary to follow the daily schedule?

The ārāma Karunā Sevena is a place for practice and it is open to anyone. It is the temporary home for many practitioners, who together form a community. It is fundamental to respect other people’s practice, space, and silence. For this reason following a strict daily routine helps everyone to live in harmony and respect each other, especially during periods of intense practice.

Also, “right discipline” is one of the main principles of the Buddha teaching. With right discipline our path towards liberation is shortened. 

“Living in an order is something that makes you a better person. To respect the rules and to live accordingly is one’s primary obligation. It would be very difficult if we lived in a community that doesn’t follow order. Every society has its own set of rules and so does our monastic community, whose rules have been laid down by the lord Buddha - on the ground of committing offence - and I personally hold these precepts in high regard. In the beginning one does not fully comprehend the meaning and it is difficult to observe all of them, but this is because our minds are used to do what they want and are not willing to obey. The mind likes its freedom and does not want to submit. On the contrary, the order gives you more freedom than you would think. Abiding by the rules gives us protection from ourselves and our
mind’s impurities. It is something that helps us overcome our wrong habits, laziness, arrogance, false speech, and on the other hand it supports the good qualities like effort, concentration, compassion and equanimity. Observing the rules, in fact, means to tighten one’s belt so that we could become a more cultivated person and a better one. After some time we might see that we does not need to tighten the belt so fast since this is our natural behaviour now and we are not capable of bad conduct. “

Bhikkhunī Visuddhi (excerpt from the interview for the magazine Dingir)

2. Who is upāsikā/upāsaka?

They are lay Buddhists, they are not monks, nuns, or novices. They respect the 5 or 8 precepts of lay Buddhist practitioners, for this reason they are often called "lay devotees".

Upāsikās (lay woman) and upāsakas (layman) - are householders who take refuge in the Three Jewels (the Buddha, the teachings and the community). They are the main source of support for the monastics.

 

In the Pāli Canon's Jīvaka Sutta, the Buddha is asked, "Lord, to what extent is one a lay follower (upāsako)?"

The Buddha replies that "one takes refuge in the Triple Gem". Asked how one is a "virtuous lay follower" (upāsako sīlavā), the Buddha replies that "one undertakes the Five Precepts." Asked how one practices being a lay follower "both for his own benefit & the benefit of others," 

 

Traditionally, in Asian countries, upāsikās wore white clothes, representing a level of renunciation between lay people and monastics. 

3. What type of clothing do I wear in the ārāma?

In the ārāma we train ourselves as upāsikā/upāsaka, therefore we wear white clothes. Clothes should be simple

and comfortable, shirts and blouses should have long sleeves, skirts and trousers should cover knees. Any provocative clothes like tight and short shirts, low-cut neckline and see-through material, is inappropriate. 

In the ārāma we want to keep the Asian tradition mentioned in the answer to the question above (Who is upāsika/upāsaka?). For that reason we encourage everyone to wear white clothes when visiting the dwelling. The white is a symbol of separation from lay daily life to purity of heart and mind. During our practice, we want to restrain our senses, so white is a neutral color that will not affect our desire of beauty, while the colors and the various shapes of the clothes tend to provoke our mind to indulge in sensual pleasure.

4. What do lay practitioners eat during their stay in the ārāma?

The ārāma Karuṇā Sevena is a vegetarian place. Feel free to bring any food offering to the ārāma upon arrival. 

All the food will be shared with the other practitioners to respect community values and harmony. 

If you have any particular diet requirements you can send us an email, and we can discuss the possibilities. 

5. What do I need to bring from home

for my meditation seclusion?

Personal toiletries, bed sheets, white clothes, hairdryer (if you need one), towel, scrunchie (if you have long hair), watch or a small alarm clock, slippers and a sleeping bag. You can read more in the “visiting ārāma section.

We highly discourage you to bring any pricey technological devices. Although ārāma is a safe place, it has limited storing spaces. Also, in order to make the best out of your experience, you will not need any laptop, tablet, or smartphone during your meditation practice.

6. How long can I stay in the ārāma?

Due to the limited accommodation availability, the ārāma Karuṅā Sevena is not able to provide overnight stay for more than 9 people per time. We still want to ensure everyone the chance to participate in a weekend retreat or long-term seclusion, so the maximum stay for each seclusion is one month. This way other people will have the possibility to join the ārāma for a period of practice. 


 

  • If you are a newcomer or a beginner, and you live in the Czech Republic, in a country nearby or in Europe, you will need to join the ārāma for a weekend retreat before accessing the long-term seclusion. 

  • In case you come from another continent, and your trip to the ārāma would be particularly long, we advise you to contact us by email and discuss the options. One option could be that you join the weekend retreat, and if you please you will be able to extend your stay.

 

In any case, prior to your stay you are kindly required:

  1. to complete and send the application form. 

  2. To read carefully, and become familiar with the rules and conducts of the ārāma.

7. Who is the Saṅgha? Why should we care about the needs of Saṅgha?

Saṅgha is the community of people who decided to dedicate their lives to the Dhamma practice. They gave up worldly pleasures and relations, in order to develop their wisdom and practice thoroughly towards the supreme goal (nibbāna). They are bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs, who live in seclusion and dedicate their time to meditation, studying the Buddha teaching, and developing the right wisdom.

They need our highest respect as their decision is not a simple one, they need to follow lots of rules that, as lay practitioners we don’t have. But most importantly, with their practice they help us and the rest of the world to develop kindness, love, peace, and freedom of the mind. The sangha community is a community of teachers, as such we want to pay them the highest respect. 

“He acquires unwavering confidence in the saṅgha thus: ‘The saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is practising the good way, practising the straight way, practising the true way, practising the proper way, that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals; this saṅgha of the Blessed One’s disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world.’ ” MN7

8. Who is bhikkhunī?

bhikkhunī is a fully ordained female monastic. Bhikkhunīs live according to the Vinaya, a set of 311 rules. 

 

We invite you to read more about in on the Bhikkhunī Saṅgha page on this website.

For further inquiry feel free to send us an email to karuna.sevena.en@gmail.com

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