Daily Schedule in Panditarama Lumbini
(From an email sent to my friends in February 2009)
We wake up at 4:00 am to the sound of a wooden bell of the monastery and the countless other bells of all the monasteries around the Lumbini sacred garden. At 04:30 we begin our first sitting practice. We have breakfast at 06:00 and then continue to alternate between sitting and walking meditation until 11:00. We usually see our teachers for a ten minutes interview at one point during the morning. During the interview we describe the meditative experiences of the former day and receive further instructions for inquiry and practice. At 11:o0 we have lunch which is the last meal of the day. We continue to meditated between 12:00-17:30. Then at 17:30 we have a live or recorder Dhamma talk which basically addresses practice related topics. At 19:o0 we chant loving kindness blessings then we have some juice, tea and candies. We continue to meditate until 22:00 or further. Some of us maintain awareness momentum and continue with dream and sleep consciousness.
We train ourselves to be mindful in each and every situation. we are asked to pay attention to every movement, every thought and every intention we have.
In order to do so we need to slow down significantly. There are 30 of us here, all of us move in unbelievable slow speed, roaming around in a speed of 25 meters per hour, mindful of every little movement and every intention to move.
We have no gaps in practice. It means that we meditate all day long: sitting, walking, standing, lying down, eating. brushing our teeth, taking a shower and any other conceivable action.
We are asked to maintain noble silence, and in the context of retreat it is almost complete silence, except during interviews with our teachers.
We are also asked to restrain our senses in order to raise our concentration and focus more and more on the meditation process itself. It also means we completely avoid eye contact with each other.