The Eight Precepts Retreat, held in both Chinese and English, took place at Hsi Lai Temple on September 24 to 25, 2016. Seventy-six preceptees attended the retreat, observing the purity of precepts for one day and one night. The precept ceremony was officiated by Ven. Abbot Hui Dong during which he mentioned his expectation for all preceptees to undertake the precepts seriously.
Classes on Buddhist practice were provided during the retreat. Classes in Chinese included Understanding the Eight Precepts given by Ven. Abbot Hui Dong. He mentioned that the Eight Precepts are the basis of the study and practice of Buddhism. He also spoke on the foundation of happiness being a balance within our minds which is rooted in the threefold studies of precepts, meditative concentration, and wisdom. Ven. Yi Chao talked about the Ten Paths of Happiness, and Ven. Man Zhao talked about Buddhist Perspective on Family. During the course, everyone was encouraged to bring their entire families to participate in temple activities. Courses in English were taught by Ven. Mankuang and Ven. Youheng, allowing more than a dozen English speakers to directly understand the Dharma in their own language and how to solve problems utilizing the Dharma in real life situations.
Hsi Lai Buddhist Cultivation Program students also attended the retreat as well. Though this was a first for most of them, it was very beneficial to experience a quieter lifestyle. Ven. Abbot Hui Dong exhorted them to calm and quiet their minds during their daily routines and take time to reflect upon their inner thoughts.