Retreats at the Pure Land Learning College Association
When the PLLCA uses the term “retreat,” we are referring to the traditional meaning: a time for both cultivation and learning. To participate in a PLLCA retreat is to retreat from worldly activities and focus on studying and cultivation.
One of the primary purposes of retreats is to train the students—monastics and laypeople—to be good Dharma lecturers. A retreat at the PLLCA is much more than just a personal exploration of Buddhism. The daily program is structured like that of a school. The structured disciple requires students to attend six hours of lectures and four and one-half hours of cultivation daily.
There are strict rules governing the daily activities of the retreat participants. They must adhere to the timetable set by the PLLCA and participate as required in lectures, classes, meditation sessions, and other duties. Any sick or personal leave must be documented and approved; there will be no unexplained absences.
Much like the monasteries in the past, all rules, precepts, and requirements are aimed at enhancing the level of cultivation of the retreat participants. In this way participants receive a more solid foundation for Dharma propagation and future learning.
To apply for a retreat, an applicant must have attained a certain level of cultivation and must have been learning Master Chin Kung’s teachings from DVDs, books, etc. for a number of years.
Participants must have a referral or recommendation from a member of the worldwide Amitabha Buddhist Societies or a recognized Buddhist centre or organization who will vouch for the student’s character. This person will be responsible for the referred student.
Holding to the practice of not charging for teachings or Dharma materials, the PLLCA does not charge for tuition or room and board. It does however require that students have good characters and be accomplished in their studies, understand as well as practice the teachings, and cultivate virtues.