Monastic life often appears mysterious and intriguing to outsiders. Neydo Monastery encourages visitors to experience a day of life in the monastery so that you can understand better and appreciate how the Kagyu and Nyingma Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism are lived.
You can participate in as much or as little of the day’s activities of the monastery as you feel like. We can also arrange for you to have a private teaching from a Khenpo (abbot and teacher) in Buddhist philosophy or meditation.
The normal daily routine, besides festival days, is as follows:
At around 5 a.m., depending on the season, the bell rings to wake the monks. They make their way to the main hall to perform standard for about one and a half hour chiefly for world peace, aspirational prayer and longevity prayers for the upholders of the Dharma. (English transliteration and translation text is available to follow the prayers. It is a very soothing experience, where the sounds surround you with resonance and awe.
Breakfast follows and you may queue to eat with the young monks in their refectory, or return to the guesthouse for a more leisurely breakfast.
After breakfast, classes start for the young monks and continue throughout the day. These include reading and writing Tibetan, literature and studying Buddhist teachings. We can request a Khenpo to teach you meditation or Buddhist philosophy and we will also arrange a translator for you. This can be done on a donation basis.
During the day you may wish to go for a walk in the local area, visit the Asura Cave and other sacred sites as the self-arisen Tara from a rock and the adjacent holy caves, read on your balcony or circumambulate the monastery and reflect on the day’s activities or even contemplate of the philosophical topics.
Return for the 5 p.m.’s debating session of the monks, which happens outside behind the monastery. It’s an interesting activity to watch and looks almost like a great challenge with an opponent. This activity helps monks understand and internalize the teachings of the day.
Hereafter follows the daily protection puja, with the constant beating of drums, blowing of the conch shell and long traditional horns etc. This is a traditional ritual, which propitiates mainly the Mahakala and his retinue and other hosts of Dharmapalas or Protectors of the Buddha Dharma to seek protection of the Dharma and its lineage as well as protection to all the true practitioners of the Dharma. At the very end it may also be invoked to seek blessings for oneself for the success of ones endeavours.
On certain days (as shown on the calendar) there are special pujas:
- Monks do the Tsok Puja on the 10th day of each Tibetan lunar calendar;
- Amitabha prayers are recited on the 15th;
- Gyalwa Gyatso’s (red Avaloketeshvara) prayer are recited on the 25th and 30th;
- Gonpo Ngodrup Kunjung (Mahakala) prayer is recited on the 29th.
Dinner is from 7pm in the dining room. Kunzang will cook for you from the menu or create something according to your wishes.
Monks will go to their rooms, engage in their homework they have been set given, and then sleep at 9 p.m. You are welcome to sleep at whatever time you wish!