The Gyuto Monks Summer Retreat – 2016
When the Buddha emerged from the forest fully realised, he wandered the Indian countryside giving talks on enlightenment and this new religion called Buddhism. As more people flocked to hear him, it became increasingly difficult to move about with large numbers in tow. The Indian summer was also the monsoon season which was not only difficult to travel in for his sangha, or spiritual community, but Buddha also worried about the large numbers of people potentially stepping on the insects forced to the surface because of the rains. When one wealthy prince offered him a large parcel of his land to settle on, Buddha decided to build a monastic retreat where the monks could deepen their practices while sheltering from the rains for the duration of the wet season. This retreat became a fixture on the Buddhist calendar and is a ritual still practiced by the Gyuto Monks some 2,500 years on. Known as their Summer Retreat or Yarney, the monks spend 45 days within the monastery where they undergo intensive learning in all aspects of their spiritual life.