Summer Retreat (Yarney)
Yarney, the annual “summer retreat,” is an annual one and half month monastic retreat practiced especially in the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist tradition which dates from the time of Buddha. It is determined as three months by the lunar calendar and, usually, begin in July. Usually, the rain begins sometime in June or July and continues until sometime in September or October. The incessant downpour didn’t just make travel difficult for the Buddha and his monks. Small animals that come out in the rain — leeches, snails, worms, frogs — could be crushed underfoot. Occasionally monks traveling in the rains damaged newly planted rice paddies. To spare animals and crops, the Buddha established a rule that monks and nuns would not travel during the monsoon rains. Instead, they would dwell together and practice as a community. This practice proved to be beneficial, providing more time for teaching and guidance for younger disciples.
During Yarney, monks remain in residence within their temples and leave its grounds only when necessary. Laypeople show their devotion and appreciation by supporting the monks with food and other necessities. Lay people sometimes give up things like eating meat, drinking alcohol, or smoking during Vassa or summer retreat. The summer retreat is timed to coincide with the monsoon rains of India and southeast Asia. In the Buddha’s day, summer retreat was observed by both men and women.
Gangtey Buddhist College, Gangtey Shedra was founded in 1985 by HH Gantey Tulku. Since then, the summer retreat tradition has continued, and today there are about 250 monks engaging in the retreat. The retreat started on the 15th day of the 6th lunar month of the Bhutanese calendar for a period of six months as usual. It consists of daily ordained practice in accordance to the Vinaya Sutra and remaining in the practice for the full day.
During Yarney the monks eat breakfast and lunch in the temple in the traditional way using monks bowl called Lhungdze. Most of the monks take vow not to eat at night, in accordance with the Vinaya Tradition. Every evening Monks does Solkha ritual (prayers to Dharma Protectors) and Aspiration prayers in which the public can also participate in.
In Gangtey, during Yarney, villagers of Gangtey and Phobjikha valley offers potatoes to the monastery and people from across the country comes to monastery to offer Meals and tea to the monks during this sacred retreat. In addition to the daily prayers, Monks does Dolma Ritual in the 15th and 30th of the first retreat month for the People of Gangtey and Phobjikha, for sponsors and for all beings. After engaging in strict Dharma practice for a month and a half and close to the end of the retreat the monks display their achievement of study and debate in front of the whole assembly.
It is also our humble appeal to you to please participate in making the contribution for food and other offerings during the Yarney.
One can offer: Flowers, Incense, Butter (for butter lamp offerings), fruits, flour etc… to offer during the ritual and prayers. Breakfast, Lunch, tea, Juice etc… to the monks. Robes, cups, books etc… to the monks which will be distributed on the last day of the retreat. Donations of money.
To make the offerings: Support us