Palyul US Summer Retreat - The Offering and Practice of Rota
The Offering and Practice of Rota
Everyone who visits or makes a retreat at the center is invited to share in the work of its care and maintenance. While this activity can be seen as a way to help defray the ever rising expenses involved with running the center, and contributes toward keeping fees for visits and retreats at lower rates, it is most importantly an opportunity for everyone to engage in a sacred devotional practice for generating merit and pure perception.
Cleaning the temple, retreat center grounds, and helping out with the daily chores involved with providing sustenance to others can also be viewed as a very direct way of showing our gratitude to His Holiness. After all, we have been provided with the opportunity to meet and experience going on retreat with a fully realized Master – and without having to travel all the way to India or Tibet.
So that everyone has a chance to participate, and getting down to the basics of how this works, we use a British term that indicates a period of work done in rotation with others: "Rota." An activity can only be considered rota when it directly affects the care and maintenance of the center, or is closely related to the concerns of the retreat, such as transcribing teachings.
As you will have noted from the retreat registration form, rota assignments take into account the preferences, skills, and any physical limitations of retreatants. In rota, everyone can find a way to participate. Because of our Buddha nature, we all have something extraordinary to offer, and performing all manner of mundane chores at the retreat center becomes a way to manifest this reality in the perfect setting for transforming our lives. A minimum of 8 hours per week on rota is the usual course of action for all retreatants.
Common rota jobs include:
- bathroom cleaning
- bathroom supply replacement
- garbage pick-up (placing in dumpster)
- garbage recycling
- garden watering
- garden weeding
- kitchen food prep
- kitchen serving
- kitchen sweeping
- kitchen washing
- office work, including transcriptions
- maintenance and repair (replacing light bulbs and repairing fixtures, etc.)
- temple vacuuming
- temple trash pick-up and window-washing