Hsi Lai Temple One-day Retreat: Threefold Training on the Way to Happiness

On May 21st, Hsi Lai Temple held a one-day online and in-person English Buddhist retreat—"Threefold Training on the Way to Happiness." Participants experienced a day in the monastery and gained a better understanding of how our true spiritual practice is found in daily life. The Threefold Training was used as a guide for self-awareness to unlock happiness. Thirty-nine individuals representing a wide range of careers attended which included: a psychology counselor, a nutritionist, a writer, an art teacher, an actress, business executives, an architect, software design engineer, attorney, and a government official.

During a Q&A, Ven. Hui Dong, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, emphasized the importance of practicing on one’s own and including routine homework is the key. Meditation may seem simple and can be done anywhere but it needs to be practiced every day; hence, living in the present moment means not to cling to the past or the future—this is part of cultivation. Abbot encouraged everyone to relax their minds and bodies through meditation and to de-stress from work or school.

"The Threefold Training on the Way to Happiness" was taught by Ven. Hui Cheng from the Department of Social Education and Outreach. Through the threefold training of discipline, mental cultivation, and wisdom, participants were reminded to be aware of each and every thought that popped up in their daily life. The threefold training is a gradual process. Through self-guidance and self-awareness, we can improve our moral character and learn to control our own actions in body, speech, and mind. Then through the use of “mental cultivation” to further enhance our wisdom by bringing the scattered minds’ thoughts together. Upon mastering the "Threefold Training,” applying Buddhist teachings in daily life, and living in the present moment, there will no longer be any so-called "regrets," and another door to happiness has been opened.

After a day of changing into practitioner’s robes, observing silence, with no cell phone interruptions, many of the participants experienced—for the first time—the awe-inspiring Buddhist etiquette of walking, standing, sitting and lying down. One participant thought he would be uncomfortable but as it turned out he found himself to be very comfortable. Another shared, during the meditation, he was profoundly struck by the fact that meditation calmed the body and mind, and, at the same time, his old perspectives needed to be adjusted so his mind could become more open.

Kelsey Wang, a cast member of the TV soap opera, “The Young and the Restless,” was delighted that her parents introduced her to Buddhism when she was a child and that she attended after-school classes at the Fo Guang Shan IBPS Dallas where her mother taught after-school classes for almost 20 years. A few years ago Ms. Wang relocated to LA for work; now she wants to take the opportunity to participate more in activities at Hsi Lai Temple so she can gain even a deeper understanding of Buddhism. During the retreat, she learned the importance of seizing the moment regardless of good or bad times and moving on—one step at a time.

The day included: Buddhist studies, meditation, sutra transcription, outdoor yoga, group discussion, and reflection. The teachers were: Ven. Hui Dong, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple; Ven. Zhi Xing, Ven. Hui Cheng, Ven. Zhi San, Ven. Zhi Ching, Yoga Instructors Julie Perich and Joanna Lam.