About the Retreat
What is Nyung Nay?
Nyung-nay (or “fasting retreat” in English) is a Vajrayana practice from the kriya (“action”) class of tantra. It is a powerful practice to develop compassion and bodhichitta – the mind that strives for enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. It is also a quick and effective method to purify negativities and collect merit.
One Nyung-nay requires being resident at Vajrayana for three nights, in order to incorporate two full practice days. Check-in is on day 1, days 2 & 3 are the practice days.
In each session, we practice the sadhana (“method of accomplishment”) of Chenrezig, the Buddha symbolising compassion. The sadhana involves meditating on Bodhichitta (the aspiration to attain enlightenment in order to help all beings), visualizing Chenrezig, reciting prayers and mantras, and performing prostrations. Each session lasts approximately 3 hours.
This is a non-residential retreat available to attend in-person or online via Zoom stream.
What to expect during a Nyung Nay retreat?
During the Nyung Nay retreat, we practice the sadhana (“method of accomplishment”) of Chenrezig, the Buddha symbolizing compassion. The sadhana involves meditating on bodhicitta (the aspiration to attain enlightenment in order to help all beings), visualizing Chenrezig, reciting prayers and mantras, and performing prostrations.
One Nyung Nay retreat consists of 2 full days and 1 morning of retreat, for a total of 7 practice sessions spread over this time. Each session lasts approximately 3 hours.
One Nyung Nay retreat requires being resident for 3 nights, in order to incorporate 2 full practice days and 1 morning. Day 1 involves checking in and getting prepared for Days 2–4. Day 2 (full days) to Day 4 (morning) are practice times.
Structure of the retreat
On the first full day of the Nyung Nay, we take the 8 Mahayana Precepts: avoidance of killing, stealing, sexual activity, telling lies, taking intoxicants, eating more than one meal, singing / dancing / playing music, wearing jewelry, and using high seats or beds. Three sessions of the sadhana are practiced on the first day. Each session is approximately 3 hours.
On the second day of the Nyung Nay, we take the 8 Mahayana Precepts as above, with the additional vows of not eating, drinking or speaking until after sunrise the next day. Three sessions of the sadhana are practiced on this day. Although we vow to keep silence, we continue to recite the prayers and mantras of the sadhana. If communication between participants is necessary, it must be done through writing notes.
Challenge / Opportunity
The second day is the most difficult part of the retreat. We experience hunger, thirst, tiredness and pain from doing prostrations. Some people feel ill from the fasting. However, if we understand the purpose of the practice, we will not mind the discomfort.
By experiencing hardships in our Dharma practice, we are able to purify a great deal of our negative karma accumulated over countless previous lives. We can also build up positive habits and states of mind to counteract the negative ones.
The Buddha advised the “middle way” — not too soft, not too tough. During Nyung Nays we do experience discomfort, but it is bearable and not too tough. By experiencing this discomfort, we have a better understanding of the suffering experienced by animals, hungry ghosts, and some humans, and thus develop greater compassion for sentient beings, and greater renunciation of samsara — How Amazing!
We hope to see you online for this incredible opportunity to purify and generate merit!
Benefits of the practice
The spiritual impact of engaging in Nyung-nay practice is extraordinary, as explained in these references:
- Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice on the nyung-nay practice, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives
- Nyung-nay retreat and its benefits, from the FPMT’s Chokyi Gyaltsen Center, Malaysia.
- You should be a Buddhist, having formally taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Those who have not formally taken refuge or who have not participated in Nyung-nay Retreat before will need to have a chat with the Spiritual Programme Coordinator and/or the retreat leader.
- You should have taken the Great Thousand-armed Chenrezig Initiation, which will require taking the Bodhisattva Vows; if you haven’t you should at least have received a complete initiation (wang) from one of the three higher classes of tantra. If you do not have initiation please contact email@example.com to discuss your suitability for this retreat.
Rules of Discipline
Since Vajrayana is a semi-monastic meditation centre and not a guesthouse, we ask all of our retreatants and visitors to observe the following rules of discipline in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to inner reflection and meditation:
- Respect all life: do not intentionally kill any living being, even small insects.
- Respect others’ property: do not steal or take anything not freely given.
- Be honest and straightforward: do not lie or intentionally deceive others. This is easy when observing silence!
- Be celibate: no sexual activity. This also includes no holding hands, hugging, massages, and other physical displays of affection.
- Be alert and mindful: avoid intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes (we encourage you to stop smoking while here, but if this is impossible, one can smoke at a designated place outside the centre boundary).
- Be considerate of others’ silence: respect others that choose to keep silent during the retreat, especially in the Gompa. No singing or playing music and in general, maintain a quiet demeanor while on the property.
- Be considerate of the monks and nuns: dress respectfully (please no shorts above the knee, tank-top shirts or tight and revealing clothing).
Basic Retreat Discipline
In order to keep the atmosphere conducive to inner reflection and spiritual pursuit and to minimise distractions during the course, students on our residential courses and retreats are asked to abide by our basic code of discipline listed below.
- Please settle all outside communication before the course begins. Telling friends and family that you will be out of contact for the duration of the course and sticking by that decision significantly reduces distraction from the investigation into the workings of your own mind!
- Participants should attend all sessions of the course and come to sessions on time.
- Please leave all communication/entertainment devices (laptop / mobile phones /cameras / MP3/CD players) etc at home or switch off and leave in your bag.
- Please be gentle in your behaviour and sensitive to fellow group members.
Can’t make it yet would like to generate merit by supporting the retreatants?
Lama Zopa Rinpoche says that sponsoring retreats generates the same merit as if you had done the retreat yourself.
- If you would like to help sponsor the cost of the retreat, please make a donation using the donation box below
- Sponsor one retreatant ($125)
- Sponsor food (any amount appreciated)