Volunteering

Part of the retreat experience is offering seva (service) to your fellow retreatants. There are many seva tasks that keep the retreat running smoothly. Please choose at least 2-3 time slots to volunteer in a particular task.

This may include:

  • Zendo manager

  • Bell ringer

  • Sit leader

  • Flower maintenance

  • Tea table maintenance

  • Recording technique instruction sessions or dharma talks

  • Leading Yoga and/or Mindful Movement instruction

  • Store run if needed

  • Take-down and clean-up on the last day

 

Sign-up sheets will be on a designated sign-up table in the lounge and task instructions are included; however, a bell ringer/sit leader instruction will be provided during orientation.

Bell Ringing

 

Bells are rung:​

  • To remind everyone when a sit is about to begin,

  • At the end of rest periods that follow each meal.

There are residents that reside at this Centre, so early morning wake-up bells are not rung.  Bell ringing begins just before or after breakfast.

 

In traditional Buddhist symbolism, the bell stands for compassion – its pleasant reverberations reaching out, attracting sentient beings to the practice. In Vajrayana ceremonies, the bell is used together with the “Vajra Dart,” which symbolizes penetrating wisdom, the complement of compassion. Thus, bell ringing is not simply a job, but a deep, concentrated meditation – a merging with the archetype of the compassionate Bodhisattva calling beings back to the Source.

The bell is kept on a table outside the zendo.

The bell ringer calls retreatants back to the practice by walking by the bedrooms while gently, but loudly, ringing the bell. This task is done right after the previous sit ends. After a meal break, this task is done 10 minutes before retreatants are to return to the zendo, and again just before the sit.

There will be a written instruction sheet on the volunteer (seva) sign-up table, and more detail will be discussed at orientation and/or a seva instruction session will be announced. If you have further questions about any task, please leave a note for the retreat manager.