MONKS MONSOON RETREAT
Each year, monks in Labrang and many other monasteries on the Tibetan Plateau hold a six week retreat in the summer. Its origins are in the Monsoon Retreat that Buddha Shakyamuni established 2500 years ago. The heavy monsoon rain made it impractical for the Buddha and his followers to hold their daily walks to beg for their food as Monsoon was a time when the muddy footpaths and jungles teemed with insects. In a move to avoid trampling creatures and farmers vulnerable crops, the Buddha decided it was best to spend this time in a single place, in retreat.
The Monsoon Retreat became a time for meditation and for the Sangha to ask the Buddha questions to clarify their understanding of his teachings. These discussions eventually became the basis of the Sutras, the backbone of Buddhist scriptures.
The Summer Retreat is implemented from the Full Moon of the 6th lunar month until the New Moon of the 8th lunar month of the lunar calendar, and is performed in monk communities of Buddhist countries.