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Nyungne Compassion Fasting Retreat

Tue, Apr 14  – Wed, Apr 15  |  6:45AM – 4:30PM

Hosted by KMC Hollywood. For more info, click here.

This special fasting and purification retreat is performed in conjunction with Thousand Armed Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. It is very powerful for purifying negative karma, pacifying strong delusions, receiving blessings, and increasing our love, compassion and bodhichitta. In this retreat we make many effective prayers for all suffering to completely cease.

Tuesday, April 14th
6:45-7:30am Precepts
7:45-9:15am Session 1
10:30am-12pm Session 2
1:30-2:30pm Heart Jewel Puja
3:00-4:30pm Session 3

Wednesday, April 15
6:45am – 7:30am Precepts
7:45-9:15am Session 1
10:30am – 12pm Session 2
1:30-3pm Session 3
3:45-5:15pm OSG

PLEASE NOTE: It is necessary to take precepts in the morning to participate in any of the retreat sessions each day. You can attend as many sessions as you wish, 1 day or both days.

COST: Retreat Sessions are FREE

This practice starts by taking the eight Mahayana precepts according to the prayers entitled A Pure Life at the beginning of the day.

It is customary to abstain from all meals apart from lunch.

Chanted Prayer Booklets for this retreat:

A Pure Life (for precepts) and Drop of Essential Nectar  ( for the Nyungne retreat sessions)

Drop of Essential Nectar is available as an e-book download here:



What to Expect in this Retreat

We will be chanting a special prayer called Drop of Essential Nectar to 1000 Armed Avalokiteshvara. Within that prayer, we will collectively make physical or mental prostrations to 1000 Armed Avalokiteshvara on behalf of all living beings for about 20 minutes while chanting a verse of praise to Avalokiteshvara. Best to wear comfortable clothing.

About Precepts and Sessions

You must take the precepts before engaging in this retreat at 6:30am. You can attend 1 or all sessions after the precepts. It’s Buddha’s Enlightenment Day — all our actions of body, speech and mind increase. See below for more info on the precepts.


Try to have a lunch doesn’t contain onions, garlic, eggs and radishes. You can drink water throughout the day.

Taking Precepts

The essence of the practice is to take eight precepts and to keep them purely for a period of twenty-four hours.

By doing this practice again and again, we acquaint ourself with the practice of moral discipline and thereby make our human life meaningful.

We receive many great benefits from practicing moral discipline in this way. It helps us to solve the problems of this life by avoiding the causes of suffering; and it creates the cause for us to take fortunate rebirths in future lives and thereby protects us from the sufferings of lower rebirth.

In particular, because it is performed with bodhichitta motivation, this practice is very powerful for purifying negative karma. It accumulates a vast collection of merit and creates the cause for us to attain the unsurpassed happiness of enlightenment.

We first need to receive these precepts from a qualified Preceptor, and then we can take them on our own as often as we wish. Instructions on both these methods are included in this sadhana.

If we wish to take the essence of this precious human life we should strive to engage in this practice as often as we can.

An explanation of the practice

When we take the eight Mahayana precepts, we explicitly promise to abstain for twenty-four hours from eight actions:

1 Killing
2 Stealing
3 Sexual activity
4 Lying
5 Taking intoxicants
6 Eating after lunch
7 Sitting on high or luxurious thrones or seats
8 Wearing ornaments, perfume, etc, and singing and dancing, etc.

These eight, however, are merely symbolic, for in reality we promise to abstain from all non-virtuous actions for twenty-four hours.

Taking and keeping these precepts is a special purification practice. Buddha realized that all living beings’ suffering comes from their previous negative karma, and so he taught special practices to purify it.

To purify our negative karma we must practice the four opponent powers: the power of regret, the power of reliance, the power of the opponent force, and the power of promise. These are explained fully in Joyful Path of Good Fortune. Within these four, we are here emphasizing the power of promise – promising not to repeat non-virtuous actions.

There are many levels on which we can make this promise. We can promise not to commit non-virtuous actions for the rest of our life, for a year, for a month, for a week, or, in this case, for a day.

If we manage to keep our actions of body, speech, and mind pure for one day we can then extend it to two days, then to three days, and so on, until eventually we can keep pure moral discipline all the time.

If we reach the point when we can keep our actions of body, speech, and mind completely pure all the time, we shall have accomplished the Pure Land. With a pure body and a pure mind there is no basis for experiencing suffering; instead we shall experience only unceasing happiness from within.

We all want to be happy – living in a pure environment with pure friends, pure enjoyments, and so on – but this is unattainable for as long as we have negative karma in our minds.

Therefore, we need to rely upon Buddha’s skilful method for purifying our negative karma. This practice is very simple, and it lasts for only a day at a time; but it leads to very great results.

epc@MeditateInSanFrancisco.org, (415) 503-1187