My thoughts on the three day Pure Land retreat:
This was my first time participating in a retreat, and it was a welcome breather from my mundane life, which is often habitually immersed in many mundane thoughts and concerns.
The conducive environment supported by a strong spiritual energy enabled me to concentrate on reciting Amituofo much better than when I practised at home. I was also surprised to find that the more I chanted, the more I wanted to chant, and the more spiritually energetic I became, tired physically as I was. I had read about this kind of spiritual buoyancy in Pure Land books, but never experienced it till now. It was a motivating experience.
In essence, this structured retreat taught me the importance of instilling discipline in my spiritual practice, in order to progress towards the light. I was lax in my practice before this; on the days that I was tired, I would often drop off to sleep and miss my chanting session. Now I make sure I chant an allocated minimum number of times a day, no matter how tired I am. And like at the retreat, the tiredness fades into the background when I make an effort to focus on Amituofo.
The retreat in itself, while very helpful, was also a great reminder that I must make an effort to chant well each day, and not wait for the next retreat to come round and motivate me all over again.