Reviews Of 5 PPF Nianfo Retreats

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Retreats’ Vision

To drop everything else, so as to Nianfo as sincerely as we can, so as to abide peacefully upon Amituofo’s name,  to express and nurture the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice. (With great gratitude to our sponsors for the venue, food and drinks, may we treasure our good karma to have this opportunity to be here, by practising as sincerely as we can.)

Motivational Resolutions

[01] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
as sincerity is what expresses the Three Provisions
of Faith, Aspiration and Practice altogether.

[02] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
and listen to my Nianfo just as sincerely.

[03] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
by immediately returning to sincere Nianfo
when I have even one stray thought.

[04] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
and not be distracted by any pain or discomfort,
which are just reminders to Nianfo more sincerely.

[05] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
to be a good example to guide all others around.

[06] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
towards the pure calmness of non-greed,
joyful bliss of non-hatred and wise clarity of non-delusion.

[07] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
as it is by being wholehearted,
that I will be focused, single-minded.

[08] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
chanting as clearly as I can, aloud or silently,
for myself to hear as clearly as I can.

[09] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
as if it is my very first time, fresh each time,
as if it is my very last time, sincere all the time.

[10] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
as if all Buddhas are watching, as they indeed are.

[11] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
by being wholehearted in my Nianfo,
by not thinking of anything else,
such as sensations or the environment.

[12] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
to eradicate my boundless negative karma
from beginningless past lives.

[13] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
to accumulate much merits for all beings,
including loved ones from past and present lives,
who might not have the opportunity to do so.

[14] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
to express my Faith and Aspiration to reach Pure Land,
or I will be trapped in Samsara indefinitely.

[15] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
by treasuring this precious time to Nianfo,
without any need to keep track of time.

[16] I will Nianfo as sincerely as I can,
and if drowsy, I will Nianfo even more sincerely,
more resolutely, loudly and clearly.

Retreat Introduction

[1] There will be systematic instructions at the beginning on how best to Nianfo fruitfully.
[2] There will be a few brief motivational talks during the retreat.
[3] There will be a sharing session on the retreat during next PPF session.
[4] There will be focus on seated Nianfo to peacefully abide upon the name of Amituofo (with minimum distracting movements).

[5] There will be free and easy personal choice at any time, to prostrate at one’s seat, or to circumambulate before sitting again (if drowsy or wishing to stretch).
[6] There will be lunch and hot water provided.
[7] There will be fixed choice of either floor (with cushion and mat) or chair seating. (There can be switch only if there are extra spaces available.)
[8] There will be chanting of ‘Verses For Aspiration Of Birth In Western Pure Land’ at end.

Retreat Guidelines (And What To Bring)

[01] There will be wearing of plain-coloured clothes covering to knees and shoulders.
[02] There will be bringing of extra clothing in case position gets cold. (E.g. jacket, hoodie, shawl, socks)
[03] There will be bringing of personal spoon (to wipe clean and bring home, to reduce waste).
[04] There will be bringing of water bottle (or cup) to seat.
[05] There will be no consuming of non-vegan food and drinks. (There will be hot water, plain coffee and tea available.)
[05] There will be signing in to be seated by 9 am.

[06] There will be common space to place bags behind admin counter for security.
[07] There will be sticking of given name tag on front right corner of mat or chair.
[08] There will be no changing of seat position chosen on first-come first-served basis. (There will be no reservation of seats for others.)
[09] There will be noble silence observed (unless inquiring through volunteers).
[10] There will be no sound-emitting devices (or equipment such as beads) used.

[11] There will be Nianfo in unison that is not louder than the leading chant.
[12] There will be as much Nianfo as possible, not leaving one’s seat for too long.
[13] There will be swift eating of lunch provided at one’s seat.
[14] There will be full attendance of the retreat (from 9am-5pm).
[15] There will be (half-)bowing thrice before leaving seat (for clockwise circumambulation and toilet break) and upon return to seat.
[16] There will be adherence to other guidelines shared during the retreat.

Retreat Time-Table

08:35 : Sign-In begins
09:00 : Seated (after signing in) + Introduction To Retreat Rules
09:15 : Refresher on How To Nianfo Sincerely
09.30 : Nianfo Period (1)
11:45 : Offering Of Food + Lunch (before resuming Nianfo ASAP)
12.30 : Motivational Reminders (1)
12:40 : Nianfo Period (2)
14.40 : Motivational Reminders (2)
14:50 : Nianfo Period (3)
16:40 : Verses For Aspiration Of Birth In Western Pure Land + Dedication of Merits (with a minute for personal dedication)
16:50 : Packing + Removal of tags and trash
17:00 : Departure (Sharing on retreat in next PPF session)

‘Dear Bro. Shi’an and all volunteers, thank you for making this retreat possible for the benefit of all of us who attended it. It was well organised. This is my first Nianfo retreat with PPF, so the clear instructions on what to do were helpful. I also like the flexibility to Nianfo in different ways and in different postures. The latter greatly helped me to lessen backache from sitting. I also enjoyed the noble silence. Glad to be part of this retreat and I will certainly participate in the next one again. Thanks for all your hard work to benefit sentient beings.’ Amituofo, Kim

‘The retreat is very interesting and I am sure everyone benefitted from it. Thank you.’ Amituofo, Audrey

‘Thank you for taking time and effort to improve the retreat since the first. I think you’ve found the best arrangement for the retreat (and the following retreats to come).’ – Estella

‘Yesterday’s retreat was very good. Everything went well for me. Most importantly, I did increasingly better at keeping away stray thoughts and sleepiness.’ – Joan

‘Thank you… for the hard work and kindness… Gan En Teacher Shi’an, for teaching and guiding us, leading us one step closer to blissful Pure Land.’ Amituofo, Sheila

‘Thank you for leading and guiding us throughout today’s Nianfo Retreat. It was a pleasant and meaningful experience. I really like and appreciate that the entire event was simple yet solemn, self-directed (pivotal on self-discipline, faith, aspiration and practice)…’ Amituofo, Peter

‘Thank you so much for dedicating your time despite being unwell.’ Amituofo, Ming Hui 

‘We appreciate your effort in organising this Nianfo retreat. Thank you so much!’ Sherry-Ann & Edmund

‘The retreat was a successful one because it was well-organised and attended by so many people. My personal achievement was being able to focus on Nianfo for a longer duration, many times that day, full of mindfulness of Amituofo.  The air-conditioning was just right and the lunch was nutritious and enough. Thank you very much, Teacher Shi’an and his team for giving us a wonderful opportunity to Nianfo without disturbance and reminding us at regular intervals to Nianfo sincerely!’ Amituofo, Jac

‘Would like to express my sincere thanks to teacher for organising the retreat. Very grateful for the opportunity to create such inconceivable merits with everyone.’ – Xinxuan

‘Great thanks to you for facilitating my maiden participation in this wonderful event. I was amazed I did not feel drowsy at all throughout the day… not even after lunch! 感恩.’ Amituofo, Peter

‘Thank you Teacher Shi’an… sponsors, helpers and participants for the well run and meaningful retreat. 感恩.’ Amituofo, Chelsea

‘My thanks and gratitude to Shi’an Laoshi… sponsors and all volunteers who contributed to make this retreat possible. My overall sitting was satisfactory. Was able to return to the Buddha’s name immediately after straying away. Was able to catch a few minutes of bliss too.’ Amituofo, Tracy

‘Thank you Teacher Shi’an… and volunteers for organising the successful Nianfo retreat. It is getting better each time and I have benefitted tremendously. As am getting older, sitting to chant in one go is getting tougher, especially in the afternoon, and the circumambulation helps a lot. Thanks again for organising a great retreat. Looking forward for the next retreat.’ Amituofo, Bro Kee

‘I found the retreat every meaningful n fulfilling. This time, I was able to focus more with Faith and Aspiration, compared to the last retreat, when I had many wild thoughts. I have learnt more from the slides, and have refreshed some learning points. I am also glad that I was able to do prostration… Overall, I enjoyed the retreat and sincerely thank you and the sponsors. Once again thank you.’ With Metta, Susan

‘Thank you, Laoshi, for organising such a well-run retreat. First time for me, yet so spiritually uplifting.’ – Joan

‘Hi Teacher Shi’an, thank you for organising and delivering such a fruitful and meaningful retreat today. Being very organised, with the right length, a peaceful environment and good food made it a great success. Many thanks to you, the volunteers and the donors. It was an eye-opener for a first-timer. I was afraid that I may not be able to make it, but with the help of group efforts and inspiration, I made it to the end! Thank you so much for sharing the merits with my Dad. 非常感恩.’ Amituofo, warmest regards, Vicky

‘I had the good opportunity to Nianfo with friends and it motivates and trains me to Nianfo for longer hours. Like last year, I again encountered some nice ‘flowery’ scents around me during my Nianfo, but only briefly. The venue and sitting arrangement was well planned and organised. I like the walking chanting around the Buddha after lunch. Lunch was really good. Thank you for this meaningful Nianfo experience.’ Amituofo, PT 

‘Hi Bro. Shi’an, thank you and those that helped to organise the retreat. This is the first time I attended a Dharma retreat. The chanting of two hours per session was quite a challenge to a beginner like me. Fortunately, with group practice [as motivation], I managed to “survive” the day. I felt good and the X’mas day was well “celebrated”. Another step towards closer affinity with Amituofo. The food portion is just nice for me and tasted good too. In fact, it was the booster to continue the second half of the retreat. Appreciation to other sisters and brothers for taking the trouble to distribute the juicy grapes to each of us. My sincere thanks to you and the helpers once again.’ Namo Amituofo, Sally

‘The retreat had been fruitful and enjoyable for me as I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to do seated Nianfo, prostration and circumambulation around Amituofo. Personally, it has helped me to feel a deeper sense of connection to Amituofo in that way. So, I am grateful for your arrangements to organise the retreat in this manner. Thank you! The food was delicious as I liked it simple. So, it was great.’ Thank you, Estella

‘Many thanks to you, Laoshi, for such a well-planned and wonderful retreat. My wife and I really gained a lot from this retreat.’ Amituofo, Yeong Kiang & Irene

‘Hi Teacher Shi’an, thank you… for the hard work in preparing the retreat for us. Thanks to all volunteers who were assisting too. The environment had a pleasant atmosphere, with Amituofo images at the sides and the Buddha in the centre, smiling cheerfully at us while we practised, inspiring and motivating us to practise diligently. Thanks to the sponsors for our lunch packet too, which was nutritious and healthy. Thank you for your reminder pointers, which helped us in our practice too.’ Amituofo, Sharol

‘Laoshi, Amituofo. Grateful for the experience today. Thank you to all who made it possible… The retreat schedule was good. The reciting of the motivational reminders helped to create the “mood”… The ending with 西方发愿文 was nice. Lunch was good, with the amount was just nice for me – 75% full. Tasted good – not too salty and not too bland/ Also not oily, and did not leave me feeling thirsty… Overall, it was a very positive experience. I managed to sit throughout except for a quick toilet break during lunch!’ Thank you very much, Melinda

‘Going around the Buddha statue gave better motivation. Thanks.’ Amituofo, Sally

‘Thank you Teacher Shi’an, I really appreciate you organising this Nianfo retreat. This is the first time in my life that I did Nianfo continuously for so many hours. I was doubtful about myself sitting for such long hours. But when the Nianfo track started, I began to become very focused and sincere in my recitation after about 10 minutes. I did not stand, move or stretch. I continued to persevere with sincere and focused mind to give praise to Amituofo, also hoping to ease tension of my legs. I was surprised that I only stepped out of my chair for the lunch break and for the last 5 minutes before the retreat ended for the day. Everything became lighter, clearer in my mind, and at ease. Thank you Teacher Shi’an for all your efforts and guidance to help us in our Nianfo practice. Amituofo.’ Yours sincerely, Sherry-Ann

‘Thank you for the well-organised retreat. What the retreatants needed to do was just to 放下万缘, 一心念佛. Allowing different postures, e.g. for circumambulating or standing were helpful to relieve leg or back pain. The retreat provided conditions for very good practice – to imagine this is the last day, that this is precisely what we need to focus wholeheartedly on to Nianfo, to 珍惜当下因缘.’ With gratitude, Chelsea  

‘Thank you Teacher Shi’an and all the helpers for organising the Nianfo Retreat.’ Amituofo, Serene & Janice

‘Thank you for organising and guiding this 1-Day Nianfo retreat. 感恩。’ 阿弥陀佛。– Jenny

‘Thank you for a retreat well organised. Food, venue and atmosphere were appropriate and conducive. Instructions on finer details like how to sit, prostrate, bow, etc. was important to me as this is the first time I am attending a retreat. I am very thankful that I made it, to complete the chanting. Though far from perfect. I feel a great sense of achievement.’ Amituofo, Doris

‘The bento set was nice. Not salty or oily, with enough greens, and the best thing is, without mock meats. Thumbs up.’ – Ivy

‘Thank you for giving me an opportunity to join the retreat… The motivational resolutions gave me boosts to persevere all the way through. I like the circumambulating. With the ‘commander’ Amituofo, carefully chanting ‘A-mi’ on my right foot, and ‘Tuo-fo’ on my left. Reminds me of ‘marching’ on the parade ground. The circumambulating steps helped to push me through during the last session… 感恩。阿弥陀佛。’ – Patricia

‘Good Evening, Teacher Shi’an, my account of the recent Nianfo retreat as compared to the first retreat in June is completely different! In this second retreat, I progressed with the extended practice durations. Sitting on the chair was comfortable for me, with the ability to focus effectively… My Nianfo was blissful throughout the morning session… I noticed that time passed so quickly. During the first retreat, I used to check the time, especially in the afternoon, but not in this recent retreat! … I am glad there is positive progress… I shall continue to participate in such retreats… Thank you for your continual guidance.’ Amituofo, Veronica

‘Hi Bro. Shi’an, thanks for organising the retreat. Appreciate the effort. It was meaningful to practise Nianfo…’ Regards, Violet

‘Thank you Shi’an 老師, for allowing me to take part in the retreat. I benefited a lot.’ 阿弥陀佛, Rachel

‘Hi Teacher Shi’an, thank you very much for all the effort and resources by all those involved in organising this successful and precious retreat. Due to the kindness of Teachers, Triple Gem and Sentient Beings, I was able to attend this retreat. I have enjoyed it very much. The earlier sharing of invaluable experiences during Pureland Practice Fellowship by participants of the Donglinsi retreat and the ‘Seven Superior Meritorious Virtues From Nianfo’ were very useful. I have experienced much improvement in my concentration during the retreat. Looking forward for the next retreat. Thanks again.’ Amituofo, Bro. Wong

‘Hi Teacher Shi’an, it was a pleasure for me to be in this retreat. Really appreciate the precious time and effort by you and all the helpers in organising this event. Thank you for everything.’ Amituofo, Sheila

‘Hi Shi’an, I was able to focus on Nianfo more diligently due to greater mindfulness of the retreat’s objective. I experienced some nice “flowery” scents around me during Nianfo in the morning and afternoon after lunch. Though not sure about this, it did help to motivate me to Nianfo diligently. Lastly, the venue and sitting arrangement were well organised. Lunch was really good. Thank you for the fruitful and confident Nianfo experience.’  Amituofo, P

‘Thank you Brother Shi’an, for planning this retreat. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate. I specifically like the rules that you had laid out very clearly to all participants. This minimised chances of causing unhappiness to others… I like the hall. The spacing between seats was just nice and the environment is very conducive. I appreciate your conscious efforts to educate fellow participants to be considerate as we make progress on our Pure Land journey… Once again, I appreciate your efforts to help us make progress in our Nianfo practice.’ Amituofo, Yu Wah   

‘Laoshi, the retreat duration is just nice and the food was very good. Thank you for organising.’ – Pauline Teoh

‘The arrangement is good. I like the ambience and peacefulness… Thank you and fellow benefactors for giving me the opportunity to join this retreat. I am grateful to all of you.’ Amituofo, Joyce Goh

‘Shi’an 老师 I had a very good and positive experience during the recent Nianfo retreat. Compared to last year, this year, I was able to focus better… The objectives and efforts provided encouraged me to be grateful and not to waste my time. Thank you, 老师.’ – Pauline Teo

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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