During the months of the summer monsoon, many insects lose their lives under the steps of those passing by. Seeing this, Buddha said, “It’s hard to travel in the rain without stepping on them, but monastics still need a place to practice. From now on, we shall dwell in one place every monsoon. Let the locals know, should they offer food during this three-month period, they shall receive teachings from the monastics and in return benefit from it.” This three-month summer retreat would later be known as Tranquil Dwelling.
Following the rules laid down by the Buddha, monastics would meditate in the morning on the first day of the retreat. At noon, they’d sit by the lake, eating food offered by the locals as they prepare themselves for Buddha’s teachings. Because they no longer have to wander for alms, they have more time to delve into Buddhist teachings and the difficulties they’ve encountered in their practice.
As Buddha speaks, everyone, regardless of age or gender, finds their inner doubts answered and pain soothed. Inspired, they were filled with a heartfelt joy.
Sometimes, Buddha’s disciples would give teachings on his behalf. To encourage them, Buddha would listen in on the side. After the teaching, many would head home reluctantly. Monastics would then continue to meditate into the night after a short break. Buddha, the most compassionate of them all, would always be the very last to leave.