The Upasika Training Program


The term upasika means “one who sits close by,” and it has come to refer to lay people who join with the monastics in the practice of the Dhamma. Following the model established at Abhayagiri Monastery in California, Tisarana would like to provide a similar structure for lay people to practice and study together.

Regular Upasika Days will be held at the monastery roughly every 4 to 6 weeks at which time upasikas renew their commitment to the Three Refuges and Five Precepts, participate in a study session focusing on a Dhamma topic, and practice meditation.


Following are the primary purposes of the Upasika Program:

  • To enhance individual practice and increase self-discipline through making a formal commitment to spiritual training.
  • To deepen both the intellectual and experiential understanding of Dhamma.
  • To have more supportive contact with like-minded people and the ordained Sangha.


The following Upasika Program guidelines are meant as an outline for spiritual training of the individual and are intended to provide a structure for those seeking support and encouragement in their practice.

  • Undertake to live by the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts.
  • To take the Theravada tradition as the focus of one’s Buddhist practice.
  • Visit the monastery and formally take the Refuges and Precepts and attend regularly scheduled upasika meetings. Meetings will be held every 4 to 6 weeks on a Sunday.
  • Practice meditation daily. A commitment of two meditations per day totaling 60 minutes is required
  • One day a month deepen the practice by doing a continuous period of sitting and walking meditation of 2 hours or more – a self retreat.
  • Find some time each year to go on retreat. Alternatively stay at Tisarana and join the life of the community as a form of retreat.
  • Attend at least one festival day or communal gathering at the monastery each year.
  • Cultivate a basic working knowledge of the Teachings by studying assigned readings for each session – two hours study per week is required
  • Support the Sangha according to one’s means and abilities.
  • Keep to the training for at least one year after having made the formal commitment.

Typical Schedule

10:30 am – Refuges and Precepts
11:00 am – Meal offering
1:00 – 5:00 pm – Meditation, teachings & discussion ??Attendance at Upasika Days is open to those who have made a formal commitment to the program.

Upasika meetings at Tisarana  for 2013

  • 6 October
  • 10 November
  • 8 December

If you are interested in participating in this program or have any questions about the level of commitment required, please contact:
Marion Foot  at

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