This first night’s talk focuses on a traditional introduction to Buddhist retreats: Taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Peter described the Buddha as being the potential for Awakening from dukkha, the distress and confusion caused by craving and clinging, exemplified by the historical Buddha–if he and perhaps tens of thousands after him could realize Awakening, so can we. The Dharma is represented by commitment to the principles and practices provided by the retreat environment, particularly the Five Precepts, which was explained in a contemporary secular manner. The Sangha represents the cooperative effort of the 18 people present for the retreat.
This explanation was followed by discussion among those present regarding the practices during the retreat.