Some years ago somewhere in China a local made some suggestions to an ill neighbour as to how he might become better. He suggested six things the ill person should do and as a result he became restored to full health. The neighbours saw that there was value to this approach and started to also follow the steps. They felt that this helped them each individually and brought them together. Over time more and more people found these methods valuable and special retreats in Buddhist Temples grew from this, spreading throughout China.
The six steps are grounded in Pure Land Buddhism.
The Six Steps are:
1. Being Vegetarian
2. Chanting the Sutra of the Past Vows of the Earth Store Bodhisattva
3. Prostrating in accordance with the “Eighty-Eight Buddhas Repentance Ceremony”
4. Releasing and feeding animals
5. Conducting one good deed a day
6. Reciting the name of the Amitabha Buddha.
Over time more and more people found these methods valuable and the retreats grew from there and it spread throughout China. Everyone who helps to organize the retreats are all volunteers as they themselves felt they had benefits from their experiences including feeling more peaceful, closer to their family, more easily able to focus and healthier.