It is the vassa, the three months in which the samana Sangha determine a fixed residence. Traditionally this is the time when we pick up, consider, and brighten the Vinaya, the precepts and community conventions that we have undertaken as a framework for our lives. It sharpens the sense that, although the goal of the Buddha's teaching is freedom, the path to release is grounded in conventions, in forms, in restraint. Recently at a gathering at Amaravati for Luang Por Sumedho's birthday, amongst the reflections he offered was something he said Luang Por Chah had challenged him with when he was a young monk, 'Sumedho, the Dhamma is about letting go: the Vinaya is about holding on.' On the surface there sounds to be a conflict between these two, yet in our direct experience is this the case? What is the result for each of us of keeping the precepts? The possibility the Buddha pointed to was a growing sense of ease and lightness in ourselves (and his teaching gives us tools to understand what may be getting in the way of that for us).
'I do not say that you can attain purity by views, tradition, insights, morality or conventions; nor will you attain purity without them. But by using them for abandonment, rather than as positions to hold on to, you will come to be at peace without the need to be anything.'
Sutta Nipata v. 848
Translation: Ven. Saddhatissa
Dhamma practice is a coming more fully into presence. The Buddha would refer to himself us the Tathagata - 'the One Thus Come.' He was an exemplar of someone who was actually here and now with whatever specific thing was going on; responding to people's particular questions, sorting out difficulties.... Recollecting his life reminds us that silence, stillness, emptiness are no more to be held onto than 'views, tradition, morality and conventions;' they are all to be used for abandonment. The Buddha's encouragement is not to adhere to anything (or not-thing), but to use it for understanding and relinquishing self view. This takes a profound degree of willingness to receive all that is here; and wisdom, because, as Luang Por points out, we tend to grasp after what we think we are, and don't open to what we are not.