Rayong Beach Getaway Retreat
with Grahame White and Pandit Bhikkhu
October Fri 4/Sat 5/Sun 6
We’re returning for a weekend of quiet, meditation, and sand – on a quiet beach, Rayong province. The retreat will be fairly easy going – not a boot-camp style, in order to take advantage of the nice surroundings. Cost will be 3,300 baht, including transport from and back to Bangkok, meals and accommodation. There are a total of 24 spaces available.
Leading the Retreat
◊ Grahame White Grahame has been deeply involved in Dhamma since 1969 (the year Pandit was born!). He was even a monk for a while in Bodh Gaya – the place of the Buddha’s own enlightenment. He’s been involved with dhamma ever since, especially in Burma in the rigorous Mahasi Sayadaw tradition. He is one of the key teachers in Vipassana Hawaii together with Steven Smith and Michele McDonald (both of whom we have hosted in Bangkok) where he still goes several times a year. He has that down-to-earth Australian quality, and his meetings are always as fun as they are informative. Full bio and an interview with him can befound here on the website from where he is running his current courses in Australia.
I got to know Grahame in Hawaii, where his bad cold led to my being shoehorned in to help him lead a retreat at the Palolo Zen Centre. He, I and the yogis all had a great time. I’m glad to be able to host him in Bangkok and introduce you all to him – Pandit
◊ Pandit Bhikkhu While Grahame was getting into meditation, and man was landing on the moon, Phra Pandit was landing in the world. A Bhikkhu for 16 years, he does his best to keep Dhamma in English language available in Bangkok, using his not inconsiderable Photoshop and WordPress skills. Psychology and Faerie Tales are two of his interests – his other interests are probably better not mentioned! Meditation style emphasises using the six senses to model experience, and distinguishing mindfulness from distraction.
We will be at 4 very pleasant houses, located in a gated community on a quiet beach on the South coast of Rayong province. It is about 2.5 hours from Bangkok. There will be plenty of space. There are a variety of rooms in the different houses. Some are air-con, some have beds, some have sleeping mattresses – i.e. conditions vary. We don’t have an exact plan of the many rooms so cannot guarantee anything, except that the houses are very pleasant, clean, equipped with necessities, and that we are very fortunate the owners have given us permission to use their private houses for the purpose of a meditation retreat. Sorry – we can’t give private rooms. We won’t be crowded though. And sharing is good for mindfulness – monks usually share for several years when they ordain for this reason! The beach air is very fresh, and will be cool in the evening. You’ll have chance for a swim too, and some beach time.
We will be experimenting with an easy going schedule and retreat style. While most Vipassana retreats are boot-camp style with relentless sitting/walking meditation in silence, here we will be trying out a more relaxed pace. This is more restful, and easier on the limbs than many other retreats, though not so productive of strong concentration experience. Thus it is better if you have some prior experience with proper mindfulness retreats, but if you are a beginner, you are welcome to join, and the teacher will spend some extra time with you. Schedule below is more or less what we will be aiming for. Friday 4th October
- Meet at Baan Aree (map below) near Ari BTS station at 9:45am
- Have breakfast at Baan Aree Vegetarian food stalls
- Depart 10:30am
- Arrive Destination by 1:15 (ish)
- 2:15 late lunch
- 4-6:00 afternoon session, instructions etc..
- 7:30-9:30 evening session and dhamma talk.
Saturday 5th October
- 5:30am Meditation on the Beach as Dawn comes up
- Breakfast 7:15 (ish)
- Meditation instructions and sitting/walking 10-12:00
- Lunch (mostly vegetarian)
- Afternoon meditation sitting/walking Q&A 3:30-6pm
- Light Food
- Evening Meditation and Dhamma Talk 7:30-9:30
Sunday 6th October
- 5:30 am Rising dawn meditation
- Breakfast 7:30 (ish)
- Wrap-up Dhamma Talk and meditation 10-12:00
- Lunch 12-1:00
- Clean up and leave houses by 1:30pm.
- 5:00 ish Drop off at a BTS station in Bangkok
We aim to be back in Bangkok before 5 pm, with a drop off point at one of the BTS stations.
Vipassana meditation aims to cultivate strong body/mind awareness in the present moment. The benefits and other descriptions are well described on thousands of websites. For beginners there will be chance to get close instruction and help. Experienced Yogis can continue with their own silent meditation practise, but we ask that everyone join in the group activities, and maintain the group harmony. If you practise yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Kong etc. please do so in between our group meetings, during the private time. Some periods will be spent in silence, to help aid inward contemplation.
The cost will be 3,300 baht per person, which should include everything, with something left over. Since this is a new venue for us, please give a bit of leeway and co-operation though. We have not quite worked out where we’ll be eating or how much it will cost. But we are pretty confident the charge above will cover all expenses. Should you book and not turn up on the day, can we ask that you still pay 1000 baht for the mini-van costs since your place in the van will have been booked and has to be paid for. Please don’t bring large or hard-case bags. You only need light simple clothes. Bags will be stowed under your seat or on laps, so soft cloth bags are best. The mini-vans we use don’t have storage space at the rear, so all bags must be stowed around your seat. We will take meditation mats. You might like to bring a light sleeping bag so that we are not inconveniencing the house owners, or a light sheet. But anyway, there will be blankets available at the venue.
We can’t cater to special diets – breakfast and lunch will be Thai food, mostly vegetarian, served from the local restaurant (food cost is in covered in the retreat fee). Some fish dishes will be available if desired. In the evening we will serve a light meal for those who need it – the usual monastic diet however is to skip the meal in the evening as it helps to keep your body and mind light, and maintains discipline around your eating. If this is too tough for you, be welcome to take the light evening food. You might bring a small torch, mosquito spray, any medicines you might need. Please don’t take food into the rooms as it only leaves mess and attracts ants. It’s a great privilege to be offered these houses to use, so we must ensure we leave them in perfect condition. You will be well fed, honestly. Details etc.. change, so be sure to re-read this page closer to the time for more suggestions, and to see any changes that have been made. One of the houses might be blasted by beach party noise from 4-10pm on Saturday evening. There’s nothing we can do about this, except be grateful for the very tranquil and idyllic surrounding the rest of the time. Throughout the noisy period we’ll be away on the quieter side of the estate in the house we will be using for meditation meetings. However, last time we went there was no noise at all! It just depends on the local businesses.
Please be certain that you wish to join the retreat – always so many people book, and then mysteriously fall ill on the day! It makes it extremely difficult to arrange these kind of events. So please be certain you will definitely be joining. Should you cancel, please help us by paying 1000 baht for the mini-van charge (since we will have reserved you a seat).
I hope you will be able to join and share in this experience with Grahame and I – Pandit.