Rayong Beach Getaway Retreat
with mae Chee Brigitte and Pandit Bhikkhu
Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th January 2014
should be perfect weather for sun, sand and meditation
We’re returning for a weekend of quiet, meditation, and sand – on a quiet beach, Rayong province.
This time round we will travel to Rayong on a Thursday morning so we have a full 2 days at the beach. Return on Sunday afternoon. Expect the weather to be near perfect – dry and with the sea breeze.
Our visiting teacher this time is Mae Chee Brigitte – an Austrian nun who is very well known and respected – about 100 people are attending her New Year Retreat in Bangkok. For our retreat on the beach we will limit the numbers to under 30, so that we have space to rest and time for closer interaction.
It is really nice to invite a qualified and effective female teacher – it gives the meditation a different perspective and dynamic!
Leading the Retreat
Managing and co-ordinating will be Pandit Bhikkhu – a british born Buddhist monk of 17 years and orgainiser of www.littlebang.org (more details and bio here)
Austrian Mae Chee Brigitte. She has been a nun for nearly 30 years in Thailand and is fluent in English, German and Thai. Many regulars here will have met her before, and she has a great reputation for teaching meditation. We are glad to have her here in Bangkok as generally she is busy with students from around the world in the temple where she lives, or else she is travelling abroad. In Dec ’09 she was particularly honoured to receive an award for contribution to Dhamma from HRH Princess of Thailand Prof. Dr. Chulabhorn Walailak. She currently spends much of the year teaching retreats in Germany, Spain, and the US.
We will be at 3 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 and 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 – it would be nice, but 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, especially at this time of the year. Males and females will be in separate areas, so we can’t give any couples rooms either.
We will be experimenting with the schedule somewhat to balance the meditation time with some free time to enjoy the beach at this great time of the year. But the emphasis will be on meditation, and we’ll have two days of noble silence – this is a really great way to bring your attention inside, and see your self and its motivations in a way that people normally don’t get to experience. On the Sunday we will resume our talking habits over a group lunch.
There will be chance for Q&A and interaction with the teacher, dhamma talk, and practical meditation exercises. Rotating postures between sitting, walking, lying meditation, talk, Q&A and free time helps to keep the body from getting fatigued.
Thursday 23rd January
- Meet at Baan Aree (map below) near Ari BTS station at 11am
- Have your main meal at Baan Aree Vegetarian food stalls
- Depart before midday (Baan Aree fills up fast with office workers coming for lunch, so we must leave well before midday)
- Arrive Destination around 3pm
- Settle into the rooms
- 3-6 pm settle in, chat and enjoy the beach.
- 7-9pm orientation, dhamma talk and meditation before an early night.
Friday 24th and Saturday 25th January
- 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 2:30-6pm
- Light Food
- Evening Meditation and Dhamma Talk 7:30-9:30
Sunday 26th January
- 5:30 am Rising dawn meditation on the beach
- Breakfast 7:30 (ish)
- Wrap-up Dhamma Talk and meditation 9-11
- 11-12 clean up and be packed ready to leave
- Lunch 12-1:00
- Final checks and clean up, load the vans. Leave before 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. it is ok to do so in between our group meetings, during the private time. Some periods will be spent in silence, to help aid inward contemplation.
Food and other things
We will provide breakfast, large lunch, and a light evening meal. This will more than keep you alive and healthy! We’ll ask you not to eat or snack between these times – self-discipline around eating is one important part of a proper Vipassana retreat experience. In Burmese retreats there is no evening meal at all, and this provides a lightness of the body and mind, as well as gaining insight and discipline into how we look to food and drink as a psychological prop. For those who need it there will be a light evening meal., though we’d encourage you to eat only very lightly.
We cannot cater to individual diets – almost everyone seems to have special requirements these days that they can’t live without. One lesson in the monasteries, where you can’t get individual attention, is that you can actually live very well just on what people offer. We have had good experience with the restaurant we use by the beach in providing a good diet, and no one has died on us yet (not due to the food anyway).
Similarly we ask that everyone keep to the schedule of the group meetings and free time, as it maintains the group energy and focus. If you have difficulties, see the teacher or manager.
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.
Due to a change in the law regarding mini-vans we’re not quite clear on the cost of the transport, so there might be a 200 baht extra charge for those joining the minivans.
Please be sure you are attending. Spaces are limited and your food and van space will be booked and paid for, so to be fair to the organiser do not book in if you are not certain you will attend. You have up to 3 days before the retreat to cancel – any closer than that and we ask that you pay half the retreat cost to cover the expenses.
Please avoid 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 much storage space, so all bags must be stowed around your seat.
We will take meditation mats. You will need to take your own sheet and pillow cover (if that is not practical, for instance if you are touring, let us know and we’ll work something out). You’ll need your own towel, soap and toiletries.
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 or snacks 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.
If you prefer to take your own transport, then the cost is reduced by 1000 baht, to 2,300 baht/person
Male and Female will be in separate houses.
There is still space to join this retreat but the mini-van is full. If you can find your way down thereby your own transport you are welcome to join.
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, and leaves it for the organiser to pay your share of the mini-van and expenses. So please be certain you will definitely be joining.
I hope you will be able to join and share in this experience with this meditation teacher who really impresses. It’s great to get the female perspective and approach!