Report: May 2010 weekend meditation retreat

The first weekend in May 2010, some  30 of us took Australian Abbot and webmaster of  to Hua Hin for a meditation weekend.

Click here to jump to the photo album (which is hosted on facebook)

We’d booked in a brand new block of condos called Blue Mountain Golf Resort. It is a large block of holiday condos, which remain largely unsold. The management therefore opened it up for use as a hotel to make use of the empty rooms. There were 30 of us in the end – which is pretty much the maximum we could have managed – sorry to those who tried to book in but were too late. We went by two minivans which were packed to the ceiling – next time we’ll have to ask people to bring just soft bags that can be stowed at the feet or under the seats, as there is no luggage space in the 14 seater vans after all the sitting mats have been stowed. The driver insisted on taking his girlfriend along too, which did not help. The way back was a little easier as several people went back in the private cars.

The meditation room is a large condo, with plenty of space. What was lacking in monastic atmosphere, was plentiful in air-conditioned comfort and cleanliness. It was very quiet and had great views out over Hua Hin and the ocean. The rooms were also great, with plenty of space, even when sharing.

Ajahn Pannyavaro was leading the meditation. Essentially a forest meditator, he comes from the lineage of Sayadaw U Janaka (Chinmay Sayadaw). Focus is on mindful sitting and walking with six stages of foot movement. Most of the yogis had some prior experience at meditation. There was plenty of walking space in the air-con rooms of the condo block and around the 6th floor. There were practically no other guests, so we had the place to ourselves for the most part.

We have to offer thanks to Khun Ubol for giving us the chance to use this great facility at such a big discount. The staff and service were excellent as they really looked after us. The food was excellent too.

We will be arranging more retreats in the near future. There are a number of venues we can use, some of which are pretty basic, but very cheap. Others are set up for professional silent and structured retreats.

It is a learning curve organising a group of people – and much has been learned for next time. Including listening to the advice of Rubby, as she is usually right! Rubby deftly handled all the money and hotel liasing, for which we are all grateful.

About 9500 baht was offered in donations at the end of the retreat, to which we added about 6000 baht that was left over after paying all the bills. All of this was offered to Ven. Pannyavaro’s Bodhi Tree temple in Australia. Sadhu!

5 replies on “Report: May 2010 weekend meditation retreat”

  1. Nice digs! Can you please let me know when the next retreat will be taking place? Bup and I would love to join you.

  2. It’s a long way to come for a weekend Tristan … but I intend to do one of these retreats every two months at least. Venues will alternate between luxury, semi-luxury and basic but intensive.

  3. Thank you for organizing a great retreat.

    May I ask next time that the A/C be turned down a bit so it won’t get so cold for me as to lose concentration. At one point after walking meditation session it started to get so cold I had to retreat to my room as I couldn’t afford to take sick leave from work any more. Granted the hottest season was barely over, but we were after all at beach resort and I saw some people wearing jacket in the room and one person who couldn’t stop sneezing while having lunch. I also had problem hearing not only because the teacher was soft-spoken but because of the A/C running at full blast and poor room acoustic in such a plain, shelf-less room. Same with Ariyasom Monday meditation session. I choose to sit in the back of the room so I won’t get the full blow of the A/C but because it seems to be always running at full blast I have problem hearing you. Otherwise the room was spacious, cozy and clean and food was great. Not to mention very quiet, serene setting.

    1. Well, Jennifer took control of the AC … There are usually hot and cold spots – where I was sitting was very hot. Sometimes it’s a case of moving around to find the right place. Personally I don’t like strong air-con, but everyone is different. In the morning I suggested we turn it off and open the windows, but was out-voted as most people wanted the air-con. Next time I will set it to 28 degrees, medium fan and swing motion. for the walking there was a whole room next to the bigger condo room that was unused for walking – I mentioned it a couple of times, but noone went in there. There are enough rooms in the condo next time that we can have hifgh air, low air and outside for people to choose from.

      1. In the evening talk on the 2nd day I went all the way back to the room outside the door but then I could hardly hear Ajahn Pannyavaro. I guess I didn’t even have to be in the room during self-practice session but I seem to have missed a lot of talk/teaching from 2nd day noon onward. I would imagine everybody would complain at 28C so I suppose you can set it a bit cooler but how about turning the fan at low during the talk/teaching so people who found warm spot wouldn’t have hard time hearing.

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