Chachakka Meditation Retreat
Grahame White and Pandit Bhikkhu
19-24 October 2014
at the New Life Foundation, Chiang Rai
This retreat is now fully booked. If you’d like to be on the waiting list, you can still apply, but note there’s little chance of spaces opening up. We’ll be holding another retreat at the end of November.
Australian Vipassana (Insight) meditation teacher Grahame White will be leading a mindfulness meditation retreat together with Bangkok’s Western Buddhist monk who orgainses the Little Bangkok Sangha group, Pandit Bhikkhu. This retreat is open to all who would like to practice silent meditation together in a focused community for a few days.
The retreat is hosted by the New Life Thai Foundation in Chiang Rai. For full details and booking, head over to their website here.
The meditation style is based on the tried and tested Mahasi Sayadaw method of noting mindfully the nature of the mind in the body in the present moment.
The yogi uses a meditation object as a preliminary focus – usually the breathing. Once some awareness has been established, the field of focus is expanded in stages to encompass the whole body and mind.
This time round the emphasis will be developing mindfulness based on the model of the Six Senses.
This kind of meditation is as close as we can get to the Buddha’s own original teaching method. An exposition of mindfulness in this way is found in the Chachakka Sutta – which scholars consider to be one of the Early Buddhist Texts (EBT). During the retreat we will use this model to breakdown and understand the beautiful training of mindfulness meditation.
The teaching style found in the EBTs is a little hard to follow as a reading text, but when used as a guide to contemplation in a meditation retreat experience, it is brought vividly to life. Especially in a Northern English and an Australian accent!
Many teachings have arisen in Buddhism over the centuries. But the Early Buddhist Texts are very stark and clear in their approach. You should find this meditation and teaching style as refreshing now as it was 2500 years ago when it was taught under the trees outside of the towns and cities in North India.
◊ 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 and is one of the key teachers in Vipassana Hawaii together with Steven Smith and Michele McDonald (both of whom are often hosted in Bangkok too) where he still goes several times a year.
He has that down-to-earth Australian quality, and his meetings are always great fun.
Grahame’s activities and further bio etc.. are on his website Vipassana Illawarra here
◊ Pandit Bhikkhu While Grahame was getting into meditation, and man was landing on the moon, Phra Pandit was busy landing in the world. Now a Bhikkhu for 18 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.
Pandit is well known in Bangkok and runs the Little Bangkok Sangha, organising various kinds of meditation events.
The retreat is open to all. Beginners will get some special instructions, while the focused topic should be of interest to experienced Yogis.
The retreat will incorporate ‘Noble Silence’ which is an opportunity to stop talking and communicating with others and really turn the attention inwards.
Yogis will have chance for one-to-one interviews with Grahame, and some small group interviews too.
If you do Yoga or related practices you are welcome to continue those in the free time, but please put your emphasis on the meditation method we will be using as a group.
- 5000 baht per person, single room
- 3850 baht per person, twin room
The retreat fee covers 5 nights’ accommodation on October 19/20/21/22/23 and including meals.
NB: The New Life Foundation is a vibrant community with multiple spiritual, agricultural and building programs. An added cost of 780 baht per person per night (single room) or 650 baht per person (twin room) applies if you wish to stay at the foundation a few days before or after the retreat. Please check space availability though.
The retreat fee must be paid to the New Life Foundation in full, in advance. Please notify the NLF of payment details and send a copy of the transfer receipt to complete your registration.
All bookings are through the NLF only (and not through Little Bangkok Sangha)
Head to their website here to book.
The retreat will begin on the evening of Sunday, October 19 at 19:30pm. It will end late afternoon of Friday, October 24.
Check-in will take place from 1:300pm to 16:00pm on Sunday, October 19. A short tour of the Foundation site will take place at 17:00pm the same day, and dinner will be served at 18:30pm.
Places are limited so please sign up as soon as you are sure you wish to attend to reserve a room. For more information or registration, please contact the NLF at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that New Life is a non-profit organisation. The fee covers only the costs of holding the retreat, including food, electricity, and accommodation. Being a young foundation, we need a lot of support, so additional donations are very welcome! Please help us spread the word and bring some friends.
- The whole community practices noble silence from 21:30pm until 08:00am the next morning (until 09:00am on Sundays).
- Retreat participants will also be asked to adhere to noble silence throughout the entire period of the retreat, except for interviews.
We are a vegetarian community. Simple, healthy meals will be served, consisting of breakfast with fruit, eggs, cereal, bread, and yoghurt, and Thai-style meals for lunch and dinner. We cannot cater to special diets, but do let us know if have any food allergies.
All rooms come with ensuite bathroom, warm water shower, ceiling fan, sheets and towels.
Location: New Life Foundation
No. 49 Moo 1, Tambol Don Sila, Amphoe Wiang Chai, Chiang Rai, Thailand
The retreat fee does not include transportation to and from the retreat location. There are a number of low-cost carriers within Thailand and the Asia region if you would like to fly to Chiang Rai. Buses are also a good option. Taxis and tuk-tuks that will take you straight to the foundation can be hired at the airport or bus station.
Things to take:
- Light, comfortable clothing, e.g. loose pants, shirts, skirts and shawls
- A warm jumper or jacket and socks as mornings and evenings can be cool in October
- A raincoat or umbrella in case of rain
- Mosquito repellent: this is a natural environment and we do not use pesticides
- A bathing suit: if you would like to use the swimming pool or steam bath
- A torch: the foundation grounds are very dark at night
- A refillable water bottle: we have a natural filtration system for drinking water
- Your own toiletries
- Your own cup or mug