A Short Course in Meditation
with Pandit Bhikkhu
This course already started and is fully booked – We’ll be running it again next year.
For seven weeks we will hold a systematic course in mindfulness meditation, at the elegant Indus Restaurant meeting room, Sukhumvit Soi 26.
We’ll meet for group session Saturday mornings 9:45-11:30am, plus minimum 20 minute a day meditations to develop at home. Each week there will be clear instructions for new exercises, tips and tricks to getting into mindfulness meditation. In case you miss a meeting abbreviated catch-up notes will be posted for you to follow – but this is not an online course, and you’ll need to attend the classes to keep up.
There is no charge for this course but participants are asked to sign up for the duration – no part timers! Of course, you can drop out any time if you decide it is not for you.
This course is led, in English, by Pandit Bhikkhu, a Buddhist monk of 18 years.
Mindfulness meditation is the buzzword in psychology these days, and seems to be magazines on every corner. There are a lot of benefits – physical benefits in healing are easy to measure, but the mental/spiritual transformation is what really counts.
- Huffington Post runs mindfulness articles regularly.
- The Mindful Revolution – TIME Magazine
- Harvard University – 8 weeks to a better brain
… and many other links. We encourage you to do a bit of research yourself too.
However, it is not so easy, coming into touch with your own mind. It takes time and dedication. We’re not trying to sell any kind of quick fix. While meditation is for anyone interested to practise, it does require some conscious effort to plonk yourself down on a cushion each day, even for a short period. Compare it to learning a guitar or yoga – it takes a daily effort if you are going to get effective at it!
But try it for yourself.
Just a short practise of 20 minutes a day can really enrich your life.
This is an ancient technique that comes from Buddhism. It involves dis-associating from your thoughts and feelings and training yourself to view them (i.e. yourself) from the perspective of an observer, a witness. After a time one gets to see the thoughts, motivations, fears, and the physical body in a new light. This is called ‘insight’ and is the vehicle of transformation. There is no need to learn complicated mantras, chants or take up religious devotions. It is a simple practise of observing patiently the mechanisms of mind and body, in order to know yourself better.
There are tons of articles around on the internet.
- Here’s one account of mindfulness in low performing San Francisco Schools
- Britain’s Telegraph Newspaper ran a recent lengthy article on meditation, including its effectiveness in treating depression
- One of the longest running and most rigorously documented programs of research into Mindfulness is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program. See a Guardian Newspaper article on it here.
Thanh Huynh, a cancer surgeon in Hawaii, put together this course for use with cancer patients around the world. As part of their recovery therapy they follow the exercises each week by themselves at home. They report each week online to the group and the coaches who give encouragement and answer any questions. Obviously their condition arouses some urgency and committment to the program and really trying it out. Next year Dr Huynh intends to complete a full scale study and peer-reviewed report using this program.
We have the added advantage of being able to meet up each week for a class and to meditate together. You need to attend the meetings to keep up with the instructions. Catch-up notes will be posted on a password protected at www.littlebang.org in case you miss a week. But it is not an online course – you really need to be able to attend on Saturday mornings.
You are asked to keep up with a minimum of 20 minutes a day sitting in meditation. We’ll show you how, but at the end of the day, it only works it if you work it!
To keep you active and involved there will be a web page posted with the meditation instructions in brief, and a short poll to fill out indicating anonymously your progress, difficulties, and feeling – this is very nice for creating something of a group spirit.
If you can’t keep up, then it is ok to drop out entirely at any time.
Last year we had great fun doing this, with some 80 participants involved. (photos here!)
You don’t need to meet any criteria to join this course. It is open to everyone. We won’t be doing any ritual or religious activities (though these do play a part in the wider scope of meditation). It does not matter what religion you belong to, if any. We will focus entirely on how to meditate, and why. It is a very practical exercise.
If you are already experienced in meditation you are also welcome to join. Your presence will be an encouragement to others. And it is always nice to come together in a group setting to practise our dedication to the still point in the mind!
I have been involved in meditation since 1990. In 1994 I joined a monestary for a year in the UK, and then came to Thailand to ordain as a Buddhist monk, in Rajabrui Province in 1996. Since then I spent most of my time in Bangkok. Since 2007 I have been organising meditation events, talks and seminars in Bangkok under the name of Little Bangkok Sangha.
Meetings will be 9:45 am – 11:15 am each Saturday morning. You don’t need to bring anything – we have mats and cushions ready for you. Those with poor knees or backs can also use a chair.
- Saturday 14th February – course opens.
- Saturday 21/28 Feb and 7/14/21 March continues with weekly meetings and instructions.
- Saturday 28th March – Last day of the course – with a closing ceremony and lunch (300 baht for lunch)
So what’s left to ponder – sign up!
Sorry – it’s no longer possible to sign up for this course – it is fully booked and already underway. We will run it again next year though. Also, there are assorted programs, workshops etc.. all year through. Keep an eye on this website.
The Indus Restaurant is an 8 minute walk from Phrom Phong BTS Station, along Sukhumvit 26
Dhamma is Priceless
In Buddhism we consider that mindfulness, and the meditation teachings (Dhamma) are priceless, as they lead towards the purification of the heart. And they belong to everyone equally. This is why it should not be charged money for. Many groups do have operating costs to meet and so sometimes collect a small fee, though usually this is met through ‘dana’ (donation).
In our case we have been very kindly supported by the Indus Restaurant without charge.
It is entirely up to you how much time/effort you put into trying out the meditation exercises – naturally the more time you give to it, the more comfortable with it you will become.
Mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhism, but these days is practised also in a secular (non-religious) way. For this course, the focus is entirely on the meditation, rather than the wider topic of Buddhism. To learn more about Buddhism, keep an eye on this website for other events.