Rayong Beach Getaway Retreat
with Pandit Bhikkhu and Caru Dassini
Thursday 31 Oct. – Sun 3rd Nov.
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 evening so we have a full 2 days at the beach. Return on Sunday afternoon. Expect the weather to be near perfect with the end of the rainy season and the cool beach breeze.
Our visiting teacher this time is Sayalai (Ajahn) Caru Dassini. She is very focussed and a clear and precise meditation instructor. Emphasis will be on actual, practical meditation rather than dharma talks or theory.
It is really nice to invite a qualified and effective female teacher – it gives the meditation a different perspective and dynamic!
There are a total of 24 spaces available.
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)
Taking the lead on the meditation front will be Caru Dassini is from Myanmar – an ordained nun (Mae Chee) for over 20 years. She led a workshop for us in Bangkok earlier this year to great effect. Her English is very crisp and clear (especially clear for non-native English speakers).Her focus on actual meditation in the practical sense is much appreciated. She is actually a good Abhidhamma scholar also, so is certainly well grounded in Buddhism from every angle.
For some 20 years she practised in Panditarama Meditation Centre as a close disciple, translator and assistant for one of the world’s great living meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita (who was also the teacher of our regular and respected meditation teacher Steven Smith).
Now in her mid 40′s Mae Chee Caru Dassini has been in robes for about 20 years, and so has lots of experience. In the Sayadaw U Pandita lineage there is strong emphasis on mindfulness meditation in strict intensive environments, often lasting 3 months or more.
Sayalai Caru Dassini has excellent English, and is very clear and focussed. We will use this opportunity to focus on the practical direct application of the Mahasi Sayadaw method of mindfulness (Vipassana) meditation practise in the different postures. You will find her a clear and precise guide, with excellent English and communication skills.
This style of practise uses the ‘Satipatthana Sutta’ as the basis – this is the Foundations of Mindfulness that was taught by the Buddha himself, and remains the cornerstone teaching of Vipassana. There is lots of information on it around the net – google ‘foundations of mindfulness’.
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 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, especially at this time of the year.
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 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. Many years of meditation retreats in Burma have refined the method of setting up a schedule to really gain the experience of a retreat.
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 31st October
- Meet at Baan Aree (map below) near Ari BTS station at 5pm
- Have evening meal at Baan Aree Vegetarian food stalls
- Depart 5:30pm
- Arrive Destination around 8:15pm
- Settle into the rooms
- 9-10pm Short orientation and dhamma talk before an early night.
Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd
- 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 3rd November
- 5:30 am Rising dawn meditation on the beach
- 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.
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.
Similarly we ask that everyone keep to the schedule of the group meetings and free time.
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.
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 (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.
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!