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