Thanks to my kalyanamitta (spiritual friend), Rosie, I had a chance to join a 10 days meditation retreat at the Panditarama Shwe Taung Gone Meditation Centre at Yangon, Myanmar just before 2015 ended.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.
This was how we were ~ with or without the mosquito net over us. Our uniform was white top, brown sarung and a brown cloth covering our tops (literally). (^.^)
<the top three photos were taken by Kalyananmitta Rosie >
Seems that one can request to stay in if one intend to be there more than 3 days. Log onto their website to get their registration form.
Free lodging, use of place and dana food. Of course, at the end of the retreat, one may like to make some donations to the the centre for their hospitality including free guidance.
However, we had helped clean our own room (one room for one person) and the common places of the dormitory on every Saturday and before we left, we had washed the bed sheet, pillow case, mosquito net and the borrowed brown sarong and cloth. No worries ~ got washing machine one (^.^)
In order to practise there, we had to follow their strict rules:-
1) their timetable that begins from 3am wake up to 9pm meditation
2) no talking among the yogis unless necessary and
3) observing the 8 precepts
4) must be slow in all movements including speech and when we talk, we are not suppose to move our hands (so, palms together _/|\_ better lor
I was questioned twice by the Sayalay in charge of us,
“How come I did not see you at the last meditation session for the past two nights?”
“Why are you two talking? Yogis are not supposed to talk to each other. Any doubts about meditation, please ask me or the Sayadaw during the interviews.”
(We had two interviews with Sayadaw Sweepo, who took time to understand our experiences for both the sitting and walking meditations before explaining the reasons why we had them. (^.^))
Huh? I was not feeling well mah and hor, she was so kind to teach me what she knows, I have to be polite to listen lor… (-.-)
Lesson from this meditation retreat:
To appreciate the benefit of being mindful of all our actions, thoughts and speech by slowing down in everything we do so that we could identify each movement (and thoughts) and be at the present moment.
The Chief asked me if I would continue to meditate and practise what I have learnt at the centre and I had firmly said “Yes!” …. to the best I can ya ~ (^.^)
I really feel honoured and blessed to be able to meet Sayadaw (the Chief) on the last day of our meditation retreat, just before leaving the centre, in December 2015.
He passed away on 16 April 2016