It has been 5 days already! They went by so fast..especially when one has all but perfect their meditation practice.

For some reason I’ve always wanted to do a retreat, from the first time that I came to Thailand I had researched about going o some retreat. Didn’t manage to the first time around Thailand, no budget & not enough time for it. So here we are 4 and a half years later finding actually all the time to be able to do such.

Why a retreat?

I can joke and say that I’m a bit of a bad buddhist..as in I didn’t think that I meditated as properly as I should or even in a healthy dose to keep sanity of mind. Seeing as I no longer have the ailment of unhappiness with my work and have (still haven’t) a clue on what to do next..

Still on a tighter budget..but as time seems to be what I have for now to figure myself out for the next step…originally I was trying to sign up to the ones offered on Dhamma.org but those you need to sign up WAAAAY in advance. I had underestimated the popularity of these retreats especially if they are donation based. Being idealistic I feel these one are more genuine as well since the quest is up to yourself.

Luckily as soon as I touched ground at Chiang Mai I coincidentally found out that Wat Doi Suthep offers a meditation program! I read their entire website to bits and pieces, emailed them just to be sure I called them just to be sure and well they only had on offer was a 5 day retreat. Honestly I had set myself the bar of doing at least a 10 days but alas..perhaps the universe set it to 5 as a more workable goal.

So a few rules and concepts that I and other meditators had to be aware of:

– No chatting or disturbing other meditators
– Not allowed to go outside the meditation area without a permission
– No inappropriate photos

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Founding Precepts for Buddhist Meditators
1. Abstain from killing any living being
2. Abstain from stealing
3. Abstain from sexual misconduct
4. Abstain from false speech/lying
5. Abstain from alcohol, drug, smoking
6. Abstain from eating at the forbidden time (i.e’, after noon)
7. Abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, entertainment performances, wearing perfume
8. Abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep

General Rules for the Meditation Center
1- Respect your teacher, monks, meditators and friends.
2- Please take care of things and cleanliness of your accommodation.
3- Please help and take care of each other.
4- Put your heart on other, whatever wrong we will not do it.
5. Be aware of culture and believe of others.

So here was my schedule for the past 5 days (for full play by play & my takeaways read here!);

Day 1
2:00pm – Arrive at IBC office
2:30pm – Meditation training, settling into your room  & getting ready 
4:00pm – Opening Ceremony
6:00pm – Evening Chanting

Day 2, 3, 4
5:00am – Wake up
5:30am – Dhamma Talk
7:00am – Breakfast
8:00am – Individual Morning Meditation
11:00am – Lunch
12:00pm – Individual Afternoon Meditation
2:00pm – Individual Report Time
6:00pm – Evening Chanting
7:00pm – Individual Evening Meditation

Day 5
5:00am – Wake up
5:30am – Dhamma Talk
7:00am – Breakfast
8:00am – Closing Ceremony
8:30-9:30am – Check out

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The meditation and housing quarters

So obviously being the nerd that I am I researched in advance quite a bit about what to take, or expect..though they also sent me a list.

What to bring:

  • Passport (make sure your visa doesn’t expire while on retreat!)
  • 2-3 sets of white loose clothing (shirts and trousers, saw women wearing long skirts though)
  • Countdown timer (however I got an alarm clock, I just used my smartphone’s timer function but I left my phone in airplane mode for all the days)
  • White scarf or shawl (or sweater if you must) it’s chilly in the mornings and evenings.
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, bath towel, hair brush)

My recommendations:

  • Laundry powder or liquid
  • Tiny flashlight (I again just used my phone..)
  • Insect repellant
  • Walking socks
  • Flip flops

Things I wish I didn’t forget:

  • Contact lenses case (SILLY of me but in the end it was better using my glasses considering I had plenty of sitting meditation to do)
  • Toilet paper (bought it at their little shop)
  • It’s okay to bring snacks (but best if you don’t and just try to stick to the program..I had a Snickers shamefully, the tiny shop tempted me)
  • Hot water bottle (in case you want tea or just a hot drink)
  • NO expectations, I had them with me at Day 1 but quickly chucked that out otherwise this would have been a bad trip
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Day 5 – Sunrise at Doi Suthep

2 thoughts on “My 1st Vipassana Retreat! Part 1”

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