MAE HONG SON
To have this amazing experience in a Buddhist Retreat, you will need some white clothes ( & for woman, nothing visible .. ). DON’T FORGOT YOUR PASSPORT – They can’t take you in if you come without it & we saw a couple who left 5 minutes after arriving because they didn’t have their passports.
Best to arrive just around 4 pm & before 6 pm. To get change in your white clothes & have a walk around & to be ready to join everyone at 6pm for the chanting & meditation.
From “Chiang Mai” to the Buddhist Temple with a mini van from the bus station for 5 hours – 250 THB ( 6,86 euro ). The trip leave at 10.30 am with mountains, forests, beautiful green landscapes. Lots of bends, very narrow road to finally arrived there.
20 minutes to walk between huge mountains with nothing around. Get to the reception with “sue” who is going to explain all the things that you need to know in the retreat. Then, you take your key for the private Bungalow ( only for woman ). Man share a big bungalow. The place is huge & beautifully calm.
Join in the Damnha Hall – pillows are on the floor facing the Buddha –
Rules ; Men are in front & women behind. If you are a woman, you can’t talk to a Monk without anyone around. Don’t touch them…No need to know that but we never know – maybe you will need to touch one suddenly !
No talk – as you can really. You will have some badges with writing that you want to be silent for the day.
When the Monks arrived, we start chanting with the help of the book that you can find next to the hall.
DAILY PRACTICE SCHEDULE ;
5 am – Chanting on your own
6.30 am – Rice offering to the monks
7 am – Breakfast
8 am – Meditation Vipassana – Walk / seat / lay down
10.30 am – Food offering to the Monks
11 am – Lunch
1 pm – Meditation Vipassana
4 pm – Cleaning
5 pm – Relax time
6 pm – Chanting & Meditation
8 pm – Meditation Vipassana on your own
10 pm – Sleeping
A simple wood plank for bed & a bathroom – Everything is wood & by night a lot of noise comes from outside. You have the forest just behind the bungalows. Sue says that once, they had a tiger coming at night next to one of the them. More currently, snakes & giant bugs are finding in bungalows… Yes I know. I discover that once there so no turning back !
If you would like to know a bit more about “Buddhism” ;
Buddhism = Kindness, humanity & equality. It is without God, don’t need to pray to be a Buddhist.
The Buddha = The enlightened one.
Gotama the Buddha is the founder of Buddhism – Siddattha.
Satipatthana = Mindfulness of the mind.
Pali is the most important language of all the Dhamma from 26 000 years.
Last words from The Buddha – “Now then, Monks, I address you ; subject to decay are all compounded things ; work out your own solution with zeal”.
Not to do any evil, to do all the good, to purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.
The Buddha – “You, yourself must make an effort. The Buddha can only show the way, work out your own salvation with zeal”.
Before leaving ;
You can leave a message in the book of sharing & leave your envelop with some money for donation . Walk next to the the Monks house. They take care to call the taxi to come pick you up & leave you in “Pai” then we took another mini van to go back in “Chiang Mai”.