Fah Thai Magazine Jan-Feb 2017

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SAMUI<br />


“Our mind is like a monkey, and not<br />

a simple monkey but a drunken one!<br />

Watch your mind and your thoughts<br />

because it will become your action!<br />

– Buddha teaching<br />

On the last morning of the English<br />

course at the Centre, people can finally<br />

talk and share their experiences,<br />

complete with big smiles on their<br />

faces. After all, it is seven days of<br />

being silent – no use of social media,<br />

no mobile phone, no television, no<br />

book to read and only two vegetarian<br />

meals are taken in a day.<br />

And I wondered what had<br />

happened in the last six days to our<br />

minds. I wanted to know whether<br />

something really did happen and<br />

where it took us. It’s an interesting<br />

question that I asked participants.<br />

Wadey, an Australian biologist<br />

who lives in Malaysia felt much<br />

more aware of things after six<br />

days and says, “I decided to come<br />

for meditation without knowing<br />

anything about Buddhism or<br />

meditation. I only know it is a good<br />

opportunity. I loved the chance to<br />

calm my mind.” Another enlightened<br />

person who also spent a week at<br />

the retreat tells me, “My mind feels<br />

energetic and works very fast and<br />

adds with conviction that meditation<br />

is a good way to observe our minds.<br />

Victoria Semenova, who lives<br />

in Israel says, “I feel completely<br />

happy. I don’t know why I can’t<br />

stop smiling.” She heard about the<br />

meditation retreat some four, five<br />

years ago from friends and finally<br />

did the course. “Definitely I will<br />

come to <strong>Thai</strong>land again, just for<br />

meditation,” she says.<br />


‘Nothing lasts forever,’ even things<br />

that you like or didn’t like. Treat them<br />

with the same sense of lightness and<br />

awareness of impermanence.<br />

– Buddha teaching<br />

Linus Khan says he came to<br />

Dipabhavan to seek ‘spiritual<br />

enlightenment, spiritual<br />

inspiration’. “Basically this is a<br />

learning trip for me,” says Khan,<br />

a thirty year old participant from<br />

Pakistan who chose the meditation<br />

retreat in <strong>Thai</strong>land as a first step<br />

of his spiritual journey in Asia. He<br />

had planned the year ahead to work<br />

on his mind, body and spirit and<br />

as part of the process, and plans to<br />

go to China to study kung fu and to<br />

Peru for knowledge on shamanism.<br />

All this follows after he finished the<br />

meditation class at Dipabhavan.<br />

“I would like to work on my mind,<br />

because it will take care of your<br />

whole life.”<br />

“Meditation is never easy for newcomers — there are beautiful results yet with difficult<br />

adjustments,” says one participant.<br />

WHAT DO<br />

WE LEARN?<br />

Every teaching<br />

and practice at the<br />

centre is within<br />

the framework of<br />

Ajarn Buddhadasa’s<br />

teachings. As one of<br />

the most influential<br />

Buddhist teachers,<br />

he gets to the<br />

heart of Buddha’s<br />

teachings in a<br />

simple, direct and<br />

powerful metaphor.<br />

Dhamma talk such<br />

as ‘atta’ (self, soul<br />

or ego), ‘dukkha’<br />

(dissatisfaction,<br />

distress, suffering)<br />

and ‘upadana’<br />

(clinging, attachment)<br />

are explained by<br />

Ajarn Buddhadasa<br />

and all the dhamma<br />

principles can be<br />

summarised thus:<br />

upadana is the<br />

cause of dukkha,<br />

dukkha is born out<br />

of upadana. So it is<br />

best if we profoundly<br />

understand this<br />

matter of upadana.<br />


The meditation<br />

technique taught<br />

here at Dipabhāvan<br />

is ‘Mindfulness’<br />

with Breathing’<br />

(Anapanasati in the<br />

Pali language).<br />

Participants<br />

will learn:<br />

• how to practise<br />

mindfulness<br />

through breathing<br />

• how to develop<br />

concentration to<br />

produce tranquility<br />

of mind<br />

• mind purification<br />

to see the supreme<br />

wisdom of<br />

understanding<br />

things as they are<br />

• insight<br />

development<br />

to free our minds<br />

from attachment<br />

and suffering, i.e.<br />

‘Insight orVipassana-<br />

Meditation’<br />

Apart from the<br />

‘Mindfulness through<br />

Breathing’ practice,<br />

the daily programme<br />

at the hermitage<br />

will include yoga,<br />

Buddhist chants and<br />

the practice of ‘Loving<br />

Kindness Meditation’.<br />

Khan also wanted to handle<br />

situations like anger, anxiety,<br />

worry and the list goes on. He<br />

actually wanted to reach his true<br />

potential and meditation seems<br />

to help him fine-tune emotions.<br />

For him, only one hour of<br />

meditation a day can empower<br />

him to handle the rest of the day.<br />

The youngest practitioner<br />

was eighteen year old Ishaa<br />

Adrian from Malaysia. He<br />

chose meditation as a defining<br />

moment and the next step in life<br />

before attending university in<br />

Australia. He booked the ticket to<br />

specifically come for the retreat<br />

and learn how to treat life’s<br />

discomforts by replacing it with<br />

feelings of gratitude, optimism<br />

and overall lightness of being.<br />

But meditation for<br />

newcomers is never easy. There<br />

will be beautiful results yet with<br />

difficult adjustments. Ishaa<br />

had every strong intention to<br />

join the retreat, yet he found<br />

moments when he really wanted<br />

to quit. It was trying, despite<br />

the knowledge that learning<br />

the principles of patience and<br />

kindness will bring him great joy<br />

and big rewards.<br />

66 <strong>Fah</strong> <strong>Thai</strong>

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