Meditation in Southeast Asia

Compiled by Dieter Baltruschat Translatedby Katharina Titkemeyer Munich, BGM Oktober 2007

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa Namo TassaBhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa Namo Tassa Bhagavato ArahatoSammasambuddhassa

Munich,Oktober 2007 Compiled by Dieter Baltruschat Translated from German into Englishby Katharina Titkemeyer ©opyright by the author of the text

Reproductionof these texts for sale or material gain is prohibited. Permission for freedistribution is hereby granted, and no further permission need to be obtained.

Free downloadat: www.retreat-infos.de

Newinformations or remarks please to retreat-infos@gmx.de

Although the information in this bookhave been carefully reviewed for correctness, neither the publisher nor thetranslator and the authors can accept any legal responsibility for any errorsor omission that may be made.

1. Thailand...................................................................................................................6

1.1 Wat Suan Mokkh ...............................................................................................7

1.2 Dipabhavan........................................................................................................9

1.3 Wat Kow Tahm InternationalMeditation Center .............................................. 10

1.4 Wat Pah Nanachat (InternationalForest Monastery)....................................... 12

1.5 Wat Ram Poeng ..............................................................................................16

1.6 Wat Phra Dhatu Sri ChomtongVoravihara (pronounce: Wat Prah That) ........ 18

1.7 Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep..................................................................................20

1.8 Wat Doi Phra Koet ...........................................................................................22

1.9 Wat Thaton.......................................................................................................22

1.10 Santisukh Tudongsathaan (WatPa Pae) ...................................................... 23

1.11 Wat Pah Baan Taad.......................................................................................25

1.12 Wat Sanghathan MeditationCenter (on the suburb of Bangkok) .................. 27

1.13 Ban Sawang Jai (Khao YaiMeditationszentrum)........................................... 29

1.14 Thailand Vipassana CentreDhamma Abha................................................... 33

1.15 Sorn-Thawee MeditationCentre (Samnak Vipassana Sorn)..........................34

1.16 Samnak Songh Boonyawat ...........................................................................36

1.17 Wat Marp Jun (also Wat MabChan or Wat Subhaddabanpot)...................... 38

1.18 Samnak Song Tham Krabok (drugwithdrawal) ............................................. 41

2. Myanmar (Burma)..................................................................................................42

2.1 Panditarama MeditationCentre (Shwe Taung Gon Sasana Yeiktha).............. 44

2.2 Hse Main Gon ForestMeditation Center ......................................................... 46

2.3 Pa-Auk Forest MeditationCenter (branch near Yangon) ................................ 49

2.4 Pa-Auk Forest Monastery ................................................................................52

2.5 Dhamma Joti VipassanaCentre ...................................................................... 54

2.6 Mahasi Sasana YeikthaMeditation Centre ..................................................... 56

2.7 Chanmyay Yeiktha MeditationCentre, Yangon ...............................................58

2.8 Chanmyay Yeiktha MeditationCentre, Hmawbi .............................................. 61

2.9 Chanmyay Myaing MeditationCentre.............................................................. 63

2.10 Saddhamma Ransi MeditationCentre .......................................................... 66

2.11 The-Pyu Tawya VipassanaMeditation Centre & Monastery.......................... 67

2.12 Sîtagu InternationalBuddhist Academy (Study center) ................................. 68

2.13 Dhammavijjalaya Centre forBuddhist Studies (Study center)........................70

3. Sri Lanka................................................................................................................72

3.1 Nilambe............................................................................................................73

3.2 Lewella Meditation Centre................................................................................74

3.3 Dhammakuta....................................................................................................75

3.4 Lanka Vipassana Centre..................................................................................77

3.5 Island Hermitage (Polgasduwa).......................................................................78

3.6 Vipassana BhavanaMadhyasthana................................................................. 79

3.7 University Forest Solitude................................................................................80

3.8 Nissarana Vanaya............................................................................................81

3.9 Meditation Centre Kanduboda......................................................................... 82

3.10 RockhillHermitage and International Retreat Centre.....................................84

4. Nepal.....................................................................................................................88

4.1 Nepal Vipassana Centre .................................................................................89

4.2 Panditarama LumbiniInternational Vipassana Meditation Centre....................91

4.3 Rigpe Dorje InstitutePullahari Monastery (Tibetian Tradition)......................... 93

5. India.......................................................................................................................96

5.1 Bodh-Gaya-Retreats 2008...............................................................................96

6. Further reading and links.......................................................................................97

Preface and thanks

First of all I would like to thank all those people who exertgreat effort and devotion to support the Asian meditation centres andmonasteries by giving donations and assistance and/or passing on the Dhamma. Threepersonal reports from people who had meditated in Asia, given to the members ofthe Munich Buddhist Society during their regular Monday meetings, formed thebasis of this retreat guide. They were written down in order to be available tonewly interested people at any time. The result was a rapidly increasing loose-leafcollection of interesting information concerning meditation in Asia (mainly inform of leaflets of various monasteries) in the offices of the German BuddhistUnion. Many thanks to all who contributed to this collection! However, keepingit up to date proved to be difficult and passing on the information required alot of time and money (making copies, dispatch them, etc.) That was why WernerLiegl suggested to grant interested people free and easy access to thecollected information by making it available through the internet. Apart fromthat he generously offered to bring his knowledge and his engagement to bear onthe project and to carry it out. From that time data and personal reports werecollected on a larger scale and were brought into a systematic form based onBill Weir’s (see literary reference). The first printout contained about tencentres. Hilde Scheller assisted in proofreading and phrasing. Désirée Schoenkindly took on the editor’s job and supplied the printouts. Also many thanksfor their personal reports and information to Ven. Pra Claus, Hildegard Huber,Sr. Ariya Nani, Samaneri Uppalavanna Theri, Samanera Analayo, Maggy, MalineePolte, Ven. Mettiko Bhikkhu, Gerd Neller, Ven. Than Martin, Jörg Dittmar, SteveWeissman, Helge Latzina, Chanda von Keyserlingk, Hella Lohmann, Martin H. Petrich,Than Gavesako, Metaji, ErikHausstädtler the peopleworking at buddhanet.net and a modest Samanera, who does not want to bementioned by name (although he made a considerable contribution to the SriLanka chapter). I am particularly grateful to Katharina Titkemeyer, whotranslated the first four chapters (Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and Nepal) intoEnglish and Désirée Schoen, Andrej and Than Gavesako who overtook the editor’sjob for the English version, too, as well as the translation of some paragraphs.Different people prefer and dislike different kinds of food – the same it truefor meditation methods, Dhamma talks, places and retreat conditions. Almostevery place described in this retreat guide was particularly recommended bysomeone. However, this does not mean that somebody else would recommend it, too.Thus the individual descriptions within the chapters are not ordered accordingto their quality, but mainly chronologically; other aspects were geographicalproximity and belonging to the same tradition. May all people find a suitableplace and reach freedom. Dieter Baltruschat

1. Thailand

Thailand is apleasant and uncomplicated country to travel in. Flight fares (from US$ 600 up,usually around US$ 850) are fairly reasonable. Health care and hygienicstandards are high in comparison to other Asian countries, the cuisine isconsidered one of Asia’s finest, and Thais are friendly people. Obtaining visasis uncomplicated. It has some outstanding meditation teachers. Some monasterieshave excellent conditions for practice. Thailand also offers a broad spectrumof retreats. Whether you are a beginner wishing to combine a beach holiday witha meditation course, a meditator who wishes to ordain in a forest monastery, orsimply want to practise intensely, you will find a suitable place. English,however, is not commonly spoken and therefore communication can be difficult,especially in the lesser known monasteries. A four week visitors’ visa can beobtained at no cost at the airport. Tourist visas (valid two months) or non-immigrantvisas (valid three months) must be obtained before entry at Thai embassies orconsulates. We recommend the travel guide Thailand – A Travel Survival Kit (LonelyPlanet). Reasonable flights: With Thai Air Asia; website: www.airasia.com;11 routes starting from Bangkok (e.g. to Macau/China, Kuala Lumpur and Penangin Malaysia and to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket in Thailand). Or withNokair (cheap subsidiary of Thai Airways); website: www.nokai.co.th;routes: from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Phuket and Hat Yaiin Thailand (prices for example: Bangkok–Phitsanulok 995 THB (= approx. 19 Euro);Chiang Mai–Bangkok 928 THB (= approx. 18 Euro)).

Located in its own two story building at the back of a park atSukhumvit Road and Soi

24. This is the best place in Bangkok to find out about thelatest meditation retreats,

teachings and information on Buddhist centres in Thailand: WorldFellowship of Buddhists (WFB) 616 Benjasiri Park Soi - Medhinivet off SoiSukhumvit, 24 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 Thailand Tel: (662) 661 1284-89 Fax:(662) 661 0555 Email: wfb_hq@asianet.co.th Internet: www.wfb-hq.org Onthe First Sunday of every month the WFB offers a program on Buddhism conductedin English, free of charge for the public at its headquarters off SukhumvitRoad, Bangkok.

1.1 Wat SuanMokkh

by Dieter Baltruschat, last updatedMarch 2003

Address: noregistration (but arrive on time)

Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, Surat Thani 84110,Thailand

Internet: www.suanmokkh.org

Description: The “Garden ofLiberation” is located about 640 km south of Bangkok, 50 km from Surat Thani (ferryto Ko Samui and Ko Phangan). Wooded area with hill and pond. The monks’ livingquarters are strewn along paths through the wood. Larger common buildingsinclude the spiritual theatre (art exhibitions), the Dhamma­ships (congregationhalls) and the guest kitchen. Unfortunately, traffic noise from highway 41 canbe heard. Retreats are conducted in the fairly quiet retreat center about 1.5km away. It accommodates up to 180 people. Palm trees and two hot springs canbe found on the spacious grounds where you can stretch your legs during breaks.

How to getthere: From Bangkok best take the train to Chaiya (not all trains stop!).The trip is about 12 hours. We recommend the 2nd class sleeper (takereservations!). From Chaiya take a Songthaew (shared taxi, about 10 Baht) forthe 7 km to Wat Suan Mokkh. From Surat Thani or Phun Phin (train station) about1 hour by bus (departs hourly, about 20 Baht). Absolutely arrive before dusk.

Tradition andFocus: Theravada, methods according to Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. Introductionto meditation and basics of Buddhism.

Meditationtechnique: Anapanasati (Mindfulness with Breathing) is practised during theentire retreat. Ajahn Buddhadasa does not strictly differentiate betweenSamatha and Vipassana meditation. Rather, he advocates the simultaneousdevelopment of mental tranquility and insight (the bird’s two wings). Anapanasatiis taught in four steps: observation of the body (kaya), of feeling (vedana),the mind (citta) and the insight into the highest dhamma. These fourobservations are subdivided into four steps.

Teacher andguidance: Ajahn Poh is in his early seventies. He is highly experienced inmeditation and in teaching Buddha-Dhamma. He heads the Wat following thetradition of famous Dhamma teacher Ajahn Buddhadasa. Teachings will be by AjahnPoh, monks, or Western meditators. Teachers are not called teachers but Dhamma-friends.Personal questions can be addressed individually with Ajahn Poh or others.

Language(s): Teachings are in English. Thai-English needs getting usedto and for a

newcomer isoften difficult to comprehend.

Course duration and dates: A 10-dayretreat starts every first day of the month (ends the morning of the 11th). Sincepreregistration is not available you must arrive on time, that is, one dayearly at the latest (better two). Dormitory accommodation available. Registrationon the last day of the month starting about 9 a.m.

Accommodation: Between and before retreats in the WatSuan Mokkh dormitory. For men also in kutis in the forest. During retreatsindividual cells (womens‘ and mens‘ house) in the retreat center. Simple butclean toilets and laundry facilities. No showers, but mandis (water basin andplastic bowl). In the evening you have the possibility to take a bath in a hotspring. Men will need shorts (no bathing trunks), women a sarong (no bathingsuits). You sleep on straw mats placed directly on concrete or wooden floors. Ifyou consider this too hard, bring an insulation pad (Ridge-Rest or Therm-A-Restare a little more costly, but quite comfortable). Mosquito nets and blanketscan be borrowed. A light sleeping bag may be a good idea especially during thecooler season. Meditation pillows and pads are available. In “high season” (Decemberto March) pillows may become scarce.

Shopping: Before the retreat you should buy a torch,shorts (for men), a sarong (cloth for wearing, covering, fending off mosqiitoes),flip-flops, water bottle, insect repellant and hygiene articles. Youcan buy these things in Chaiya. During the rainy season an umbrella is useful. Somehygiene articles and other daily necessities can be bought during the retreat.

Food: For breakfast there is rice soup and a hot drink. For lunchthere is rice, two vegetarian dishes and sometimes fruit (self-service). Evenings:a hot drink. Potable water (rain water) is filtered and is safe for consumption.If you want to be sure, bring disinfectant.

Cost: A 10-day retreat is about 1200 Baht, outside retreat timesdormitory accommodation and evening tea are for free. Breakfast and lunchvouchers are 30 Baht.

Medical care: Very good by Asian standards. Thenearest hospital and pharmacies are in Chaiya. The area is not consideredmalaria area, but in other parts of Thailand malaria is common. Hygienicconditions in the Wat are good.

Rules: Participantscommit themselves to remain for the entire retreat, to observe the schedule, tokeep noble silence, not to read (except meditation instructions) and write, tosuspend sexual activities and to observe the eight silas (eight moral precepts).Clothing should be comfortable, functional, and decent (no shorts or tank tops).Each participant is expected to take on a task serving the community (e.g. sweeping,filling up water) and to endeavor to lead a spiritual life.

Climateand best time to go: March, April (from april onwards very hot). Very crowdedduring main season from December to February and July/August. The rainy seasonin Southern Thailand is November/December.

Notes: A warm jacketcan be useful during morning meditation. People with back problems should bringa good sleep pad. Books for the library are welcome. You can find moreinformation and a short meditation instruction at www.suanmokkh.org.Very suitable for beginners, good conditions.

Daily schedule: 4:00 a.m.: morning bell 2:30 p.m.: medit.instruction

4:30 a.m.: morning reading 3:30 p.m.: walkingmeditation

4:45 a.m.: sitting meditation 4:00 p.m.:sitting meditation

5:15 a.m.: exercise (f.i. Yoga) 4:30 p.m.:walking meditation

7:00 a.m.: sitting meditation 5:00 p.m.:chanting

8:00 a.m.: breakfast 6:00 p.m.: tea

10:00 a.m.: Dhamma talk 7:30 p.m.: Dhammatalk

10:45 a.m.: walking meditation 8:00 p.m.:walking meditation

11:15 a.m.: sitting meditation 8:30 p.m.:sitting meditation

12:00 a.m.: walking meditation 9:00 p.m.:end

12:30 a.m.: lunch

1.2 Dipabhavan

Sources: Volkmarand Homepage and Flyer, updated April 2006

Contact address: Dipabhavan Meditation Centre, Lamai,Koh Samui, Thailand

Mrs. Siriwan Pongchababnapa, Tel: +66(0)1 892 3457

Further infos on: www.samui-light.com

Description: New meditation centre Dipabhavan or Theepapawan -"TheDevelopment of Light Hermitage" situated on the well-known holiday islandKoh Samui in the province of Suratthani offers since April 2006 every month two-weekretreats starting from 15th till 20th in Thai language and from 22nd till 27thin English. Due date for applications is one day before the beginning, thatis on the 21st of each month. Meeting point is at Wat Sila Ngu Monasterysituated near the Rocky Resort, Lamai at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Theteaching and daily retreat routine is similar to the 10-days-retreat in InternationalDhamma Hermitage in Wat Suan Mokkh.

1.3 Wat Kow Tahm International Meditation Center

by DieterBaltruschat, using a leaflet and the homepage; updated from Steve Weissman July2007

Address:        P.O. Box 18, Koh Pahngan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand Internet: www.watkowtahm.org,E-mail: info@watkowtahm.org

Early registration recommended!! Arrivalone day ahead of course between 1 and 2 p.m.!!

Winter season 2007-2008:December14-23, January 17-26 2008 (special old & new students’ retreat), February 14-23and March 13-22 2008

Summer 2008: June 12-21,July 8-26 (special old & new students’ retreat), August 17-26

Location: Wat Kow Tahmis beautifully situated on a wooded hill near the village of Ban Khai on thewell-known holiday island Koh Phangan. It is not too large, cosy, and haslovely vistas of the island and the sea. Basically it consists of themeditation hall, kitchen, and several small dorms for the participants, washingfacilities and huts for the monks and nuns.

How to getthere: From Bangkok by train or plane to Surat Thani. The train ridetakes approx. 13 h. The 2nd class sleeper is recommended (reserve!). From Surat Thanior Phun Phin (train station) to the ferry pier and by ferry to Koh Phangan. Purchaseof a combined train/ferry ticket is recommended. It is faster to fly directlyfrom Bangkok to Ko Samui and take the ferry to Koh Phangan. There are two ferryroutes from Ko Samui to Ko Phangan: one from Nathon and a shorter from BigBuddha Beach, the latter of which is much closer to the airport. From ThongSala pier take a taxi or motorbike taxi. Since some taxi drivers do not go upthe bit from the main road to the Wat, you may have to walk it, but it isfairly short. Teacher: Rosemary and Steve Weissman have been teachingsince 1988. The atmosphere is pleasant and in three interviews meditatorsreceive very helpful advice for practice and everyday problems.

Course and duration of retreat: A courseusually runs 10 days. The program includes insight meditation (in all bodypositions), development of loving kindness, reflections, stretching exercisesin the morning, and quite interesting lectures. For former students of Rosemaryand Steve Weissman a 20-day course is held every two years. Sometimes, afterthe 10 days, there is a possibility of staying on for a few days in themonastery to end the course with a reduced program.

Language(s):English.

Costs andshopping: The 10-days course fee of 4500 Baht covers the cost of lodgingand food. Further donations are welcome. Daily necessities can be bought inThong Sala (the ferry port). Before the retreat, buy flashlight, flip-flops,water bottle, insect repellent, detergent, and toiletries.

Accommodationand food: Rather small dorms. Bath and toilet are set apart from the quarters.Laundry facilities exist. Men and women are in separate quarters. Bunk bedswith thin straw mattresses. Blankets, mosquito nets, pillows for sleeping andfor meditation and pads for sitting can be borrowed. A sleeping bag can beparticularly useful during the cooler season. Persons with back problems shouldbring a good quality sleep pad. Outside retreat times no overnight stayspossible. Excellent Asian cuisine (self-service). Breakfast, lunch with riceand two to three vegetarian dishes and fruit in the evening. Drinking wateravailable.

Medical care: Very good byAsian standards. This area is not considered contaminated with malaria, but inother parts of Thailand malaria is endemic.

Rules: Allparticipants commit themselves to stay for the entire retreat, to adhere toschedule, to keep silence, not to read and write (except notes and meditationdiary). Sexual activities are to be discontinued for the duration of theretreat and the five silas (moral practice precepts) to be adhered to. Clothesshould be comfortable and decent (no shorts and tank tops). Each participant isexpected to assume a task serving the community (e.g. sweeping, cleaning baths).

Climate andbest time to go: January, February, March. During the main season fromDecember to February and in July / August it is very crowded.

Note: Excellentfor beginners. Aside from the crowded living quarters very good conditions.

1.4 Wat PahNanachat (International Forest Monastery)

source: Dieter Baltruschat andwebsite, last updated Oct. 2007

Address: early registration strongly recommended!

Wat Pah Nanachat

The Guest Monk

Ban Bung Wai, Ampher Warin Chamrap

Ubon Ratchathani 34310, Thailand

Tel: 045-4000-15 and Fax: 045-400-16.

Internet: http://www.watpahnanachat.org (no email)

Location: Wat PahNanachat is located on the road between the towns Warin and Si Saket near thevillage Ban Bung Wai in a little forest. The Wat is about 15 km from thenortheastern Thai city of Ubon Ratchathani. To Bangkok about 600 km, to theLaos border about 80 km.

Language(s): English.

How to get there from Bangkok: Mornings, there are two trainsto Ubon (departure

5:45 a.m. and 6:40 a.m., arrival 2:05 and 5:45 p.m.). Werecommend the night train with sleeper (departure 9 p.m., arrival 7:20 a.m.,about 500 Baht). Ubon train station is located in the nearby town of Warin (theinexpensive Rivermoon guest-house is at walking distance). Then take a Songtaewto Bung Wai (about 20 Baht). From the northern bus terminal about 15 busses perday leave for Ubon (starting

4:30 a.m. until9 p.m.). In the town center you’ll find an excellent tourist information (townmap, interesting brochures, Tel. 045-243770). If you arrive by bus at Ubon youcan take the pink city bus to Warin (5 Baht). Then take a Songtaew to Bung Wai (about20 Baht). Twice daily (morning and evening) there is a flight from Bangkok toUbon (about 1400 Baht). A taxi to the Wat is about 200 Baht.

Tradition: The Wat wasfounded in 1975 by Ajahn Chah, a Theravada meditation teacher highly regardedin Thailand. Ajahn Sumedo was its first abbot. Other abbots included AjahnPasanno, Ajahn Jayasaro and Ajahn Nyanadhammo.

Meditationtechnique: Life and practice according to strict Thai forest monasticguidelines. No particular technique is practised; rather, meditators areinvited to draw from the abundance of the Theravada tradition’s recommendedreflections and practices (e.g. Anapanasati, 32 body parts ...).

Costs: Guests are welcome to give a donation.

Extendedstay and possibilities to ordain: Since the monastery is not a retreatcenter for laypersons, it does not offer meditation courses. Hence there are noparticular dates to adhere to. However, six male and six female guests can beaccommodated for some time to participate in monastic everyday life. Sincedemand is high, early registration is highly recommended. Usually, guests havethe option to practise several hours a day individually. Wat Pah Nanachatoffers to the interested the opportunity to live the authentic life of a Thaiforest tradition monk. Laymen who want to be accepted into the Sangha trainabout 6 months as pa-khao in white and 1 year as novice before being fullyordained as monks. There is no community of nuns/nunnery at Wat Pah Nanachat. However,women can apply to this monastery in England: Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Gt.Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3 BZ, United Kingdom.

Accommodation:Forthe first three days guests are accommodated in dorms. If you want to staylonger, you have to consult the abbot. Men are then asked to shave their heads,wear white clothing and move to a kuti (hut) in the forest. A light sleepingbag is useful, especially during the cooler season. Mosquito nets, sheets,blankets and pillows are provided by the monastery.

What to bring:Beforearriving, be sure to get an alarm clock, a quality torch (sparebulb and batteries), flip-flops, water bottle, insect repellant, toiletarticles, candles and matches. All these things are available in Warin or Ubon.A warm jacket may be useful during morning meditation.

Food: The only mealof the day is breakfast at 8 a.m. Laypersons receive a share of the foodoffered to the monks.

Medical care: Good by Asianstandards. The nearest hospital and pharmacies are in the province capital Ubon.The area is not considered malaria area but in other parts of Thailand malariais common.

Rules: All guests commit themselves to adhere to the eight silas (moralprecepts). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shorts or tanktops). Female guests traditionally wear a white blouse and a black skirt.

Daily schedule:

Morning chanting and meditation Dawn: monks and novices go outfor alms, guests sweep paths or help in the kitchen.

8:00 a.m.: meal

9:00 a.m.: tidying up

9:30 a.m.: individual practice

3:30 p.m.: communal work (sweeping etc.)

4:30 p.m.: afternoon drink (sometimes sangha meeting)

6:30 p.m.: individualpractice Evening chanting and meditation

Climate andbest time to go: November to February.

Notes: Particularlyinteresting for men who want to live for some time according to the rules ofThai forest monasteries and who consider ordaining, and for people who areinterested in this tradition. Day guests best arrive before 8 a.m. They arevery welcome to participate in the offered meal. After that, there is anopportunity to speak with the abbot. An interesting visit can be made to thememorial (stupa and museum) of Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong (www.watnongpahpong.org)not far away. Texts by Ajahn Chah at: www.ajahnchah.org

Affiliated monasteries:

Britain: AmaravatiBuddhist Monastery Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3BZOffice Tel: (01442) 842455, Retreat Info - Tel: 843239 Guest Info - Tel: 843411,Fax: (01442) 843721 www.amaravati.org

ArunaRatanagiri Monastery, Harnham, Belsay, Northumberland, NE20 OHF Tel: 01661 881 612,Fax: 01661 881 019 email: community@ratanagiri.org.uk Web site: www.ratanagiri.org.uk

CittavivekaChithurst Buddhist Monastery Chithurst, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 5EU Tel: (01730)814 986 Fax: (01730) 817 334 Web site: www.cittaviveka.org

Devon Vihara, Hartridge Buddhist Monastery Upottery,Honiton,Devon EX14 9QE Tel: (01404) 89-1251, Fax: (01404) 89-0023 Web site: www.amaravati.org/hartridge

SwitzerlandDhammapala Buddhistisches Kloster Am Waldrand, CH 3718 Kandersteg Tel: 033 675 2100, Fax: 033 675 2241, Internet: www.dhammapala.ch

ItalySantacittarama Monastero Buddhista, loc. Brulla, 22, 02030 Frasso Sabino (RI) ItalyTel: (+39) 0765 872 186 (7:30-10:30, every days except Monday), Fax: (+39)06 233 238 629 Web site: www.santacittarama. org email:sangha@santacittarama.org

AustraliaBodhinyana Monastery Lot 1, Kingsbury Drive, Serpentine. WA 6125 Tel: (61-8) 95252420 Fax: (61-8) 9525 3420

Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre (Perth) 18-20 Nanson Way,Nollamara. WA 6061 Tel: (61-8) 9345 1711 Fax: (61-8) 9344 4220 Web site forboth: www.bswa.org.au

BodhivanaMonastery 780 Woods Point Road, East Warburton, Victoria 3799 Tel: +61 (0) 3 59665999, Fax: +61 (0) 3 5966 5998

New ZealandBodhinyanarama 17 Rakau Grove, Lower Hutt, Wellington Tel: (04) 563-7193, Fax:(04) 563-5125 Web site: www.bodhinyanarama.net.nz

AucklandBuddhist Vihara 29 Harris Road, Mt. Wellington,Auckland Tel: (09) 595 5443 Website: www.vimutti.org.nz

North America Abhayagiri Monastery 16201 Tomki Road, Redwood,Valley, CA 95470 Tel: (707) 485-1630, Fax: (707) 484-7948 Website: www.abhayagiri.org

1.5 Wat RamPoeng

information by Maggie and Dieter usingleaflet, last updated by Florian Jan 2007

Address: pre-registration recommended!

Northern Insight Meditation Center

Wat Ram Poeng (Tapotaram)

Tambol Suthep, Amphur Muang

Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Tel: +66-53-27 86 20, Fax: +66-53-81 0197

E-mail: watrampoeng@hotmail.com

Location: The InsightMeditation Center is some kilometres northwest of Chiang Mai (close to theairport). On the grounds there are a beautiful old stupa, smaller clusters ofbuildings with individual cells for meditators, bungalows, kitchen and dininghall as well as some other buildings.

How to getthere: From Bangkok take the night train (approx. 13 hs), bus, plane (approx.1 h) to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai take a tuk tuk or shared taxi to the Wat (dependingon your bargaining skills, 50 to 100 Baht). The mini-bus from airport tomonastery costs 100 Baht. Taxi ist a bit more expensive but still appropriate. Pricesfor taxi to the monastery depend on where you get on at the exit of domesticterminal.

Tradition: Theravada,Vipassana meditation in the Mahasi tradition.

Teacher andabbot: Ajahn Suphan, an expert for Abidhamma. Friendly atmosphere. Meditatorsreceive very helpful and clear instructions for practice in daily interviews.

Technique andschedule of retreat: Intensive meditation practice. Meditators practise in theirrooms or at a location of their choosing. All meditators receive individualinstructions. During the retreat, the four foundations of mindfulness (observingthe body, feelings, mind and mind objects) are practised. All arising phenomenaare noted mentally. Initially, the primary object of meditation during sittingis the rising and falling of the abdomen and during walking the movement of thefoot. Each period of meditation begins with a mindful prostration, followed bywalking meditation and a sitting period. Walking and sitting periods are ofequal duration. Beginners start with 10 minutes and gradually increase to anhour. Language(s): Interviews in English or Thai.

Duration ofcourses and dates: An introductory course is about four weeks (26 days). Sincecourses are individual, there are no particular dates. Retreats start followingan opening ceremony. Persons who have already taken a course at the center canparticipate in 10-day courses.

Accommodation: Women and menlive in pleasant small single rooms in separated quarters. Thin mattress onconcrete or wooden floor. If this is too hard, bring sleeping pad. Blankets canbe borrowed. A sleeping bag is particularly useful during the cooler season.

Shopping: Items of daily use (toothpaste,chocolate, coffee, Coke and laundry detergent) can be bought in a small shop atthe Wat. Meditation pillows and digital alarm clocks can be bought in ChiangMai. White clothing sometimes can be borrowed.

Food: Breakfast (6 a.m.) and lunch (10:30 a.m.) are varied and ofgood quality. Breakfast consists usually from rice and various vegatable dishes.At the noon time there is one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian meal, withplenty of side dishes, rice vegetables and tee for drink. There is plenty ofsoy sauce, brown sugar and spicy red chillies. After noon no meals should betaken (drinks such as milk, tea, coffee, and yoghurt are permitted). Drinkingwater is filtered and therefore potable (to be safe, bring own disinfectant, orboil). At 5p.m. there is a warm soy milk for drink.

Medical care: Very good by Asian standards. Theclosest clinics are in Chiang Mai. The region is not considered malaria area,but in other parts of Thailand malaria is endemic. Hygienic conditions in theWat are good.

Costs: Donation.

Rules: Participants commit themselves to observe the eight silas (moralprecepts). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shirts or tanktops). Wake-up call is at 4 a.m.

Climate and best time to go: November toMarch.

Note: A warm jacketis useful during morning meditation. Good conditions, intensive practice, andexpert individual instruction.

1.6 Wat Phra Dhatu Sri Chomtong Voravihara (pronounce: WatPrah That)

by DieterBaltruschat and Phra Claus, last updated March 2003

Address: earlyregistration recommended

Insight MeditationCenter

Wat Phra DhatuSri Chomtong Voravihara

T. Ban Luang, A. Chomtong, Chiang Mai 50160,Thailand Tel. + Fax: +66-53-826869 www.sirimangalo.org

Location: The Insight Meditation Center is inChomthong near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The main temple houses thefamous Takkhinamoli-relic. Meditation courses take place in a fairly quiet areanear the main temple. On the grounds there are bungalows, two meditation halls,kitchen, and dining hall as well as some other buildings.

How to get there: From Bangkok take the night train (about13 hs), bus or plane (about 1 h) to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai to Chomtongduring 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. bus No 1232 (blue-white) leaves approximately every 30min (23 Baht). Depart at Chiang Mai gate, the old city’s southern gate. Yellowpick-ups also travel the route (about 20 Baht).

Tradition: Theravada, Vipassana meditation in theMahasi tradition. Ajahn Tong is in his early eighties and one of Thailand‘smost famous meditation teachers.

Meditation technique and course of retreat: Intensivemeditation practice.Practitioners practice in their own bungalows or at alocation of their choosing. All practitioners receive individual meditationinstructions. During the retreat the four bases of mindfulness (observing body,feelings, mind, and mind objects) are practiced and all arising phenomena arenoted mentally. Initially the rising and falling of the abdomen is the primaryobject of meditation during sitting, and the movement of the foot duringwalking. Each period of meditation begins with a mindful prostration. A periodof walking meditation and a period of sitting follow. Beginners start with 10minutes and increase gradually to an hour.

Teacher: Kate and Thanat Chindaporn or EdwardKooij and Jodi Snijders. Pleasant atmosphere. In the daily interviewsmeditators receive very helpful and clear instructions for practice.

Language(s): Interviews inEnglish oder Thai.

Course duration and dates: A beginners’ courseis approximately three weeks. Since courses are individual no particular datesneed to be observed. The retreat begins with an initiation ceremony. Personswho have already taken a course at the center can participate in 10-day courses.

Accommodation: Kutis (bungalows) with bath and toilet(plenty of water and laundry facilities). Men and women live in separatequarters. Thin mattresses on concrete or wood. If this is too hard for you,bring a sleep pad. Blankets can be borrowed. A sleeping bag and fleece jacketare particularly useful during the cooler season.

Shopping: Daily necessities, meditation pillowand white clothes can be bought in the small shops or the market outside theWat. A digital alarm clock, flashlight, flip-flops, water bottle, insectrepellant, toiletries and possibly tea and coffee should be bought before theretreat. If there is no electric kettle in your bungalow, you can buy one inChomtong (approx. 180 Baht).

Food: Breakfast (6 a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m.) are varied and ofgood quality. There is always a choice of two or three vegetarian dishes andsometimes fruit. After noon no meals should be taken (drinks such as milk, tea,coffee, and yoghourt are permitted). Drinking water is filtered and thereforepotable. To be even more sure, bring disinfectant or boil water.

Medical care: In Chomtong there are pharmacies and aserviceable hospital with English-speaking doctors. This area is not consideredcontaminated with malaria, but in other parts of Thailand malaria is common. Thehygiene in the Wat is good.

Costs: Donation.

Rules: Participants vow to adhere to the eight moral precepts (moralpractice rules). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shortsor tank tops). Wake-up call at 4 a.m.

Climate and besttime to go: November to March.

1.7 Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Source: Chandavon Keyserlingk; last updated August 2007

Address: InternationalBuddhism Center Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Tambol Suthep,Amphur Muang, 14 Srivichai Road

Chiang Mai 50200,Thailand

Tel: 0066-53-2950 12, Fax: 0066-53-29 50 00

web: www.fivethousandyears.org

e-mail: doisuthepinfo@gmail.com,contact@fivethousandyears.org

Location: Doi Suthep is famed for its serene andpeaceful environment, giving visitors the impression that there really might beangels guarding its pristine beauty. Close enough to be seen from Chiang MaiCity, and with a breathtaking view of Thailand's Northern Capital, themonastery is quiet and peaceful, with ancient trees, birds and the occasionalfog covering the grounds. The meditation center is fully functional and growingalways.

How to get there: From Bangkok take the night train (about13 hours), bus or plane (about 1 hour) to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai to DoiSuthep with Tuk Tuk (200-300 Baht) or red-taxi (about 40-80 Baht). Here walkthe 290 steps or take the lift (30 Baht).

Tradition and Focus: Theravada, Vipassana-Meditationin the Mahasi Sayadaw Tradition. Intensive meditation practice. Ajaan Tong isin his early eighties and one of Thailand’s most famous meditation teachers.

Teacher: Speaks and English and Thai. Pleasantatmosphere. In the daily interviews meditators receive very helpful and clearinstructions for practice.

Meditation technique and course of retreat: Practitionerspractice in their own bungalows or in the meditation hall. All practitionersreceive individual meditation instructions. During the retreat the four basesof mindfulness (observing body, feelings, mind, and mind objects) are practicedand all arising phenomena are noted mentally. Initially the rising and fallingof the abdomen is the primary object of meditation during sitting, and themovement of the foot during walking. Each period of meditation begins with amindful prostration. A period of walking meditation and a period of sittingfollow. Beginners start with 10 minutes and increase gradually to an hour. Everyweek there is a Dhamma talk. It is possible to go to the daily chanting.

Language(s): Interviews inEnglish or Thai.

Course duration and dates: A beginners’ courseis approximately three weeks. Since courses are individual no particular datesneed to be observed. The retreat begins with an opening ceremony and ends witha closing ceremony. Persons who have already taken a course at the center canparticipate in 10-day courses.

Accommodation: Men and women live in separatequarters. Thin mattresses on concrete or wood. If this is too hard for you,bring a sleep pad. Blankets, meditation pillow and pillow can be borrowed. Asleeping bag and fleece jacket are particularly useful during the cooler season.

Shopping: Daily necessities can be bought in thesmall temple-shops. A digital alarm clock, flashlight, flip-flops, waterbottle, insect repellent, toiletries and possibly tea and coffee should bebought before the retreat. You can buy this in Chiang Mai.

Food: Breakfast (6:30 a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m.) are varied and ofgood quality. There is always a choice of two or three vegetarian dishes andsometimes fruit. After noon no meals should be taken (drinks such as milk, tea,and yoghourt are permitted). Drinking water is filtered and therefore potable. Tobe even more sure, bring disinfectant or boil water.

Medical care: In Chiang Mai there are pharmacies anda serviceable hospital with English-speaking doctors. This area is notconsidered contaminated with malaria, but in other parts of Thailand malaria iscommon. The hygiene in the Wat is very good.

Costs: Donation.

Rules: Participants vow to adhere to the eight moral precepts (moralpractice rules). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shortsor tank tops). Wake-up is at 4 a.m.

Climate and best time to go: November toMarch.

Note: Goodmeditation condition, Intensive meditation practice and clear instructions forpractice. The centre is growing and looking for persons who want stay long term.

1.8 Wat Doi Phra Koet

by Pra Claus;last updated August 2003

Address: Wat Doi PhraKoet

T. Ban Luang,A. Chomthong, Chiang Mai 50160, Thailand No telephone – best just go there. Chancesare excellent that you can stay.

Location: Wat Doi Phra Koet monastery (pronounce:Wat Dooi Prah Got) is reached by Samloh (motor tricycle) or motorbike taxi fromChomthong for approx. 20 Baht. It is 4 km west of Chomthong on the road to theMae-Ya waterfall on a wooded hill (secondary jungle with many birds). The vistais beautiful. On the grounds there are several new religious sculptures ofvarying artistic quality. Several gazebos provide you with ideal places torelax.

Accommodation: Four large new and fairly comfortablerooms with shower and toilet in a shady house and some empty kutis (smallbungalow), some of these newly constructed.

Teacher: Abbot Ajahn Thawin is a disciple ofAjahn Tong and speaks a fair English. His brother Ajahn Montri speaks Englishquite well and is in charge of the occasional foreign guests. You can also askhim for meditation advice, but he seems quite content if yogis don’t need hisadvice.

Food: Two nonvegetarian meals: very simple breakfast and tastyand abundant lunch at about 11 a.m.

Note: Good place for people who seek tranquility and want tofollow their own program, e.g. after a 10-day retreat at Wat Pra Tat inChomthong.

1.9 Wat Thaton

source: Phra Ratha Panyavudho, updated Jan. 2007

Adress:               Wat Thaton,Tambon Thaton, Amphur Mae Ai, Chiang Mai 50280 Internet: www.wat-thaton.orgEmail:meditation@wat-thaton.org

Description: Wat Thaton islocated in Chiang Mai province. Western meditators can stay there and practise.(Ajahn Suthep, the previous teacher there, has left.)

1.10 Santisukh Tudongsathaan (Wat Pa Pae)

by Ven. MettikoBhikkhu updated June 2005

Address: Baan Pa Pae, Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai Please notice that itis strictly necessary that you should have some knowledge of the Thai language,as Than Ajahn Prajoed hardly speaks English.

Apart from that it cannot be guaranteed that you will be allowedto stay because infrastructure and facilities of the place are sufficient for alimited number of guests only and no registration is possible.

Location: “Wat Pa Pae” is situated in the hillsbetween Mae Taeng und Pai in the North of Thailand about 60 km from Chiang Mai.It features dense forest, but little sun. The monastery contains a little oldsala entirely made from wood, a little kitchen, and a second open sala, as wellas about 12 kutis (bungalows) in the forest. Three to five monks live in theforest. Male laypersons are accepted for individual retreats. Women can onlylodge there when a male layperson lives at the Wat at that time (vinaya).

How to get there from Chiang Mai: Take the bus (directionof Fang) or Songthaew (pick-up line taxi) to Mae Malai. From there take anotherSongthaew into the hills to Baan Pa Pae. There is also an infrequent bus to Paivia Pa Pae. In Baan Pa Pae follow the signs (there is one in English) to thepolice station. Just before the post office turn right, follow the sign (Thaionly) to the Wat. Ascend 1.5 km steep path to the Wat.

Tradition: Santisukh Tudongsathaan used to be astation on the long Tudong trail to Mae Hong Son. With the road finished now,considerably less monks are passing through, which has its advantages.

Teacher: Than Ajahn Prajoed gives formal lectures at uposatha-daysand answers questions during afternoon tea or by appointment. Ajahn Prajoed isan independent Mahanikaya forest monk, knows and lives good discipline,practices a lot and is a skilled meditation teacher.

Meditation technique: All methods pertaining to theFour Foundations of Mindfulness are practised but the emphasis is on the firstbasis, especially observation of the 32 parts and recollection of death. Othermethods of reflection are taught as well.

Costs: Guests can donate money or do purchases for the Wat (softdrinks, coffee, sugar). Accommodation: All guests are given a kuti. Thehuts are plain but charming. No

electricity or telephone.

What to bring: Before your stay, buy an alarm clock, agood flashlight (spare bulb and spare batteries), flip-flops, water bottle,and insect repellant. All these things can be bought in Chiang Mai.

Food: The only daily meal, breakfast, consists exclusively of thefood monks gather at alms rounds. Normally this is sufficient to feed a smallnumber of laypersons. Laypersons can put back a snack for noon. Lateafternoons, there are soft drinks, coffee, or tea. Drinking water is boiledrain water.

Medical care: Good by Asian standards. In theprovincial capital Chiang Mai there are hospitals and pharmacies. The area isnot considered malaria contaminated, but Dengue fever has become more frequentover the past years.

Rules: All guests are obliged to adhere to the eight silas (moralprecepts). Men customarily wear black trousers and a white shirt. Women wear ablack or white Phaa Thung (wrap-around skirt) and a white blouse.

Daily schedule: After the monks’ alms rounds breakfastat 7:30 a.m., then a small amount of cleaning and tidying in and around thekitchen. Afternoons, paths are swept, water is boiled, wood chopped and so on. Evenings,an hour of chanting and an hour of group meditation. There is much time forindividual practice, and it is valued highly.

Climate and best time to go: Over 1000 mabove sea level, rather continental climate. Ideal for the hot season fromMarch to June. During rainy season, drying laundry can become a challenge.

Notes: Laypersonscan stay if permission is given, but they should be able to practiseindependently to a degree. The monastery is run in a very traditional andvinaya way. Ajahn Prajoed rather shuns publicity to retain the Wat’s quiet and „old­fashioned“character. This has a positive influence on the conditions for practice.

1.11 Wat Pah Baan Taad

information byDieter Baltruschat using Bill Weir’s retreat guide; updated March 2004 by GerdNeller

Address: Wat Pa Baan Taad, Baan Taad, Ampher Meuang, Udon Thani 41000

no pre-registration necessary, butrecommended

Internet: www.luangta.com

Location: Wat Pah BaanTaad is a quiet forest monastery 16 km southeast of the city of Udon Thani inNortheastern Thailand, approximately 564 km from Bangkok. There are a largeDhamma hall and several kutis (bungalows) in the forest. About 50 monks and 100women live here.

How to get there from Bangkok: From Bangkok to Udon Thanithere are several morning trains (e.g. sprinter, departure 8:20 a.m., arrival 5:20p.m.) and several night trains, (e.g. sleeper, departure 8:45 p.m., arrival 7:12),and a sprinter without sleeper (departure 8:00 p.m., arrival 4:46 a.m.). Fromthe northern bus terminal there are daily busses to Udon Thani, departing from 9a.m. to 11 p.m. The trip is about 12 hours. Thai Air has three daily flightsfrom Bangkok to Udon Thani (6:50 a.m., 12:35 p.m.,

6:15 p.m). Thetrip is about one hour. From Udon Thani take a songtaew (e.g. No 44), local busor taxi to the town of Ban Gum Kling 8 km south, then 7 km head southwest viathe village Ban That, from there it is another 1 km to the Wat. Some songtaewgo from Udon Thani directly to the Wat or to Ban Thad.

Tradition andteacher: Phra Ajahn Maha Boowa, the abbot of the monastery, is one ofthe most famous meditation teachers in Thailand and one of the last disciplesof the almost legendary Ajahn Mun still alive. (There is a small Ajahn Munmuseum in Wat Pa Sutthawat at Sakon Nakhon, approx. 100 kilometres east of UdonThani.)

UnfortunatelyAjahn Pannavaddho, who was held in great esteem because of his profoundknowledge and his friendly nature died on August 18, 2004. The German monk ThanMartin has been living in Wat Pa Baan Taad for nine years now. Apart fromextensive translation activities he is in charge of the monastery’s homepageand gives dhamma talks and (group) interviews – mainly in German language. Dueto his deep experience, his engagement and his empathy he has already been ableto help a lot of practitioners.

Language(s): Thai, English, and sometimes German.

Technique: Instructionsfor formal meditation practice are found in the book „Forest Dhamma“ by AjahnMaha Bua. Initially, the mind is calmed with traditional practices such asAnapanasati, the mental intoning of the mantra Buddho (or Dhammo or Sangho) orthe contemplation of the 32 body parts. As usual, three levels of samadhi aredistinguished. In khanika samadhi, or momentary concentration, the mind (citta)is only calmed for a short time. In upacara samadhi, approach concentrationlasts longer. And in appana samadhi, jhana (absorption) is attained. Whensufficient concentration has been established, the three characteristics (impermanence,suffering und non-self) are contemplated, the five khandha (five groups ofclinging) are seen through and ignorance (avijja) is foreverextinguished.

Costs: Guests are welcome to give a donation.

Accommodation: Since the monastery is well-known, youshould not arrive during monastic raining season retreat or religious holidays.In the men’s quarters there are kutis (bungalows), in the women’s dorms or lan (smallroofed platforms in the forest).

What to bring: Before your stay you should buy alarmclock, a good flashlight (spare bulb and batteries), flip-flops, waterbottle, insect repellant, hygiene articles, candles, and matches. A warmjacket and a sleeping bag is useful, especially during the cooler season.

Food: The only meal of the day is a large and excellent breakfast.Late afternoons there are juices or tea and some sweets. For increased safetyof potable water bring disinfectant.

Medical care: Good by Asian standards. In theprovince capital Udon Thani there are pharmacies and hospitals. This area isnot considered contaminated with malaria.

Rules: All participants commit themselves to observing the eightsilas (moral practice precepts). Clothes should be comfortable and decent (noshorts and tank tops).

Daily schedule: After the monks‘ alms round breakfast,then cleaning up in and around the sala. Afternoons the community meets for teaor for sweeping the paths. Plenty of time for individual practice.

Climate andbest time to go: November to March.

Notes:W.A.V.E.has published the following English language books by Phra Ajahn Maha Bua (a.k.a.Luang Ta Maha Boowa):

                       Forest Dhamma

                       A Life of Inner Quality

                       To the Last Breath – Dhamma Talks on Living and Dying

                       Wisdom Develops Samadhi

                       Kammathana (possibly out of print)

                       Things as they are

                       Straight from the Heart

                       Mode of Practice of Acharn Mun

                       Biography of Acharn Mun

 

These freebooks can be ordered here for a donation to cover postage:

Mrs Lim Tay Poh c/o No 2, Jalan Chanah Thong Off Jln Tun Sambathan 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

(Of course,donations for further publications are also welcome). They can also bedownloaded at http://www.forestdhammabooks.com .

1.12 WatSanghathan Meditation Center (on the suburb of Bangkok)

Sources: Sunny,Phra Claus, Internet, updated in March 2007

Address: Wat Sanghathan

Bangphai, Muang, Nonthaburi 11000,Thailand

Tel.: +66 (2) 4471766 oder +66 (2) 4470799,Fax 02-4472784

Internet: www.vimokkha.com,www.dhammawave.com

E-Mail: vimokkha@hotmail.com

Contact personis Khun Puky (she speaks fairly good English) Tel: +66 (89) 0500052 Khun Pukyhas a stone-shop at the main entrance door. Ideally check in at her place asthere might be no one speaking English inside the monastery area.

Description: The center isa quiet place for meditation. It consists of about 100 rai along the Chao-Phrayariver. Many trees, ponds, and beautifully landscaped gardens let you forgetthat Bangkok is right there. The Uposoth hall contains the Buddha imageLuangpho Toh. It is about 200 years old, 10 m high and 4 m wide and constitutesthe Wat Sangathan sanctum.

How to get there:

Bangkok–NonthaburiThe fastest and easest way from Bangkok to Nonthaburi is to take "Chao-Phraya-Expressboat".You can enter the boat at the every ferry pier in Bangkok. Then get off at thestation no. 28 "Wat Kien" (from Banglampoo 40 Min.). From there walk 5min., then you get to Radio Station, the "back entrance". Wait at thestation for the mini­bus with the sign ‘Wat Sanghathan', which will take you tothe main entrance.

Meditationsystem: The four basics of mindfulness (Satipatthana), observation ofbreath (Anapanasati) and other methods mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures.

Teachingmethod: Beginners are introduced to the technique. Later they participatein regular interviews. Sitting and walking meditation also in a group setting (seedaily schedule).

Teacher: Ven. AcharnSanong, abbot, 56. Acharn Sanong speaks Thai and a little English. Severalresident monks and nuns can help with translations. Accommodation: Laymeditators are given a single room or a bed in the dorms. Women sleep in thenuns‘ section, men in the monks‘. Registration: For participation in anintensive course in Ban Sawangjai Center (Khao Yai national park) registrationis recommended.

Ordaining: It is possibleto ordain as a monk or nun. You should have spent some time as lay meditator inthe temple before, though.

Size: Monks: 100–300,novices: 10–300 (during school holidays only), nuns: 30, lay meditators: 40–100.

Food: One meal dailyonly. A rich variety of Thai dishes is offered buffet-style. It always includessome vegetarian dishes.

Costs: Free of charge.Donations are welcome.

Rules: All participants commit themselves to observe the eightsilas (moral precepts). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (noshorts or tank tops). In the monastery area there is a shop, where on can buywhite clothing and the necessary. Permission is given to stay 7 days in WatSanghathan to meditate and study the Buddhadhamma. If you want to stay longer,you must ask the permission of Acharn Sanong. For your first stay in WatSanghathan please bring 2 passport

pictures.Smoking is not permitted in the temple, and one should try to adhere to thedaily schedule, observe noble silence, and respect the division of the sexes. Thereis only one meal a day.

Daily schedule:

4:00 a.m.: morning chanting until 4:30 a.m. – then sittingmeditation

6:00 a.m.: warm drinks in the kitchen

7:30 a.m.: walking meditation in the wood

9:30 a.m.: main meal (buffet)

12:30 a.m.: chanting and meditation behind the hall

3:30 p.m.: working meditation

4:30 p.m.: walking meditation behind the hall

5:30 p.m.: afternoon drinks and break for washing, laundry, rest

7:00 p.m.: evening chanting

8.00 p.m. sittingmeditation in the dhamma hall

Hint: There is abranch monastery of Wat Sanghathan -- Wat Pah Namtok Khemakko – located nearSuphanburi. A German Mae Chee Maria lives there. In order to visit her pleasecontact Khun Puky. There are 2 kutis for women visitors. Men may beaccommodated in a tent spread over a bamboo platform in the forest or in thehall up on the hill.

From Bangkoktake the mini bus to Dan Chang. It departs from the gasoline station besideCentral Phra Pinklao Shopping Mall. (The mini bus may take 2-3 hr.) At DanChang from the same place where the mini bus stops take the bus to Ban Rai. After15-20 minutes the bus will pass by the entrance to Wat Pa Namtok. The busdriver will let you off if he knows you want to go to Wat Pa Namtok. At thispoint it is about 15-20 minutes walk to the Wat. (If you telephone beforecoming the car from the Wat can probably collect you from Dan Chang.)

Address :T. WangKan, A. Dan Chang, Ch. Suphanburi 72180, Tel: 081- 9812587, 087-1561834, Email : cheemarie@yahoo.com

1.13 BanSawang Jai (Khao Yai Meditationszentrum)

by JörgDittmar, updated by Claus and Mae Chee Brigitte in March 2007

Address: Ban Sawang Jai

Klongdea, Moosri, Pak Chong, NakornRatchasima 30130, Thailand

Tel: +66-44-312183, E-mail: bansawangjai@hotmail.com

Internet: http://www.vimokkha.com/kaoyaisaengeng.html

Head Monastery:Wat Sanghathan Bangphai, Muang, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand Tel: +66-2-4471 766 or +66-2-44 70 799, Fax: +66-02-4472784 Internet: www.vimokkha.com, E-mail:vimokkha@hotmail.com

Mae CheeBrigitte does not stay there any more. It is possible there would be no onespeaking English. Khao Yai center is not being used very often, before arrivingthere one should ask for information in Wat Sanghathan.

Location: Ban Sawang Jai(house of the enlightended heart), a branch of Wat Sanghathan, is located about250 km northeast of Bangkok. A beautiful, quiet and spacious place, about 3 kmfrom the main gate of Khao Yai National Park. The area is very green, withgrass, fields, bushland, banana trees around a hill, the center of themonastery. Places for practice are plenty. There are some quite comfortablehuts (kutis) for lay meditators, a large meditation hall (used mainly duringthe intense meditation course) and the monks' area around the hill. Here alsois the hall containing the buddha image, the kitchen, a cave that is beingprepared as a place for services, and other infrastructure.

Travel: From BangkokNorthern Bus Terminal by Air Con Bus to Pak Chong (110 Baht). From Bus TerminalPak Chong by taxi to Ban Sawang Jai (200 Baht, need to bargain). Taxi from WatSanghathan to Khao Yai costs ca 1.300 Baht. Some taxi drivers do not know theway though it is easy to find. Go to Khao Yai National Park main gate (everybodyknows this one). Approaching the gate (about 500 m beforehand) a road goes left.There is a sign saying “Ban Sawang Jai” in English and Thai. Follow this roadfor 4 km. Then on the left you will find the entrance with a big sign inEnglish and sort of a stone monument in Thai. There also are pick-up trucksavailable (20 Baht). Leave Pak Chong Bus Terminal to main road. Walk 10 minutesto the right. Cross the road to “Seven-eleven” shop. Pick-up trucks are waitingin front. Participants of the meditation course (see below) will be picked upby bus from Wat Sanghathan, Nonthaburi.

Reservations: Forparticipation in the meditiation course a reservation some time ahead isadvisable.

Meditation Course: Once a month (starting first saturdayof every month) a one week intense meditation course is held. Participants aremainly Thai people from Bangkok area. Language is Thai (in teachings, talks,guided meditations, etc.). After the 7-days course participants are welcome tostay longer in Khao Yai Meditation

Center.

System of Meditation: According to Wat Sanghathan,especially during courses. Individual practice is possible (i.e. for moreexperienced meditators already using other systems). Beginners will beintroduced to vipassana meditation. Possibility of regular interviews. Thereare also sitting and walking meditations in groups (daily schedule see below).

Teachers: Meditators stay in touch with Ven. AjahnTippakorn. Ajahn is the abbot, in his end-30s. He speaks English quite well. Ajahntalks select Dhamma subjects on some evenings. Possibility to ask questions.

Rules: 5 Silas will be expected, 8 Silas are possible. Clothesshould be white, comfortable and appropriate (no shorts or sleeveless t-shirts,in case clothes can be bought or rented in the center). Keeping silent isoptional, although there is a general atmosphere of quiet mindfulness. There isonly one meal during the day.

Accommodation: Lay meditators will usually live in akuti (incl. bathroom) by one or two persons only. There is enough space insideto meditate there if desired. During meditation course though, accommodationcannot be that generous. Kutis will then be occupied by 3–4 people. Manyparticipants will sleep in the big meditation hall.

Food: Once a day there is a generous buffet of Thai foodincluding some vegetarian dishes.

Ordination: Possibility to ordinate as a monk ornun, usually via Wat Sanghathan. In the monastery live about 15 monks, 1–2 nunsand some lay meditators from Thailand or abroad.

Fees: No fees. Donations to keep the place running are verywelcome.

Things to bring: Handy will be a good torch (incl. replacementbulb and batteries), bathing slippers, a water flask, insect-repellant andpersonal toiletry. A warm jacket or pullover will possibly be appreciatedduring morning meditation. During colder season a sleeping bag is recommended.

Rough daily schedule:

Meditation in kuti or hall (walking,standing, sitting, 2 hours)

4:00 p.m. Walking meditation (1 hour)

Showering, laundry, other work, etc.

7:00 p.m. Evening recitations, meditation(1 hour) Instructions and interview Some evenings dhamma talk

Opinion of Jörg Dittmar:

Ban Sawang Jaiwill be ideal for people who might consider Wat Sanghathan too big or maybe toobusy. For western people who speak little or no Thai and therefore would havedifficulties in getting appropriate support and instructions in Wat Sanghathan.And for people who simply look for meditative peace away from Bangkok.

Ban Sawang Jaican be easily reached from Bangkok within 3 hours.

People canmeditate and be instructed according to the monastery system. But there is alsothe possibility to continue practice as used to at home (except whenparticipating in the course obviously). Ban Sawang Jai has a very open-mindedatmosphere. Mae Chee Brigitte is a very competent and understanding person. AndAjahn Tippakorn – having travelled Europe, New Zealand and South Africa – knowswell western ways of thinking and typical problems .

The 1-weekmeditation course is a very impressing experience. For western people who donot speak enough Thai, though, it is more of a cultural event. It is interestingand inspiring to be involved in various activities, get in touch with Thaipeople, meditate together. But a large part of the daily schedule (likeimportant guided meditations) will not be easy to make use of. Some monks givesome instructions in English, too. But main language (by far!) is Thai.

Another thingis that during the course an additional 60, 80 or even more people will beliving in the monastery. That will affect the general atmosphere, even thougheverybody would act in peace and mindfulness. I therefore have participated inonly select activities of the meditation course. And have done my individualmeditation in some quiet corner (that is always possible to find).

My advice: For joining the course, arrive some days earlier inBan Sawang Jai. Start practicing and settle in individually. Then join thecourse, experience how it affects your practice. After, you decide how to go on.

1.14 Thailand Vipassana Centre Dhamma Abha

Source: Vipassana Newsletter 2002

Address: Vipassana Centre Dhamma Abha

Baan Huayplu, Tambon Kaengsobha, AmpurWangthong

Phitsanulok 65220, Thailand

Tel: 66-02-5521731, e-mail: vipthai@hotmail.com. Location: The relatively new S.N. Goenka Center is situatedon a pittoresque, lush green plateau. In the background mountains are toweringup in the east. The center itself is located in the central part of the 61hectare ground, the buildings are in modern Thai-style. There are a lot ofponds, fruit trees and a bamboo wood.

Tradition: Vipassanaaccording to U Ba Khin (Burma), S.N. Goenka Center.

Courseduration and dates: Throughout the year. For beginners, a 10-day course isrecommended. Timely preregistration is necessary. Timetable and applicationform can be ordered.

Focus: Silentretreats with intensive sitting meditation and a daily lecture.

Meditationtechnique and schedule: First three days Anapanasati, i.e.observation of breath. Concentratingon inhaling and exhaling. Breath is only observed, not manipulated. From daythree, Vipassana meditation in the tradition of U Ba Khin. In the "step bystep" or "body-sweeping“ method the bodily sensations aresystematically observed. When the body is scanned from head to toe, anotherround is performed in the opposite direction. Sensations are not judged butonly observed. The course ends with an exercise for the development of lovingkindness.

Teacher andguidance: After 14 years of practice, his teacher U Ba Khin gave S.N. Goenkateaching permission in 1969. Goenkaj stems from a wealthy Indian industrialfamily and grew up in Burma where he was raised in the Hindu tradition. Todayhe lives in India. Since there are more than 50 centers world-wide which adhereto this tradition, Goenkajs instructions are presented on video or audio tape.

Language(s): Thai andEnglish.

Food: Vegetarian. Ifyou want to be sure about water potability, bring own disinfectant.

Cost: Donation.

Rules: Allparticipants commit themselves to stay for the entire retreat, to adhere toschedule, to keep silence, not to read and write. Sexual activities are to bediscontinued for the duration of the retreat and the five or eight (oldstudents) silas (moral practice precepts) to be adhered to. Clothes should becomfortable, white and decent (no shorts and tank tops).

Note: Well suitedfor serious practitioners with retreat experience, desiring intensive practice.Also suited for beginners who have no particular problem sitting for longperiods of time and who are ready to submit to an intensive and stringent daily.

1.15 Sorn-Thawee Meditation Centre (Samnak Vipassana Sorn)

by Dieter Baltruschat using Bill Weir’s retreat guide; updatedMarch 2003

Address: earlyregistration mandatory!

(if Ajahn Charlee is not there,possibly no one speaks English) Sorn-Thawee Meditation Centre BangklaChachoengsao 24110, Thailand

Location: The very well-known center issurrounded by fields approximately 20 km from Chachoengsao in the district ofBangkla, approx. 80 km east of Bangkok. On the very pleasant grounds there arebungalows, trees, ponds, and a large dhamma hall. Very friendly atmosphere.

How to get there: Best by bus from Bangkok (northern oreastern bus terminal) to Chachoengsao. Then change for the bus to Bangkla. Afterapprox. 25 min. (shortly after a 17 km road mark where the bus turns to theleft) get off. Cross the main road and follow the road about 300 m south, thenturn right. The center is another 300 m.

Tradition and focus: Intensive Vipassana meditationin Mahasi tradition.

Teacher: Phra Ajahn Charlee Jaruvanno.

Meditationtechnique: Meditators receive individual instructions daily. During the retreatthe four bases of mindfulness (observing the body, the feelings, the mind, andthe mind objects) are practiced. All arising phenomena are noted mentally. Theprimary object of meditation during sitting is the rising and falling of theabdomen and during walking the movement of the foot. Formal practice should beeight to twelve

hoursdaily. All other activities should also be carried out mindfully. Language(s):Interviews in Thai or English. Duration of retreats and dates: Sincecourses are individual there are no particular

dates toobserve. Recommended duration of stay is 50 days. 20 days are considered

minimum. Onlymeditators staying for at least two weeks are accepted. Rules: Allparticipants vow to observe the eight silas (moral precepts) and noble silence.Wake-up is at 4 a.m.

What to bring:Beforeretreat, acquire digital alarm clock, flashlight, flip-flops, water bottle, insectrepellant, and toilet articles. A sleeping bag is particularly usefulduring the cooler season. A warm jacket is recommended for morning meditation.

Lodging: Individualkutis (bungalows) with bath and WC or single rooms.

Food: Breakfast (6:30a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m.) are varied and of good quality. Bring disinfectant toincrease drinking water safety. Costs: There is a daily fee (it used tobe US$ 2) for running costs. Further donations

formaintaining the center are welcome. Climate and best time to go: Novemberto March. Note: Well suited for beginners and highly recommendable forits excellent

conditions, intensive practice and expert individual instruction.

1.16 Samnak Songh Boonyawat

by Ven. MettikoBhikkhu in 2004, updated in March 2007

Contact: Khun Suwaree,c/o Toyota Interyont, 24/99 Mu 6, Th. Bypass,

A. Meuang, Chonburi 20000, Tel: +66 81865 4658 Another contact: Jira Butrdee, Fax: +66 83 798833 and +66 38 798834 E-Mail:kondee149@hotmail.comWeb site: www.palungjit.com/club/kondee/ or: www.geocities.com/easyji2005/

Registration obligatory!

Khun Suwaree is the proprietor of a large car sales company inChonburi and the main supporter of the Wat. All contact in writing or phone iswith her because the postman does not reach Boonwyawat and there is is notelephone there. She speaks a fair English.

Location: “Wat” Boonyawat in Central Thailand isa 350 rai (0.56 sqkm) forest in sparsely populated area dominated byplantations, 90 km away from the provincial capital and therefore rather out ofthe way. The monastery has a large multipurpose dhamma hall and about 25 kutis (bungalows)in the forest. About 15 monks live there, and from time to time some laymen and-women.

How to get there from Bangkok: There arefrequent busses out of the eastern bus terminal Ekamai that go the 80 km toChonburi. The ride takes 1 to 1 ½hours. The easiest way to continue isto take a taxi (600 Baht) for the next 90 km. The driver should take Highway 344towards Chantaburi. Get off at the crossroads at km 60 and go the last 30 km bymotorbike taxi (not more than 100 Baht).

Tradition: Than Ajahn Tan Dhiracitto is one ofLuang Pho Chah Subhatto’s four main teaching disciples. Over 300 monasteriesbelong to Ajahn Chah’s main monastery Wat Nong Pa Phong. They are committed toone of the strictest forest traditions of Mahanikaya and the entire faith.

Teacher: Ajahn Tanteaches in formal talks at uposatha days. Daily or when required he receiveslay guests and visitors. The main teaching, though, takes place when the Ajahntakes his tea in the sala. He answers questions and when the ball gets rolling,long and in-depth Dhamma talks develop. Ajahn Tan speaks a clear and CentralThai, but no English. Usually, western monks are available for translation, e.g.Ajahn Tejapañño (NZL) and Than Sudhammo (D).

Language: Thai.

Meditation technique: Ajahn Tan places muchimportance on the probing contemplation of the body, alternating with periodsof mental training and sharpening (samadhi). All methods of the first basis ofmindfulness are used, and emphasis is placed on observation of the 32 parts andrecollection of death.

Costs: Guests may give a donation.

Lodging: All guests receive a kuti. This is oneof the few monasteries in which women find lodging conditions that equal themens’. Because of the size of the Wat there are appropriate distances betweenneighbours, so women live equally isolated in individual huts as men do. Kutisare modern and well-appointed but without electricity. The entire Wat is stilllit by petrol lamps at night which contributes to the spiritual atmosphere ofthe place.

What to bring: Before your stay you should bring analarm clock, a good flashlight (spare bulb and batteries), flip-flops,water bottle, insect repellent and toiletries. All these things are availablein Chonburi.

Food: The only meal of the day is breakfast. It is nourishing andvery good. Laypersons can put aside some for a snack just before noon. Lateafternoons, there is juice or tea. Drinking water is filtered.

Medical care: Good by Asian standards. In theprovince’s capital, Chonburi, there are clinics and pharmacies. The area is notconsidered malaria area.

Rules: All guests commit themselves to adhere to the eight silas (moralprecepts). Men usually wear white or black trousers and a white shirt. Womenwear a black or white Phaa Thung (wrap-around skirt) and a white blouse.

Daily schedule: Morning meal is after the monks’ almsrounds at 8 a.m. After that, tidying and cleaning in and around the kitchen. At10 a.m. the latest lay guests must leave the kitchen and return to their kutis.Afternoons, the community meets to sweep the paths etc. Much value is placed onintensive individual practice and there is much time for it.

Language(s): Simple English, translation intoGerman is possible.

Climate and best time to go: Typical seaclimate in one of the rainiest regions of Thailand. There is plenty of rainalso in the hot season, so temperatures rarely are above 32 degrees Celsius,but the humidity takes some getting used to. Best time after monsoon: Octoberto February.

Note: Laypersons maystay up to 15 days. Repeated stays are possible. The monastery is verytraditional and faithful to the vinaya way. Here you can experience authenticold Thai forest tradition. Mae Chees and monks rejoice over dark chocolate andNescafe. Women are expected to help in the kitchen.

1.17 Wat Marp Jun (also Wat Mab Chan or Wat Subhaddabanpot)

by Bhikkhu Gavesako 2005, updated Oct. 2007

Address: Wat Marp Jun (or:"Mab Chan"),

Tambon Klaeng,Ampher Meuang, Jangwat Rayong 21160

Tel/Fax: 038-617546,Fax: 038-996293

Internet:www.watmarpchan.org(no email)

The website isunfortunetely only in Thai, but contains nice photos. With this tool www.thai2english.comyou can translate the text into English by simple copy and paste.

Location: The monastery is located by thevillage of Marp Jun, close to the fishing town of Bahn Phe, not far from theprovincial city of Rayong. The popular tourist island Ko Samet is just off thecoast, but there are not many Western tourists on the beaches around Bahn Phe,this area is more used by Thai holiday-makers. The monastery is situated in alush rain-forest of over 500 acres on the slopes of Yaidah Mountain, whichrises from flat land a short distance from the coast and has TV masts at thetop. The warm, humid climate and rich soil of the area give the forest of themonastery, and that of the surrounding Government Forest Reserve, its densityand lushness, and also mean that the lowlands can support hundreds of smallfruit orchards and rubber plantations. The story of the monastery began in late1984 when Venerable Ajahn Anan discovered the area during a tudong (walkingtour) which had taken him into the locality. The monastic community livedsimply, practising meditation in close communion with the natural environment. Theforest still had a wide variety of wildlife (such as bears, wild cats, deer andseveral different kinds of snakes), but the main difficulty facing all thosewho came to practise Dhamma there in the early years was malaria (it has sincedisappeared from the area). In 1985, a group of lay supporters offered to builda larger and more permanent Sala (meeting hall). To accommodate the expandingmonastic community it was necessary to construct a two-storey building, withthe basement providing both kitchen space and accommodation for lay-guests. Asthe number of monks, novices and nuns coming to practise at Wat Marp Junsteadily increased, the Sangha felt it necessary to construct a new meetinghall away from the kitchen and lay accommodation. Building of a two­storey hallbegan in 1988 on a site further up the hill, and when completed not onlyprovided a place for meditation, but also space for an office, library, store-roomsand a large storage-tank for rain-water. In 1993, again due to the increasingsize of the monastic community, it became necessary to construct a new eatinghall (16m x 20m), which would also provide a space where large numbers of layvisitors could gather to receive teaching. Finally, a few years ago the newtemple (Uposatha hall or Bot) was completed, and it has become the focal pointfor the life of the monastic community. It seemed appropriate to locate it inthe highest part of the monastery, which will also help preserve it as a quietplace for the practice of meditation. The design incorporates elements of bothtraditional Thai and contemporary architectural styles and the building is seton several different levels, following the contours of the hillside. The largeoverall area of (24m x 32m) is sufficient to accommodate large meetings ofmonks and laity, and the 18m high roof is intended to impart a sense ofspaciousness even on occasions when large numbers of people are gathered inside.The shape of the temple resembles that of a ship, the traditional emblem ofRayong province.

How to get there: From BangkokEastern (Ekachai) Bus Terminal there are regular services to Bahn Phethroughout the day, the journey takes about 4 hours. From the pier in Bahn Pheit is about 20 minutes by taxi. When crossing the main road, watch out forsigns to Wat Marp Jun or Wat Dhammasathit (Ajahn Fuang’s monastery which islocated a bit further in the same direction). Before the final turn-off (about 2miles from the monastery), there are signs in English.

Tradition and teacher: Than Ajahn Anan Akincano is adisciple of Luang Por Chah, whose main monastery (Wat Nong Pah Pong) is in theNorth-East. This tradition traces its lineage back to Than Ajahn Mun (strictdhutanga-kammatthana tradition), although technically it belongs to theMahanikaya sect --most of the other forest monasteries belong to the Dhammayutsect. Ajahn Anan is in his early fifties, studied at university and speaks alittle bit English. He was Luang Por Chah's secretary and has shown himself asa good administrator. Ajahn Anan's disciples have already set up 10 branchmonasteries in Thailand. In contrast to other forest monasteries, Wat Marp Junis quite modern and comfortable, and the monks who live there usually come fromcentral Thailand. They will often speak some English and have a Western-styleeducation. Ajahn Anan attracts a lot of middle-class Thais from nearby Rayongand Bangkok, and he conducts temporary ordinations primarily for students atcertain times of the year. The number of monks fluctuates between 15 and 25,plus novices. In recent years there have also been about 8 Western monks (fromWat Pah Nanachat) in residence.

Language: Thai, English. Meditation technique: In his formaltalks (in the evenings or before the meal) Ajahn Anan teaches a full range oftraditional Theravada meditation methods. From establishing mindfulness indaily acitivities such as eating, to contemplation of the 4

elementsand the 32 parts of the body, spreading metta, and developing samadhi using therepetition "Buddho" with the breath. In private interviews, usuallyafter the meal or late in the evening at the office-kuti, one can go into moredetail and ask questions about one's practice (Western monks can usuallytranslate). Ajahn Anan also has a reputation for his familiarity withheightened levels of meditative consciousness, and for his open-minded approachto other traditions.

Costs: Guests cangive a donation. Lodging: Male guests sleep in a dormitory below theeating hall. There is a separate section for women with nice kutis. Electricity,running water, and showers are available. Men can usually be accomodated atshort notice, but women should make prior arrangement to make sure there isenough space. Sometimes large groups come and stay in the monastery for a fewdays to practise meditation. One Thai woman is always resident and helps lookafter the kitchen. She also speaks English. In the past, brown-robed nuns fromAmaravati stayed for longer periods of time, but

that's notpossible anymore, now they can only stay for a couple of weeks. White-robed maechees don't normally live here. What to bring: Flashlight withbatteries, alarm clock, insect repellant, white clothes.

There is no public phone. One can buy things conveniently in BahnPhe (it is possible

to get a ridefrom the monastery). Food: Very good quality and quantity (especially onweekends). What is brought back from almsround by the monks (some go to BahnPhe every day in a van) is shared, and then some food is also cooked in thekitchen. It is possible to eat only vegetarian food. In the late afternoonthere are drinks and sweets available for everybody. Drinking water isprovided, and general hygiene is comparable to the West.

Rules: All guestsshould keep the 8 precepts, and apart from the meal and drinks, they can jointhe morning and evening chanting followed by meditation. Men and women live inseparate quarters, there is not much opportunity for meeting. Women might beexpected to help in the kitchen in the mornings.

Daily schedule: Morning meditation at 4 a.m. (optional)followed by chanting, setting up the Sala for the meal, then the monks leavefor pindapat (almsround) around 5:15

a.m. Guests help with sweeping around the Sala, and the monksjoin them after they return, waiting for the food to be prepared. The meal isusually eaten between 8 and 9 a.m. One can go back to one's dwelling after thatand meet again for afternoon chores (sweeping, cleaning) around 2 p.m. Drinksare taken at 5 p.m., which is the main social event of the day. The eveningchanting and meditation begins around 8

p.m. and can sometimes be followed by listening to a taped talkof Ajahn Chah. (They are fond of playing inspiring Dhamma CDs --even in themorning and before the meal.) Then Ajahn Anan will often invite people to hisoffice-kuti for a late-night drink, which can go on until 11 p.m. Generallyspeaking the routine is quite relaxed

andeasy to follow. Climate and best time to go: There is a light breezefrom the sea, which makes it more comfortable when the weather gets hot. Thebest time to visit is between

October andFebruary. During the rainy season it is humid and there is often a cloudhanging around the mountain. It rains here sometimes even during the hot season.Ordination: It is possible, there may be a senior Western monk who canteach and

help translateThai. Otherwise Westerners are sent to Wat Pah Nanachat for training.

1.18 SamnakSong Tham Krabok (drug withdrawal)

Address: ThamkrabokMonastery, Ampoe Koonklone, Phra Putthabat,

18120 Saraburi-Provinz, Thailand

Tel./Fax: 036-266 067 036-267 198

e-mail: THAMKRABOK@hotmail.comInternet: www.thamkrok.org/ab

more Informationin the internet!

2. Myanmar (Burma)

The Burmese asa rule are a very hospitable people and Burma is considered a relatively safecountry to travel in. If you plan to use public transport you should be awarethat busses are crowded and delays are frequent. Inexpensive flights to Bangkokstart at US$ 500. A return ticket Bangkok/Yangon may be as little as US$ 200,but the regular price for return tickets from Europe is about US$ 900.

The Returnairfare from Bangkok to Yangon (Jan 2006), are Myanmar Airline, twice daily : THB8000 ($200) - Old Airplanes McDonnald Douglass Bangkok Airways, twice daily : THB9000 ($225) - Newer Boeing Planes Thai Airways, twice a day , twice daily : THB11,000+

Air Mandalay (fliesdirectly from Chiang Mai to Yangon, once a week on Sundays?), Return $160

It is notrecommended to change money at the airports.

Medical careis not comparable to Western standards. Hygiene and the country’s greasycuisine are a problem to some Western travelers. Hence it is important toobserve the usual travel precautions for the east. Potable water is to betreated with caution. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule – the HseMain Gon Forest Meditation Center cuisine offers no doubt one of the bestmonastery cooking in Asia. There are a number of excellent meditation teachers andmonasteries with very good conditions for practice. Especially those interestedin Mahasi Sayadaw’s method find ideal possibilities for long-term retreats. Butalso for those interested in intensive Sammatha-practice in Pa-Auk Sayadaw’stradition or in Vipassana methods relatively unknown in the West, such as MogokSayadaw’s, Burma is ideal. English is more widely spread than in Thailand andhence in most monasteries translators can be found.

Permission of Entry: A visa is compulsory!

Tourist visais valid four weeks. If you want to enter with a meditation visa you must askfor a so-called sponsorship letter from the center which must be sent to theBurmese embassy together with the visa application. For processing, reckon onabout three months. Visa extensions are also possible. Take sufficient passportpictures (about 10) for the various forms.

Visa regulations do change once in a while, and one should checkwith the relevant people prior to making traveling plans!

Some information about traveling to Myanmar which a friendhave sent in Jan 06

Tourist Visa (4 week visa) if applied in Myanmar embassy inBangkok costs around $20 and takes 2-3 processing days. It is possible to payadditional money and get the visa within 24 hours (+$5), or the same dayafternoon (+$10 , if applied in the morning). however there is sometimes a longqueue and you might even have to stand in the queue for two consecutive days toget the visa.

The following info are from sources in Panditarama (a Burmesemonatery)

1-It is possible to extend a tourist visa to three months, and itwould cost around $72. (the processing takes 3~4 weeks, so you should apply forextention as soon as you arrive in Burma)

2-It is also possible to overstay Burmese visa and pay a $3 perday fine at the airport. (to be verified this with the relevant embassy beforeyou embark)

3-Having a sponsorship letter (original letter in Burmeselanguage) from a monastery, you can apply for an entry visa in Bangkok (processingfee is $35 for 24 hour processing time, and $50 for same day visa, normally nolong queue and preferable choice for people having little time to spare on aqueue). This visa is also valid for 4 weeks but can be extended to three monthsin Burma for $36 (extension in Burma takes 3~4 weeks)

4-It is possible to get a three month meditation visa fromBurmese embassy in Kualalumpur, and Singapore and the processing is a few days)

We recommendthe English travel guide Myanmar – A Travel Survival Kit (Lonely Planet).

2.1 Panditarama Meditation Centre (Shwe TaungGon Sasana Yeiktha)

by DieterBaltruschat using a leaflet of Panditarama

Address: writtenregistration recommended!

PanditaramaMeditation Centre

80-A, Thanlwin Road, Shwe Gon Dine P.O.

Bahan 11201, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Tel: 0095-1-535448,0095-1-705525

Email:panditarama@mptmail.net.mm Infos teachers and center: web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/pandita.htm

Description: The Panditarama is situated in afairly quiet area in a Yangon suburb. It was founded in 1990 by Ven. Sayadaw UPandita, one of the most notable teachers of the Mahasi tradition. The rathercompact center has a stylish and fairly sizeable meditation hall. There is aninformation office where very good books by Sayadaw U Pandita can be bought ata good price. Mainly Burmese yogis practise there. Westerners are usuallyrecommended to go to the forest center of Hse Main Gon which is about 1 to 2 hsby car and offers ideal conditions for practice. But for many, the Panditaramais the first station because it is easily reached from Yangon center.

Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Pandita is over 80, teachessince 1951, is considered one of the most notable teachers in the MahasiSayadaw tradition and has longstanding experience with Western disciples. Teachersin the centre have an excellent reputation!

How to get there: Taxi from the airport is about US$ 5,from Yangon center about US$ 2.

Meditation technique: Observation of body, feelings,mind, and mind objects. Primary object of meditation during sitting is risingand falling of the abdomen. Several times per week there is an interview withthe meditation teacher.

Language(s): During the interviews a translator ispresent, because most teachers speak little English.

Duration of courses and dates: Since thereare no group retreats, no dates need to be observed.

Lodging: Clean sanitaryrooms. Bed with fair mattress, sheets, blanket, pillow, mosquito net andthermos are provided by the center.

What to bring: Insect repellant,water disinfectant, and medications should be brought in sufficient quantitiesfrom home. A light sleeping bag and a warm fleece jacket are particularlyuseful during the winter months. Pads for sitting are available, but bring yourown pillow. Items of daily use such as toiletries, flashlight, batteries, flip-flops,and water bottle, can be bought in Yangon.

Food: Meals are nourishing, tasty, and varied and are preparedhygienically. Vegetarians will have no problem. Evenings at 5 p.m., juice isavailable. After breakfast (5 a.m.) and lunch (10 a.m.) you can fill yourthermos with hot water. Drinking water is filtered and, as a rule, potable,still be careful. If you want to be on the safe side, bring disinfectant. Sometimeslarge vats with mineral water are set up for refilling your bottle.

Costs: Support of the center is exclusively through donations. Thus,the center is dependent on the voluntary support through participants.

Rules: Participants should dedicate at least 14 hours a day toformal practice (walking and sitting meditation) and limit other activities (e.g.,laundry) to a minimum. Reading, writing (except taking notes) and walks shouldbe avoided. The eight silas (moral precepts) should be observed. Clothingshould be comfortable, practical, and decent (no shorts or tank tops). Traditionally,white blouses and shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a brown longyi (sarongor wrap-around skirt) that can be obtained at the center.

Climate and best time to go: Tropicalclimate. The cooler dry season from November to February are the best months. FromMarch on very hot.

Immigration: Visa mandatory. Tourist visa isvalid four weeks. If you want to enter with a meditation visa you must ask fora so-called sponsorship letter from the center, which must be sent to theBurmese embassy together with the visa application. For processing, reckon onabout three months. Visa extensions are also possible. Take sufficient passportpictures (about 10) for the various forms.

Literature: Sayadaw U Pandita: “In this Very Life“.It can be downloaded from the Panditarama homepage.

Note: Worth a visit,but all things considered for longer stays the forest center Hse Main Gon isbetter suited.

Affiliatedmonasteries:

-Myanmar:"Hse Main Gon" Forest Center Pyin U Lwin (Maymyo), Mawlamyaing

-Sydney,Australien

-PanditaramaLumbini International Vipassana Meditation Centre Lumbini Garden, Nepal, Tel.: 00977-71-80118,Internet: www.Panditarama-Lumbini.info

-Tathagata Meditation Centre (Sayadaw U Pannadipa - Abbot)

1215 LucretiaAvenue, San Jose, CA 95122, USA Tel: (408) 294-4536, (408) 977 0300, E-Mail: apbhivamsa@yahoo.com

Retreats inEurope: www.Vipassana-EU.org

2.2 Hse MainGon Forest Meditation Center

by DieterBaltruschat; last updated April 2006

Address: writtenpreregistration recommended contact is Panditarama Meditation Center at YangonPanditarama, 80-A, Thanlwin Road, Shwe Gon Dine P.O., Bahan 11201, Yangon,Myanmar Tel: 0095-1-535448, 0095-1-705525 E-mail: panditarama@mptmail.net.mm Tel: Forest Meditation Centre (Hse Main Gon): 0095-1-247211

Retreat Saddhamma-Foundation: 1.12.2006–31.1.2007

Information: Saddhamma Foundation 5459 Shafter Avenue,Oakland, CA 94618, USA Fax/Phone: (510) 420-1039, E-mail: retreat@saddhamma.orgWeb: www.saddhamma.org

Information onteachers and center: web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/pandita.htm

Location: The Hse Main Gon Forest Meditation Center has spaciousgrounds and is near the main road between Yangon and Bago, approx. one hour bycar from Yangon. The area was originally covered with bamboo, there are threelakes.

Reforestation projects have beenrunning several years and many trees have been planted. The center is orientedtowards the needs of Western meditators. Kutis are very comfortable. Men andwomen live in separate quarters. Amongst other buildings there are two argemeditation halls.

How to get there: Best go to the Panditarama center intown. The center will usually organize some transport. Else take a taxi for US$10–20 or the public bus (cheapest) towards Bago. Get off at the sign and walk 2km.

Tradition: Theravada, meditation method by MahasiSayadaw.

Meditation technique: Intensive Vipassana practice. Thedevelopment of constant mindfulness (no breaks) is valued highly in thisVipassana method according to Mahasi Sayadaw . During formal meditationalternation is between one hour sitting and one hour walking. Outside formalmeditation mindfulness is directed towards the task of the moment: eating,walking, laundry etc. The primary object of meditation during sitting isusually the rising and falling of the abdomen. Several times per week there isan interview with the teacher.

Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Pandita is over 80, teachessince 1951, is considered one of the most notable teachers in the MahasiSayadaw tradition and has longstanding experience with Western meditators.

Teachers: Usually there is always one teacherpresent who can give individual instructions for meditation during the severalinterviews taking place every week. The center’s teachers have a goodreputation.

Language(s): Instructions are in Burmese and aretranslated into English. During interviews a translator is present because theteacher usually speaks little English.

Duration ofcourses and dates: Usually there are no group retreats. Recommended length ofstay is three months, at the very least several weeks. It is highly recommendedto participate in the yearly retreat of the Saddhamma Foundation (usually eightweeks in December and January) because then usually Sayadaw U Pandita gives thetalks and the best teachers are present. Also, you have the group’s support.

Lodging: Meditatorslive in spacious, comfortable single and double bungalows (individual rooms,shared bath with sink, shower, toilet). The long terrace is well suited forwalking meditation. At certain times there is electricity. Beds have fairlygood mattresses. Sheets, blankets, pillow, mosquito net, bucket for laundry,thermos, and umbrella (useful also in the hot season as sun protection) areprovided.

Whatto bring: From home, insect repellant, water disinfectant, medications insufficient amounts. A light sleeping bag and a warm fleece jacket are usefulespecially in the winter months (night and morning meditation can be ratherchilly). Sitting pads are available, but a sitting pillow should be brought. Itemsof daily use like toiletries, flashlight, batteries, flip-flops, and waterbottle can be bought in Yangon. In emergencies or during long retreats themanagement will do small errants (out of soap ...).

Costs: Support of thecenter is exclusively through donations and it is therefore dependent upon thesupport of retreat participants.

Food: Breakfast at 5:30a.m. and lunch at 10:30 a.m. Food is rich, varied, and hygienically prepared. Breakfastis quite varied (noodle soup, egg, porridge, fruit, biscuits). Lunch consistsof rice, two to three vegetarian dishes (sometimes tofu), two nonvegetarianmeals, and fruit, tea or coffee. Being vegetarian is no problem. Evenings,juice is available at 5 p.m. After breakfast and lunch you can fill yourthermos with hot water. Drinking water is filtered and, as a rule, potable, butdo exercise caution nonetheless. You’ll be safer using own disinfectant orfilter or boiling water. Sometimes large vats with mineral water are set up forfilling your water bottle. For longer stays, consider bringing nuts (vegetarians),vitamin tablets, and boiled sweets (taking sugar and fruit juice are permittedin the evening). Food stuffs must be kept in ant-proof containers!

Medical care: Hygienicconditions are good by Burmese standards. Malaria risk is low. Medication isscarce and must be brought in sufficient amounts (antibiotics, Halfan, first-aidkit) and should be donated when leaving. Sometimes a doctor is present.

Rules: Eachparticipant should spend 14 hours in formal practice (walking and sittingmeditation) and limit other activities (laundry etc.) to a minimum. Don’t read,write (except notes), go on walks. Adhere to the eight silas (moral precepts). Clothingshould be decent (no shorts or tank tops) and comfortable. Traditionally, whiteblouses and shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a longyi (sarong or wrap-aroundskirt) which is available there.

Climate andbest time to go: Tropical climate. The cooler dry season is from November toFebruary (from March on very hot).

Immigrationand literature: See Panditarama.

Note: Highly suitable for serious meditators with retreatexperience desiring intensive practice, good conditions.

2.3 Pa-AukForest Meditation Center (branch near Yangon)

information by Dieter Baltruschat,last updated December 2002

Address: preregistration very recommended, but notstrictly necessary

International Pa-Auk Forest MeditationCentre

Branch of Pa-Auk Forest MeditationCentre

Thilawar Road (near Kyaik-Kauk Pagoda)

Payargon Village, Thanlyin Township

Tel: 056-21927 oder 056-21830 (English)

Contact address in Yangon: U Nyunt Tin, Tel: 0095-1-577808

Main monastery:Pa-Auk Forest Monastery

c/o Major U Khan Sain (Rtd)

653 Lower Main Road, Mawlamyine, MonState, Myanmar

Tel: 032-22132 or 057-22853

Contact at Yangon (Rangoon): Mrs. MeiYip Blue Star Co. Ltd.,No. (4), West May Kha No. (3) Street MayangoneTownship,Yangon Tel 01-650040, 650025, mobile 999 235 70, Fax 651473 E-Mail: bluestar@mptmail.net.mm

Internet: www.paauk.org

Location: The center isat the Thanlyin city limits, a suburb southeast of Yangon. It is fairly new. Thereare a nice two-floor dhamma hall, kitchen, and dining hall as well as nicelittle houses for the yogis. Since the trees are still small you can’t reallycall it a forest monastery, but there are protective roofs over the main paths,so meditators are not exposed to sun and rain. The mostly older yogis acceptWestern practicioners with much warmth. The atmosphere is very friendly andfocused at the same time.

How to getthere: Best take a taxi (max. US$ 5) from Yangon. The trip takes aboutan hour from the city center. You can also take the bus, which is very cheap. Bestcall the center beforehand. If you can’t find a taxi driver familiar with thecenter (it is not well-known), you can go to the information center near theSule pagoda. The friendly ladies there might do the call to the center for youand can explain the route to the taxi driver.

Tradition: Theravada, Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw.

Focus: Intensivemeditation practice.

Abbot and meditation teacher: Sayadaw UEindaw Batha is an excellent teacher and expert for concentration meditation (Samatha)and jhana (absorption).

Language(s): Interviews are translated into Burmeseand there is an English brochure with meditation guidelines.

Meditation technique, duration of courses and dates: Meditationpractice usually takes place in the dhamma hall. Since instructions areindividual, no particular date must be adhered to. In the Pa-Auk Sayadawtradition all 40 traditional objects of meditation (Anapanasati, analysis ofelements, 32 body parts, the 10 kasinas ...) are taught. Most practitionersbegin with Anapanasati, but depending on personal preference and talent you canbegin with a different technique. Sitting periods are usually 90 minutes. Ifyou have problems sitting for long periods of time you can switch to practicingstanding up. Sayadaw U Eindaw Batha takes care that beginners do not overdo it.After intensive concentration meditation insight meditation (Vipassana) ispracticed. If you want to go deeper, you should have several months andpractice in the main monastery near Mawlamyine. The center in Thanlyin is verysuited to get a first impression and for shorter stays. If you want to staylonger, you will be sent to the main center Mawlamyine, because conditionsthere are even better (however, malaria is endemic there).

Lodging: Usually in double rooms. Showers,toilets, and laundry facilities in small buildings near the quarters. Men andwomen live in separate areas. A light sleeping bag is especially useful duringthe cooler season.

Shopping facilities: Items of daily use areavailable at the market. Flashlight, flip-flops, water bottle, insectrepellant, toiletries, and possibly a thermos (as well as tea and coffee) youbuy best in Rangoon. From home, bring sitting pillow, vitamin and mineraltablets as well as water disinfectant.

Food: Breakfast (5:30 a.m.) and lunch (10:30 a.m.) are good. Thereare always two to three vegetarian dishes and very rarely fruit. From noon, nomeals should be taken. Potable water is available, but disinfectant should bebrought for emergencies. For longer stays, bring vitamin and mineral tablets. Theyare also a good gift for the monks.

Rules: Participants committ themselves to the eight silas (moralprecepts) and should endeavor to develop loving kindness towards all livingbeings. Clothing should be decent and comfortable (no shorts or tank tops). Traditionally,white blouses and shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a longyi (sarongor wrap-around skirt) which can be obtained at every market in Burma.

Medical care: Hygienicconditions are good by Burmese standards. Malaria risk is low. Medication isscarce, must be brought in sufficient amounts (antibiotic, Halfan, first-aidkit), and should be donated when leaving. In general medical care is much worsein Burma than in Europe.

Costs: The center is supported exclusively with donations and istherefore dependent on the voluntary support of the visitors.

Climate and best time to go: Tropicalclimate. The cooler dry season from November to February (from March on veryhot) are the best months.

Immigration: A visa is mandatory! With a center’swritten invitation it is possible to apply for a three-month meditation visa.

Literature: A very good and free of charge book byPa-Auk Sayadaw, "The Light of Wisdom", is available through Ng WeeKang, 791-C, Tmn Kerjasama, Bkt Beruang, 75450 Melaka, Malaysia, or throughknowing_seeing@yahoo.com. As a courtesy, enclose a fair donation for shippingcosts.

Note: Very good for meditators interested in Samatha practice,those with questions regarding absorptions or those who want to get a firstimpression of meditation with experienced guidance. Suitable for beginners,easy to reach, good conditions.

Another branch of the monastery is in Sri Lanka: Hon. N. AriyadhammaMahathera, Sri Gunawardana Yogasramaya Gal Duwa, Kahawa, via Ambalangola 7018,Sri Lanka

2.4 Pa-Auk Forest Monastery

by Pra Claus, 1998

Address: preregistrationhighly recommended!

Pa-Auk ForestMonastery, c/o Major U Khan Sain (Rtd)

653 Lower MainRoad, Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar

Tel: 032-22132or 057-22853

Contact at Yangon (Rangoon): Mrs. MeiYip Blue Star Co. Ltd.,No. (4), West May Kha No. (3) Street MayangoneTownship,Yangon Tel 01-650040, 650025, mobile 999 235 70, Fax 651473 E-Mail: bluestar@mptmail.net.mm

Internet:www.paauk.org

Location and how to get there: Pa-Auk TawgaKyaung (Forest Monastery) is 15 km southeast of Mawlamyine. It is easiest tocontact Mr U Thet in Rangoon. For a small fee he organises the trip oraccompanies you personally. Else take the night train or night bus from Yangonto Mawlamyine. There you can take a rest. There are a number of hotels ofvarying quality and price. There is a beautiful vista from the pagoda which isworth a visit. In 1998, during day time, travel was only possible in pick-ups. Ifyou take one of the more expensive front seats next to the driver, you canenjoy the beautiful landscape and avoid being crammed like tinned sardines onthe back benches. From Mawlamyine take bus No 8 (at least one per hour) or pick-upNo 8 direction of Mudon. Get off at the road to the monastery (sign!). Fromhere you might have to walk the last 1.5 km.

Abbot and meditation teacher: The Ven. Pa-AukSayadaw is considered an excellent teacher and expert for concentrationmeditation (Samatha) and jhana (absorption). The Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw usuallydoes the daily interviews with the meditators himself. He is always ready toanswer questions.

Focus: Intensive meditation practice relatively close toAbhidhamma (the ethic/psychologic/philosophic system of Buddhist teaching).

Language(s): The Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw speaks a fairEnglish. Interviews can be also translated into Burmese. There is also anEnglish book (see recommendation for reading) or a brochure with meditationinstructions.

Meditationtechnique, duration and dates: You practice in the dhamma hall or if

desiredin your own kuti. Since instructions are individual, there is no particulardate to observe. In the Pa-Auk Sayadaw tradition all 40 traditional objects ofmeditation (Anapanasati, analysis of elements, 32 body parts, the 10 kasinas ...)are taught. Most practitioners begin with Anapanasati, but depending onpersonal preference and talent you can begin with a different technique such asthe element meditation in which you continuously scan the body for theproperties of the four elements. Sitting periods are usually 90 minutes. If youhave problems sitting for long periods of time you can switch to practisingstanding up or retreat to your kuti. After intensive concentration meditationinsight meditation (Vipassana) is practised. If you want to go deeper, youshould have several months time.

Lodging andfood: Simple wooden kutis in rather close proximity to each other. Sharedtoilets and bathrooms. Two or three vegetarian meals low in protein and veryrarely fruit. After 12 a.m., no meals should be taken. Potable water isavailable, but for emergencies bring own disinfectant. For longer stays, bringvitamin and mineral tablets. They are also a good gift for the monks.

Rules: Participantscommit themselves to the eight silas (moral precepts) and should endeavor todevelop loving kindness towards all living beings. Clothing should be decentand comfortable (no shorts or tank tops). Traditionally, white blouses andshirts are recommended. Men and women wear a longyi (sarong or wrap-aroundskirt) which can be obtained at every market in Burma.

Shoppingfacilities: Items of daily use are available at the stalls along the mainstreet. Else you have to take a pick-up to the next market. Flashlight, flip-flops,water bottle, insect repellant, toiletries, and possibly a thermos (as well astea and coffee) you buy best in Yangon. From home, bring sitting pillow,vitamin and mineral tablets as well as water disinfectant.

Medical care: Malaria isendemic. Medication is scarce, must be brought in sufficient amounts (antibiotic,Halfan, first-aid kit), and should be donated when leaving. In general medicalcare is much worse in Burma than in Europe. Costs: The center issupported exclusively with donations and is therefore dependent on thevoluntary support of the visitors.

Climate andbest time to go: End of November to end of March (after that, very hot).

Immigration: A visa is mandatory! With a center’s written invitation itis possible to apply for a three-month meditation visa.

Literature: A very goodand free of charge book by Pa-Auk Sayadaw, "The Light of Wisdom", isavailable through Ng Wee Kang, 791-C, Tmn Kerjasama, Bkt Beruang, 75450 Melaka,Malaysia, or through knowing_seeing@yahoo.com. As a courtesy,enclose a fair donation for shipping costs.

Note: Relaxed atmosphere. Very well suited for meditatorsinterested in Samatha practice, those who have questions about absorptions orthose who want to practise for longer periods of time with experienced guidance.

Another branchof the monastery is in Sri Lanka: Hon. N. Ariyadhamma Mahathera, SriGunawardana Yogasramaya Gal Duwa, Kahawa, via Ambalangola 7018, Sri Lanka

2.5 Dhamma Joti Vipassana Centre

information by Dieter Baltruschat using buddhanet.net

Address: Dhamma JotiVipassana Centre

Wingaba YeleKyaung, Nga HtatGyi Pagoda Road

BahanTownship, Yangon, Myanmar

Tel: 0095-1-549290and 546660

Contact: MrBanwariji Goenka, Bandoola International Ltd.

Office No 134,Shwebontha Street, Yangon, Myanmar

Tel: 0095-1-72467,248174, 248175, Fax: 289965

299 BosundatStreet, Yangon, Myanmar

Tel: private 0095-1-524983;office 281277

E-mail: BANDOOLAMYANMAR@mtp400.stems.com

Tradition: Vipassana according to U Ba Khin, S.N.Goenka Centre.

Course duration and dates: Usually, 10-daycourses are offered. Advanced registration necessary. Schedule and applicationform can be ordered ahead of time.

Focus: Silent retreats with intensive sitting meditation and adaily lecture.

Meditationtechnique and schedule of retreat: The first three days Anapanasati,

i.e. observation of breath. Concentrating on inhaling andexhaling. Breath is only observed, not manipulated. From day three, Vipassanameditation in the tradition of U Ba Khin. In the "step by step"-or "body-sweeping“method the bodily sensations are systematically observed. After the body isscanned from head to toe, another round is performed in the opposite direction.Sensations are not judged but only observed. The course ends with an exercisefor the development of loving kindness.

Teacher and guidance: After 14 yearsof practice, his teacher U Ba Khin gave S.N. Goenka teaching permission in 1969.Goenkaj is from a wealthy Indian industrial family and grew up in Burma wherehe was raised in the Hindu tradition. Today he lives in India. Since there aremore than 50 centers world-wide which adhere to this tradition, Goenkajsinstructions are presented on video or audio tape.

Language(s): Burmese and English. Center manager UHlacho speaks good English.

Food: Vegetarian; if you want to be sure about water potability,bring own disinfectant.

Rules: All participants commit themselves to stay for the entireretreat, to adhere to schedule, to keep silence, not to read and write. Sexualactivities are to be discontinued for the duration of the retreat and the fiveor eight (old students) silas (moral practice precepts) to be adhered to. Clothesshould be comfortable and decent (no shorts and tank tops).

Climate and best time to go: Tropicalclimate. The cooler season from November to February (from March on very hot) isbest.

Costs: The center is supported exclusively with donations and istherefore dependent on the voluntary support of the visitors.

Immigration: Visa mandatory!

Note: Well suitedfor serious practitioners with retreat experience desiring intensive practice. Alsosuited for beginners who have no problem sitting for long periods of time andwho are ready to submit to an intensive and stringent daily schedule.

2.6 Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre

source: leafletand internet

Address: Mahasi SasanaYeiktha Meditation Centre

Buddha SasanaNuggaha Organisation

No 16, SasanaYeiktha Road, Bahan Township

Yangon, 11201Myanmar (Burma)

Tel: 95 - 1 - 541971,545918

Fax 289960, 289961

Internet: www.mahasi.org.mm

Location: The center is at the Yangon citylimits. It was founded in 1949 by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw. Mainly Burmese yogispractise there. There is an information office where English books by Ven. MahasiSayadaw can be bought at a very good price. There are over 100 buildings on thegrounds for housing and retreat facilities.

How to get there: Taxi from the airport (20 min.) isabout US$ 5, from Yangon center about US$ 2. The Centre is at the junction ofKaba-Aye Pagoda Road/Sasana Yeiktha Road.

Meditation technique: Observation of body, feeling,mind, and mind objects. Primary object of meditation during sitting is risingand falling of the abdomen. Several times per week there is an interwiev withthe meditation teacher.

Language(s): During the interviews, a translator ispresent, because most teachers speak little English.

Duration of courses and dates: Since thereare no group retreats, no dates need to be observed. Six to twelve weeks arerecommended.

Tradition: Theravada, intensive Vipassanameditation according to Mahasi Sayadaw

Lodging: Monks, nuns, men and women are housedseparately. Lodging is assigned on arrival. Rooms are either single or doubleand are furnished with bed and bedding. Toilets and washing facilities areadequate. If possible, foreign meditators get a single room.

What to bring:Insectrepellant, water disinfectant, and medications should be brought in sufficientquantities from home. A light sleeping bag and a warm fleece jacket are particularlyuseful during the winter months. Bring your own pillow. Items of daily use suchas toiletries, flashlight, batteries, flip-flops, and water bottle can bebought in Yangon.

Food: Meals arenourishing, tasty, and varied and are prepared hygienically. Vegetarians willhave no problem. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. and lunch at 10:30 a.m. Drinkingwater is filtered, but be cautious. If you want to be on the safe side, bringdisinfectant.

Costs: Support of the center is exclusively by donations. Thus,the center is dependent on the voluntary support through participants.

Rules: Participants should dedicate at least 14 hours a day toformal practice (walking and sitting meditation) and limit other activities (e.g.,laundry) to a minimum. Reading, writing (except taking notes), walks should beavoided. The eight silas (moral precepts) should be observed. Clothing shouldbe comfortable, practical, and decent (no shorts or tank tops). Traditionally,white blouses and shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a brown longyi (sarongor wrap-around skirt) that can be obtained at the center.

Climate and best time to go: Tropicalclimate. The cooler dry season from November to February are the best months. FromMarch on very hot.

Medical care: Hygienic conditions are good byBurmese standards. Malaria risk is low. Medication is scarce and must bebrought in sufficient amounts (antibiotics, Halfan, first-aid kit). A few timesa week a doctor is present.

Immigration: Visa mandatory. Tourist visa is validfour weeks. If you want to enter with a meditation visa you must ask for a so-calledsponsorship letter from the center which must be sent to the Burmese embassytogether with the visa application. For processing, reckon on about threemonths. Visa extensions are also possible. Take sufficient passport pictures (about10) for the various forms.

Note: Suitable forserious meditators with retreat experience desiring intensive practice. Thereare some interesting books at www.mahasi.com.

2.7 Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre, Yangon

by sisterAriya Nani

Address: ChanmyayYeiktha Meditation Centre

55A, Kaba AyePagoda Road

Mayangone P.O.,Yangon 11061, Myanmar

Tel: 0095-1-661479,Fax: 0095-1-667050,

Internet: www.chanmyay.org

E-mail 1: chanmyay@mptmail.net.mm

E-mail 2: chanmyay@pacific.net.sg

Description: The Chanmyay Yeiktha MeditationCentre is by the main road to the airport. It was founded in 1977 by the Ven. SayadawU Janaka, one of the most notable disciples of Mahasi Sayadaw. He acted also asthe translator for Mahasi Sayadaw on his trips to Europe and the U.S. Thecenter consists of a number of buildings, amongst others a four-floor buildingfor foreign meditators. On the four floors there are single rooms for women andmen as well as separate meditation halls. The office to the right of theentrance is your first contact.

Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Janaka was born in 1928and is still in good health. He speaks English very well. Since 1967 he hasbeen a meditation teacher, first in the Mahasi center and from 1977 in his owncenter. Since 1981 he goes abroad twice yearly to teach meditation courses invarious countries.

How to get there: A taxi from the airport is about US$5, from the city center about US$ 2. If you announce your arrival at theairport early enough (about 1 week ahead), you will be picked up.

Meditation technique: Based on Mahasi Sayadaws method ofVipassana meditation/insight meditation. Formal meditation is in turn sittingand walking; durations are adjusted according to individual level. Primaryobject of meditation is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Much value isplaced on the development of a continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in allactivities of daily life, that is, all activities outside of formal meditation.Hence all movements during eating, dressing, getting up etc. are doneconsciously slowly in order to be mindful at any given moment.

Language(s): Individual interviews and lecturesin English. Sayadaw U Janaka and another Sayadaw in charge of the foreignersspeak English well.

Courseduration and dates: Since there are no group retreats no dates need to beobserved. You can join any time. Minimum stay is 10 days. For maximum, sky’sthe limit.

Lodging: Foreignerslive in the new four-floor building. Clean single rooms are available. Commonmodern showers and toilets. Washing machine. Each room contains a bed and atable. Mattress, sheets, blanket, mosquito net and thermos are provided by thecenter.

What to bring: Insectrepellant (Yangon is malaria-free), personal medication, warm sweater and socksfor the cooler season (November to February), sitting pillow. Most articles ofdaily use (soap, toothpaste, flashlight, batteries) are available in Yangon.

Food: Two abundantmeals daily. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. (full meal with fried rice or noodlesand noodle soup as well as fruit, cake, coffee, tea) and lunch at 10:30 a.m. (ricewith five to seven different curries, fruit, desserts). You can choose betweenvegetarian and nonvegetarian food. Evenings, fruit juice around 5 p.m. You canfill your thermos with hot water during mealtime. Clean, filtered drinkingwater is available.

Costs: The center issupported exclusively with donations.

Medical care: Medicaldoctors visit the center regularly to treat the meditators for free. Westernand traditional Burmese drugs are available.

Rules andclothing: All meditators practice from 3:30 a.m. to at least 9:30 p.m. andmust observe the eight silas. Temporary ordination is possible for women andmen. During the retreat meditators keep noble silence and do not read and write(except short notes for the individual interviews). Walks outside the centerare prohibited and the center is left only in emergencies. Therefore, youshould provide for all contingencies ahead of time. E-mail and fax use is alsoonly permitted in emergencies. Burmese yogi attire is recommended: white/lightblouse or T-shirt and brown longyi (sarong) for women, white/light shirt or T-shirtand brown longyi for men. You can buy these things there easily and at a goodprice or borrow them from the center.

Climate andbest time to go: Tropical climate. Best go in the cooler season fromNovember to February.

Immigration: Visamandatory. Tourist visa is valid for four weeks. If you want to enter with ameditation visa you must ask for a so-called sponsorship letter from the centerwhich must be sent to the Burmese embassy together with the visa application. Forprocessing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions are also possible. Takesufficient passport pictures (about 10) for the various forms.

Note:Foreignersare treated very courteously.

Branchmonasteries: Chanmyay Yeiktha (Forest Centre in Hmawbi) Shansu, Hmawbi,Myanmar, Tel: 0095-1-620321

Chanmyay Yeiktha (Pyin Oo Lwin) ToeGyi Koun Village, near Anee Sakhann railway station Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar, Tel:0095-85-22457

Chanmyay Yeiktha (Hinthada) TarglayQuarter, Hinthada, Myanmar, Tel: 0095-44-21838

Chanmyay Yeiktha (Lei Way), Lei WayMyo, Myanmar

abroad: DhammodayaChanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre

45/1 MU4 Tambol Tanon Krad, AmpurMuang

Nakon Pathon 73000, Thailand

Tel: 0066-1-8109632, E-mail: dhammodaya@hotmail.com

Sitalarama Vihara Myanmar BuddhistTemple, 69 Martin Valley Road N.E Calgary, AB T3J 4L9, Canada, Tel: 001-403-5687205

Dhammodaya Myanmar Vihara, 30 MackayDrive, Ashburton, Petermarizberg 3200, South Africa Tel: 0027-33-3261463, E-mail:mabasa@iafrica.com

2.8 Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre, Hmawbi

by sisterAriya Nyani

Address: ChanmyayYeiktha Meditation Centre

Shansu,Hmawbi, Myanmar

Tel: 0095-1-620321

Internet: www.chanmyay.org

Description: The forest meditation centre isabout 1 hour by car north of Yangon, outside the town of Hmawbi (road to Bagan).The grounds are spacious with many large and shady trees and fragrant shrubs. Itis surrounded by typical Burmese quarters and villages. For quarters, there arekutis (bungalows with two rooms). There are several meditation halls as well asspecial meditation benches with roofs under the trees, so sitting and walkingmeditation can be practiced outdoors.

Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Janaka was born in 1928and is still in good health. He speaks English very well. He has been ameditation teacher since 1967. First in the Mahasi Center and from 1977 in hisown center. Since 1981 he goes abroad twice yearly to teach meditation coursesin various countries.

How to get there: From Chanmyay-Yeiktha city centerthere are numerous opportunities to hitch a ride. A taxi from the city centeris about US$ 10, from the airport about US$ 7. From the city center (Sulepagoda) there are also public direct busses. From the bus stop (ChanmyayYeiktha Hmawbi) 10 minutes walk.

Meditation technique: Based on Mahasi Sayadaws method ofVipassana meditation/insight meditation. Formal meditation is in turn sittingand walking; durations are adjusted according to individual level. Primaryobject of meditation is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Much value isplaced on the development of a continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in allactivities of daily life, that is, all activities outside of formal meditation.Hence all movements during eating, dressing, getting up etc. are doneconsciously slowly in order to be mindful at any given moment.

Language(s): During thevassa (three months during monsoon) Sayadaw U Janaka comes regularly to theforest center to conduct interviews with the foreigners. Apart from that, theindividual interviews are usually translated. Ariya Nani (a Swiss nun) translatesfrom Burmese into English, German, or French. She is also available tomeditators for instructions and individual interviews. Since she gives coursesabroad, please ask when she is in Hmawbi. Ven. Nyanaramsi (Malaysian monk) alsoinstructs and conducts individual interviews in English or Chinese.

Courseduration and dates: Since there are no group retreats, no dates need to beobserved. You can join any time. Minimum stay is 10 days. No maximum.

Lodging: Meditatorslive in kutis (bungalows) with two rooms each and shower/toilet. Each roomcontains a bed and a table. Mattress, sheets, blanket, mosquito net and thermosare provided by the center. All kutis have fine mesh windows against mosquitoes.

What to bring: Insectrepellant (Hmawbi is malaria-free), personal medications, warm sweater andsocks for the cooler season (November to February), sitting pillow. Most itemsof daily use such as soap, toothpaste, flashlight, and batteries are availablein Hmawbi.

Food: Two abundantmeals daily. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. (full meal with fried rice or noodlesand noodle soup as well as fruit, cake, coffee, tea) and lunch at 10:30 a.m. (ricewith five to seven different curries, fruit, desserts). You can choose betweenvegetarian and nonvegetarian food. Evenings, fruit juice around 5 p.m. You canfill your thermos with hot water during mealtime. Clean, filtered drinkingwater is available.

Costs: The center issupported exclusively with donations.

Medical care: Medicaldoctors visit the center regularly to treat the meditators for free. Westernand traditional Burmese drugs are available.

Rules andclothing: All meditators practice from 3:30 a.m. to at least 9:30 p.m. andmust observe the eight silas. Temporary ordination is possible for women andmen. During the retreat meditators keep noble silence and do not read and write(except short notes for the individual interviews). Walks outside the centerare prohibited and the center is left only in emergencies. Therefore, youshould provide for all contingencies ahead of time. E-mail and fax use is alsoonly permitted in emergencies. Burmese yogi attire is recommended: white/lightblouse or T-shirt and brown longyi (sarong) for women, white/light shirt or T-shirtand brown longyi for men. You can buy these things there easily and at a goodprice or borrow them from the center.

Climate andbest time to go: Tropical climate, best during the cooler season.

Immigration: Visa mandatory. Tourist visa is valid four weeks. If youwant to enter with a meditation visa, you must ask for a so-called sponsorshipletter from the center

whichmust be sent to the Burmese embassy together with the visa application. Forprocessing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions are also possible. Takesufficient passport pictures (about 10) for the various forms.

Note: Mostforeigners prefer the quiet forest center to the noisier city center. Verysuitable for beginners and long-term meditators. Foreigners are treated verywarmly.

2.9 ChanmyayMyaing Meditation Centre

by Ven. Ariya Ñani, Stand August 2007 Address: ChanmyayMyaing Meditation Centre, Shwe U Min Street, No. 3 Highway,

Laydaungkan, MingaladonTownship, Pale PO 11022, Yangon

Tel. 0095 (0)980 23 507, Website: www.vipassana-metta.com

Description: Themeditation centre is situated at the northern periphery of Yangon, about 20minutes from the airport, not far from the well-know Shwe U Min meditationcentre. Accommodation is in kutis (bungalows with two rooms, shower/toilet) orin single rooms with attached shower/toilet in the new 'Sangha-Gonye' building.There are several meditation halls, one of them is in the upper storey of the'Sangha-Gonye' building, which was especially built for the foreign meditators.

Spiritual guidance: Sayadaw U Indaka was born in1952. Ata young age he entered the local monastery as a novice. Later he changed to thefamous Mahagandhayon monastery in Amarapura where also his brother was staying.In 1972, he was ordained as a monk by Mahagandhayon Sayadaw. He finished hisstudies of the Buddhist scriptures by passing the Dhammacariya exam. Thereafterhe taught the Buddhist scriptures for ten years. In 1976, he practisedvipassana meditation at the Mahasi Meditation Centre in Mandalay under theguidance of Chanmyay Sayadaw. Some years later he went to the Chanmyay YeikthaMeditation Centre in Yangon where he was asked by Chanmyay Sayadaw to guide themeditators in their practice. In 1996, Chanmyay Sayadaw sent him to the newlyestablished Chanmyay Yeiktha in Hmawbi where he took up the role as the abbotand meditation teacher. Since 2004 he lives in his centre at the outskirts ofYangon and guides both local and foreign meditators in their meditationpractice. Sayadaw U Indaka has written several books. His book about thepractice of loving-kindness (metta) has been translated into English and German.The book on the enlightenment factors is currently being translated intoEnglish and German.

Sayadaw U Janaka was born in 1928 andis still in good health. He speaks English very well. He has been a meditationteacher since 1967. First in the Mahasi Center and from 1977 in his own center.Since 1981 he goes abroad twice yearly to teach meditation courses in variouscountries.

How to get there: A taxi from the city center is aboutUS$ 15, from the airport about US$ 10. From the city center (Sule pagoda) thereare also public busses. From the bus stop it is only 2 minutes walk to thecentre.

Meditation technique: Based on Mahasi Sayadaws method ofVipassana meditation/insight meditation. Formal meditation is in turn sittingand walking; durations are adjusted according to individual level. Primaryobject of meditation is the rising and falling of the abdomen. Much value isplaced on the development of a continuous and uninterrupted mindfulness in allactivities of daily life, that is, all activities outside of formal meditation.Hence all movements during eating, dressing, getting up etc. are doneconsciously slowly in order to be mindful at any given moment.

Language(s): Instructions, talks, and interviews are given by SayadawU Indaka and are translated into English by a translator. The Swiss nun Ven. AriyaÑani is usually at the centre during the cool season (December to March).Therefore, instructions, talks, and interviews can be translated into Germanand French. It is also possible to get teachings directly from her. Pleaseinquire whether she is at the centre or not.

Course duration and dates: Since there are no group retreats,no dates need to be observed. You can start a retreat at any time. Minimum stayis 10 days, no upper limit. Special arrangements can be made in advance.

Lodging: Meditators are accommodated either in kutis (bungalows) withtwo rooms each and shower/toilet or in the single rooms with attached shower/toiletin the 'Sangha-Gonye' building. Each room contains a bed, a drawer, and a table.Mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket, mosquito net and thermos are provided by thecenter. All room have fine mesh windows against mosquitoes.

What to bring: Insectrepellant (the area around Yangon is malaria-free), personal medications, warmsweater and socks for the cool season (December to February), sitting cushion. Mostitems of daily use such as soap, toothpaste, flashlight, and batteries areavailable in Yangon.

Food: Daily two full meals. Breakfast is at 5:30 a.m. (fullmeal with fried rice or noodles and noodle soup as well as fruit, cake, coffee,tea) and lunch at 10:30 a.m. (rice with five to seven different curries, fruit,desserts). You can choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. In theevenings, fruit juice is served around 5

p.m. You can fill your thermos with hot water during mealtimes. Clean,filtered drinking water is available.

Costs: The center is operated on the basis of donations. (Creditcards and travellers' cheques cannot be accepted.)

Medical care: Medical doctors visit the centerregularly to treat the meditators for free. Western and traditional Burmesedrugs are available.

Rules and clothing: All meditators practice from 4 a.m. toat least 9:30 p.m. and must observe the eight percepts. Temporary ordination ispossible for women and men. During the retreat meditators keep noble silenceand do not read and write (except short notes for the individual interviews). Walksoutside the center are not allowed and leaving the center during retreat isonly allowed in emergencies. Therefore, you should provide for allcontingencies ahead of time. International calls can be made and received, butonly in emergencies. Burmese yogi attire is recommended: white/light blouse orT-shirt and brown longyi (sarong) for women, white/light shirt or T-shirt andbrown longyi for men. You can buy these things there easily and at a goodprice, or you can borrow these clothes from the centre.

Climate and best time to go: Tropical climate, best duringthe cool season (December to February).

Immigration: Visa mandatory. Tourist visa is valid for four weeks. Ifyou want to enter with a meditation visa, you must ask for a so-calledsponsorship letter from the center or from Ven. Ariya Ñani which must besent to the embassy of the Union of Myanmar together with the visa application.For processing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions are only possiblefor meditation visas. Take sufficient passport photos (about 10) for thevarious forms. Those who enter the country with a tourist visa and stay longerthan four weeks can pay 'overstay' at the airport when leaving the country. Foreach day one has overstayed one pays 3 US$.

Note: Please inquirewhether Sayadaw U Indaka and/or Ven. Ariya Ñani are in the centre. Bothtravel abroad each year.

2.10 Saddhamma Ransi Meditation Centre

by Dieter Baltruschat and HildeScheller using buddhanet.net

Adresse: Saddhamma Ransi Meditation Centre

7 Zeyar Khemar Road

Mayangone 7SHP, Yangon (Rangoon),Myanmar

written preregistration recommended!

Description: The SaddhammaRansi Centre is a small but select center in a relatively quiet area a bitoutside Yangon. It has a beautiful dhamma hall and several smaller buildings. Yogisare mainly Burmese.

Spiritualguidance: Ven. Sayadaw U Kundala is considered one of the most notableteachers in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw and for a while was head of theMahasi Center. Sayadaw U Kundala has years of experience with Westernpracticioners and in Myanmar is called "Metta Sayadaw“ because of hisfriendly attitude. Because he teaches a lot elsewhere, he is often absent fromthe center.

How to getthere: From the city center in Yangon the Mahasi Center is reached in 10min. by taxi. To the Saddhamma Ransi Meditation Centre pass the Mahasi Center,take Kaba-Aye Pagoda Road out of the city, pass Sayadaw U Janaka’s ChanmyayYeiktha Meditation Centre and continue down the main road. Hopefully the driverwill find the correct road to turn (approx. 8 km). The entire trip is about 30to 45 minutes.

Meditationtechnique and schedule: Observation of body, feelings, mind, and mind objects. Usually,primary object of contemplation during sitting meditation is rising and fallingof the abdomen. Several times per week there is an interview with themeditation teacher. The center has a less stringent timetable than othercenters of the Mahasi tradition. Instead of the usual minimal 12 hours ofpractice „only“ 8 are expected. A stay of one to three months is recommended.

Language(s): During theinterviews a translator is present because the teachers speak little English.

Course duration and dates: Since there are no groupretreats, there are no special dates to adhere to. What to bring: Insectrepellant, water disinfectant, and medication should be brought in sufficientquantities from at home. A light sleeping bag and a warm fleece jacket areuseful during the winter months. Sitting pads are available, but a pillow forsitting should be brought. Items of daily use such as toiletries, flashlight,batteries,

flip-flops,and water bottle can be bought in Yangon.

Costs: The center issupported exclusively with donations and is therefore dependent on thevoluntary support of the visitors.

Rules: Participantscommit themselves to the eight silas (moral precepts). Clothing should bedecent and comfortable (no shorts or tank tops). Traditionally, white blousesand shirts are recommended. Men and women wear a longyi (sarong or wrap-aroundskirt) which can be obtained in Yangon.

Climate andbest time to go: Tropical climate, the best time to go is the cooler dryseason from November to February (from March very hot).

Immigration: Visamandatory. Tourist visa is valid four weeks. If you want to enter with ameditation visa, you must ask for a so-called sponsorship letter from thecenter which must be sent to the Burmese embassy together with the visaapplication. For processing, reckon on about three months. Visa extensions arealso possible. Take sufficient passport pictures (about 10) for the variousforms.

Note: Because of theless stringent schedule and Sayadaw’s friendly manner good for less experiencedyogis interested in the Mahasi method. In the center, there are someinteresting and pragmatic books by Sayadaw U Kundala (e.g., “Dhamma Ratana“).

2.11 The-Pyu Tawya Vipassana Meditation Centre & Monastery

by ScottDonald Dez. 2005 Information: The monastery is 2 years old butdeveloping quickly; presently 8 buildings constructed. In the north of Yangon,on a side road between the Haukkant Junction and Hmawbi. No telephone. Taxitakes about 1 hour from Yangon.

Contact person: Sithu Lwin-TravellersMedia, (90) 2nd floor,

28th Street (Middle)Pabedan Township, Yangon Tel.: 951-283911, Email: travellers@aseanmail.net

Teacher: Ashin SayadawU Panna Jota. Sayadaw does not speak English but one translator is usuallyliving there.

Technique: 10 Day Retreats in the style of Goenka

2.12 SîtaguInternational Buddhist Academy (Study center)

by Samaneri Uppalavanna Theri

Address: Sîtagu International Buddhist Academy

Sagaing Hills, Sagaing Division,Myanmar (Burma)

Tel: 0095-72-21611, Fax 0095-72-21611

E-mail: sitaguacademy@mptmail.net.mm

President: Sayadaw Dr. NyanissaraRector: Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalabhivamsa Chancellor: Sayadaw Dr. Panditavarabhivamsa

Description: Sitagu is aBuddhist university which will be fully functioning on an international levelfrom about 2005. At present, only Burmese students (or foreigners who speakBurmese). Non-Burmese interested in Theravada can on short notice talk to thehead or rector on special lessons. Short stays are possible. Field and topicscan be decided on individually with the teacher or lecturer; all parts of theTipitaka are possible. Teaching is in English. The large and architecturallypleasing university is situated in quiet and rural surroundings at the foot ofthe Sagaing hills. The hills have been known for 1000 years for their monasticvariety and the pure practice of Theravada Buddhism. There are about 900monasteries for monks and nuns. Some settings are foresty and archaic. Monksand nuns often live, study, and practice just as in the old days.

Location: Sagaing isin Central Burma about 20 km from Mandalay. The little town Sagaing has a largemarket at which everything necessary can be bought. The academy is in the hillsabout ½ hour walk from the town center. In the center there are no shopsor apartments, but monasteries and ancient pagodas worth a visit. Everythingcan be reached by foot. Means of transport from town to the monasteries: horse-drawncoach.

Meditation: No retreatsin the academy, but retreats can be arranged in the monasteries and centersaround the academy (however, in most no English is spoken. Exception: SagaingMahasi Dhammaswamyi Yeiktha). Meditation without teacher is no problem at theacademy; practice is possible in some rooms and your own quarter. Subjectsand courses: Pali, Sutta, Abhidhamma, Vinaya, Burmese. By demand, coursescan be individually arranged on short notice.

How to get there: From Yangon take the direct nightbus to Mandalay or Sagaing city (there is only one line). Trip is about 16 h (withoutbreakdowns!) and costs about

US$5. The train is rather expensive for foreigners (around US$ 35). Burmese payonly US$ 3. Trip duration is comparable to bus. There is a direct flight nowfrom Bangkok to Mandalay, but it is considerably more expensive than the flightto Yangon. The flight from Yangon to Mandalay is about US$ 90 and takes 1½ h. The airlines Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways are reliable and canbe recommended.

Lodging: Visitors andthose interested in individual studies are housed in first class A/C doublerooms with separate living room and fridge, bath and toilet.

Food: Full boardat the academy. If you are vegetarian, please notify at arrival. Clean drinkingwater is available everywhere for free.

Health: Hygienicconditions at the academy are very good. The potable water is treated and foodis hygienically prepared. No risk of malaria. Insect repellant and a hatagainst sun are recommended.

Medical care: Ayudana Hospitalopposite the academy, founded by Sayadaw Dr. Nyanissara. Treatment is free/bydonation. It is very clean and doctors are competent. The medical directorspeaks English very well.

Costs: All socialand educational institutions founded by the Ven. Sayadaw Dr. Nyanissara arebased on the Buddhist principle of dana, i.e. everything is financed throughvoluntary donations of the generous Burmese. Foreign visitors and students cancontribute in the same manner. Medication against malaria, typhoid, high bloodpressure, diarrhea and dysentery are appreciated by the doctors of AyudanaHospital.

Note: At present (until 2005) very suitable for short andindividual studies, as well as long-term stays for individual studies. Verypleasant atmosphere, lovely setting in beautiful nature and historic sites. Muchmetta and helpfulness.

2.13Dhammavijjalaya Centre for Buddhist Studies (Study center)

(under construction) by SamaneriUppalavanna Theri

Address: DhammavijjalayaCentre for Buddhist Studies Mahasubodhayon Monastery Sagaing Hills Road,Sagaing, Myanmar Tel: 0095-72-21311

Head: Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalabhivamsa.The Ven. is an outstanding Pali and Abhidhamma scholar and excellent specialiston Tiptaka. He is considered a world specialist in the field of Buddhiststudies.

Location: The centerfor Buddhist studies, which is currently under construction, is directly behindthe monastery of the Ven. Dr. Nandamalabhivamsa in a very quiet setting,surrounded by pagodas and few monasteries. Primary goal of the center is tooffer foreigners a quiet spot for (individual) studies of Pali writings (Tipitaka)and the practice of the learned. There will be simple but functional quarterswith bath and toilet. The center is currently building up a library with alarge spectrum of Buddhist literature for reference. On demand, Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalabhivamsawill organise lessons in Suttas, Pali, Abhidhamma and adjoining commentaries. Thecenter will also support research for dissertations in the field of Buddhiststudies. Those interested can call Sayadaw directly (telephone see above). Thesecond goal of the center is to publish essential summaries of Suttas orindividual aspects of the Dhamma as brochures in several languages and make itavailable to Buddhist groups in the West. This includes the translation ofknown texts on demand.

Subjects: Abhidhamma,Pali, Suttas, the entire spectrum of Buddhist studies.

Courses: Anytimedepending on demand.

Location: 10 minutesfrom town center (Sagaing) and the shopping district. Around the center, whichis quietly situated between three other monasteries, there are many pagodas. Thecenter is very green with fruit trees and organic vegetable subsistence farming.

How to get there: From Yangon take the direct nightbus to Mandalay or Sagaing city (there is only one line). Trip is about 16 h (withoutbreakdowns!) and costs about US$ 5. The train is rather expensive forforeigners (around US$ 35). Burmese pay only

US$3. Trip duration is comparable to bus. There is a direct flight now fromBangkok to Mandalay, but it is considerably more expensive than the flight toYangon. The flight from Yangon to Mandalay is about US$ 110 and takes 1½ h. The airlines Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways are reliable and canbe recommended.

Climate: Sagaing inCentral Burma has rather extreme temperatures. March, April and May are notrecommended because temperatures can be 40 °C and higher. From June, it ismonsoon. However, it is moderate. It lasts until about September. Best time togo, when it is dry and cool, is between mid-October and mid-February. Then youwill definitely need a jacket in the evenings.

Lodging: Quarters canbe built only after sufficient financial support has been raised. There areplans for a building with single rooms (including bath and toilet) on theground floor and a hall for lessons and lectures above. Currently lodging canbe arranged on demand. There are also plans for very beautiful bamboo huts forstudents who want to stay longer and live in a meditative and monastic atmosphere.

Food: None as yet.The plan is to provide simple vegetarian meals and evenings, self-catering.

Medical care: ThroughAyudana hospital in the Sagaing hills (see Sitagu Intl. Buddhist Academy).

Costs: The center is founded and run exclusively on the Danaprinciple. If you wish to support the project financially and perhaps want togive cash, finance a telephone line, a bamboo hut, or donate in other ways,please contact Theravada AG, E-mail: theravada@dharma.de. Buddhist books (preferablyin English) or original texts (in Pali, Latin script) are also very muchappreciated.

3. Sri Lanka

Ven. Mettavihari Thera

NaradaBuddhist Center, 380/9 Sarana Road, 10700 Colombo. Can help answer questions (E-mail:metta@metta.lk)

Internet has more informations, amongst others a list withadditional meditation centers and study possibilities:

www.metta.lk/temples/meditation-centers.html

Buddhist Publication Society (BPS)

54, SangharajaMawatha, P.O. Box 61, Kandy, Sri Lanka Tel. 94-(0)81-2237283, 2238901 Fax: 2223679E-Mail bps@sltnet.lkInternet: www.bps.lk BPS Bookshop opening hours: Mo-Fr9.00-16.30, Sa 9.00-12.30

Worth a visit. By the road around the artificial lake in Kandy. Asidefrom a large selections of books (some in German) you can get the latestinformations on retreats and meditation in Sri Lanka. You can also obtain ahighly recommended catalogue for books there.

3.1 Nilambe

source: buddhanet.net,Samanera S. and Helge Latzina 2004

Address: NilambeMeditation Centre

Galaha Road,Kandy, Sri Lanka

Tel: 0094 -(0)777804555E-mail: upulnilambe@yahoo.com

Location: Nilambe was founded by laypersons forlaypersons, is one of the best known centers in Sri Lanka and is beautifullysituated in a famous tea plantation area about 30 km south of Kandy. It is well-knownfor its pleasant and friendly atmosphere.

How to get there: From Kandy take the bus to Galaha toNilambe Office Junction. Then continue on the main path towards the peak. Walktakes about 45 minutes. In dry weather, you can also use the stairs through thetea plantation (follow white arrows). Taxi or Three-Wheeler from Kandy 700-800Rs.

Teacher and tradition: Upul Gamage, Theravada,Vipassana meditation.

Language(s): English and Singhalese.

Course duration and dates: Individualguidance, hence no particular dates. In December/January and April/May, thecentre may be full.

Rules and daily schadule: The day beginsat 5 a.m. with a sitting period. After that yoga, breakfast and workingmeditation. Then sitting and walking alternatedly until lunch. Afternoons,sitting and walking, yoga and a chanting period (reciting). Evenings, a snackand a Dhamma discussion. Breaks for walks in beautiful landscape.

Lodging and food: For men and women simple single anddouble kutis (bungalows). A sleeping bag is very useful. Food is vegetarian andcan be very hot. If you want to be on the safe side regarding the potablewater, bring disinfectant.

Costs: Meals and lodging are 400 rupees per day (exchange rate 2004:1 US = approx. 120 rupees).

Climate: Very pleasant, sometimes cool (bringsweater/sleeping bag).

Note: Goodconditions and well suited for beginners. Small library. For an extended stay,you will be supported in the visa application process. Since there is noelectricity, bring sufficient supply of spare batteries for torch (we recommendthe use of LED-torches – they are much more economic). During and after rainthere are plenty of leeches, so bring Autan against these and the fewmosquitoes.

3.2 Lewella Meditation Centre

source: buddhanet.net and Samanera S.

Address: LewellaMeditation Centre

160Dharmashoka Mawatha, 20000 Kandy, Sri Lanka

Tel./Fax: 0094-81-2040937,E-mail: upulnilambe@yahoo.com

Internet:www.buddhanet-de.net/lewella/

Location and how to get there: The MeditationCentre is a branch of Nilambe at the outskirts of Kandy. It borders theUdawattakele Natural Forest Reserve. It is in walking distance from theBuddhist Publication Society. The the city center you walk 45 minutes or ride abus (4.50 Rs) or threewheeler (80 Rs) (both 10 minutes). The main buidinghouses a library, a meditation hall, and a yoga practice hall. A little noisefrom the road can be heard. Male practitioners of all Buddhist meditationtraditions are accepted. For women, there is the similar Visakha MeditationCentre in Kandy.

Lodging and food: Four small bungalows in beautifulsurroundings with electricity, water and toilet. The two daily meals (rice andcurry) are vegetarian, very good, and of adequate size. If you want to be onthe safe side regarding the potable water, bring disinfectant or filter.

Language(s): English and Singhalese.

Course schedule and dates: Very wellsuited for self-retreats. On demand, teachers offer instructions and support. MaheshaKodikara’s yoga lessions are highly spoken of. Practicioners can combinemeditation, studies, and physical exercises individually. No special dates tobe observed. However, high season runs from mid-December to mid-February, sopreregistration is recommended.

Costs: Meals andlodging are approx. US$ 3 per day.

3.3 Dhammakuta

source: buddhanet.netand Samanera S.

Address: Dhammakuta-VipassanaMeditation Centre

Mowbray GalahaRoad, Hindagala (near Kandy), Peradeniya

Tel: 0094-81-2234649

informationalso through BPS Kandy, Sangharaja Mawatha (Kandy

Lake)

Tradition: Vipassanaaccording to U Ba Khin (Burma), S.N. Goenka Center.

Course duration and dates: Throughout theyear, 3-, 10-, and 21-day courses are offered. For beginners, a 10-day courseis recommended. Timely preregistration is necessary. Timetable and applicationform can be ordered; you can also apply personally.

How to get there: Train from Colombo to Sarasavi UyanaPeradeniya station. From there walk to Galaha Road (shortcut through theuniversity campus), then take the bus from Galaha Road to Mahakanda Junction.

Focus: Silent retreats with intensive sitting meditation and adaily lecture.

Meditation technique and schedule: First threedays Anapanasati, i.e.observation of breath. Concentrating on inhaling andexhaling. Breath is only observed, not manipulated. From day three, Vipassanameditation in the tradition of U Ba Khin. In the "step by step" or "body-sweeping“method the bodily sensations are systematically observed. When the body isscanned from head to toe, another round is performed in the opposite direction.Sensations are not judged but only observed. The course ends with an exercisefor the development of loving kindness.

Teacher and guidance: After 14 years of practice, histeacher U Ba Khin gave S.N. Goenka teaching permission in 1969. Goenkaj stemsfrom a wealthy Indian industrial family and grew up in Burma where he wasraised in the Hindu tradition. Today he lives in India. Since there are morethan 50 centers world-wide which adhere to this tradition, Goenkajsinstructions are presented on video or audio tape.

Language(s): Burmese andEnglish. Food: Vegetarian. If you want to be sure about waterpotability, bring own disinfectant.

Language(s): Singhalese andEnglish.

Cost: Donation.

Rules: All participants commit themselves to stay for the entireretreat, to adhere to schedule, to keep silence, not to read and write. Sexualactivities are to be discontinued for the duration of the retreat and the fiveor eight (old students) silas (moral practice precepts) to be adhered to. Clothesshould be comfortable, white and decent (no shorts and tank tops).

Climate: Pleasant.

Note: Well suitedfor serious practitioners with retreat experience, desiring intensive practice.Also suited for beginners who have no particular problem sitting for longperiods of time and who are ready to submit to an intensive and stringent dailyschedule.

3.4 LankaVipassana Centre

source: buddhanet.net and Samanera S.

Address: Lanka Vipassana Bhavana Centre

108 Vijerama Mawatha, Colombo 00700,Sri Lanka

Tel: 0094-11-2694100

Descriptionand tradition: The center is in Colombo and accepts men and womeninterested in intensive Vipassana meditation according to Mahasi Sayadaw.

Meditationtechnique: The development of constant mindfulness (no breaks) is valuedhighly in this Vipassana method according to Mahasi Sayadaw. During formalmeditation alternation is beween one hour sitting and one hour walking. Outsideformal meditation mindfulness is directed towards the task of the moment: eating,walking, laundry etc. The primary object of meditation during sitting isusually the rising and lowering of the abdomen. Several times per week there isan interview with the teacher.

Lodging: Part of abuilding with single rooms and shared baths. Women live in a separate area.

Costs: Donation.

Recommended reading:

Sayadaw U Pandita: "In this Very Life" Mahasi Sayadaw:"Practical Insight Meditation – Basic and Progressive Stages",Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka The Mahasi Center‘s homepage (www.mahasi.com)has additional recommended books to download.

3.5 IslandHermitage (Polgasduwa)

source: leaflet and Samanera S. updatedfrom Erik Hausstädtler July 2005

Address: IslandHermitage (Polgasduwa) To the Monk in Charge 80250 Dodanduwa, Galle District,Sri Lanka Tel: Tel.: 0094 91 54 52 453 Informations: www.metta.lk/temples/ih/Info.htm

Registration: To preservethe tranquil and secluded character of the center is is mandatory to apply andwait for an invitation. Only with this invitation the boat will take you there!Ven. Mettavihari Thera of the Narada Buddhist Center, 380/9 Sarana Road, 10700Colombo may help (E-mail: metta@metta.lk).

Description: The IslandHermitage is a monk hermitage in the Theravada forest tradition. It was foundedin 1911 by the first German monk, Ven. Nyanatiloka. Polgasduwa is about 104 kmfrom Colombo and about 5 km south of the seaside resort of Hikkaduwa. Seriouslyinterested males can pursue Buddhist studies or meditation techniques of theTheravada tradition. Excellent library (German and English books) and goodatmosphere for practice. Sanitary areas are a bit run down.

How to getthere: From Colombo take bus or train direction of Galle and get off inDodanduva. From there, walk to the laguna or take a threewheeler for the shortway.

Lodging: Double kutis (sufficientspace in between).

Costs: Donation.

Climate: Humid and hot.

What to bring: For overnight stays, bring passportwith valid visa, alarm clock, flashlight with spare batteries, umbrella, insectrepellant, sheet cover and blanket or a light sleeping bag. White upasakaclothing (white shirt and white sarong or trousers).

3.6 Vipassana Bhavana Madhyasthana

source: buddhanet.net and Samanera S.

Address: Vipassana Bhavana Madhyasthana

Dikhena Estate, 10320 Polgasovita

preregistration recommended (the Germannun Sister Samadhi may

help)

Description: The center isin the lowlands next to a coconut plantation and relatively densely built (littlerun-about space). Men and women are accepted. The daily schedule is verystringently organized and the eight silas are to be kept. Climate is humid andhot.

How to getthere: From Colombo take bus No 120 direction Horana. In Polgasovita getoff at gas station and walk that road down to the center (10 minutes) or take athreewheeler.

Tradition: Theravada,branch of "Galduva" (Ramañña-Nikaya) monastery.

Meditationmethod: Pa-Auk system, but on demand individual practice is possible.

Language(s): English orSinghalese.

Course ofretreat and dates: Since guidance is individual, no particular dates needs tobe observed.

Lodging andfood: Laymen sleep in a sort of dormitory, women in kutis in a separatearea. Breakfast and lunch are vegetarian (rice + curries). To be on the safeside with potable water, bring disinfectant or filter.

Costs: Donation.

Recommended reading: An excellent book by Pa-Auk Sayadaw, "TheLight of Wisdom", can be had free of charge at Ng Wee Kang, 791-C, TmnKerjasama, Bkt Beruang, 75450 Melaka, Malaysia, or at: knowing_seeing@yahoo.com.Kindly add an adequate amount for shipping as a donation.

3.7 University Forest Solitude

source: SamaneraS. Address: University Forest Solitude 77 Bowalawatta, 20000 Kandy, SriLanka

preregistration or personalapplication recommended! Tradition: Amarapura group of Theravada foresttradition. Decription and how to get there: The spotless monastery issituated nicely above

Kandy andaccepts only males. Library. Few mosquitoes, leeches in tolerable amounts afterrain. Take Bowalawatta-bus from the Clock-Tower bus station to "La Kandyan"Hotel, then pleasant 15 minutes walk through a tea plantation.

Meditationtechnique: Different methods from the Theravada tradition (mainly

Mahasi or Pa-Auk methods). Daily schedule: Participatingin daily routine (sweeping, breakfast, lunch, evening chanting and meditation) ismandatory.

Teacher: Ven. Sanathavihari(speaks excellent English). Language(s): English or Singhalese. Lodging:Kutis (electricity and water). Food: Almost luxurious. Meals withthe monks. To be on the safe side with potable

water (spring water), bring disinfectant. Costs: Donation.Climate: Pleasant, sometimes cool. What to bring: Alarm clock,flashlight with spare bulbs, umbrella, and insect

repellant. Sleeping bag is a good idea. White upasaka clothing (whiteshirt and white sarong or trousers) mandatory.

3.8 NissaranaVanaya

by Samanera Analayo

Address: NissaranaVanaya Meethirigalla 11742, Sri Lanka only males

writtenpreregistration mandatory! Location: Nissarana Vanaye is of the Galduvatradition and is considered “the”

meditationmonastery in forest tradition history. Even today it functions well. At thispoint, three foreign monks live there, one of them German (Ven. Dhammaramita). Teacherand tradition: Ven. Dhammajiva Bhikkhu was trained by Sayadaw U

Pandita to beteacher. Vipassana meditation in the Mahasi tradition. Language(s): Englishand Singhalese. Course duration and dates: Individual guidance, hence noparticular dates to be

observed. Intensive meditation practice. Lodging:Single kutis (bungalows), males only. Food: Vegetarian . Costs: Donation.Climate: Humid. What to bring: Flashlight, insect repellant,white clothing.

3.9 Meditation Centre Kanduboda

by SamaneraAnalayo; internet, leaflet

Address: MeditationCentre Kanduboda, Delgoda, Sri Lanka

Tel/fax: 0094-11-2570306,E-mail: kandubod@sltnet.lk

Internet: www.metta.lk/temples/kandubodha/

writtenpreregistration recommended but not necessary

Location and how to get there: Theinternational center for meditation was founded in 1956 with the support of theVen. Mahasi Sayadaw. It is about 30 km east of Colombo. Up to 70 meditators canbe accommodated. For many years, Western monks, nuns, laymen and -women havecome here. The center is near the road and surrounded by coconut plantations. Threreare a number of branch monasteries spread over Sri Lanka.

How to get there: From the central bus stand in Colombobetween 1 and 1 ½ hours by bus No 224 (Colombo/Pugoda) to Kanduboda. Theroute from Katunayake International Airport is longer; there is no direct busconnection. It takes about 1 hour by taxi from the airport to Kanduboda. Thetourist information at the airport or in Colombo can name the approximate costof the fare.

Teacher and Tradition: Ven. M. Upali Thera. IntensiveVipassana meditation in the Mahasi tradition.

Meditation technique: Observation of body, feeling,mind, and mind objects. Primary object of meditation during sitting is risingand falling of the abdomen. Several times per week there is an interwiev withthe meditation teacher.

Language(s): English and Singhalese. Often translationinto German is possible.

Dates and rules: Individualinstructions, hence no special dates need to be observed. Stays from a few daysto several weeks are possible. Laypersons live according to the eight rules ofvirtue and are asked to wear only white clothing.

Lodging: Single rooms are available for allmeditators. Men and women live in separate quarters. Monks live in a largehouse with rooms and several kutis (bungalows).

Food: Mornings andnoons nourishing vegetarian meals. At other times, coconut milk, rice soup, andtea.

Costs:Lodging,food, and services are offered for free according to Buddhist tradition. Thishas been possible throughout the years because of the support throughlaypersons and donators from Sri Lanka and other countries. Donations arereceived gratefully.

What to bring:Pleasebring passport with valid visa, hygiene articles, flip-flops, alarm clock,flashlight, umbrella, writing pad and pen, insect repellant, and possibly lightsleeping bag. Also bring two to three sets of white upasaka clothing (whiteshirt, white sarong or trousers)

Note: For longerstays, support in obtaining visa is possible.

Reading recommendation for beginners:

The Buddha andHis Teaching – Ven. Narada What the Buddha Taught – Ven. Walpola Rahula TheDhammapada – Ven. Narada The Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation – Ven. MahasiSayadaw

Further recommendations for reading:

The Path of Purification – Ven. Buddagosa A comprehensive Manualof Abbhidhamma – Bhikkhu Bodhi An Introduction to Theravada Abhidamma – Prof. G.D.Sumanapala In This Very Life – Ven. U Pandita

3.10 RockhillHermitage and International Retreat Centre

by Metaji in Jan. 2006

Address: RockhillHermitage, Wegirikanda, Via Gampola, Sri Lanka Website www.rockhillsrilanka.netPhone 0094-60-2 801 871

Description: RockhillHermitage is easily accessible from Kandy, located deep within the untroubledcountryside of Sri Lanka's central mountain region. The climate is mild andpleasant. Visitors are surrounded by an abundance of flora and fauna withnatural spring water on site. The Hermitage is situated on a mountainside andconsists of a monastery, a men's area, a nunnery and a women's area. It has alarge meditation hall. A library and a number of caves and student houses arescattered throughout the peaceful 15-acre grounds. The name "Rockhill"refers to the impressive boulders and rocks which form some of the caves. TheRockhill Hermitage is one of the few retreat centers in Sri Lanka where it ispossible for women to live alone in small cottages within natural surroundingsIntensive meditation courses are held for ten days at the beginning of everymonth. Arrangements can also be made for individual retreats of indefiniteperiods. The founder and teacher, Venerable P. Kassapa (Bhante) has beenteaching Vipassana Meditation and the Dhamma for more than 35 years. He teachesin English.

Ten dayVipassana retreats are held on the first ten days of each month. Attendees arewelcome to stay for individual practice after the retreat concludes.

How to getthere: From Kandy, cross the railway line near the station to the localbus stops. Ask for a Wegiriya bound bus and exit at Wegiriya. Refer to the signfor Rockhill Hermitage (Wegirikanda) a 10 min. uphill walk. Alternatively,catch a Gampola bound bus to Gelioya. From the bus station at Gelioya catch athree ­wheeler (tuk-tuk) to Rockhill Hermitage in Werigikanda (price Rs100).Busescost under Rs10. You could also catch a minivan directly from Kandy. Alternativelyyou can catch a taxi direct from Kandy. Refer to the website for a map.

Tradition: Theravada

Meditationtechnique: The main practice taught here is the Vipassana Meditation. Studentswho enroll for a ten day training course will spend the first three dayslearning to concentrate the mind by observing the inhalation and exhalation ofthe breath (Anapanasati) and the consequent sensation arising. For theremaining seven days they are then shown how to penetrate their physical andmental structure, developing a profound understanding of themselves and eachother. Each day's progress is explained more fully by an hour's eveningdiscourse. Experience has shown that within a ten day period the meditationtechnique can be grasped and the mind can achieve a degree of concentration andsubtlety. A structured timetable and strict adherence to a few straightforwardbut very important rules is essential.

Teacherand guidance: The founder and teacher, Venerable P. Kassapa (Bhante) hasbeen teaching Vipassana Mediation and the Dhamma for more than 35 years.

Language(s): Teachings arein English.

Courseduration and dates: A 10-day retreat starts every first day of the month (endsthe morning of the 11th). Retreatants are able to continue their stay forindividual practice after the retreat.

Accommodation:Comfortablekutis (cottages) and some caves are available. There is separate accommodationfor men and women. Simple, basic, shared accommodation is provided. Cold watershowers are available inside; on hot, sunny days warm water may be availablefor bathing outside. Please remember Rockhill is a Hermitage (monastery andnunnery). Students are asked to wear bathing clothes when washing outside.

Shopping: Shopping islimited to emergencies. Students should bring everything they need with themincluding toilet goods, washing powder etc.

Food: Good qualityvegetarian food is provided for breakfast and lunch. No solid food is takenafter midday. The only exception is for students requiring an evening meal formedical reasons, for whom soup will be provided. Any student who is required tofollow a special diet for medical purposes should consult the management beforeenrolling.

Cost: Meditators arerequested to contribute a reasonable amount for food and lodging. A minimumamount of US $5 a day is payable. Any special donations for improvement of theHermitage are entirely on a voluntary basis. All donations gratefully accepted.Payment on arrival, in cash, at the office please.

Rules: Limitedaccommodation may mean that students will be sharing rooms. Restricted spaceand the close proximity of other people requires that Yoga or other forms ofphysical exercise such as Tai Chi, etc. is not practiced out of considerationfor fellow students. A high standard of personal cleanliness is essential andwe recommend that loose, comfortable white clothing be worn. Please ensure thatyour choice of dress is simple, modest and covers you properly. Shorts andshort skirts are not permitted. NOBLE SILENCE: Continuity of the practice bothwithin meditation hours and in leisure time is of primary importance. Tofacilitate this training of the impartial observation of the phenomena of mindand matter, the major part of the course will be held in noble silence. Furtherdetails will be given by the management on enrolment in the course. It is togain a good grasp of the practice and gain benefit. The emphasis during the tendays is on WORK. A golden rule is to work as if one was alone on thecourse, ignoring any distractions and inconveniences encountered, with one'smind turned totally inwards. We request that each student read the above rulescarefully and only apply to enroll for a course if they are fully prepared tosubmit to the discipline.

Dailyschedule:

The timetableoutlined below, if followed meticulously, will enable the student to develop asharp and concentrated mind, the tool for his work. It should be stressedagain, however, that it is the continuity of the practice and this alone thatenables one to penetrate the subtle layers of mind and matter and start theprocess of loosening and unraveling the congestion of stress and emotion, whichis a common source of suffering and unhappiness.

THE TIMETABLE

5:45am Wake upbell

6:00am - 7:00amMeditate in own place or in the Hall

7:00am - 8:00amBreakfast in the nunnery

8:00am - 9:00amGroup meditation in the Hall

9:00am - 11:00amMeditate in the Hall or in own place, sitting or walking.

11:00am - 11:30amBell for Buddha Puja, get ready for lunch (Dana)

11:30am - 12:00pmDana (mid-day meal) in the nunnery. Please be on time

12:00pm - 1:00pmRest, study, attend to personal needs

1:00pm - 2:00pmWalking meditation

2:00pm - 3:00pm Group meditation in the Hall 3:00pm - 3:30pm Teabreak in the nunnery 3:30pm - 5:00pm Private interviews in office. Meditateindividually 5:00pm - 6:00pm Group meditation in the Hall 6:00pm - 7:00pm Freetime 7:00pm - 7:30pm Tea break in the nunnery 7:30pm - 9:30pm Teacher'sdiscourse, group discussion, group meditation 9:30pm Retire to own room

Pleasebe on time and try to be mindfully aware of every movement you do.

If possible one should enroll in advance by post, telephone,email or a personal visit. As meals are taken only twice a day, at 7:00am and 11:30am,students are requested to arrive after lunch or to bring some food (fruits, etc)along. Office hours 9-10 am and 3-5 pm. Refer to our website for more details: www.rockhillsrilanka.net

4. Nepal

Some years ago travelling within Nepal was absolutely safe andeasy. At the moment the situation in the country is a bit difficult from thepoint of view of domestic policy. But in March 2005 two travellers evaluatedthe situation in Kathmandu as being safe.

Travelling by public busses may be very strenuous. Most Nepalisare very friendly and obtaining a visa is simple. Medical care, however, is notup to Western standards. Hygienic conditions are a bit better than in India,but regarding food and potable water you should strictly adhere to the usualprecautions applicable to travel in the Far East. The country’s cuisine isconsidered rather simple and little varied, but tasty.

In the Buddha’s country of birth there are a number ofoutstanding meditation teachers and some monasteries and centers with very goodconditions for practice. The range of retreat options is very wide. Beginnerscan find several meditation courses, but there are also study centers forBuddhist scholarship and possibilities for long-term retreats. Aside from someinteresting locations for Vipassana meditation Nepal is especially interestingfor students and practicants of the Tibetan traditions. Particularly around theGreat Stupa of Bodnath monasteries of nearly all Tibetan traditions can befound.

We recommend the English travel guide „Nepal – A Travel SurvivalKit“, published by Lonely Planet Verlag.

Entry: A visa is needed for entering Nepal. You can obtain itquickly and easily at Nepalese consulates or at the airport in Kathmandu (bringpassport pictures). Tourist visas can be extended in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

The cheapest visa for a single entry and stay for up to 60 daysis 40 Euro in Europe or 35 US$ in Kathmandu (2002). An extension can beobtained easily (1 US$/day, up to 4 month per calendar year).

Up to date information on visas for Nepal are available on H.M. Ministryof Home’s Department of Immigration website www.immi.gov.np

Airport Tax: The Airporttax on exit is presently Rs. 1700 to all foreign destinations.

4.1 Nepal Vipassana Centre

(DieterBaltruschat, last update November 2002)

Address: NepalVipassana Centre

Dhammashringa,Muhan Pokhari, Budhanilkanth, Kathmandu

Tel.: 00977-1-371655oder 371007

Leaflet,questions and registration (preregistration recommended):

NepalVipassana Centre City Office

Jyoti Bhawan,Kantipath, P.O. Box: 133, Kathmandu/Nepal

Fax: 00977-1-224720,Tel.: 00977-1-225490 or 250581 or 223968

E-mail: rjyoti@jyotib.mos.com.npor nvc@htm.com.np

Internet: www.vri.dhamma.org

Opening hours:Sunday to Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Location: A bit outside Kathmandu at the foot ofa hill, beautiful garden, easy to reach from Kathmandu (organised bus trip frominformation office in Kathmandu at 1 p.m.). The center can accomodate about 140persons.

Tradition and focus: Vipassana according to U BaKhin (Burma). Intensive sitting meditation and one lecture daily.

Meditationtechnique and schedule of retreat: The first three days Anapanasati,

i.e. observation of breath. Concentrating on inhaling andexhaling. Breath is only observed, not manipulated. From day three, Vipassanameditation in the tradition of U Ba Khin. In the "step by step" or "body-sweeping“method the bodily sensations are systematically observed. After the body isscanned from head to toe, another round is performed in the opposite direction.Sensations are not judged but only observed. The course ends with an exercisefor the development of loving kindness.

Course duration and dates. Two ten-daycourses twice monthly, from day 1–12 and 14–25. The second course in the monthsApril, August and December is a Satipatthana Sutta course for meditators whohave already taken part in at least three introductory courses.

Teacher andguidance: After 14 years of practice, his teacher U Ba Khin gave S.N. Goenkateaching permission in 1969. Goenkaj is from a wealthy Indian industrial familyand grew up in Burma where he was raised in the Hindu tradition. Today he

livesin India. Since there are more than 50 centers worldwide which adhere to thistradition, Goenkajs instructions are presented on video or audio tape. Usuallytwo assistant teachers (male and female) are present. They can answer questionsand assist with problems. Usually there is a twice daily opportunity to talk tothem.

Language(s): Video and assistance teacher: Nepali, Hindi, English. TapedDhamma talks (introduction in the teachings of the Buddha) are also offered inother languages

(e.g. German).

Lodging: Differentlysized rooms, depending on participant numbers. Rooms house two to eight people.Clean toilets and laundry facilities. With some luck, hot showers (solarheating). Beds (with mattress) with moskito nets. Blankets are available, but asleeping bag is recommended since nights can be cold.

Food: Vegetarian andtasty. Second helpings possible for breakfast and lunch. Every day fruit, deliciousyoghurt, milk, and tea are served. The friendly assistants are helpful andeager to support meditators with dietary restrictions. Evenings, new meditatorsreceive fruit and tea. Experienced meditators may have lemon water. Drinkingwater is filtered or boiled and therefore safe for occidentals (if you want tobe on the absolutely safe side, bring disinfectant).

Medical care: Good by Indiansubcontinent standards, because in Kathmandu there are fairly good privateclinics. Malaria is not endemic in the Kathmandu valley and hygienic conditionsat the Vipassana Centre are good.

Cost: Donations.

Rules: Allparticipants pledge to take part in the entire retreat (no leaving the premises),to keep noble silence for the first nine days, not to read or write, engage insexual activities, follow rituals, prayers, or other extraneous meditationtechniques, to accept orders by the teacher and the management, and to keep thefive (novices) or eight (experienced meditators) silas (moral precepts). Yogaor Tai Chi exercises are compatible with the method but must not be exercisedduring the course so as not to distract other participants. Walks during thebreaks are possible in principle but due to the rather small size garden onlyshort rounds with little variation are possible. There is no explicit dresscode but very distracting or indecent clothing must be avoided.

Shopping: In Kathmandu most items of daily use can be obtained. Inthe centre there is no shop. Toiletries must be brought. Sitting pads areavailable, a pillow may be brought. A sleeping bag is an asset. Absolutely takewarm clothing (fleece), because during sitting meditation at 4 a.m. it can bevery cold.

Climateand best time to go: October/November is considered the best time for a trip toNepal, End of February to April the second best (true also for trekking). Summersare hot and wet. December and January are suitable, but very cold (no heating!).

Final note: Good forserious practitioners with retreat experience and the desire for intensive practise.Also suitable for beginners who have no problems with long periods of sittingand are willing to submit to an intensive and structured schedule. Dhamma talksare well made and didactic. The „body sweep“ method is one of the most widelyspread exercises in Vipassana. Good conditions.

4.2Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Centre

Source: UrsulaLechel and Flyer

Address: PanditaramaLumbini International Nepal Vipassana Centre Lumbini Garden, Nepal Tel.: 00977-71-580118,E-mail: info@panditarama-lumbini.info Internet: www.Panditarama-Lumbini.info

Location: PanditaramaLumbini International Vipassana Meditation Centre was set up by the VenerableSayadaw U Panditabhivamsa of Myanmar in co-operation with the Venerable SayadawU Asabhacara, the meditation centre was inaugurated on February 7th, 1999. Thecentre operates under the guidance of the Ven. Sayadaw U Pandita. The centreoffers a supportive, comfortable and peaceful setting for Dhamma studentsseeking practice.

How to get there: Lumbini is located 22 km west ofBhairahawa in the south of Nepal, near the Indian frontier. The place is easilyaccessible by air or by bus via Bhairahawa; by air from Varanasi (India); bytrain and/or bus via Sonauli and Bhairahawa. In Bhairahawa there is a domesticairport; flying time from Kathmandu is 45 minutes. There are several flightsdaily (at approx. US$ 81), but delays or cancellations because of badvisibility are frequent. Especially during the winter season several days’ thickmist is not exceptional. Travelling to Lumbini by bus from Kathmandu takesabout 10 hours and is very arduous. More comfortable is a taxi from Kathmanduto Lumbini. It costs about US$ 65 and takes six to seven hours. From India youcan reach Lumbini by train to Gorakhpur, from there by bus via Sonauli.

Meditation method: IntensiveVipassana meditation in the tradition of the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar. Alternatingsitting meditation and formal walking meditation. Daily interviews and regularDhamma talks in English, Burmese and German.

Resident teacher: Venerable Vivekananda, a German bhikkhu(monk), has trained with the Ven Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa of Myanmar for nineyears. Ven. Vivekananda teaches meditation in English, Burmese and German. Thecentre is run by volunteers. All long-term dhamma practioners, these volunteersdo everything from building the monastery to planting the vegetables to cookingthe food for the meditators.

Precepts: Lay meditators observe eight preceptsand monks and nuns observe their respective monastic vows.

Accommodation: Dormitory-style accommodation. Individualmeditation huts are planned.

Food: The Burmese/Nepalese food is rich, tasty and vegetarian. Forbreakfast muesli with yoghurt, fruit and bread are offered; for lunch you canchoose from rice or noodles with several vegetables and tofu. For drinkingcoffee, tea, milk, Ovomaltine and germfree water are available.

Duration of retreats: Meditators may schedule theirindividual retreat from a few days up to three months.

Formal retreats: Two formal retreats are conducted peryear in December and in February.

Daily schedule und co-operation: The day startsat 4 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. Formal meditation alternates between of one hoursitting meditation and one hour walking meditation, respectively. Breakfast isserved between 6 and 7 a.m., lunch break is from 11 to 12.30 a.m. In theevening there is a dhamma lecture and tea break. Nearly all the work whichcomes up in the meditation centre is done by volunteers. Meditators only haveto contribute a small amount of help with cleaning the sanitary facilities.

What to bring: Insect repellent, water disinfectantand medicaments should be brought from home in sufficient quantitiy. A sleepingbag and a warm (fleece) jacket are very useful. During the winter months nighttemperatures can go down to 5 degrees centigrade; and on misty days thetemperature may not exceed 15 degrees. As there is no heating system in thecentre, you should bring enough warm and easy drying clothes. Furthermore anelectric kettle and a small hot water bottle can be of great use. Mattresses,bed linen, mosquito nets and sitting mats are available, but a floor cushionand a lightweight woollen blanket should be brought.

Climate and best time to go: Subtropicalclimate with hot summers and cool dry winters. The most favourable months areNovember/December and February/March. January is with lowest temperatures ofabout 5 degrees the coldest month and from March the thermometer rises again toover 35 degrees.

Dana: For over 2500years Buddhist monasteries and meditation centres have functioned on theprinciple of generosity (dana). While there are no set fees, your donation willbe warmly accepted for the purpose of mantaining and further developing thismeditation centre.

4.3 Rigpe Dorje Institute Pullahari Monastery (TibetianTradition)

Address: Rigpe DorjeInstitute Pullahari Monastery and Retreat Centre

P.O. Box 11015, Jagdol, Ward Kopan,Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: +977 1 4498196 Fax: +977 1 4471112 E-mail: pullahari@jamgonkongtrul.orgWebsite: www.jamgonkongtrul.org

Location: The Rigpe Dorje Institute atPullahari Monastery is situated in serene seclusion on the northern foothillsof the Kathmandu valley, overlooking the holy Great Stupa of Boudhanath. Boththe Institute and the Monastery are surrounded by beautiful gardens and one hasa great view of the valley in all the four directions. In this wonderful place,the age-old traditions of study, prayers and contemplation go on in themonastery, side by side with teachings and meditation instructions and guidanceto lay practitioners from all over the world. The environment of the RigpeDorje Institute is conducive to the pursuit of deeper understanding andappreciation of the Buddha dharma through study and practice. The wondrousstupa of the Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche pervades the whole place withloving warmth and blessings.

Tradition: Mahayana/Vajrayana, Karma Kagyu schoolof Tibetan Buddhism.

Main emphasis:Teachingson Buddhist philosophy and classes in Tibetan language and scriptures. Meditationon Shamatha, Vipassana and Mahamudra.

Meditationtechnique: Meditation on Shamatha, Vipassana and Mahamudra in the Mahayanaand Vajrayana tradition.

Spiritual head:HisEminence Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche. H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche is one of thelineage holders of His Holiness the Karmapa whose 17th incarnation is theGyalwa Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje.

Teachers andcourse guidance: Drupon Khenpo Lodro Namgyal, Khenpo Chokey Gyaltsen.

Language: English,Tibetan.

Duration ofcourses and dates: The retreat facilities at the Rigpe Dorje Institute areopen throughout the year to engaged Buddhists for study and meditation. Interviewswith lamas and qualified teachers in residence for guidance in study andpractice can be arranged. During the winter and spring seasons –-from Januaryto March – teachings and meditation programmes are offered, conducted by DruponKhenpo Lodro Namgyal and other teachers. Classes on Tibetan language andBuddhist scriptures are also offered. Winter Retreat Programme: 2months, January and February; Spring Retreat Programme: 2 to 3 weeks,March The dates for the programmes can vary slightly. For detailed informationplease visit the website www.jamgonkongtrul.org

Accommodation:Singleand double rooms, with private or common bathrooms, are available. Beddings andlinens are provided. Students are advised to bring a torchlight, hot waterflask, and in winter a warm sleeping bag and a hot water bottle. The meals arevegetarian. Drinking water is boiled and filtered.

Medical: Kathmandu hasgood medical and diagnostic facilities. Besides numerous clinics there are alsoprivate hospitals and Tibetan and Ayurvedic medical treatments available. Thenearest medical facility to the Institute is the University Teaching Hospital, 30minutes walk and 10 minutes by car away.

Rates (per day): SingleRoom US$ 8, single room with attached bathroom US$ 12, double room US$ 12,double room with attached bathroom US$ 20. The room rates include threevegetarian meals, morning and afternoon teas, beddings, linens and hot watershowers from November to May.

Tibetan classes: For beginners and advanced. Minimumenrolment is 1 month. Rates: US$ 50 for one month, US$ 100 for twomonths.

Registrationfee for retreat programmes: US$ 25 (non-refundable).

Note: The RigpeDorje Programme teachings in winter and spring are free, and personal offeringsto the teachers and translators are encouraged. Wire transfers, checks,traveler checks, and cash payments are accepted in Nepalese Rupees and in themajor trading currencies.

Rules: Students areencouraged to be sensitive to the monastic environment at Pullahari Monastery,and respect and help maintain the environment of contemplation at the RigpeDorje Institute. Those who enroll at the annual Rigpe Dorje Winter Programmeare required to attend all sessions of the main teachings and at least onelanguage or scriptures class.

Usefulinformation: Taxis to Pullahari from the airport: It is cheaper to get ataxi from the stands outside the arrival hall. A reasonable price is between Rs.450 and Rs. 550. Taxis from Boudhanath: Available outside the main gate of theBoudhanath Stupa. The charge is Rs. 250. Pullahari is about 40 minutes from theairport and 30 minutes from Boudhanath.

Directions to Pullahari: Go from Boudhanath to Jorpati to theGokarna Shiva Mandir (an old Hindu temple). Turn sharply left opposite thetemple. You will see a pine forest before you. Travel along the road for about 15minutes until you reach the Shree Jana Jagriti Lower Secondary School. Takeanother sharp turn left. You will be on the road up to Pullahari Monastery. Thewalk will take about an hour.

5. India

5.1 Bodh-Gaya-Retreats 2008

Source: Homepage www.bodhgayaretreats.org

Retreats inBodh Gaya take place since 1975, the Dhammameeting in Sarnath since 1999. Bothretreats take place based on donations.

Please sendthe application for retreat in Bodh Gaya per E-Mail to :

bodhgayamanagers@yahoo.comRetreat dates in Bodh Gaya 2008:

7th – 17th January 2008 with MartinAylward

ThaiMonastery, Bodh Gaya, near Gaya, India

27th January – 6th February 2008: Christopher Titmuss und JayaAshmore

Thai Monastery,Bodh Gaya, near Gaya, India Open Dhamma-Programm in the Thai Monastery inSarnath near Varanasi:

9th – 19thFebruary 2008 with Christopher, Jaya, Gemma and others

no application required, you can arrive and leave each day.

Thai Monastery, Sarnath, near Varanasi. Indien

Furtherinformation about retreats in India can be found on www.opendharma.org

You can usually arrive to Bodhgaya via Gaya which is 13 km farfrom there. Gaya is situated on the main railway between Delhi and Calcutta (fromDehli at least 18 hours to Gaya, from Culcatta at least 8 hours). You can alsofly from Dehli to Patna and from there take a bus to Gaya which takes at least 4hours. To fly from Culcutta to Partna would definitely not be worth. Whenarriving via Dehli it could be interesting to book a connecting flight toPatna, which is however not always reliable in India.

6. Further reading and links

Weir, Bill: A Guide to Buddhist Monasteries and MeditationCentres in Thailand, Bangkok 1991; http://meditationthailand.tripod.comUpdate from Pataraporn Sirikanchana, Fourth Edition 2004 publishedand available at The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB)

Cummings, Joe: The Meditation Tempels ofThailand: A Guide, Bangkok 1987 Lorie, Peter, und Foakes, Julie: The BuddhistDirectory, London 1996 Coleman, Graham: Handbook of Tibetian Culture – A Guideto Tibetan Centres and Resources throughout the World, London 1993 Kornfield,Jack: Living Dharma – Teaching of Twelve Buddhist Masters Wordwide addressesand informations: www.buddhanet.net E-sangha Buddhist Forum: www.e-sangha.orgForest Sangha worldwide: www.forestsangha.org Interesting collection of books: www.buddhanet/ebooks_m.htmBuddhist Publication Society: www.bps.lk Access to Insight: Readings inTheravada Buddhism: www.accesstoinsight.org/ Phra Payutto: www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/9280/payutto.htm Interestingcollection of texts: www.buddhismtoday.com/index/meditation.htm AjahnChah: www.ajahn-chah.org Mahasi Sayadaw: www.mahasi.com Pa Auk Sayadaw: www.paauk.org