Report: June Retreat & photos

Summary of the June Retreat at Comsaed Resort on the River Kwai :

In total we had 13 laypeople and 2 monks leaving Wat Yannawa for Comsaed in two mini-busses for the first retreat organised by our own group. We only advertised via the Littlebang blogsite, as it is something of an experiment all around. What kind of things need to be organised, what kind of problems will likely crop up etc… Gladly, everything went very well. The costing and budget breaks down as follows:

Item

Baht

Total

Mini-bus sponsor

+5 000

5 000

Retreat fee1800 baht x 13 people

+23 400

 

 

 

 

28 400

 

 

 

Donation to Wat Songdhamma Kalyani(not including individual donations)

-2 000

26 400

Mini-bus hire x 2 vehicles

-5 600

20 800

Comsaed charge 1500 per person- accommodation and food x 13 people.(Monks go free at the Resort)

-19 500

1 300

Mini-bus to Kanchanaburi Bus Station

-700

600

 
  Excess 600 baht

In the end, most of the people going to the Kanchanaburi Tour bus depot chose to take the mini-bus all the way back to Bangkok, chipping in for the extra cost.

Thanks to everyone involved, especially Will for collecting the names/contact info/deposits, David Holmes for encouragement and mediation with the Resort, and to Comsaed for a remarkable discount and provision of facilities. Though edging towards the pricey end for a meditation retreat, for a weekend in a top quality resort in such beautiful surroundings we were given a very generous deal for the sake of Dhamma.

Tam Boon

En route, to break up the journey and gain some initial encouragement we stopped at the temple of Venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, the inspirational Thai nun who gave a talk for us last year at Baan Aree Library. It is a common outing for Thai’s to take busses about the countryside and ‘Tam Boon’ in a series of temples, making offerings. In similar style we loaded up with the ubiquitous ‘Sanghatahns’ – the yellow buckets and trays of various requisites spanning washing powder, toothbrushes, ovaltine, tissue, towels and such like. Rather than make a purely cash donation to the expenses of the temple the Sanghatahns are a way to make a more physical gesture that one can relate to and feel good about. Far from the mis-translation of ‘merit’ the word boon (Punya) actually refers to the good feeling that is known when you reflect on something that you have done that you feel is a good deed. We all respect Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, and like to show our support for the uphill struggle Bhikkhunis face in the patriarchal Thai Sangha – making our stop for lunch at her temple an auspicious start to the weekend. We contributed 2000 baht from the Retreat fund, and added individual donations separately. Thanks must be made to Bhikkhuni Dhammananda’s close disciples who, specially for us, brought a variety of vegetarian dishes to feed us well.

Particularly striking is the Medicine Buddha Image in a new Vihara at the rear of the 4 Rai monastery grounds. The image is blue in colour. Very Blue. Apparently the colour of the sky represents healing in the Tibetan tradition. Men are not always allowed into the depths of the temple so we were quite privileged.

 

               

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About Cittasamvaro

Auto blogography of an urban monk
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