General Information

Meditationtion is a way to train and cultivate the mind, to develop con­cen­tra­tion, mind­ful­ness and aware­ness. Bud­dhism offers calm­ness or con­cen­tra­tion medi­tation and vipassana or insight medi­tation. Ana­pana­sati or Mind­ful­ness with Breathing, the medi­tation method taught at Suan Mokkh, covers both, con­cen­tra­tion and insight medi­tation. But during the first days of the retreat we will mainly train you in con­cen­tra­tion medi­tation by focusing at­ten­tion on breathing. Detailed in­struc­tion is given through­out the retreat. All in­struc­tion and talks are given in English.

Meditation takes energy and commit­ment, deter­mination and dis­cipline. Doing a 10-day retreat is, especially for be­gin­ners, not easy. We have to adjust our bodies and minds to the retreat settings:
  • We have to get up early and adjust to less sleep.
  • We have to adjust to the schedule which everybody is asked to follow com­plete­ly.
  • We have to live on 2 vegetarian meals a day.
  • We have to deal with bodily dis­comfort.
  • We may have to experience a lot of "ups" and "downs" during the retreat.
Body and mind are not used to these very dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and they may react with dis­comfort, with rest­less­ness, with boredom, with doubt, with feeling very tired. For these reasons the daily schedule is not that chal­leng­ing, tailored for be­gin­ners, but still it will take three or four days to adjust to all these new cir­cum­stances. After that you should be able to float within your new en­vi­ron­ment with­out having to fight and struggle against too much dis­comfort.

Basic Rules

During the retreat, all par­tici­pants are required to observe some basic rules. This is for the ben­e­fit of everyone - a very im­por­tant part of getting you to the right frame of mind for med­ita­tion - and because you will be staying on mon­as­tery grounds. You must:
  • Keep complete silence throug­hout the retreat (ex­cep­tions: per­son­al in­ter­views from Day 3 to Day 6 and emer­gen­cies).
  • Stay within the boundaries of the retreat center.
  • Keep the Eight Precepts, which are:
    1. Intend not to take away any breath(abstain from killing).
    2. Intend not to take away what is not given (abstain from steal­ing).
    3. Intend to keep one's mind and one's body free from any sexual activity.
    4. Intend not to harm others by speech.
    5. Intend not to harm one's con­scious­ness with sub­stances that in­toxi­cate and lead to care­less­ness (no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking etc).
    6. Intend not to eat between after noon and before dawn.
    7. Intend not to dance, sing, play or listen to music, watch shows, wear garlands, orna­ments and beautify oneself with perfumes and cosmetics.
    8. Intend not to sleep or sit on luxurious beds and seats.
This is the moral code for those who seek normalcy plus light­ness and sim­plici­ty in living.

Dining Hall outside Dining Hall inside