The first International Insight Meditation (Vipassana) retreat in the new meditation centre at the Royal Thai Monastery, Bodh Gaya, India was held from February 12-19, 2017.
It was a great joy to be teaching there again and to have the support of the Venerable Abbot Veerayutho, Bhante Pom, Sister Anita and a hardworking Thai volunteer.
At the foot of the nearby Bodhi Tree, Gautama was awakened around 2600 years ago. We spent a week in the monastery literally walking in the footsteps of the Buddha – an exceptional setting for profound insights and deep meditation experiences.
The theme of the retreat, ‘The Heart of Peace’, refers to the Buddha’s teaching in Sutta 140 of the Middle Length Discourses – a very pertinent talk for our world today.
We bow to the great wisdom of the Buddha and his wonderful capacity to teach and transmit that which was revealed to him on that “Single Excellent Night” in Bodh Gaya, where pilgrims worldwide come to pay respect.
The retreat focussed on the direct realization of the empty nature of “self”, “I” and “my.” The meditation instructions were based on Mindfulness of Breathing discourse of the Buddha (Anapanasati Sutta).
The New Meditation Centre
There were 28 of us in all. The Thai Monastery in Bodh Gaya provided as a donation (dana) to all on retreat, both accomodation and food. Three volunteers from Thailand cooked Thai vegetarian meals. In turn, in keeping with tradition, we made an offering of dana to the monastery and the cooks at the end of the retreat.
The new meditation hall was superb with a stunning marble floor, mats and cushions. The dining hall, too, was excellent and the accommodation was in shared rooms or dormitories. There were great bathrooms, toilets and hot water showers. The monastery garden abloom with dahlias was a welcome sanctuary from the bustle of the street.
Tim Dawson and Jonathan Mack were pillars of support and service to the retreatants. My special thanks to Tim who spent two weeks prior to the retreat preparing for the retreat. Tim was exceptionally resourceful and he and Jonathan delighted in creative solutions to setting up and running the retreat.
My thanks also to my friend and senior dharma teacher from Australia, Christine Thompson, who kindly assisted in the teachings. As always in Bodh Gaya retreatants reported deep and profound meditation experiences and the inquiries were exceptional.
My deep gratitude to all who supported me in countless ways.
Dates for 2018
February 14 – 2, 2018 in Thai Monastery, Bodh Gaya with Radha.
January 28 – February 4, 2018 in Thai Monastery, Sarnath with Christopher
February: 4 – 11, 2018 Thai Monastery, Sarnath.