REAL EXPERIENCES FROM TRAVELERS:
On the last morning of the English course at the centre, people talk and share their experiences, complete with big smiles on their faces. After all, it is a ten to twenty-seven days of being silent
- no use of social media, no mobile phone, no television, no book to read and only two vegetarian meals are taken a day. Their experience and all they have learned from the past week is very precious:
- “I was thinking of leaving once or twice, but now, I’m feeling so relaxed. I also like the concept of silence. It’s a bit difficult at first as I am not used to keeping quiet, but I learned a lot from it.” Sharah from France.
- “I completed the twenty six day program at Wat Ram Poeng. It was very challenging, but also very rewarding. I learned a lot about meditation and improved my practice beyond what I thought I could while I was here. I also learned a lot about myself, much more so than I could have ever expected. This was a life changing experience for me and the highlight of my trip. Stay for twenty six days; it will change your life.” Qindao, China.
- “I feel completely happy. I don’t know why I can’t stop smiling.” says Vicky from New Zealand. She heard about the centre from friends a few years ago and finally did the course. “I will definitely come back to Thailand again, just for the meditation” she says.
-“I decided to come for meditation without knowing anything about Buddhism or meditation. I only knew that it is a good opportunity. I loved the chance to calm my mind.” said Theresa from UK.
- “I didn’t come back from this experience knowing how to bring world peace, but I did come back with a new awareness, along with being incredibly relaxed. More importantly, I found a new tool for keeping myself focused” Aaron, Spain.
WHICH KIND OF MEDITATION IS PRACTISSED AT RAMPOENG
There are two main branches in Buddhist meditation in Thailand: Samatha (calmness, concentration) and Vipassana (insight). Teaching and practice at Rampoeng temple is based on Vipassana.
Mindfulness is the key to Vipassana meditation. It means “to see things as they really are”, and it was taught by the Buddha as a universal remedy for universal ills. The objects of Vipassana meditation are the position of the body at the present moment, with all sensations, emotions and thoughts that arise from the contact between body and mind and the environment.
It is based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: the mindfulness of the body, the feelings, the mind, and of mind-objects. Vipassana is a process of mental purification through self-observation, focussed on the interconnection between mind and body. It is experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and which interconnect with the life of the mind.
When the mind is unstrained, it is wide open to outside disturbances and distractions. The objective of Vipassana is to acknowledge these distractions but not to dwell on them. Therefore, you train yourself to be aware of the body’s movement, the rise and fall of the chest as you breathe, the movement of the legs and feet as you walk, as well as your feelings and state of mind. Walking, sitting and lying meditation are a few of the Vipassana techniques, and to keep distraction to a minimum, the retreats are held in calm, isolated surroundings.
The benefits of Vipassana meditation are manifold. It will enable you to calm down and look within, in order to develop wisdom and freedom. Successful practice can lift depression, cure many stressrelated illness - and at the very least add a little joy to life.
WAT RAM POENG (TAPOTARAM) TEMPLE :