Monday, September 18, 2017

10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat at Suan Mokkh - Part 1

"Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and "Around India in 80 Trains" by Monisha Rajesh had both inspired me to search the happiness from inside - spiritually - while travelling. Been wanting to experience living in Ashram or undergo the silence meditation retreat, being away from outer world (no phone, email, Facebook, selfie, etc.) over certain period of time, at least once in my lifetime. At the same time I was in midst of confusion state in searching which Buddhism way to follow (Tibetan, Mahayana, Theravada??) and what type of meditation should I practice in my life.

"Do not look outside, seek inside" - Rumi

I learned my first meditation by joining a week meditation retreat in Vipassana Graha temple in Bandung, Indonesia in 1990s. I was still very young and meditation was mainly practised for getting peace and relaxation. As I grew up I was wondering if there was any other kind of benefits I could get.

So one day when I browsed online, I read the 12 best meditation retreats in Thailand article. And after comparing it, I felt that Wat Suan Mokkh silence mediation retreat would be the best option for me - low budget option (cost Thb 2,000 for the whole 10 days), 2 vegetarian meals provided daily, being silence entire time (shouldn't be a problem for a quiet me), basic sleeping condition (hard surface with straw mat, wooden pillow, blanket, and mosquitoes net), daily yoga, hot spring (natural hot spring, mind you! Omg!!!), and surrounded by lush nature (this what drawn me most as nature-lover).

Suan Mokkh - A place definitely for a nature-lover :)

They had own website and I could find all information I needed (clearly and in English). Ooh... btw, I chose Thailand because I had been wanted to go there again after my first and last visit back in year 2007. I planned combining the meditation retreat together with a holiday break to Bangkok, and later on to Chiang Mai.

Just nice I found accompany (a close ex-schoolmate) for the trip at both places. However, she wasn't interested to join the silence meditation retreat. Therefore, despite being alone, it didn't stop me to go ahead with this program :) I assured myself that I would not be the only one who attended the program alone. There must be many people out there from all around the world who would like to find the happiness inside, live a silence life, and head to this place, just like me :)

Since I had been jobless for more than a year, I had to plan this trip as economy as possible. I took a budget ait to Bangkok on 29th Aug, landed at Don Mueang Airport, and took a train from there to Hua Lamphong train station. The train ticket only cost me 20 Baht. It took me more than an hour to reach.

Train from Don Mueang Airport to Hua Lamphong

To be frank, I was a bit nervous about this trip as I traveled alone. And on my previous visit (10 years ago), I never took other public transport except for Taxi ^^" But now, since I had only limited budget in hand, I had to find cheap transport wherever I go. And watching SPL II: A Time for Consequences before the trip, increased my worry as well (fear of being kidnapped and sold my organs). Lol!!! 

That's why I arranged meeting up with Bhutanese friend for dinner before continuing my train journey at night. This way I'd have something positive to look forward and I wouldn't be afraid of being alone :) Thank you Tenzin for willingly accepting my request and treating me dinner as well! Your accompany made me feeling much braver and adjusting the situation faster. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! :)

Thank you 3 of you for coming all the way to meet me :)

After dinner over, 3 of them had to go back to their hostel. I spent the rest of the time inside the train station; went to toilet for freshen up and sat at the huge air-con room until the train came. Luckily it was not that crowded. I took train no. 39, second class seat with air-con, departed at 10.50pm. Only few people in 1 carriage. We were given blanket, bread and juice. Soon I fell asleep and the train kept going. Tut tut tuttt..... jess jess jess....

Hua Lamphong Railway Station - Bangkok, Thailand

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