Thailand 10-day Jungle Meditation Retreat
Abiding in the Wild: Nurturing Love, Awareness, and the Heart's Deep Release
We will begin each day sitting together in the stillness of this remote jungle lake, as dawn slowly brings on the indescribable jungle chorus of cicadas and gibbons. Together, we will learn to cultivate seamless awareness in all sense fields, nourished by dedicated cultivation of the 'divine abidings': unconditional friendliness, wise compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. In each moment of returning gently to the present, we develop the ability to abide with clarity and kindness in the midst of both subtle and strong emotions.
You will be supported by the team called 'the surgeon and the poet': the enthusiastic and incisive clarity of Jake Davis, and the experience of senior teacher Steven Smith artfully weaving Dhamma teachings and vibrant stories; and by the natural nurturing support of the magical jungle environment. Julie Seibt will invite the teachings to be expressed in gentle movement to deepen the practice and find more ease in the body.
The retreat will be held in the traditional Vipassana style: in silence with periods of sitting, standing, and walking meditation, dharma talks, and group and/or individual meetings with the teachers. In addition, there will be mindful movement classes twice a day and because of the outstanding location, opportunity for mindful swimming and kayaking in the afternoons.
We will enter noble silence on the first evening. Speaking will only occur during question and answer periods, instruction from the teachers and during personal interviews. We will mindfully break the silence for periods of time on the day before departure to ease the transition into our outside worlds.
Meditation teacher Steven Smith, assisted by Jake Davis, leads a unique Vipassana meditation, silent retreat at the remote Khlong Long Lake in Southern Thailand. Julie Seibt helps students further integrate the wisdom teachings and techniques into the body with gentle, mindful movement sessions each day. Participants enjoy a floating bungalow at this rustic and spectacular venue offered by Jungle Yoga. (www.jungleyoga.com) Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary is a remote, beautiful lake in the interior of Southern Thailand.
Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai'i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai'i's Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai'i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.
Jake Davis began practicing at age 14, with Steven Smith and Michele McDonald, and went on to spend nearly a decade practicing, studying, working as an interpreter, and training as a monk under the eminent meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and Sayadaw U Lakkhana of Burma. He brings together a deep experiential understanding of Buddhist practice with an intellectual training including study of the Pāli texts, a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, and ongoing research on meditation at Brown University.
Julie Seibt has a rich background of certifications and experience: Anahata Yoga Teacher Certification (Anne Douglas, 2006), IRI Certfied iRest Teacher® (www.irest.us (link is external)), Certified Yoga Therapist (2013, Functional Synergy) and teacher's training in Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers and Restorative Yoga with Andrea Peloso. She studies mindfulness under Steven Smith and Michele McDonald, teaching movement classes to support a meditation practice at their Vipassana Retreats in Thailand and Hawaii since 2010. As an Asian Bio-Energetic Therapist, Master Reiki Teacher, and Thai Massage Therapist, Julie brings a holistic, compassionate and mindful approach to well being.
Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary is a remote, beautiful lake in the interior of Southern Thailand. Located on the edge of Khao Sok National Park, the lake is hidden among towering limestone karst formations. The prehistoric jungle is part of a wildlife sanctuary that is home to gibbon apes, langur monkeys, giant hornbills, serpent eagles and many other rare birds and animals. There are however, almost no mosquitoes and no black flies.
Accommodation is in a private, comfortable floating bamboo jungalow/kuti, with one or two double beds. Linens, blankets and towels are provided.
Shared rooms are spacious with two 5' wide beds and front balcony . Bungalow priority is based on registration dates.
The food is delicious and nutritious with wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables from the jungle and local markets, and fresh fish from the lake. Meals will be mainly vegetarian with fish and occasionally, chicken.
Fresh drinking water is readily available. Lighting in the evening is provided by the moon and the stars. There is a small generator, usually on from 6:30pm - 10pm for lighting and outlets available for charging a few necessary electrical items.
This is a rare opportunity to be unplugged with no Internet or telephone service available except for emergency use only.
Retreat cost: Total retreat cost for single or shared accommodation including registration fee, group airport transfers, 3 meals per day, and accommodation for 10 nights is appx $1100 USD. (This is an approximate calculation based on a $530 USD deposit plus 20,000 Thai Baht payable at the venue in local currency only)
How to register:
1. submit a registration form online by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
2. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your registration form.
3.Once your registration form is received and your receive confirmation of acceptance, we will email you a link to the retreat's Paypal account. You will then have payments options via Paypal.
4. A $530 USD non-refundable deposit is due to secure your space.
5. The balance of 20,000 Thai Baht is payable in Thai Baht at the venue.
Requests for single accommdation will be allocated in order of registrations received.
Your fees support the local family who operate the bungalows, assists with the upkeep of the accommodation and facilities, and contributes towards transport costs of teachers, yogis and food supplies.
In keeping with the Buddhist practice of Dana (generosity), the teachings are offered freely. Donations are accepted and deeply appreciated by the teachers. During the registration process and at the retreat we will share more details and answer your questions about the practice of Dana in lieu of a payment to the teachers.
There is no ATM or currency exchange at the pier or at the venue. Both are available at the Bangkok Airport. The Surat Thani airport only has ATM machines, no currency exchange.
National Park Entrance Fee: Please pay 300 Thai baht (appx $9) at the booth near the pier, sign the entrance book for the park and keep your ticket stub.
Other considerations for expenses are massage for 600 Baht (appx $18) per hour, a small shop offers comfortable clothing, and fresh coconuts and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
THE BOAT RIDE
Yoga, life and meditation on the lake in Thailand
A shared transfer is provided from Surat Thani airport to the retreat venue and return. This includes a 1-hour taxi ride from the airport to the pier, and appx 40 minute boat ride.
If you require transfers different than the group transfers, you will be responsible for the arrangements and costs.
June 12 Group pickup will be at the airport at 10am.
We recommend this flight for convenience:
WE251 depart 08:25 am from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) arrive Surat Thani (URT) at 09:40 a.m.
Alternatively, if you are not flying in to the Surat Thani airport, we can arrange to pick you up at the CBD* hotel in Surat Thani before picking up the others at the airport.
Or, we can meet you at the pier (Rachaprapa Dam) at 11am.
June 22 Group departure will leave the venue at 6.30am for the van ride to connect with the Thai Smile Airways fight to Bangkok: WE252 Surat Thani Airport (URT) departs 10:10 a.m arrives BKK 11:20 am.
For those traveling onward in the south of Thailand, you can take the group transfer to Surat Thani and continue on from there to ferries, or to town to the local bus terminal.
We suggest that you have your post-retreat onward travel arrangements sorted before you arrive at the retrat. There is no travel desk, Internet or telephone at the venue.
To book: www.thaismileair.com
Note: BKK is Suvarnaphumi International Airport.