|Day 5: 3.30am||We went to Dharma Hall to meditate together|
|Day 6:||I met and saved four earth worms while I was walking meditation in the garden.|
|Day 7: 6.45am
|We queued up at the gate and paid respect to the monks when they went out for alms-round.
We had our first interview with our teacher. He was assisted by a local Chinese Monk, Bhante Thieje to do the translation.
(To me: this was a holiday retreat. I am getting away from the hectic and stressful life in Malaysia. I was at the right track of meditation by adapting a positive attitude. I gained an insight of Be aware of any picture which came into my mind/ thoughts, I should treat it as watching a movie BUT not putting myself in the act.)
|We followed the troop of monks on alms-round. We distributed sweets to the villagers. These sweets were sponsored by a 71 years old, local Burmese Chinese Yogi-Dew Sok Yin*. As we followed the troop bare footed on the muddy road, we could see villagers here and there bowed down along the soil road, offering only white rice. Children were delighted, smiling widely and also bowed to as to receive sweets. Two kitchen helpers poured the rice into big containers once the alms were full. These rice was served as lunch of the day for all monks and yogi. It was a marvelous and joyful experience. We contemplated on our footsteps as not to hurt any ants or earth worms wriggling along the way. Wow, blissful and compassionate moment to blend into nature and human being accommodating each other. Our eyes were moist. We really found inner peace.
I experienced my first longest sitting meditation continuously for three hours.
|7-10am, I experienced a three-hourly sitting meditation while listening to Bhante’s Speech. On the same afternoon, I had another three hours sitting meditation without any break.
I was feeling extremely exhausted and went for a sound sleep until the following day.
|Day 10||I reminded myself of cutting short to do sitting meditation for three hours continuously.|
|Day 11||Second interview by Teacher|
|Day 12||Offer dana to the center|
|Day 13||Visit and offer dana to local nunneries|
|Day 14||4am: clean up the room, wash up and return all the sleeping accessories
9.30: Depart the center to airport
1545: depart Changi airport to Johor Bahru.
My general impression about this city: The streets were old but clean. Most of the vehicles were above 20 years old. We screamed out aloud during an incident, where the passenger’s door on the left suddenly opened out, when the cab driver made a sharp corner turn on the road. The petrol was expensive. The first 4-gallonn cost 900 kct with government subsidized. Subsequent petrol consumption had to buy from black market at 2500 kct per day. The street drivers were very careful, polite and friendly.
The local people started their day as early as 5am to offer food to the monks. Then, they proceed to any nearby temples to chant or meditate before leaving to their work place. Most of them wore ‘sarong’ and carried metal tiff-in containers as their lunch boxes.
Yangon is a safe city. During our stays, we did not see any road accident or theft. I noticed the local petty traders, bus conductors, stall sellers holding their money in their palm for any monetary transaction. To them, holding bunches of notes in hands just like how we held pieces of paper. Even the money changers operated their business using transparent glass noodle stall shelves by the road side. It was indeed an eye opening to me. (Back in Shwe-Oo-Min Meditation Center, I could see money just lied and expose on the office table.)
It was indeed a fruitful holiday retreat. I gained a lot of cultural experiences, mental and physical rejuvenation, insight exploration to understand the meaning of happiness in lives. I am looking forward to more of this kind of holiday retreats in near future, be it local or oversea.