SHORT SILENT RETREAT

Dipabhavan Meditation Centre, Koh Samui, Thailand

You might be interested in silent retreats to deepen and broaden your practice of mindfulness meditation, but can’t seem to push yourself for the usual routine.

10-Day retreats seems to be the standard lengths in buddhist terms with lots of temples and centers for example in Thailand offering exactly this or even longer retreats up to 21 Days.

Many practitioners find 10 days off work difficult to arrange on a regular let’s say annual basis – being constrained by limited annual leave, family commitments and let’s face it, not willing to be offline for ten consecutive days due to business demands and other responsibilities.

So you want to find shorter silent retreats in Asia, but expect the same “quality” as the 10-day ones. And by quality I mean: 24hr noble silence, insight meditation and guidance, rules and agenda aligned with buddhist values and principles (i.e. vegetarian food, donation based, simple accommodation).

The Insight Meditation Society (www.hkims.org) offers short retreats on Lantau Island here in Hong Kong. They usually split the participants into English and Cantonese groups. Get onto their mailing list to receive the latest updates!

Together with my wife I attended the 4-day silent Vipassana retreat at Dipabhavan Meditation Centre (link) on Koh Samui, Thailand. The Centre provides a clear standardized schedule and experienced guidance in English featuring mainly sitting and walking meditations and well presented Dharma talks – partially held by international monks.

Things that make us want to go back to attend their 7-day retreat next time are:

the tasty vegetarian food

the beautiful lush green location

the clear and easy organization (incl. pick up and drop off)

the talks with explicit references to latest neuroscience articles

the two units of daily yoga exercises

Note: This is not a luxury resort – there is very limited electricity and no running water and you will sleep on wooden planks under a mosquito net.

Tip: Go during low season – yes its slightly warmer – but you will benefit from smaller groups and hence easier handling of bathrooms, kitchen and meals and less distraction during

Transport: We found the flight times with Bangkok Airlines extremely convenient – and were happily surprised by their red rice meals onboard.