SRI LANKA: RELAXING MEDITATION COURSES IN A BUDDHIST RETREAT

Company : Travellers Worldwide
Activities: Medical, Health, Medicine / Religious Work
Country: Sri Lanka
Location : Gampaha
Duration: 1 week to 2 weeks
Approx Costs: 500 to 1000 £ Pound (UK)

Relax and be inspired whilst absorbing the gentle philosophy of Buddhism. Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and charm makes this paradise island the ideal destination!

You can't visit Sri Lanka without absorbing the gentle philosophy of Buddhism, which is prevalent in every day life and an important part of the local culture. After experiencing the meditation centre ourselves first-hand, we recommend this 1-week or 2-week course the Centre while on your placement .. you'll have a truly remarkable experience enjoying or discovering meditation. Many of the other people in the retreat may be there for anything between 2 weeks and 6 months. Your stay of 1 or 2 weeks will be relatively very brief. However, as a westerner with little or no experience of meditation previously, this will probably be long enough.

During an initial exploration into meditation, a new sense of self-discipline must be acquired. To do nothing, all day long, is difficult. The first 2-3 days of a meditation retreat are the hardest. This is how long it takes to unwind and slow down from a life of deadlines, responsibilities, distractions, aggressive advertising, conflicts, rushing, traffic, communication, relationships, to-do lists and so on. For a long time you have been on fast forward in your life and suddenly there is absolutely nothing to do. All you have to do now, is be.

You will probably go through a range of emotions and physical sensations in the first few days. These will include everything from relief and peace to frustration and boredom. What you will notice however is that everything you feel and experience will change. Each state will pass to be replaced with a new one. Boredom will give way to euphoria; anger will give way to acceptance, fear to comfort and so on. All you have to do is just breathe, note how you feel and experience the feeling without fighting it. When the noise of the outside world is turned down and the distractions are taken away from us, our awareness comes back to us and a meditation retreat enables us to journey inside and find a sense of calm and balance.

After the first few days, the meditation gets easier. You acclimatised to the pace, the silence, the routine. You slow down to the rhythm around you. It is now that you start to hear the sounds of the jungle better, notice the wildlife in the trees above you, the way the insects move, the changing lights of the forest. You begin to appreciate everything in a deeper way; the hot afternoon lemon tea, the sun on your back, a smile. You are not in a rush and your thoughts have slowed down also, they are less ferocious and demanding and sometimes, briefly, there are no thoughts. This is the time when inspiration can come, creativity, insights and understanding are able to surface when your mind is peaceful and you are completely relaxed.

Should you want to stay longer than 2 weeks, of course you can (subject to availability), and this can be arranged through the Sri Lankan staff at the time.

CAUTION! A meditation retreat can be a very intense experience. Anyone who has recently been through a traumatic experience may find the experience too much and it may not be helpful to you at this stage. We highly recommend that you consider this meditation retreat only if you feel that you are currently in sound and stable mind.

ABOUT THE BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTRE:
The meditation centre is situated in a town called Gampaha. This is about 1.5 hours north of Colombo and 50 minutes from the main volunteer house in Ja-Ela. The centre is separated into different areas, with lots of small cabana’s splayed out in extremely peaceful surroundings which will assist you in setting your mind free. The centre is in a beautiful setting in a small and secluded area. It is very peaceful and relaxed, with sunny and shady parts and areas to sit and relax in. The retreat is split into two sections for males and females and the centre does not allow any interaction between the sexes. The retreat is a silent retreat, allowing you to focus on your own thoughts.

Dropping into a Buddhist retreat for a few weeks is not uncommon in Sri Lanka as meditation is highly regarded as a way to heal and replenish the soul. There may be one or two other westerners or other Travellers volunteers there with you at the same time. The centre is silent and no talking is permitted. The silence is something that takes some getting used to. However it also comes as a tremendous relief as there is no polite chitchat required! Should you need to ask a question or make contact with someone you may do so, respectfully.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE:

  • 4.00am Wake up
  • 4.15 Puja (Pay homage)
  • 5.00 Porridge/ gruel called Conglee
  • 5.15 Meditation
  • 6.15 Breakfast
  • 7.15-8.15 Meditation
  • 8.15 Drink of King Coconut
  • 8.30-9.30 Cleaning rooms and centre e.g. sweeping
  • 9.30-11.00 Bathing and washing of clothes
  • 11.15 Lunch
  • 12.30-1.30pm Meditation
  • 1.30 Drink of tea
  • 2.00 Mediation advice usually by head monk
  • 5.00-6.00 Cleaning outside areas
  • 6.00 Pay homage
  • 6.30 Evening drink
  • 7.00-8.00 Meditation
  • 10.00 Lights out

LUNCH: Your lunch is the main meal of the day, and this is provided by local people. Most Sri Lankan’s choose a day to take food to a Buddhist monastery and take one dish on that day every year. It is often a meaningful day to the person who prepares and brings the food – such as the anniversary of the death of a loved one. It means that you will be treated to a wide range of wonderful, tasty dishes each lunch time. It is always rice and curry with lots of variety and endless portions. The food is mostly vegetarian, with some fish. Usually there is also warm water or soup, and pudding of fruit, yogurt and something very sweet, which varies. Some people save their pudding snacks. This is wise as you do not get to eat again for the remainder of the day (unless you have taken some snacks)!

MONK TIME: After lunch is free time until 2pm. Then the monk comes and sits for anyone who wants to come and talk with him. He speaks English. This is the time to ask questions, get help, or discuss any problems that you are having. Anything at all can be discussed here. Someone is there everyday at 2pm. Sometimes the monk may give you a book to read on how to meditate. Otherwise he will answer any questions that you may have about your meditation.

You are encouraged not to write or read, unless advised by the monk or teacher. Sometimes there will also be guided meditation sessions by the head monk, when he is in town. These take place in English.

OBSERVE THE 10 PRECEPTS
There are 10 Buddhist precepts to observe whilst in the centre, they are:

  • 1. Not to kill any living being.
  • 2. Not to take what is not given.
  • 3. Not to have sexual contact.
  • 4. Not to tell lies; not to indulge in idle talk or gossip (wrong speech).
  • 5. Not to take any drugs or alcohol.
  • 6. Not to eat solid food after 12 noon until the next dawn (– although beginners do not have to follow this strictly at first.)
  • 7. Not to dance, sing, listen to music
  • 8. Not to wear garlands or apply scents, use makeup, cosmetics or jewellery.
  • 9. Not to sleep on high and expensive beds.
  • 10. Not to accept gold and silver (money)

JOURNAL EXTRACTS from the Meditation Centre, Lisa Oakden
"The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable, and have in them special cushions for comfortable meditation. The cushions can be taken outside to meditate in the grounds. This is especially a good idea in the morning and evenings, as the sun and the moon and the beginning and end of the day, are beautiful. The fireflies are enchanting!"

"One of the main worries or concerns I had before I went was the food… do not fear! I can honestly say that I have never eaten so well! The quality and quantity of the food is quite amazing and I didn't feel hungry once during my week long stay. Many people keep some food over from the lunchtime meal just in case hunger strikes in the night but I assure you, food is plentiful! One thing you can take to make you feel more at home is tea bags, coffee sachets (cappuccino style) and you can have these instead of the drinks provided. Take care, if you wish to be a real Yogi then milk cannot be drunk after 12 noon and that does include powered milk!"


At the end of your stay you may wish to leave behind a small gift to say thank you. The Yogis at the meditation centre do not want a great deal but basic things such as pens, mosquito coils and spray, tissues, hand dispenser sized washing up liquid, washing powder sachets are far more useful to them than biscuits.

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING IN SRI LANKA

We cannot BEGIN to tell you how beautiful this paradise island is! Nor how cheap to live and get around. It is almost too good to be true! But it is true.

There is an abundance of fascinating places to visit. From towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains, Sri Lanka is blessed with a sense of deep spirituality and history. The local people are extremely welcoming and friendly, especially in the rural areas. The tea plantations are a must, the lace making, monuments and architectural splendours, etc.

ACCOMMODATION:
Travellers has a traditional Sri Lankan house in Ja-Ela. It has marble floors and 13 bathrooms! It is spacious and comfortable, with a garden, several balconies, two lounge rooms and many bedrooms. You will most likely share a room with other Travellers volunteers. There is a TV and DVD player for evening entertainment, in the upstairs lounge area and with the latest DVD copies just a pound to buy locally, there is usually something to watch!

A chef will cook all your meals and we have other staff at the house 24 hours a day for cleaning, assistance, security and comfort. There is a local live-in cook at the Travellers house who will prepare your breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, throughout the week. The food is usually local cuisine which means lots of curry, rice and salads. Whether a curry fan or not, you will be by the time you return as Sri Lankan food is delicious! You can buy snacks and treats, including a growing variety of Western tastes (chocolate!) from the local store. There is also a KFC in Ja-Ela for those who need a fix of home.

Once you've settled in to Sri Lanka and got over your jetlag you'll be taken to the meditation retreat. This is about an hour and a half away from the volunteer house in Ja-Ela. The foreigner accommodation in the meditation retreat is clean, but very basic. You will receive a private room (although it may not have an actual door, but a curtain instead.) with a bed, mosquito net and fan. You'll share a bathroom with the other yogis (meditators) in the accommodation. Again, this is clean and functional but basic.

We can also arrange your flight dates to give you additional time at the end of your project for travelling around and sightseeing - this is a fascinating and wondrous country!

Start Dates

All year round - you choose your start and finish dates!

Costs / Benefits

Costs vary depending on length of placement, but starts at £595 for one week up to two weeks for £895 or longer, subject to visa requirements.

Included is full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home. There are support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office. All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated. Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, homestay, apartment or flat).

You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.

Pre-departure you’ll receive comprehensive information about every aspect of your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to visa information, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout. International flights not included.

Requirements

No qualifications or experience needed.All our projects are open to all nationalities. Unless otherwise stated, you need to be aged between 17 and 70+

Booking / Enquiry

Booking Enquiry

Other placements from Travellers Worldwide

Travellers Worldwide SRI LANKA: RELAXING MEDITATION COURSES IN A BUDDHIST RETREAT Reviews

Have you booked Travellers Worldwide SRI LANKA: RELAXING MEDITATION COURSES IN A BUDDHIST RETREAT ? Please share your experience and submit your review.