Sunday, December 18, 2022

10-Day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Bali

Vipassana introduction (Source: dhamma.org)

Few months ago I stumbled upon a website for the 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat registration. It had been 5 years since my first time attendance in such meditation program.

I thought, maybe it was time to go for it again. And this time, the place was in Bali.  It would be great since it had been 7 years  since the last time I went there and I would have no problem and difficulties in the language. Therefore, without much thinking, I pressed the 'registration' button and applied for it. 

A day after I received the acceptance email from the registration team, and I started to look around for the flight ticket, think of how many days I need to go for the overall trip, where else to go, and so on. I decided to reach Bali 1 day before the meditation started and stay 3 more days after the meditation over. 

I had no idea what the meditation was about, who the teacher was, what the teaching would be like, and so on. Basically, I did not read in detail regarding it and let my self just went there to find it out myself what it would be like. That was why, I often felt lost when the teaching had begun. 

Vipassana introduction (Source: dhamma.org)

In this post, let me share some basic info regarding the place and the program. 

The building was called Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali, located at Jalan Aspal, Penglumbaran Susut, Bangli Regency, Bali.

Dining hall building (women left, men right) - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali

Upon email acceptance, you would receive important and necessary information regarding the retreat such as what you need (valid passport and visa, local contact number in case of emergency), that your cell phone would be handed in to the management for safe keeping during your 10 days there, when to arrive, when course ending, course finance (it was run solely on donation basis and only submit after the course ended), what to bring (loose-fitting clothes covering shoulders and knees, no tight and revealing clothes, jumper/ shawl/ socks for cold weather, towel, toiletteries, laundry soap/ detergent, water bottle, mosquitoes repellant - thank God mosquitoes did not attack inside the meditation hall!), no laundry service provided - could only hand wash, what not to bring (books, religious objects, writing materials, mp3 players and other electronic devices, food), and so on. 

One umbrella per room per person - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali 

It was raining season when I was there. However, umbrella was available, hung outside our room (one for each person), which you could use during your stay there. Flashlight was also provided - hung next to the umbrella so you did not have to bring. 

Towel rack/ dryer was given one outside the room for each person. There were 2 big clothes hanger available for women to share to dry their clothes. Or otherwise, just hung it at that towel rack.

Fyi, the weather there was quite humid with so many rain. Also the weather changed really fast. Like when you saw it sunny, just a while later, suddenly heavy rain poured down. So be alert when you hung your clothes to dry in open space!

View of Meditation Hall - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali 

There would be transport arrangement available from and to airport, Ubud and Canggu at a fee. There was ride share info as well but it did not work out when I tried to get it. The transport from Ngurah Rai international airport would cost IDR400,000, while from Ubud was IDR100,000. 

I decided to spend a night before and after meditation retreat in Ubud since the transport facility was available. Plus, I never stayed there before (I passed by the area last time and felt that it was such a nice place to stay). 

It was not big - reachable on foot to nearby area, Grab/ local taxi/ Grab motor service available, you could also rent bike and bicycle to go around; many good and affordable massage service available in the area; Cafe/ pub/ restaurant were everywhere; shops selling local products and daily necessities like Guardian, Alfamart, etc. were accessible easily as well. 

Me and other 4 passengers took the transport from Ubud. Our meeting place was at Delta Dewata Supermarket at 3pm. It reached the Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali in around 45 minutes to one hour.

We went in to the dining room hall for registration and after that we would hand in our mobile phone, wallet/ money, books, journal, religious objects etc. to the management.

Small, simple, yet clean :) - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali room

Soonafter, we were given our room number and could start going there to put our luggage in and unpacking stuffs. We could take bath too to refresh ourselves before the long journey began :)

Bathroom cum toilet on the separate building - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali 

There were 5 bathroom cum toilet for 22 of us to share (22 rooms available for each women and men - made a total of 44 pax allowed in each retreat).

It was enough as not everyone would take a bath at the same time. We could take bath at any of our rest time (morning, afternoon, and evening) and usually everyone had their own preference time to take bath. So, you did not have to worry about queuing and stuff. 

At 5pm we were gathered inside the dining hall for the introduction, and then had dinner.

Eating utensils

We were given one set of eating utensils with label of our name on the table - where our seat was located.

We used the same utensils until the rest of our stay. We washed it right after using it each and every time. 

View inside the dining hall (men side) - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali 

The food was buffet style. You could take a many as you wanted, but make sure you could finish them (and not waste it). But as you took your food, please be considerate of people who were queuing behind because they were hungry and not all good was available for topping up. 

They served vegetarian food throughout our stay. The menu was changed every day and they ensured we had enough nutrition for our half-day meal (we took only breakfast and lunch). At 5pm, for new students, we were given 2 types of fruits (banana/ salak/ orange), one piece each. For old students, they were given liquid drink.

Extra cushions and other stuffs available - Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali 

Basically they did not really allow us to bring our own personal cushion inside the meditation hall. You did not have to worry though because many extra cushions (medium and small sizes), wooden chairs, wooden leaning chairs, and shawls were available inside the meditation hall for us to use. 

Soon after our first introduction and briefing, the silent mode was started. We had to keep silent (no gestures towards each other and no body language) throughout the 10 days there as to ensure not to break the sila and not to affect our meditation process.

If you had any enquiry regarding the meditation, there were interview session with teacher available after lunch (11.45am to 1 pm), and also from 9 to 9.30pm at the meditation hall. Make sure you make full use of this session when you felt in doubt regarding your meditation learning. 

Following was the schedule that more or less we had for the 10 days there. 

Dhamma Geha Vipassana Bali Daily Schedule

There would be 1 teacher who would guide our meditation session. There would be audio guide recording by S.N. Goenka in English, followed with Russia translation (as majority of attendance were Russian). 

Some of us were lent the personal ipod with many different language translations based on each person's native language. Like for example, even though I was fluent in English, my native language was Indonesian. Therefore, I was given the Indonesian translation in case I wanted to understand it better in my own language. It was indeed helpful for me.

There were about 45 language translations so far, so you would not have to worry if you were not fluent or good in understanding English.

Do not worry. As long you made your mind into it, you would be able to go through it all. It was a step-by-step learning approach. 

We definitely had to work hard and treasure the opportunities of having such conditions and environment, because in real world, we were not given such privileges - quiet place, provision of healthy meal, teacher's guidance, fresh air, natural environment, and so on. 

After 10 days, we could talk again on the tenth day, and leave the place on the eleventh morning. 

We were advised to practise the meditation into our daily life (recommended twice a day - one in the morning and one in the evening), so that you could feel the benefits of it. 

You would find out its benefits after you experienced it yourself. Definitely, it gave you good benefits into your life.

Fyi, there were many meditation centers all over the world that organised such 10-day meditation courses. You could check it out here. They gave us the apps as well (dhamma.org) and log in access once we became the old student. We could use it for our meditation practise beach home. 

So, I hope this post would help you and give you a picture what you would encounter if you decided you go for it, and if you had any question, you could leave your comment below :)

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