2019 Chungtai 7-day Meditation Retreat

Reflections: A Precious Find Serena Seah/法緣

For the 7 days, I lived by the sounds of “tock” to signal the start of a meditation session, “ting” to signal the end, followed by walking meditation, then off to the toilet and some hydration. Right from the start I had no idea of the time and after several days, the day. It was actually not a bad way to live. It was kind of free to not be concerned about anything at all.

Initially I was worried after looking at the schedule for the day. I need at least 8 hours of sleep and anything less will result in a headache. Amazingly with only 6 hours of sleep, I did not experience any headache! Of course my room mates and I followed the good advice to nap whenever there was a break. The 20 or 40 mins power nap did wonders and kept me going. Colleagues and friends have wondered how this chatty Serena could keep quiet for 7 days and thought it must have been difficult for me. To their disbelief I had no problem keeping quiet, in fact I quite love the introspection of the first few days.

The goal of the trip was to experience peace. The 8 precepts helped strip down material desires, to concentrate on purifying the mind. The first 3 days was like the de-cluttering of the mind. So many thoughts clouded my mind. Even issues that I thought I had resolved re-surfaced. One issue which plagued me was the legs starting to sore after about 20-30 mins as I have not been sitting regularly the past half year. Since taking on the new role at work, the driving across 3 campuses have so worn me out that a nightly meditation session had been futile as I fell asleep almost immediately. Yet I knew I was able to use the focus of the breath to disregard the pain in the legs in the past and I was determined to achieve that again. Following the meditation advice of the Dharma talks, and keeping in focus what Big Shifu said, I started to settle after Day 4. Soon the challenge was to let go of the reminders that punctuated the peace. When it finally happened, it was such bliss. A precious find. I will have to continue to work hard to keep that peace when I am back in Melbourne, distracted by the other aspects of life.

To all the Shifus who provide guidance and make us feel welcome, I am grateful to. It is not an easy task to sustain Chung Tai and Bao Lin and to build a community that I can belong to, to practice Buddhism. To all the volunteers who support the conditions so that we do not have to worry about our sustenance, I am also very appreciative of your effort. It is the combined work that creates the environment for the meditation retreat to be beneficial for all the attendees.

May I build the good karma to go again next year and perhaps to do some volunteer work at Pu Tai Secondary School.