Abiding in the Wild:
Nurturing Love, Awareness, and the Heart's Deep Release
New Year’s Vipassana Retreat with Mindful Movement
December 29, 2017 – January 8, 2018
With Steven Smith, assisted by Jake Davis
Mindful movement with Julie Seibt
Jungle Yoga, Cheow Lan (Rajaprapa Lake), Surat Thani, Thailand
We will begin each day sitting together in the stillness of this remote jungle lake, as dawn slowly brings on the indescribable jungle chorus of cicadas and gibbons. Together, we will learn to cultivate seamless awareness in all sense fields, nourished by dedicated cultivation of the 'divine abidings': unconditional friendliness, wise compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. In each moment of returning gently to the present, we develop the ability to abide with clarity and kindness in the midst of both subtle and strong emotions.
Steven V. Smith co-founded Vipassana Hawai’i in 1984 and in 1995 founded the MettaDana Project for educational and medical projects in Burma. Also in 1995 Steven helped establish the Kyaswa Valley Retreat Center in Burma, headed by Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Abbot of Kyaswa Monastery. This partnership helped usher in the beginnings of Vipassana Hawai’i’s Fusion Dhamma approach combining traditional and contemporary teaching styles in the same retreat. Anchored in the Theravadan Buddhist Burmese lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw since 1974, he was trained and sanctioned as a teacher by revered monk and meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita. Steven dedicates his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) in meditation retreats around the world.
Julie Seibt has a rich background of certifications and experience: Anahata Yoga, IRI Certfied iRest Teacher®, Certified Yoga Therapist, Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga. She studies mindfulness under Steven Smith and Michele McDonald, teaching mindful movement to supportJulie Seibt has a rich background of certifications and experience: Anahata Yoga Teacher Certification (Anne Douglas, 2006), IRI Certfied iRest Teacher® (www.irest.us (link is external)), Certified Yoga Therapist (2013, Functional Synergy) and teacher's training in Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers and Restorative Yoga with Andrea Peloso. She studies mindfulness under Steven Smith and Michele McDonald, and leads mindful movement sessions at their Retreats in Thailand and Hawaii since 2010. As an Asian Bio-Energetic Therapist, Master Reiki Teacher, and Thai Massage Therapist, Julie brings a holistic, compassionate and mindful approach to well being. (See bodymindease.com for full bio)
Jake Davis began practicing at age 14, with Steven and Michele, and went on to spend nearly a decade practicing, studying, working as an interpreter, and training as a monk under the eminent meditation masters Sayadaw U Pandita and Sayadaw U Lakkhana of Burma. He brings together a deep experiential understanding of Buddhist practice with an intellectual training including study of the Pāli texts, a PhD in Philosophy and Cognitive Science, and ongoing research on meditation.
Cheow Lan is a remote, beautiful lake in the interior of Southern Thailand. Located on the edge of Khao Sok National Park, the lake is hidden among towering limestone karst formations. The prehistoric jungle is part of a wildlife sanctuary that is home to gibbon apes, langur monkeys, giant hornbills, serpent eagles and many other rare birds and animals.
Accommodation is in private or shared, comfortable floating bamboo jungalows/kutis, with one or two double beds. Linens, blankets and towels are provided. Shared rooms are spacious with two 5' wide beds and a balcony. Bungalow priority is based on registration dates.
The food is delicious and nutritious with wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables from the jungle and local markets, and fresh fish from the lake. Meals will be mainly vegetarian with fish and occasionally, chicken.
Fresh drinking water is readily available. Lighting in the evening is provided by the moon and the stars. There is a small generator, usually on from 6:30pm - 10pm for lighting and outlets available for charging a few necessary electrical items.
This is a rare opportunity to be unplugged with no Internet or telephone service available except for emergency use only.
Payment / Registration
A $1130 USD registration fee will secure your place at the retreat, cover the costs of three meals per day, accommodation for 10 nights, transport to and from Surat Thani airport, as well as the travel costs of the teachers and to support our scholarship program for future retreats.
Dana: In keeping with the Buddhist practice of Dana (generosity), teachers are not paid through the registration funds. The teachings will be offered freely and donations to the teachers (in cash or online) are accepted and deeply appreciated by the teachers.
There is no ATM or currency exchange at the pier or at the venue. Both are available at the Bangkok Airport.
The Surat Thani airport is a last resort only - here there are ATM machines, but no currency exchange, and sometimes the group departure is delayed by yogis hassling with malfunctioning machines. Please try to prepare for your currency needs well before the travel dates and times.
National Park entrance fee: Please pay 300 Thai baht (appx $10) at the booth near the pier, sign the entrance book for the park and keep your ticket stub.
Other considerations for expenses are massage for 600 Baht (appx $18) per hour, a small shop offers comfortable clothing, and fresh coconuts and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
From Bangkok to Surat Thani is 1 hour with Thai Airways domestic carrier, Thai Smile. From the airport in Surat Thani, there will be a group transfer vehicle waiting for you to take you to the Chiew Lan Lake pier, a 1 hour drive. From the pier there is a 30 minute boat ride across a phenomenal lake to reach Praiwan Raft House.
Because of the remote location of the site and infrequency of transfer options, make sure to plan all of your travel information with our registrar, who will also send you all the information you need to make arrival and departure as smooth as possible.
For detailed information on the retreat, travel, and ANY questions you may have, please email our registrar.
Here is a short video of one of our teachers, Jake Davis, explaining the basics of our approach and the value of practicing in this amazing environment:
jake video 1080 from BodyMindEase on Vimeo.
Teacher dana - In accordance with tradition, all Vipassana Hawai’i internationally respected teachers offer their guidance and teachings free of charge and are supported through the freely-offered generosity of students and supporters. Costs associated with retreats cover the expenses associated with food, lodging, and administration but not teacher time, training, effort, or energy. We believe that this commitment helps keep the purity of the teachings alive and thriving, as it has for millennia. They do not collect salaries in keeping with the time-honored tradition of sharing openly the chance for peace. This allows us to pass on our direct facility costs and keep our registration fees as low as possible. As a result we strive to give back in monetary gratitude so that they may continue their endeavors and share their wisdom.
Please note our Cancellation Policy:
If you cancel more than 45 days prior to the retreat: We will refund all fees less paypal fees - usually $50.00- $60.00
If you cancel 14-44 days prior to the retreat: We will refund all fees less $200.00.
If you cancel less than 14 days prior to the event: Unfortunately we cannot afford to offer a refund. Last-minute cancelations are costly and sometimes mean that others cannot attend the retreat. If there are extreme circumstances and we have someone else to fill your spot, we may be able to support some kind of refund.