Abiding in the Wild: Nurturing Love, Awareness, and the Heart's Deep Release
Thirteen day Metta and Vipassana Meditation Retreat
With Steven Smith, assisted by Jake Davis
Jungle Yoga, Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, 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.
You will be supported by the team called 'the surgeon and the poet': the enthusiastic and incisive clarity of Jake Davis, and the experience of senior teacher Steven Smith artfully weaving Dhamma teachings and vibrant stories; and by the natural nurturing support of the magical jungle environment. For experienced and new yogis.
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 divides his time teaching Vipassana and the Divine Abodes (loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity) meditation retreats around the world, and assisting Burmese refugee communities along the Thai-Burma border. His long term vision for preserving the Dhamma is culminating in the beginnings of the Hawai’i Insight Meditation Center (HIMC) on the Big Island of Hawai’i’s remote North Kohala coast.
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.
Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary 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.
You will sleep in simple floating bamboo jungalows / kutis, with a double bed. The food is comprised of 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.
A $210 USD non-refundable registration fee will secure your place at the retreat. Please note that the $210 registration fee is separate from the resort fees and helps cover the travel costs of the teachers and to support our scholarship program for future retreats.
Fees: Group transfers, three meals per day, and accommodation for 13 nights cost is 26,000 Thai Baht, (approximately US$770), which can be paid in full in Thai Baht when you get to the lake. In keeping with the Buddhist practice of Dana (generosity), the teachings will be offered freely. Donations 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.
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 a small shop offers comfortable clothing, and fresh coconuts will be available for purchase.
From Bangkok to Surat Thani is a 1 hour flight with Thai Airways domestic carrier: https://www.thaismileair.com/en/thaismile
From the Surat Thani airport, there will be a group transfer vehicle waiting to take you to the Rajaprapa Pier.
From there it’s a 30 minute boat ride across a phenomenal lake to reach Praiwan Raft House.
Arrival September 17: Jungle Yoga minivans will meet the Thai Smile flight WE251 that leaves BKK (Suvanabhumi airport) at 8.25am and arrives at Surat Thani at 9.40am.
Departure September 30: We will leave the venue by boat at 6:30 am to be at the Surat Thani airport at 9am - in time for flight WE252 which departs for Bangkok at 10:10am.
NOTE: The retreat travel arrangements are for group transport to and from Surat Thani airport. We advise you that to have your post-retreat plans in order before you come to the jungle - there is no internet access to find information, and you may find it quite stressful to have to deal with that on departure.
You are welcome to stay on at Praiwan rafthouse subject to availability. Please enquire about rates and transport costs for an extension of stay.
For detailed information on the retreat please click here or email our registrars.