24 hours of silence is not on many people’s holiday to-do-lists. But a one night vipassana might surprise you and be the most memorable things you do in Chiang Mai. The overnight trip introduces you to Buddhism and mediation, providing different techniques as well as a peaceful environment in which to try them out.
Passana means seeing or perceiving, and the ‘Vi’ has a few meanings. So Vipassana can mean ‘seeing through’ or ‘seeing wisely’ or ‘seeing deeply’ (or probably all three)! The tradition of vipassana has been passed down since the time of Bhudda. Orginally from India, the silent mediation practise has since spread by nomadic teachers to many countries. This form of meditation is not Bhuddism nor a type of religion, but rather a tool used by individuals to clear the mind.
Our guests recently went along, one with an interest in meditation and the other a complete novice. Both thought the workshop was brilliant and would suit anyone wanting to find out a little about mindfulness and how to calm the mind. I won’t go into what was covered (I’m really the opposite of qualified for that) but the experience was eye-opening and our guests were really glad they went. You can read what other visitors thought on Tripadvisor here.
Usually a vipassana retreat is for 10 days, and friends have said 10 days of silence can be challenging, whereas this one night taster is a more gentle introduction! The monks leading the workshop gave explanations and guidance to people from all works of life and the students came from all over the globe. Several techniques are covered and you each try them out to see what works best for you. If you want to learn more or take some help home with you, there is a library on site where you can buy books on meditation, Bhuddism and mindfulness.
The overnight vipassana runs every week on a Tuesday. The monkchat website has a schedule as well as what you need to bring and how to reserve your place. The course fee is 500 baht, and if you want to buy a set of modest loose white clothing you can request this when making your reservation for 300 baht. You meet at Wat suan dok at 1pm Tuesday and return on Wednesday at roughly 4pm.