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“The Best Meditation Course in Chiang Mai”
Review of Wat Ram Poeng

Wat Ram Poeng
Reviewed 12 July 2011

Here's the deal - don't go here if you're not serious. If you're looking to "dip your toe" into Vipassanna Meditation, go elsewhere. This for the hardcore meditator with a certain resolve to see it through. I was disappointed to see so many people come and go, sometimes on the same day! The class is for 26 days, they ask you stay atleast a 10 day minimum, to give it a chance. Most don't make it to day 10, and so few make it to day 26. The last 3 days, "Determination", where you lock yourself in your room for 3 days straight of meditation (no sleep, and they bring 2 meals a day to you in plastic bags) is mind-blowing. Meditation alternates between walking and sitting. When you're not doing one, you're doing the other. There are places on the grounds, both indoors and outdoors you can use for this, or you can choose your room.
You will wake up at 4 am and be expected to begin meditation. At around 6:30, the bell rings for breakfast. At 10:30, lunch, and that's it. At 5 pm the bell will ring for a small soup or liquid snack (after 12 there are no solids eaten. Plain yogurt is fine, but fruit yougurt, nope.) There is a small store on site where you can buy things like milk, yogurt and little things to eat. The food at the dinig hall is not too good for most western tastes. But you can go for seconds, so stuff yourself before the fasting at noon.
Rooms are VERY sparse, a bed, 2 inch mattress and a plastic chair are about it. Hey, you need to follow the precepts of buddhism here. You report once a day to the teacher (I had a bhikunhi, or nun, but recently I understand they went back to the abbott of the temple). That is the only talking you will do. You are not allowed to talk to anyone about ANYTHING. SIlence is the rule - mindfulness doesn't involve talking, so keep it to yourself, even at meals. White is worn at all times, and a stop watch is vital-all can be bought at the temple site.
This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I learned so much about myself and things in general. The saddest part is seeing so many people go and then just give up after such a short time without giving it a chance. It is truly rewarding in a way that most people, especially in the west, will never understand.
If you go, promise yourself no matter how hard it is, give yourself atleast the 10 days minimum. You won't regret it. The first few days are needed for adjustment, it gets better as the time goes along, you won't regret it. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it.

One last bit of advice, SLOW DOWN. The first few days I found myself walking fast everywhere, and realized thre was no reason for this. Every step, every bite og food, every action is thought about.

128  Thank inspectorjavert70
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