Special 60-Day Retreat
Every year the Panditarama Forest Center conducts a special 60-Day Retreat during December and January, hosting over a hundred meditators (yogis) from around the world in silent, intensive, meditation practice. This is a unique opportunity to learn from senior monks who have been fully trained by Sayadaw U Pandita. These highly trained teachers provide meditators with precise practical and theoretical instruction that is vital for intensive vipassana meditation practice.
Instruction and guidance for all meditators will include daily dhamma talks and individual interviews with meditation teachers three times per week. The retreat requires that yogis practice with high levels of effort, attention and committment. The teachers ask that yogis who attend these retreats come with a willingness to fully trust the Sayadaws and the Mahasi method for the time period they are practicing at this center.
Style of Practice
The retreat will be taught in the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Satipatthana vipassana meditation following the method systematized by the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. This practice emphasizes a continuity of mental alertness through mindful observation of mental and physical objects as they arise from moment to moment. This includes all daily activities as well as 12 to 14 hours of alternating sitting and walking meditation according to the schedule.
Following this method, yogis are expected to practice continuous mindfulness throughout the whole day. That is, yogis must maintain a continuous practice of mindful observation, whether during sitting meditation or walking meditation, or during daily activities such as eating, bathing and cleaning.
Meditators stay in comfortable, well constructed single or double cabins (kutis), or dormitory-style buildings. All rooms are furnished with a bed and storage cabinet, and other necessities such as foam mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, mosquito nets, etc., are provided as well.
The center has separate well-ventilated dhamma halls for male and female yogis as well as spacious covered outdoor walking meditation platforms that provide a secluded environment for undisturbed practice.
There are also several interview buildings located near the dhamma halls where yogis report individually on their practice to their meditation teachers. There is also clinic next to the main office building staffed by a nurse or doctor during the 60-Day Special Retreat.
The food provided at the Forest Center is a mix of Burmese and Chinese cuisine, with plentiful protein, fresh vegetables and fruits. Vegetarian options are available, but other special dietary requests cannot be accommodated. The staff at the center has been trained to keep high, international standards of kitchen hygiene. Purified drinking water is also always available in the dining hall, dhamma halls, and the yogis' lodgings.
The Panditarama Forest Center is the direct result of the tremendous efforts and generosity of Dhamma supporters in Myanmar and throughout the rest of the world in the spirit of dana (giving). All teachings, housing, food and other necessities are provided free of charge. The cost of these is covered by generous donations from both local and international devotees. Retreat participants are welcome to offer dana for food, construction and renovation, daily monastery maintenance, or individually to monks and nuns. Those wishing to donate online may do so following the link below.