Lumbini Panditarama Meditation Centre

Dear All, Good Day! This is Vasanth. I want to share the experience about the retreat I did in the Nepal. Myself and my brother did 30 day retreat in the center. The name of the centre is "Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center". It is located in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha and one of the four main places of pilgrimage for Buddhists. Lumbini is an international project including re-developing the ancient sites and constructing countless new monasteries. It is located in southern Nepal, near the Indian border.

Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Center was set up by Sayadaw U Pandita of Myanmar.

Panditarama Lumbini offers a supportive, comfortable and peaceful setting for dhamma-students seeking practice. The meditation method is Intensive Vipassana in the tradition of the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar, which consists of sitting meditation and formal walking meditation throughout the day. In the evenings there will be 2 to 3 Live Dhamma talks in a week, which are given by the Sayadaw or by Sayalay. On the other days, recorded Dhamma talks by Sayadaw will be played.

There will be 6 interviews in a week with Sayadaw and with Sayalay. The interviews and regular Dhamma-talks are in English. Meditators observe Noble Silence and keep eight precepts.

Panditarama Lumbini offers an ongoing retreat year-round. Meditators may schedule their individual retreat from a few days up to several months starting at any time of the year.

The resident teacher, Venerable Vivekananda, has trained with the Venerable Sayadaw U Panditabhivamsa of Myanmar since 1988. Venerable Vivekananda teaches meditation in English, Burmese, German and French.

What I like most about the centre is very limited number of students can be accomodated. Around 30 students at any given time at most. So this gives the conducive atmosphere for the meditation practice. Both the Sayadaw and Sayalay are really helpful in one's practice. Particularly Sayadaw U Vivekananda is having thorough understanding in the Vipassana practice. So when one goes for the interview on the alternative days with him, one would be given clear cut guidance. He is a jolly minded person of. So his enthusiasm and the joy is contagious on to the students.

Along with the usual sitting and the walking meditation, there is also the working meditation. The meditators are expected to sign up for the cleaning work in the meditation hall and in the common toilets. The meditators are clearly instructed that the working meditation should be done with as much mindfulness as the sitting or walking meditation. So this is really helping in the practice of one's meditation.

The minimum period of stay is 7 days. Students meditate for as long as 3 months. For the westerners the winter season from mid october till mid march may be suitable. No fees is charged. Only voluntary donation is accepted.

Pros:- 1.Both Sayadaw's and Sayalay's guidance. Their helping nature. Sayadaw's sound knowledge in the meditation. 2. Food - Non spicy lacto ova vegetarian food. I'm sure this food is suitable for all the meditators cutting across all cultural and geographical boundries.

Cons:- 1. Scheduled power cuts. 11 hours of power cut in a day. They manage with the inverters for lighting. Since mostly meditators come in the winter months, there won't be any requirement for electric fans and Air conditioners. Solar water heaters are there for the hot water requirements.

This may be said as the drawback. Otherwise for the serious minded meditators this centre is highly recommended. In fact I was practicing meditation in the Goenka tradition for the past 5 years. I was not able to see much progress in my meditation. But there was no other alternative. Since I'm an Indian citizen, I have only the option of doing the Vipassana in the Goenka tradition. Now after attending this 30 day retreat in Nepal, my faith has increased in the path. In fact I was able to reach the 5th stage - Dissolution. It may be true that the prior exposure from the Goenka tradition might have helped me in my practice over there in Nepal, but there is no denying that without the help of the map, I was literally struggling in my practice.

So I recommend before going to the retreat some basic understanding of vipassana meditation and on Satipattana will really help in one's practice. There are so many e-books available on these subjects in the internet.

Particularly for the Indian Students:- For the Indian Students there is no need to apply for the Visa to travel to Nepal. India and Nepal are friendly countries. Then there is Dual currency system in Nepal. Both the Indian and the Nepal money are accepted for the transactions. So on both counts we Indians are saved by the bureaucratic bungling.

For more details about the centre you can visit their website