June 2011 was a special turning point for 20 young adults whose destination is in Thailand. Peace Revolution joined together youths from the UK, the Philippines, Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ethiopia, Romania, Jordan, and Sweden to stay for an immense 2-week experience, the International Inner Peace Retreat "Global Peace on the Move V".
Most of participants didn’t know much about what to expect from the retreat itself. The contacts they had so far with each other, the staff and with the monks were only through the Peace Revolution’s self-development program, an online platform to support and help people meditate at home.
Full of curiosity and excitement, they arrived in Pathum Thani to meet each other and the staff. Shared sleeping accommodation facilitated sharing of first impressions, histories, traditions and also expectations about what was about to come for this whole adventure.
The retreat took place at Mook Tawan, a special sanctuary on an Island designed by the Dhammakaya Foundation to host international activities. It’s located in the southern Thailand, 11 hours from Bangkok. Everyone was impressed by the beauty, cleanliness and orderliness of the surroundings. Everything has been flawlessly and carefully prepared to receive the group. It was impossible not to feel welcomed.
During the first days the staffs were very careful explaining the activities, the schedule, the time to wake up, and also how and when to complete the daily chores. Everything was so organized and timely, with so much respect and care that the participants naturally felt invited to follow all the proposed activities and tasks. Everything flowed quite naturally and organically.
The atmosphere was different when the meditation sessions started. The participants began to change. You could observe the difference by looking into their eyes. There was less talking. And when they talked, the main subject of the conversations suddenly altered. Day by day, people started to feel and understand how rare an experience like this was and how lucky they were to have that opportunity, not only for being in Thailand through a fellowship, but also to be there to take care of themselves in a way most of them could never imagine before.
The retreat was an invitation to make, then think, and then experience real peace in their lives and how they could bring such peace to their daily lives when returning home. For that they had the support of smiling and generous persons, Peace Revolution staff, volunteers, and the Monks, who were open to share their knowledge and experience.
Beside meditation, the youth had the opportunity to ask questions and share their meditation experiences and doubts with the monks in private sessions called “Meditation Clinics”. They also had workshops and presentations with the monks, who gave tips and techniques of meditation and talked about its benefits and challenges. The monks also emphasized the importance of cultivating good habits, being considerate and respectful of others, as well as doing good deeds and sharing, taking care of our actions, thoughts and speech, practicing forgiveness and letting go of bad thoughts and feelings.
Day by day, these 20 persons could feel something really deep was happening inside of them. Hearing the monks talk about meditation, peace and contentment made sense. While the concepts were very easy to understand, they also discovered the answers to their doubts and insecurities. They found a real and true peace by themselves, as a result of constant development of their discipline, compassion, respect, integrity, endeavor and determination. They didn’t know this trip was only the beginning.