A group of seventeen day trippers on July 16th 2016, including our guest Bhante Analayo from India, crossed the causeway visited Santi Forest Monastery at Ulu Tiram and Samadhi Meditation Centre at Pontian in the State of Johor.
The entourage comprises of Bhante Analayo, Hing Seng Huat, Suriaty “Sue” Simon, Yeap Cheow Soon, Anna Jap, Christine, Cynthia Tan, Steven, Mei Ling, Nelson Liu, Siew Fong, Raymond Yow, Tan Chee Kong, Lim Lee Hock, Clara, Tan Kay Seng and Chin Kee Thou.
We were searching for a viable place for meditation, not too distant from the urban city life of Singapore to a quieter and serene ambience to enhance our practice.
“Bhikkhus, this is the one and only way for the purification of the minds of beings, for overcoming sorrow and lamentation, for the complete destruction of physical pain and mental distress, for the attainment of the noble path and for the realization of Nibbana. That only way is the practice of the four foundations of steadfast mindfulness.” (DN 22, Mahasatipatthana Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness).
Santi Forest Monastery
Santi Forest Monastery was founded by Ajaan Keng Khemako. When we visited the monastery he was away in Thailand and was entertained by Bhikkhu Lee who is left to take charge.
Incidentally, Ajaan Keng and Bhikkhu Lee were guests of Bhante Analayo who witnessed the soft opening of Bouddha Dharamapithamu on January 16th 2016 in Andhra Pradesh.
Bhikkhu Lee graciously conducted a tour of the monastery ground of more than 5 acres and several more acres of vacant land for future expansion. Within the compound of the monastery are kutis, kitchen, shrine hall, meditation hall and area for walking mediation or just to wander around within large expense of luxuriant greenery.
The housekeeping of the vast compound is done by volunteers and devotees who do regular maintenance work to keep it up and running. It also has a workshop for minor repair works and an excavator for repair of roads and footpaths within the compound.
Incidentally, Bhikkhu Lee also revealed that Samadhi Meditation Centre is administered by them and is now under renovation. It is available for meditation retreat upon request and when it is not occupied.
Incidental visit to Samadhi Meditation Centre, Pontian
Samadhi Meditation Centre had historical tie with Managala Vihara Buddhist Temple. The Bodhi Tree at Samadhi Meditation Centre is a progeny from a sapling of the Bodhi Tree from Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple, was planted by Venerable Mahaweera at the opening ceremony. (Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple, 50th Anniversary Book, page 146).
The tie of Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple with Samadhi Mediation Centre has somehow seemed to have mysteriously evaporated.
To reminisce the many happy occasions of the several trips organised in the past years to Samadhi Meditation Centre for meditation and bonding retreat, please follow the following hyperlinks:
While we were in the State of Johor and out of curiosity took the opportunity to make a detour for an incidental visit to Samadhi Meditation Centre and saw the progress of the renovation work.
The changes remind me of the nature of annica or impermanence. The ever changing of matters and phenomenon for the better or worse or for the positive or otherwise, depending on which side of the fence one is sitting on.
On the positive side we saw was two newly completed concrete kutis and, the back gate with brick posts and floor railing for the sliding gates with work in progress.
With the recent dry spell in recent months many foliage scattered about the monastery compound. We were dismayed to notice an avenue of mature trees, about two dozen of them, felled and the stumps scorched, annihilated sprouting of saplings.
As the renovation work progresses we hope to have better amenities for the comfort of devotees who may wish to stay there for meditation retreat, in the future.
Although the durian is not in its peak season and coupled the dry season, small amount of fruit are available and the temptation was too great to resist that we swooped and gobbled the pulp with gusto.
“They always take delight in food, both devas and human beings. So what sort of spirit could it be that does not take delight in food?” (SN 1:43).
It was a memorial day-tripping event and we returned to homeland at 9:30 pm.
Contributor: Chin Kee Thou
Date: July 17th 2016