Finally an opportunity for a quick update. As you know we are now in Indonesia.
Although we arrived in Indonesia a couple of weeks ago, we just finished conducting a 10-day Vipassana retreat at the Dhamma Java Vipassana centre in West Java.
The centre is located in the mountains above Bogor, a city just south west of Jakarta. This is a stunning place. Breezy and cool, surrounded by mosques and terrace farms, as well as a strange abandoned Sheraton luxury resort and golf course. This is the first time we’ve been in a predominantly Muslim country. Five times every day the calls to prayer ring out from loudspeakers at the many mosques that dot the surrounding hills. The voices of the various muzim (the people who lead the prayers) are often quite beautiful. Despite the sound quality of the loudspeakers being on par with the ones used on M.A.S.H., the beauty of the voices makes up for it and gives this place a special feel. In some places (Jakarta and Yogyakarta), the prerecorded tapes that play the call to prayer has grated on our nerves, sounding like a cat being put to death (slowly). But the muzim around Dhamma Java were real men with beautiful voices. When the sound of the prayers echo in the valley, it feels soulful and magical.
This is a video to show you the view from the balcony… so peaceful.
This is a little video of a storm rolling in as we watch from the balcony of our residence at the Centre.
It was a very quiet place, so nice after hot and hectic bustling Bangkok. We had about 50 students, most of them were Indonesian or from elsewhere in Asia. But Scott had three Western students, Karen had five. It was a great course.
After the course, we were fortunate to stay at the home of one of the Trustees for the centre. Their beautiful house is in North Jakarta and they let us use it for one night while they are away traveling.
Other meditator friends took us to lunch and dinner and made sure we boarded our early morning train to Yogyakarta in Central Java.
Now, we write from our homestay (De Pendopo) in Yogyakarta. The train journey here was awesome. Here is a video and some photos:
We’ll be staying here for the next ten days to see some of the historic sights of this ancient city. We’ll post again in a few days when we have more to show and tell. For now, all our love to you all.