Monday, October 13, 2014

Dharma Drum 7-Day Zen Retreat [06/10 - 12/10] 2014

It is the time of the year again for meditation retreat. And this time I have signed up for the zen retreat with Dharma Drum Singapore. It is to be held in Bright Hill Temple in Bishan again. And we will be living and having our activities at the Ten Thousand Buddha pagoda at the back of the monastery.

During registration, all of us need to deposit our mobile devices and valuables with the front desk. We are required to be disconnected from the outside world.

And here is the main hall where all our activities will be held. It ranges from daily prayers, meditation, prostration, yoga and walking/running meditation.

In the morning and evening, we will have to do the daily chanting.

We have 3 meals a day. And for each meal, we have to walk in two straight lines with awareness and silently towards the dining hall.

Here we are having our meals with complete mindfulness.

There is regular yoga exercises throughout the day.

As well as frequent sitting meditation.

There is also a daily walking and running meditation exercise in the afternoon.

On the last day, we have the opportunity to experience outdoor zen. We went out to the temple garden.

And sit amidst the greenery and beautiful pond by the side.

Here is our group photo. There are 80 people in all.

At the end of the retreat, we have group discussions. There are 10 groups with 8 people each.

Our two masters who led the retreat.

And it is check-out time. Everyone is queuing up to retrieve their valuables. They also gave us lots of snacks and goodies to enjoy our journey back home.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Milwaukee II [29/09 - 03/10]

It will be my second trip to Milwaukee this time round. I'm flying by a different airline - Cathay Pacific, instead of the ANA/United combination. I departed in the morning at 7am from Singapore Changi airport. Here is a snapshot of the clouds.

I have heard a lot of good things about Cathay Pacific. But nevertheless, I still prefer ANA for their Japanese green tea and Japanese cuisine. For Cathay, they have shrimp congee, hong kong milk tea as well as wanton noodles.

I had a chance to use the Marco Polo First Class lounge in Hong Kong as my colleague has member card to it. The selection of drinks and food are different from the Business Class lounge.

And I continue my journey towards Chicago, where I witness sunset, follow by sunrise.

This time round, I will be doing car-rental. There is no direct car rental parking in the airport. They have the car rental companies shuttle bus going around where they will make regular stops to pick up customers to the respective car rental parking areas.

There's a wide selection of cars to choose from.

We choose a Ford.

This car looks very advanced with GPS and other features. I drive for most part of the journey and clock close to 8 hours of driving in this trip.

We visited the first outlet site - Pleasant Prairie. I heard that the tax in Wisconsin is lower than in Chicago / Illinois. I bought quite a number of stuff before continuing my journey towards Milwaukee.

Tonight, we are having seafood lobster dinner (as can be seen from the sign below, it cost US$13.95)

Check out the size of the lobster below! It will be the last time I'm having it. I'm a bit bothered by the size of the lobster. It's so huge!

Next, I checked into Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. This is definitely a much better hotel than the one I stayed at previously.

Let's have a peek into the room.

Daily, I drive to office. It is autumn time and the leaves are turning yellow.

On the last day, We visited a supermarket to do some shopping for tea, coffee, etc.

And also visited the outlet mall at Chicago. This is just a close distance to Chicago international airport. I find the variety in this mall to be much more and will definitely visit it again in the future.