Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pengerang Korean Zen Retreat [31/03 - 05/04] 2015

I came upon a Straits Times advertisement on a Korean Zen Retreat in early March. As I needed to clear my leaves towards the end of March and the retreat happen to fall during this period, I decided to sign up for it. The full 7-day retreat costs S$120.

Unfortunately I could not depart for retreat on the 29th March (Sunday) as planned due to work commitments. I booked the ferry tickets myself from Limbongan Maju Ferry Service online and departed on the 31st March.

The ferry tickets cost S$25. Besides paying for the ferry ticket, it is also important to book the ferry through a booking form which they will email over to you. As there are very few passengers leaving for Desaru, the ferry may not operate at all. When I took the ferry, there is another 2 more elderly couple leaving for vacation in Desaru.

Do note how empty the Changi Ferry Terminal is below.

It is also important to request the zen center to make taxi booking as there is no taxi plying from the Ferry Terminal in Johore. It took me 30mins to travel from the Ferry Terminal to the International Zen Center and it cost RM$50. I alighted at the entrance and walked towards the zen center, appreciating the plants and flowers along the way in.

There is a beautiful landscape pond next to the path in.

Here is the daily schedule. You will notice there are two main routines, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. It consist of 3 sets of sitting meditation and 2 sets of walking meditation.

In the evening, we have Dharma talks by the zen masters.

Here is Zen master Dae Kwang enlightening us with his speech.

Three times a day, we will need to do chantings.

And there is an elaborate procedure on how we go about having our meals.

On the Wednesday (1st April), is a fasting day. I also joined in the fast. It's the first time I abstain from meals the whole day. By the Thursday (2nd April), we have a special breakfast to get us ready to have our meals again.

Our seniors explaining to us on the process of getting our stomach ready for the meal.

At the end of the retreat, there is a short and simple sharing from everyone.

And a group photo is taken.

We departed from the zen center at 1.40pm by taxi and arrived at the Pengerang Ferry Terminal at 2pm. Along the way, we noticed the massive construction work going on at both sides of the road. Many animals were displaced because of the construction work.

And we board the ferry back to Singapore. After departing Pengerang shortly, we came upon a huge piece of reclaim land. This is under Pulau Tekong. It is very impressive. Compare to 4-5 years ago, there is nothing except for barriers. Now the reclaim land are up - it is indeed long-term planning by Singapore government.