A week to the day after completing my trek, I walked to the Ganden Yiga Chozin Buddhist Meditation Center in the northern section of Pokhara's Lakeside district. I wanted to find out about the 3-day meditation course they offered. My timing couldn't have been better, as it was a weekend course set to start in 30 minutes.
The residential course is taught by an American monk, Venerable Losang Yeshe. Participants spend at least Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in dorms, however since the class was abnormally large (13 people), there wasn't a dorm available for me.
While Friday and Monday were half days, they followed the same schedule as our two full days. We had a 30-minute meditation at 6:30am, followed by breakfast, Hatha yoga, a teaching, lunch, group discussion, 2nd meditation, dinner, and 3rd meditation at 7:30pm. After our evening meditation, we were to remain silent until the completion of the following morning's meditation. We were to refrain from listening to music and using the internet as well. This was a bit harder for me since I had to walk back to the busier part of town each evening. All of our meals were vegetarian…and quite tasty!
Overall, I enjoyed the meditations (it's been awhile). It felt really cool to do our evening meditation by candlelight due to the power outages. I kept my eyes slightly open for them so I could enjoy the environment inside the gompa. The introductory teachings were a good refresher, plus I liked watching others grapple with concepts like reincarnation and karma, and spending time with a great international crowd open to new ideas. Switzerland, Holland, Israel, England, and the USA were represented.
On the last day, a bunch of us went out to dinner at the Boomerang restaurant (while their nightly cultural song and dance performance occurred) and drinks at the ever-popular Busy Bee (cover bands nightly). I continued to spend time with several of the people I met through the class over the following week.
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