(Speech by Guus Went on behalf of the male yogi’s at the closing ceremony of the 19th 60 days Special Retreat at Panditarama Hse Mine Gon Forest Center, January 31 2018.)
Venerable Members of the Sangha, dear yogi’s,
I would like to express some words of appreciation about my practice, about the teachers and the teachings, and about the country and people of Myanmar.
When I start telling you this 60 days Special Retreat was my fifth one and I am still not a Sotapanna, it is not to discourage you. On the contrary, I hope to encourage you with some of my experiences. that this retreat does not stop here and now. Good causes will have good results.
Can you imagine I would have come back if not having experienced good results, both during the retreats and in daily life? Especially in daily life!
Oh yes, I had my culture shock during the first three weeks of my first retreat 2012-2013. What a mechanical way of being is this? Where are my thoughts, where are my hindrances, where are my good experiences? In my first retreat I even got a so called first warning from our dear Sayadawgyi U Pandita when he found me in some strange looking yoga posture in my kuti when he visited the 64-kuti-complex in the male compound. ‘If this is what you are coming for, no need to come to this centre.’ But I heard the deep warmth in his voice when he said this. ‘Yes Bhante, you are quite right.’ (Of course I knew this was not what I was coming for to this centre.) And during the first ten days of my fourth retreat (2015-2016) I had pains I never had before. But they on their turn caused a concentration I never had before either.
Do these Burmese teachers really understand me? Really take me serious? Do they really mean it when they say I am doing well? Many times I left the interview with this kind of doubt. But later the same day they always proved to have been right. ‘This is such a special, particular, personal insight, no other one can give me.’ ‘Yes, this is a happiness much better than a sensual one.’ In my third retreat I got the doubt ‘How stupid I must be to be here for the third time.’ The only stupidity was that I did not report this item to my teacher, so it kept me busy for two weeks. This year once I had the same attack of doubt, but I could answer it within one session with the words of the Buddha when he was being challenged by Mara: Let the Earth be my witness that I have the full right to sit and practice here on this place.
Enough about my practice.