29 Sept- 2 Oct 2017 Awakening in the garden retreat

Labour Day Long Weekend Meditation Retreat: Awakening in the garden

The Buddha was born in the garden, attained Enlightenment in the garden, taught in the garden and passed away in the garden. Let us enjoy the practise of sitting & walking meditation in the monastery gardens and experience how the calming power of nature enabled the Buddha to attain Inner Peace 2600 years ago.


Dear Everyone,

I hope you have had a very peaceful journey home.

Here is the group photo from Awakening in the Garden Retreat.

Thank you all for trying so diligently to practice mindfulness and awareness.

Please let me know if you would like a copy of the chanting book.

Or if you need any further information about the teachings. We love your feedback

With metta,



Here is a brief Summary:

Hope you still remember to practice body mindfulness as in Pre school, and then move to mindfulness on breathing as in Primary school.

Learn to remove the Five Hindrances as we are working toward greater mindfulness.

Use the calm, relaxed mind to observe the impermanent nature of body and mind as in Secondary school.

Reflect on the realisation of inter-connection between breath, feelings and thoughts as in Tertiary school.

The Graduation is Inner peace.

You are all the flowers of mankind, like the Bodhi Tree represents the Buddha, but remember compost is good for the garden.

So welcome all your difficulties in life as an opportunity to grow.

Just breathe in, just feeling, just thinking, just worried, just headache, just freedom……….. No Drama


Please click here to see more photos in google drive


Hi Kim,


I just want to thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be part of the last retreat. It was truly amazing and have lot of things to put into practice in my day to day life. Looking forward to seeing you in future retreats after I practice a bit :)




Hi Kim,

 Thank you all for the wonderful long weekend. It was very special and it exceeded my expectations. It was amazing to spend few days in silence and peace without phones, screens, talking and without other distractions of the Sydney life and I feel immensely grateful for the fabulous environment and teaching and all the hard work behind it. I apologise for not being aware of few of the rules such as pants and bare feet ;-) I will be better next time. I'm new to Buddhism and have a lot to learn, obviously. 

  Can you please send me the chanting book? Also, what was the vegetarian fish we had? That was so yummy!! Many thanks to all the volunteers. 

 Have a lovely week. Thank you :-)

Exercise Physiologist/Nutritionist 



Hi Kim,

 Thank you and all at Sunnataram. As also I came away with a subtle tweak to my practice and added insights to help my development.

 As mentioned I'd really like to finish off a bit of raking and was hoping to come down this Thursday. I'm happy to look after myself and bring my own lunch if no one is around.

 Kind regards, Kevin


Dear Kim and Everyone, 

 I'm so grateful to Pra Mana, Luang Po Sawat, to you, all volunteers and everyone in the retreat for made this retreat positive and peaceful learning atmosphere that allowed the opportunity to deepen knowledge about the practice🙏😊❤. 

 I have been coming to Sunnataram meditation retreat in last six years and Pra Mana's teaching is getting even more creative, funnier, easier to understand and precise to the point. I also really enjoyed learning about Buddhist art, world history and how Pra Mana related Buddhist teaching to different philosophies, other religiouses and to how we can bring what we learn to apply to every day life.

 I feel that the more I learn, the more there is so much more to learn and to do (to help). There is so much inspiration to take by Pra Mana's wonderful example🙏. I cannot wait to bring what I had learnt, experienced to share with the adult and little kids yoga students I teach daily. 

 This retreat was particular special to me as I had the chance to participate with my mom beside me. The opportunity to strengthen our love bond and to offer my mother to do what she loves (practice vipasana meditation and deepen her knowledge in Buddhism), the peaceful space at Monastery to rest her body, heart and mind before she will return to Thailand next Monday. 

 Before she came to the retreat, she was having quite hard time to walk, she constantly needed walking stick wherever she goes, after the second day at the retreat, she could walk without the stick and she really felt her health has improved greatly, we both are so grateful from bottom of our hearts that we were able to learn at Sunnataram Forest Monastery🙏❤.

 If I have the time and my mom's health permits, I'll try to take her to the monastery this Sunday so we have the chance to listen to Dhamna talk before she'll fly back. 

 For any friends who lives in Sydney who might want to join us, we should have two more spaces in the car, please let us know if you would like to join us😊❤. 

 We live in Zetland area, if anyone interests to sometimes drop by to have a cup of tea or for yummy dinner and practice meditation, Tai Chi or yoga together, it'll be great joys to support each others in the practice. 

 With loving kindness😊🙏❤



Hi Kim

Thank you, the Monks, Peter, the volunteers and everyone again for such an amazing stay at the monastery. 

 I learnt so much and still have such a long way to go. So sorry about not wearing shoes, I hope I didn't offend anyone and it made perfect sense why no bare feet should be allowed. 

 Take care and see you next time.



Hi Kim and team at Sunnataram Retreat,

 Unfortunately I had to leave early today, as I came down with a stomach bug. thankfully I had Shannon with me and I was able to make it home, with a few rest stops on the way. 

 We both want to thank yourself and the team at Sunnnataram Monastary for making us feel welcome and making our stay comfortable. 

 We left a donation in the box and hope you continue with the good work and we'll spread the word of the good work you're doing down there.

 Many thanks,

Nicolas  and Shannon


Wow thanks Kim for the wonderful summary and thank you so much Phra Mana for your infinite wisdom and humour. Thanks also to all the volunteers for their dedication and hard work, and thanks to every one of you for making it another awesome retreat. Let's keep in touch and support each other in our practice. I've added our photo to the Facebook group 'Sunnataram Forest Monastery Friends', please feel free to tag yourself so that we can connect and stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1612921875703669/

 I've been inspired to set up a non-for-profit program to teach meditation and dhamma to school children as an extra-curricular program to help them develop wisdom, compassion and inner peace from a young age. It's in the very early stages but I'm consulting various Buddhist teachers and experts on the programming and recruiting volunteer teachers. If you are interested to help out or know of someone who may be able to provide advice and/or resources, please let me know. Thank you!


Jenny Shen


Dear Kim,

 Thanks again for the warm hospitality over the long weekend.

 Please send my gratitudes also to Venerable Phra Mana, Venerable Phra Khru Supatsarasopon and all the volunteers for making my stay a wonderful experience. And I'm looking forward to coming back to visit in the future.

 Would it be okay for me to have a copy of the chanting book? I was very moved by the wisdom in the chants and would like to learn to sing them in the Pali (or Sanskrit?) language. Many thanks.

 Kind regards



Dear Kim,

 Many thanks to everyone for making Awakening in the Garden such a wonderful retreat.

 Thanks to: Phra Mana, for sharing his wisdom and knowledge with his usual humour, skill and compassion; Luang Po Sawat, for his gentle, happy presence and example – and for helping to keep us warm; you, Kim, for organising and making it happen; Peter, for leading the tai chi sessions, and more: Aon and her team for the yummy meals; Kevin and all the other volunteers (apologies if I don’t know their names) for all their work behind the scenes. And thanks to all my fellow attendees at the retreat for their silent and supportive companionship.


Special memories: sharing Luang Po Sawat’s joy and wonder at our first close-up sighting of a pair of beautiful grey and crimson Gang-gang cockatoos; as always, looking out across the grassy slopes to the ranges and distant coast; trees swaying in the wind; the memorable experience of Pali chanting and meditation as a group; stroking a compliant wombat; walking meditations in the garden and bush; and many more.

 The extra day’s dhamma talks which the long weekend made possible were really appreciated. Phra Mana’s explanations of consciousness were challenging (to me, at least) and absorbing, as were his teachings on the transition to vipassana meditation.

 Best wishes, with metta,



Dear Sunnataram team

My heartfelt thanks for a wonderful retreat.

 Thanks to Phra Mana for his amazing teachings.  We are so blessed to have such a wise, compassionate and patient teacher. I had many 'light bulb' moments during the retreat! Concepts I've been struggling to understand for years are now much clearer.

 Thanks to Luang Po Sawat for making such yummy porridge, cleaning up after the birds, wombats, and kangaroos and leading us through the bush on a very peaceful walk.  

 Thanks to Kim for being so composed and gracious, whilst working so hard to make everything run perfectly smoothly.

 Thanks to Peter for leading us in chanting, tai chi and walking meditation.

 Thanks to the wonderful volunteers for making the environment so comfortable, peaceful and clean and the delicious meals.

 Thanks to the wombats for showing us how to walk mindfully, the wallaby for showing us how to eat mindfully, and Chok Dee for reminding us to enjoy every moment of life.

 Looking forward to my next stay with you!

Love Lucy


PS. thanks for the summary and the chanting book. Very useful.