My work contract will expire on 19 March. It is not certain yet but seems unlikely that my employer will extend my contract. I excited to be on track to recommence the journey. I am considering the various options for travelling to Myanmar. I will have a six month meditation visa for Myanmar so I thought of entering the country six months before Pavarana Day (end of the vaasa – rains retreat) on 4 October. This means that if I want to leave Myanmar around 6-7 October, then I should enter no earlier than 6-7 April. It is also possible that before the six month visa ends I could apply and obtain for another visa to stay longer.
A. I could go to India for the pilgrimage of Buddhist sacred sites during October and November. I’ve never been to India and have long thought of going especially to see the places where Lord Buddha was born, enlightened, began teaching and attained parinibbaana-liberation with no physical remainder. It would be good to also visit the places where major discourses were proclaimed. Such a trip would be very inspiring. It would be convenient to go in a small group perhaps with at least one person with previous experience of the pilgrimage. Accompanying a monk would be a good way to travel.
B. I could get an extension of the meditation visa or go out and apply for a new meditation visa. I currently would like to train in jhaana meditation at some point in the future and doing so after the six months vipassana retreat might be a good time to start.
I don’t know yet what I’ll be thinking of after six months of meditation. From previous experience of longish meditation retreats of 2-3 months, I was so content to do whatever was happening. I didn’t seem to have a strong wish to go anywhere or experience anything exciting. The equanimity and calmness pervaded everything. Then after a while the mental states grossed out again and desires dragged me here and there following the “red and green.”
If I entered Myanmar around 7 April, then I would have a gap of about 2 weeks to fill. I could do a quick pilgrimage to India in that time. Or I could stay in Thailand, maybe in Chiangmai and do a 2 week retreat before going to Myanmar.
The positive side of the delay
One good thing about delaying departure until March this year has been spending time with my Perth family, my Mum, siblings and the younger generation. The best thing has been a longer period of preparation for the trip. I’ve been studying the Dhamma more intensely and learned a lot during the past six months. I’ve firmed in my wish to remain single and free.