Dearest Dhamma Friends,
Indriya Retreat is a new, independent, English-speaking, donation-based Dhamma and Meditation Centre currently being established to take the practising opportunities to a new level. It is conveniently located in ‘Coconut Lane’ near the village of Srithanu on the island of Koh Phangan. Situated between a small stream and a jungle thicket, and nestled amongst established fruit trees and tropical plants, the 2.5-acre site is secluded and peaceful. The meditation centre will serve spiritual seekers arriving on the island in search of the Buddha’s Teaching.
So far, I have invested AUD $120,000 (EUR €75,900 /USD $85,000 / THB ฿2,700,000) to build the basic infrastructure and half of the meditation hall. I am seeking an equal amount to complete the project. With your help, we will be offering monthly vipassana insight meditation retreats accessible to everyone, from the middle of 2019…
Come, my dear friends, I invite you to contribute to this fundraising and support me in giving meditation retreats.
Let’s join together to complete the construction of the meditation hall, kitchen, dining area, bathrooms and dorm. Become a founding member of Indriya Retreat and help share the wisdom of the Buddha’s Teachings with the world.
Thank you so much for donation. It means a lot to me personally. My heart is full of gratitude already. The success of this campaign means that I can fulfil my life’s purpose – guiding others to experience for themselves, freedom and release from suffering.
Stages of planning
- Stage 1: Land lease contract, Architect plans and Utilities (electricity and water).
- Stage 2: Construction of a 300m2 elevated, concrete and steel enclosed meditation hall.
- Stage 3: Construction of kitchen facilities with a dining area and six bathrooms.
- Stage 4: Construction of walking meditation platform and dorm accommodation.
- Stage 5: Building 30 small single room retreat style wooden/bamboo bungalows.
The vision of Indriya Retreat is:
- to provide an international donation-based meditation centre for the instruction and intensive practice of the four foundations of mindfulness vipassana meditation.
- to be a community retreat centre for the study and practice of the Pali Suttas to facilitate the training of teachers in the vipassana insight meditation tradition.
- the development and maturing of the five spiritual faculties – faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom – for the realisation of Stream Entry.
Indriya retreat plans to offer trainings in authentic Buddhist meditation techniques in 7-day and 21-day meditation retreats. At present there is a real need for instruction that transmits the heart of the Buddha’s message in fluent and modern English to lay-meditators from around the world. Indriya’s commitment is to offer the inspiring teachings preserved in the monasteries of S.E. Asia to the modern spiritual seeker within an intensive retreat environment. Indriya Retreat will operate donation-based retreats in line with the Buddhist tradition of giving and generosity (dana).
- Intensive insight meditation (vipassana) retreats that systematically develop intuitive wisdom through freeing the mind by noting, knowing and letting go.
- Loving-kindness and compassion (mettakaruna) retreats that open the heart to liberation through contentment, acceptence, patience, gratitude and empathy.
- Pali Sutta (translation) retreats that allow meditators to examine the ancient discourses to gain a reflective acceptance of the teachings to inform their own practice.
Indriya Retreat seeks to offer opportunities to international meditators to immerse themselves for extended periods of personal retreat to mature the Indriya (spiritual faculties). The purpose of the retreat centre is to create an environment conducive to this direct breakthrough and Awakening.
- three month ‘rains retreat’ for intensive personal retreat in a fully supported environment with meditation guidance and material necessities.
Indriya retreat seeks to create a community dedicated to personal, communal and societal growth. The retreat centre will provide a training centre for the long-term development of communities by integrating the insights gained on retreat into positive foundations for practice in daily life in the world.
- train competent, informed and well-practiced meditators to be Community Dhamma Leaders to facilitate meditation retreats and workshops worldwide.
- provide content and instruction for Dhamma scholars and meditators around the world via online platforms as a free community service.
Anthony Markwell is the resident Dhamma teacher, meditation instructor, and retreat director at Indriya Retreat. He ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand in 1995 and was extensively trained and supervised in Satipatthana Vipassana tradition for ten years in the meditation monasteries of Thailand and Myanmar. He has studied the Pali Buddhist texts for over 25 years. Anthony’s vision is to create a Dhamma Community based on ethical principles that thrives with a core value of giving. His aim is to share the exceptional training he received by devoting his energies to leading retreats and training Dhamma Leaders. Anthony is dedicated to his intention of giving the gift of Dhamma for the development of society. The meditation centre is to be a home to the community members who live to serve Dhamma.
What we’ve achieved already:
Stage 1.1 Establishment of Legal Entity
The first step in establishing Indriya Retreat was the formation of a Thai Limited Company called “Indriya Retreat Co. Ltd.”. This was completed in May 2018. The company’s shareholders are Anthony Markwell (49% share and managing director) and the Chuboon Family (51% share). Anthony has known Khun Praphat and Khun Chakunmard for over 25 years. They were strong supporters during his years as a monk (1995-2005) and have remained close friends. The Chuboons are enthusiastic supporters of the vision and mission of Indriya Retreat and relish the opportunity to assist and be in service to the Buddha’s Teaching.
With the establishment of this legal entity Anthony has obtained a multiple entry one-year Non-Immigrant B visa, a work permit, employment contract and tax registration. Accounting services are provided to Indriya Retreat by Wiparat Accounting Co. Ltd. These arrangements allow Anthony to legally teach Dhamma and meditation and to manage the affairs of Indriya Retreat.
|Company set-up||$ 2,500|
|Visas and work permit||$ 2,000|
|one-year accounting services||$ 900|
|TOTAL||$ 5,400 (€ 3,400)|
Stage 1.2 Securing Land Lease Agreement
In April 2018, Anthony located a suitable location for the establishment of the Indriya Retreat. The site is a private and secluded garden, nestled between a small stream and a dense jungle thicket. The land was used as an orchard for over 30 years by the Inkong Family. With an access driveway to the road known as ‘Coconut Lane’ the total size of the site is 6 rai (9,600sqm or approx. 2.5 acres). The land is relatively flat and covered in beautiful fruit trees, clumps of golden bamboo, and many shady trees, coconut palms and tropical plants.
In June 2018, Anthony negotiated on behalf of Indriya Retreat Co. Ltd. to enter into a rental contract for the lease of 2 rai (3200 sqm) of the land. The 20-year lease agreement was drafted by the international legal firm HLB (Thailand) Co. Ltd.
The lease has been registered at the local Land Titles office in Koh Phangan on the land title deed (chanote). All the fees and appropriate land taxes have been paid for the 20-year period. An option for a further 10-year extension is also available. As per the agreement, the rent payment for 2018-2023 (five years in advance) was paid-in-full to the owner, Khun Pornthip Junkong in June 2018.
Importantly, Indriya Retreat holds a legal option to lease the remaining 4 rai at the same rental rate valid until June 2020.
|5-year rental payment||$ 37,250|
|Lawyers fees||$ 800|
|Government taxes||$ 1,850|
|TOTAL||$ 39,900 (€ 25,300)|
Stage 1.3 Architect Plans & Building Permits
In July 2018, an architect and engineer were commissioned to design and draw the building plans for Indriya Retreat’s Meditation Hall. A large open hall of 20m x 15m will suit the Retreat’s mission.
In August 2018, the building plans were submitted and approved by the local authority. An official Building Permit for the meditation hall has been formally issued and all application fees and taxes have been paid. The architect firm, B T Constructions has been paid in full. In March 2019, a further set of plans for the construction of a kitchen, dining area and six bathrooms were submitted and a building permit will be issued shortly. All the application fees and taxes, as well as the architects’ invoices, have been paid-in-full.
|Drawings for meditation hall||$ 3,980|
|Drawings for kitchen, dining & toilets||$ 1,590|
|Government approval & taxes||$ 330|
|TOTAL||$ 5,900 (€ 3,750)|
Stage 1.4 Utilities: Electricity and Water
In September 2018, Anthony established the utilities (electricity and water) to the land. A quality 3-phase electricity connection was bought to the land via four transmission poles along the access driveway. A 1.5 metre diameter water-well, that descends over 12 metres into the plentiful water source, was completed to ensure a year-round water supply. A six-metre concrete tower housing two water tanks has been completed. This will provide gravity-fed water pressure. A secure room under the tanks houses the main water-pump and electrical switchboard. This ensures the essential water and electricity equipment are maintained.
|Electricity connection to the land||$ 1,950|
|Water well||$ 2,700|
|Water tower, water pump and tanks||$ 4,300|
|Electricity circuit mainboard||$ 1,550|
|TOTAL||$ 10,500 (€ 6,550)|
Stage 1.5 Building Contracts
In September 2018, a local builder with experience and connections on the island was contracted for the build. A construction contract specifying price, materials, stages and timeline was negotiated and signed by Anthony on behalf of Indriya Retreat. The contact calls for a five-stage build, with advance payment for each stage upon completion of the previous stage. The builder/contractor is an ex-monk with a good understanding of our purpose and enthusiastic to our goals.
Stage Two: The Meditation Hall
The build officially started on the 1st October 2018. The contract states that the build will take 6 months with completion by the 31st March 2018. Currently we are a little behind schedule! Payment for the 1st (20%) and 2nd (25%) stages construction has been made to the contractor / builder.
The meditation hall has been kept simple, functional, with clean-lines. A single-storey, elevated (3.30 metres off the ground), tiled open-spaced hall without internal pillars was designed. The roof, made of steel sheets and covered in natural thatched leaves, is a two-tier design. This allows for a combination of good waterproofing, longevity, ventilation and cooling. Ceiling fans will be fitted. All windows are mosquito-proofed and the entrance is doubled-doored. There is a weatherproof storage room for mats, cushions and chairs, and a secure office for the storage of audio-visual equipment and a library. Under the hall can be used for walking meditation in wet and sunny conditions, and to provide dorm accomodation.
Meditation hall construction (stages 1-5):
|Stage 1||Concrete foundations||PAID|
|(20%)||Concrete structure & stairs|
|TOTAL||฿ 550,000 (€ 15,400)|
|Stage 2||Steel roof beams structure||PAID|
|(25%)||Corrosion painting & eaves|
|TOTAL||฿ 687,500 (€ 19,200)|
|Stage 3||Steel sheeting roof panels||PAID|
|(25%)||Natural palm leaf panels|
|TOTAL||฿ 687,500 (€ 19,200)|
|Stage 4||Walls, windows & doors||NOT PAID|
|(20%)||Electricity, lights and fans|
|TOTAL||฿ 550,000 (€ 15,400)|
|Stage 5||Floor tiles & handrails||NOT PAID|
|(10%)||Rendering and painting|
|TOTAL||฿ 275,000 (€ 7,700)|
Stage Three: Kitchen, Dining Area & Bathrooms
(PLANS COMPLETED – AWAITING FUNDS!)
The kitchen will be simple, spacious and easy to clean and maintain. Designed for community living and mindful group preparation of meals by volunteers, the building will look out on a beautiful stream and secluded tropical garden.
The kitchen space will incorporate areas for:
- food storage and refrigeration,
- food preparation benches and equipment,
- gas cooking equipment and oven,
- storage cupboards for plates, bowls, cutlery, and cups,
- washing-up / drying-racks / rubbish disposal,
- a drinking water filtration system and hot water urn.
The dining area will also be simple. An open covered space that provides seating on benches or floor mats for 40 people. The design will allow for self-service buffet-style meals. Additional seating will be provided in simple wooden pavillions near the stream.
A building with six tiled bathrooms, each with a flushable toilet and shower is planned adjacent the dining hall. External wash basins are incorporated into the design. The estimated build time is two months. This can be completed concurrently with the meditation hall if funding is available.
With the completion of stage 3, Indriya Retreat will start non-residential meditation retreats that allow for hosting of meditators from 5am – 9pm by June 2019. In the meantime accommodation is available near the hall from the local Thai resorts and house-for-rent families who are supportive to Indriya Retreat’s mission.
If retreatants are willing, and permission is obtained from the local authorities, camping accommodation or staying overnight in the meditation hall may be an option that will allow for intensive residential meditation retreats to begin sooner.
Stage Four: Walking Meditation Platform and Dorm Accomodation.
(PREPARATION UNDERWAY – AWAITING FUNDS)
Under the meditation hall is a 300m2 space that is 3.3 metres high. A wooden platform built on steel grid, supported by the meditation hall’s foundation pillars is planned. This area will be used as a covered walking meditation and yoga deck. By enclosing half this area with simple bamboo sheet walls we can initially provide basic accomodation for 30 meditators. Two convenient toilets and a storage area will also be built under the stairs of the meditation hall.
The planning for three small huts has commenced. Six mature coconut trees that were necessary to remove from the meditation hall construction site have been cut down. The trees have been milled into timber for the building of some small huts. This timber is currently ‘drying-out’ on site. Once cured, the timber will be treated with termite resistant paint to ensure preservation. These simple meditation huts will allow Anthony and some volunteers to manage the retreats while onsite.
|Tree cutting & clearing / timber milling||A$ 1,200|
|Concrete posts / building materials||A$ 600|
|TOTAL||A$ 1,800 (€ 1,150)|
Stage Five: Meditation Huts Accommodation
(FUTURE PLANNING – AWAITING FUNDS)
When funds become available we will start on the next phase of development. We have the opportunity to lease the land around the meditation hall for 20 (+10) years. There are 4 rai (6,400 sqm, 1.6 acres) available. It is truly beautiful land with many established shady trees perfect for meditation huts and dorms.
Ideally about one rai (1,600sqm) would be used for meditation centre infrastructure, such as meditation platforms along the stream, dedicated walking meditation paths in the rambutan orchard, and a multi-purpose open space. A permaculture vegetable, fruit and herb garden could also be established for the benefit of the retreatants.
The other three rai (4,800sqm) would be used for building accomodation for long-term retreatants. At least 30 small meditation huts made of wood / bamboo could be built in the gardens around the hall. Simple, shaded, secluded and mosquito proof the huts would provide a refuge for those who want to deepen their meditation in a private space with the support of the meditation centre’s infrastructure.
The idea is to offer our Dhamma friends the opportunity of sponsoring a meditation hut for their own use whilst on-retreat or volunteering. The hut can then be used by others when they are absent. In this way we could establish a sustainable community to share the Dhamma, and have easy access to all that Koh Phangan has to offer.
Thank you for visiting Indriya Retreat.