A Teaching in The Art of Tranquillity
Sought after by all, the concept of peace is the very essence of Aman and is the meaning of the brand’s Sanskrit-derived name. It now also forms the inspiration a brand new and enlightening six-night retreat, Journey to Peace, which will launch on 24 October and run until 28 November, helping guests on their own path to peace. Dedicated to teaching individuals to rediscover this elusive state, Journey to Peace is a unique spiritual retreat intuitively and lovingly led by renowned Buddhist monk and mindfulness coach, Tibetan Lama (monk) Master Geshe YongDong.
Having inner peace is said to enable one to better cope with anxieties, fears and worries, and can help slow down and focus the mind, show patience and tolerance. The retreat will take place this October and November at four of Aman’s most serene retreats in Indochina: First at Amanoi (22-28 October) on the coast of Vietnam, next at Amanpuri (2-8 November) in Phuket, then at Amansara (12-18 November) in Siem Reap near Angkor Wat’s magnificent ruins, and finally at Amantaka (22-28 November) in the Unesco-protected Buddhist centre of Luang Prabang. In each of these places of contemplation and connection, Geshe YongDong will share the ancient lessons of the Bon Tibetan Tradition, enabling participants to find the serenity of mind and spirit they seek. Participants can choose a six-night retreat at one resort, combine two or more resorts, or join the whole 24-night programme across all four destinations.
One of the basic tenets of the Bon Tibetan Tradition is the belief that peace is an internal state of consciousness that promotes true happiness. The Journey to Peace retreat has been curated as an emotional journey, with Geshe YongDong guiding individuals through the different stages to achieving this enlightened state of being. These include changing perceptions, letting go of and healing anger and achieving the union of compassion and wisdom that allows one to live mindfully. Each day, the retreat will focus on one of five key concepts that will ultimately change mindsets to allow a healthier, happier life. An itinerary is below:
Day 1 – Letting Go of Attachment
Like a hand that holds too tightly to an object and cannot open to grasp something new, we as humans sometimes cling too much to concepts and objects. Day one focuses on the three layers of attachment, acknowledging them, and letting go in order to find freedom.
Day 2 – Changing Perceptions
Our perceptions, whether positive or negative, influence every aspect of our well-being. Using positive thinking patterns creates positive experiences in life, whereas focusing on negative thoughts invites negativity in. As such, day two will centre on changing perceptions whilst using positive thought patterns to dispel negativity and its dire effects.
Day 3 – The Power of Breath
The third day will delve into the power of the breathand how respiration and mind are deeply connected, and works on cultivating slow, mindful breathing to bring balance and calm within, regardless of challenges or stressors encountered.
Day 4 – Healing Anger
Day four helps guests to understand anger and teaches how to practise special techniques of mindfulness and awareness to gain control of this powerful negative emotion.
Day 5 – Living in the Moment
The final day will conclude with sessions on living in the moment mindfully, rather than paying attention to the illusions of past and future, which can become all consuming.
Each day will include Tsa Lung breathwork, and meditation, as well as two individual 90-minute sessions with Geshe YongDong, a therapeutic spa treatment and a 60-minute evening session of chanting, mantra recitation and meditation. Accommodation and full board are included, with optional daily group movement classes and complimentary airport transfers. After each retreat, Geshe YongDong will stay on as a specialist in residence for two days, offering guests further opportunity to draw on his wisdom in private one-on-on sessions.
Born in Tibet in 1969, Geshe YongDong became a monk at just 13 years of age when he entered the Nangzhig Bonpo Monastery, the largest Bon Monastery in Tibet. A gifted scholar, he was awarded the Rajampa Geshe Degree (Doctorate of Divinity) – the highest degree in Tibetan monastic in 1992. He also studied and practised under many masters including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as well as His Holiness Menri Trizin. Geshe YongDong teaches philosophy and YungDrung Bon Buddhism – one of only a handful of masters in the tradition worldwide.
For over twenty years, Geshe YongDong has taught in many spiritual centres and universities around the world and is the founder and spiritual director of Sherab Chamma Ling and Bon da Ling, spiritual centres in British Colombia and Costa Rica. He is vice president of the International Tibetan non-sectarian Buddhism organisation and has published several books in Tibetan and English including Calm Breath, Calm Mind.
The four Aman resorts hosting Journey to Peace each have their own appeal, and add something new to the retreat, whether Luang Prabang’s aura of living spirituality, the deeply affecting temples of Angkor or the healing power of nature and the ocean in Vietnam and Thailand. Each country’s distinctive culture and cuisine will also play its part in assuring a unique experience of the retreat in every destination.
Geshe YongDong will lead his sessions in spaces that resonate with him and his subject matter. Whether meditating amid Ta Prohm’s giant fig trees or reworking thought patterns at sunrise on the beach, Geshe YongDong will ensure that this retreat provides the tools to achieve peace in every individual’s journey forward.