MALAYSIAN BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTRE (M.B.M.C.)
ADDRESS: Honorary Secretary, Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre, 355 Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Penang, MALAYSIA
DIRECTIONS: Located in the southwest part of Georgetown, the main city on Penang Island. Taxis provide the easiest way to get here. Buses "Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang" #5, 6, 9, and 11 pass by from the ferry jetty.
A short, inexpensive ferry ride connects Penang with Butterworth on the northwest coast of Malaysia. The train station is in Butterworth. Long-distance buses operate both from Penang (via a bridge) and Georgetown. The airport, on Penang Island, has connections with Bangkok, Phuket, and Hat Yai in Thailand and many other cities in Asia.
TELEPHONE: (04) 872-534
MEDITATION SYSTEM: Vipassana, based on the Mahasi Sayadaw techniques and Four Foundations of Mindfulness. All meditators must adhere to this method while they are here.
TEACHING METHOD: Individual interviews and group Dhamma talks; frequency is determined by the teacher.
TEACHERS: A monk experienced in teaching vipassana meditation (the teacher changes from time to time).
LANGUAGE: English is the main language; translation for the Hokkien language used locally is available. If the teacher is not fluent in English, he will use a translator.
DESCRIPTION: Look for a large 3-story building with an orange- and green-tiled roof. The office, group sitting and walking areas, and men's accommodations are inside. Women's accommodations are in a separate building behind. Kitchen and dining area are in front and to the side of the main building. Trees and grass in a suburban setting.
SIZE: monks: 2-22; novices: 0-9; nuns: 0-5; laymen: 0-22; laywomen: 5-60
DAILY ROUTINE: Day begins at 3:45 a.m. and ends after the 9:45 p.m. Metta chanting. Breakfast is at 6:30 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m. Most of the day consists of alternating hour-long periods of sitting and walking meditation; beginners can start with shorter periods, then work up to one hour. Sleep should be limited to 4-6 hours a day. Continual mindfulness through the waking hours is emphasized.
FOOD: Good quality and variety Malaysian food; vegetarian is sometimes available and can be requested then. Two meals are served in the morning.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Laypeople stay in dormitories, separate for men and women. Monks and novices have individual rooms but may have to share.
WRITE IN ADVANCE?: Recommended. Occasionally the centre fills, especially during school holidays, and staff can advise you.
ORDINATION: Ordinations are not normally provided now. The centre is associated with the Panditarama Meditation Centre in Rangoon (Yangon).
OTHER INFORMATION: The centre, declared open in 1982, offers intensive meditation instruction and practice year-round. One can begin a retreat any time. This centre is connected with the Mahasi Meditation Centre in Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar).
Meditators should plan on a minimum stay of 10-14 days for best results. (One can come for a month or longer.) The centre requests that everyone observe 8 precepts and abstain from reading, writing (except notes for interviews), and talking with other meditators about meditation experiences. Men wear white; women a white blouse and a long skirt (plain, no bright colors) or brown sarong. The centre appreciates your bringing a letter of recommendation. Donations support most costs of operation; a M$3 (US $1.10) daily fee is levied for food and accommodation.