A new meditation teacher in Bali
4 Nov, 2013
One of the great things about owning Soul Sanctuaries is that we get asked to help out on amazing new projects in Asia. Our co-founder Joanne McFarlane has the honour of acting as an Asian Spa Consultant for the launch of Indonesia’s first Heavenly Spa by Westin in Nusa Dua in Bali. On December 1st the new 16 treatment room luxury spa will open, featuring extensive his and his thermal facilities, spa treatments inspired by ancient wisdom and using local ingredients and a focus on holistic health. With that in mind, Joanne went searching for somebody special to act as their Wellness Ambassador and met a very special Buddhist Nun on a return route from Myanmar. Read her story here.
Heni Ferawati was born in Blitar in Java to a Muslim Mother and a Buddhist Father. Her mother had converted her religion to allow for marriage and as a small child Fera, instead of playing with others, felt drawn to the Buddhist monastery which she found peaceful.
At age 26 she was thrown, quite by surprise into the job of acting as translator on a Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Java led by Canadian monk U Vamsa, who was hosting a 10 day retreat. This was her first introduction into this type of meditation and was a turning point in her life.
At that point she was actually engaged to be married. She called off the engagement and launched whole heartedly into participating in another meditation retreat and later began assisting retreats to Myanmar. In 2006 she made the decision to become a Buddhist Nun, primarily to deepen her meditation practice. Without worldly concerns of appearance and finances, she could focus on the Dhamma. There were no such monastic centres in Indonesia so she managed to travel to Myanmar with the assistance of benefactors and began the life of a Buddhist Nun.
Sawadaw U Pandita of Panditarama Forest Center
She lived for one and half years in the Panditarama Forest Center in Myanmar, an international center with many visiting Western and Eastern meditators. To immerse herself in understanding the Dhamma she learnt Burmese which allowed her to comprehend ancient scriptures. She then felt the need to widen her perspective and travelled through different monasteries in the country for the next year and a half.
She later travelled back and forth throughout Asia visiting monasteries but Fera felt like ‘a squirrel, jumping from tree to tree’. She became tired and acknowledged that she actually longed to marry and have the possibility of becoming a mother. She also wanted to pass on her wisdom and meditation practices to the layperson but had no idea how she could do that. Enter Joanne, who saw her infinite wisdom and potential after a dear friend Julie Dharma introduced the two.
The Westin Hotel and Resort in Bali had asked Joanne to act as Spa Consultant, marketing the spa launch and developing wellness programs and packages. Fera was the perfect choice for the position of Wellness Ambassador. First on the agenda was to develop a daily wellness calendar, with Fera as the main teacher. She added to Fera’s already talented portfolio by sending her to train in ‘Bangau Putih’, an Indonesian type of Tai Chi.
You can now join Fera if you’re staying at the resort in this yogic stretch class or join one of her meditation classes in the morning and beachside at sunset. If you’re very lucky you can even catch her chanting Dhamma songs at the weekend. She also hosts ‘Life Talks’ such as ‘Relationships and Love’ and ‘Finding inner peace.’ Life, its a beautiful thing.
If you’d like more information on Ibu Fera then simply drop us a line at email@example.com
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