Saturday, December 23, 2006

~ 26th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp ~

The 26th INCOVAR Dhamma Camp was successfully held from 7-10 December 2006 in SJBA. The camp is intended to present the Five Precepts in a practical and relevant manner that participants can apply in their daily lives. The Five Precepts can be a guide for participants’ thoughts and actions. We also aim to create a sense of social responsibility and a greater sense of empathy for the world we live in.

With just over 50 participants, it was indeed a camp to remember. With a smaller group, the bonding between the participants for this camp was much closer. On the first day, the physical workshop made participants sweat, as it involved challenges to choose between breaking the precepts or physical punishments. Most opted for the physical and duck walks were part of the schedule and soon after that, most of us could barely walk! Each team also had to kidnap member from other team. It was fun yet meaningful. At night, we also had a fancy opening ceremony.

A refreshing talk on the 1st Precept was given by bro. Jeff Oliver and the 2nd Precept talk was shared by bro. Lim Kooi Foong. Dr. Phang Cheng Kar gave an explicit lecture on sexual misconduct and sis. Buddhini talked about musavada. The most light-hearted yet inspiring talk was presented by bro. Oh Kim Leng on the last day of the camp.

There was workshop conducted as a debate with some pretty hot issues regarding the 3rd and 4th precepts where the lines are usually blurred. Unlike other camps, there was also a workshop on understanding wildlife conducted by sis. Hoay Hoay from WWF. We had some really fun activities that simulate the relationship between the animals in the forest. It is also in this camp where many of us experience for the first time what Metta meditation is, led by Reverend Mahinda.

The IXP programme was thought provoking and meaningful. It ended with the committees unveiling two large birthday cakes for the December-born participants and everyone dug in to party snacks and lots of nice yummy cakes. The committee blindfold was also a night to remember as participants’ favourite committees, ie. Keng Yan and Alex were made to present an impromptu mini sketch which turned out hilarious.
On the last day, everyone helped cleaned up the temple and made recycled paper. The camp spirit was definitely on a high, during the closing all participants, committees & facilitators were singing along memorable songs, hand-in-hand swaying and waving in one big circle. It was a very sweet goodbye. The camp finally ended with a viewing of videos from the past and the current camp. The IDC is a really refreshing experience that comes by only twice a year.