Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wat Thong Samadhi- Suphan Buri

Luang Phor Sangwan Kremmako was the abbot of this temple located in Suphan Buri. Luang Phor passed away in May 2004.

He built the dwelling place in a shape of a boat: you literally climb on the stairs of the boat to reach the hall.

Above: The ship shaped structure. Sadly, the place is quite deserted after Luang Phor had passed away- there are still monks and nuns staying there.

The boat shaped structure- the place is located at the back from the main entrance

Above: This hall is located on top of the boat shaped structured. We spoke to his driver, an elderly man who drove Luang Phor for about 20 years (if I am not mistaken). From the look in his eyes, one could see that he misses Luang Phor dearly.

Luang Phor's body is still being kept at this hall.

Note: Luang Phor's physical body is placed in the coffin at the back of the picture above. The Thai forest tradition acknowledges that a body of an arahant will not rot like the body of an ordinary person. Some teachers who have passed away are cremated and their remains turned to relics.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Small Humble Forest Monastery in Mae Hong Son, Thailand

There is a very small forest monastery located near Tham Lod. Tham Nam Lod is actually a cave where one can go to see bats and crystals. If you taken the van from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, you will need to tell the driver to stop you at Tham Lod, then you will need to find your transport to go to Tham Lod. We actually stop at one of the shops by the main road and paid someone to drive us into the Tham Lod.

If you ask the locals there about the forest monastery, they will be able to point to you a forest route leading on to there. This forest monastery is very basic:

  • it does not have any tar road leading to it. It's a jungle trail. The monks go for their morning almsround via pindapat
  • there is no electricity. Water supply source is via rain water
  • currently there are no nuns staying there- only about 5 monks. If you cannot speak Thai, ensure you bring along a Thai translator

    Above: Path leading to the forest monastery

Above: Name of the forest monastery is on the board above. Sorry, I can't read Thai. But if you mention "Wat Tham Lod" when you are at the area, perhaps the locals will know

Above: Monks kuti- it is located away from the sala hall (can't be seen from the entrance). Notice that there is only cloth covering the kuti. This is how a typical forest monk's kuti is.

If you happen to be in the area, it will be good to drop by this monastery for a visit and help the monastery- we arrived about 3pm which incidentally, is the time where the monks are out sweeping the area. If you arrive at any other time, you may find the monastery being appearently deserted- reason being is that every monk is practicing quietly in his kuti. And the kutis are located away from the main monastery.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Daily Schedule of Luang Phor

Here is the schedule taken from a Dhamma book in Thai language of an abbot of a temple:

2- 4am : Wake up and prepare for pindapat (alms round)

4-5am : Assemble the monks. Some monks have to walk a distance from their dwelling place to the sala to prepare

6am : Go for pindapat (alms round)

7.30am : Partake in the daily meal (only one solid meal a day)

11am : Self practice doing walking and/or sitting meditation

3pm : Sweep the monastery area

4 - 5pm : Take a bath and freshen up

6pm : Chanting and teaching Dhamma to the laypeople

10.30pm: Short sitting or walking meditation

11pm-12am: Sleep

My apologies, I do not know the name of the abbot. The information above was translated to me by a Thai Buddhist friend.

However, most abbots in forest monasteries spent very little time on sleep- on average it is between 2 to 4 hours.