OF NAME :
monastery of marsh and pong" (pong is a type of high grass)
Peung, Ban Gor, Amper Warinchamrab, Ubon Ratchathani 34190
12 km southeast of Ubon Ratchathani or 10 km southeast of Warin. See
Wat Pah Nanachat directions above for transport to Ubon. From Ubon,
you can take a pink bus to its terminus in Ban Gor, then walk or take
a tuk-tuk 2 km west to the monastery. You can walk to Wat Nong Pah
Pong from Wat Pah Nanachat in 1-1/2 hours on a series of dirt roads
and foot paths; ask to see the map at Wat Pah Nanachat.
Similar to Wat Pah
to Wat Pah Nanachat, except that women have very little contact with
Leeam, abbot (Thai; age 50)
is given in Thai; the teacher doesn't speak English. Sometimes western
or Thai monks can translate.
Forest and open areas
total 350 rai (140 acres). Originally this was a cremation site
thought to be inhabited by ghosts. Much construction work has taken
place in recent years. Arriving from the east you'll first see a
3-story museum. Exhibits inside include a life-like statue of Ajahn
Chah, his robes and other memorabilia, archaeological finds, Buddhist
art, and area crafts; bas-reliefs illustrate important events of
Ajahn Chah's life, including his visits to England; skeletons on
display can be used as meditation objects. Continuing into the monastery,
you'll arrive at a new sala, an ornate concrete bell tower (monks
cast the bell), Ajahn Chah's old kuti (he used to sit downstairs
in a chair to meet with visitors), and a bot of modern
architecture. A circular mound to the north is used as a meditation
area; a chedi on top contains Ajahn Chah's ashes.
and novices 45-70
laypeople Often a few laymen preparing for ordination. Lay disciples
frequently visit for short periods.
to Wat Pah Nanachat. This is also a good place to combine one's own
practice with group activities in amonastic environment.
northeastern fare with sticky rice; one meal a day and an afternoon
novices, and laymen stay in well-separated kutis;most have no water
or electricity. Laywomen stay with nuns in a separate area of the
monastery; laywomen must speak Thai. Women will find better conditions
at Wat Pah Nanachat. Most bathing is done in shower blocks; toilets
are Asian- and western-style.
IN ADVANCE? :
| One should speak Thai or be willing to learn. Long-term laymen shave
their heads and wear white.
Much of the western Theravadan Sangha originated
here with the encouragement and support of Ajahn Chah. In Thailand,
Ajahn Chah earned fame by his skill at training monks in high standards
of Dhamma-Vinaya. He was one of the most influential monks of Thai
Buddhism. Born in nearby Ban Gor in 1918, Ajahn Chah took robes as
a novice at age 13. He ordained as a bhikkhu when he was 21. In 1946,
following his 8th Rains Retreat, he set out as a phra tudong,
wandering the forests and practicing meditation in lonely places.
Teachings of Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Ginaree influenced him during this
period. In 1954, Ajahn Chah accepted an invitation by his mother and
villagers to return to Ban Gor to establish a new monastery -- Wat
Nong Pah Pong. Aftermany years of teaching, his health began to deteriorate,
resulting in an operation to relieve cranial fluid pressure in Nov.
1981. Unfortunately, his condition worsened in mid-1982; by the end
of the year, Ajahn Chah had become bedridden and unable to teach.
His monks continued to lovingly care for him.