OF NAME :
monastery of Ban That"
Songserm Service, 89 Phosi Road, Udon Thani 41000
564 km northeast of Bangkok and 16 km southwest of Udon Thani. Take
a songtaew, local bus, or taxi from Udon Thani south 8 km to Ban Gum
Kling, then turn southwest 7 km to Ban That and continue one km to
the wat. Some songtaews go direct to Ban That from Udon and may even
drop you off at the wat entrance. Samlor drivers in Udon usually know
where the songtaews depart. Several fast trains provide daily service
to Udon, including an overnight express which offers comfortable 2nd
class sleepers. Many air-conditioned buses with reclining seats depart
Bangkok's Northern (Moh Chit) Bus Terminal for the day or overnight
journey. Ubon Ratchathani and other northeastern cities also have
good bus connections with Udon. THAI offers a daily flight from Bangkok
to the airport just south of Udon.
repetition of "Buddho" (or "Dhammo" or "Sangho"),
or contemplation of a part of the body is used to gain calm. The
practice of samadhi has 3 levels. First level is characterized by
short periods of calm. Second level has mental images ( nimittas ) during longer periods of calm. The real level of samadhi --
the deep stage which is necessary -- is the third.
The mind ( citta ) drops down to the level of the heart;
there is then the experience of knowing, but having no specific
object present. This is one of the happiest states one will ever
find one's life, if the state can be attained. From this level of
concentration one comes out of it and directs the mind toward contemplation
of the body.
The object is to overcome kilesas (defilements) which lead
us to do the wrong things. We overcome the kilesas by seeing them.
However, only a well concentrated mind can provide the basis to
see deep-rooted kilesas. A teacher is valuable in developing the
proper level of concentration. Self-reliance, minimal socializing,
and observance of monks and temple rules receive emphasis in the
Maha Bua rarely gives talks due to his age but he does meet with visitors
in the morning and answers questions. Some of his talks have been
translated into English and published in a series of books available
at the wat; Forest Dhamma has a fairly complete description
of the meditation instructions in English. Guidance in this meditation
system of Ajahn Maha Bua is provided primarily by Ajahn Pannavaddho,
probably the most senior western monk in Thailand.
Maha Bua, abbot (Thai; age 77)
Ajahn Pannavaddho, vice abbot (English; age 65)
Maha Bua speaks a little English. Ajahn Pannavaddho speaks English
quiet, forested area of 160 rai (64 acres). Ajahn Maha Bua has chosen
to keep the wat simple with a large wooden sala as the only major
novices about 5
nuns occasionally a few
pindabat and the morning meal, the community gets together for cleaning
in and around the sala in the morning, then for sweeping and water
hauling in the afternoon. Each person practices on his own for most
of the day. The only regular group meeting is the fortnightly Patimokkha for monks.
good northeastern and Bangkok styles. Monks and novices go on pindabat
in Ban That, then eat one meal.
Additional food comes from the kitchen and visiting supporters. Resident
laymen can eat in the main sala with the monks and novices. Women
eat in the women's area. Drinks and sweets are served in the early
stays in well-separated kutis or in a lan (small
roofed platform in the forest). Women live in a separate area of the
wat. Some kutis have attached bathrooms or one can bathe at wells.
Toilets are Asian- style. Generally no running water or electricity
IN ADVANCE? :
needed. Try to avoid arriving on religiousholidays, especially those
on weekends, and during theRains Retreat.
popularity and renown of Ajahn Maha Bua and his wat, together with
limited space, make long-term stays difficult. Laypeople usually can
stay up to 2-3 weeks; extensions can be requested. Monks and novices
can visit only for short periods too. You can get directions to other
wats that use the same meditation system; you'll need to speak Thai
at these. Ajahn Maha Bua practiced under the meditation master Ajahn
Mun for 9 years; he later wrote a biography of his teacher (see Recommended