Introduction
Advantage of practice in Thailand
Choosing a Wat or meditation centre
Living on a Wat or meditation centre
Thailand Practicalities
Meditation Techniques
The four noble truths
Going for refuge
Taking the precepts
Helpful hints on using the listings

BANGKOK
Bangkok
Wat Mahatat
Wat Bovornives Vihara
Wat Pak Nam

CENTRAL
Wat Asokaram
Wiwek Asom Vipassana
Sorn-Thawee Meditation Centre
Boonkanjanaram Meditation Centre
Wat Sai Ngam
Sunnataram Forest Monastery

NORTHEASTERN
Wat Wah Poo Kaew
Wat Pah Nanachat
Wat Nong Pah Pong
Wat Pah Wana Potiyahn
Wat Doi Dhamma Chedi
Wat Pah Ban That
Wat Hin Maak Peng

NORTHERN
Wat Umong
Wat Ram Poeng
Tham Thong Meditation Centre
Chom Tong Insight Meditation Center
Wat Thaton
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

SOUTHERN
Suan Mokkh
Wat Kow Tham

A GUIDE TO MEDITATION CENTRES IN THAILAND
 INTRODUCTION

MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

 The Buddha taught many ways of investigating the nature of mind  and body. A look through the monastery and meditation centre   descriptions will give you an idea of the meditation systems practiced   in Thailand. Ideally, meditation should begin from the first moment of awakening in the morning until the last moment before sleep at night.    Besides the classic postures of sitting, walking, standing, and lying   down used in meditation, one can also perform such activities as   eating, talking, washing clothes, taking a bath, and using the toilet with   equal care and mindfulness. An experienced teacher or "good friend"   will be valuable for any student. Meditation techniques fall into the   broad categories of either samatha (calm) or vipassana (insight),   though some of one will generally be present with the other.

  Samatha
  Development of samatha techniques can lead to increasingly   focused states of mind until the mind becomes one-pointed or   absorbed in jhana states. Concentration can be developed from   anapanasati (mindfulness with breathing), from visual objects, and from mantras (repetition of phrases). The traditional list contains 40   objects of meditation; you can read about them in The Path of   Purification (Visuddhi Magga) translated by Nanamoli Bhikkhu and in   other books. The Buddha recommended mindfulness with breathing  as being suitable for everyone to establish and develop concentration. Other objects of meditation can be useful in our lives too.
  Metta (loving kindness) generates feelings of goodwill and happiness   toward ourselves and other beings; metta practice serves as an   antidote to ill-will and fear. Meditation on the parts of the body none   of which is attractive in itself results in a lessening of attachment to  our own bodies and those of others; a reduction of sensual desires   occurs; another benefit is that unpleasant sensations can be more easily endured. Meditation on death, when properly done, brings to   mind the body's impermanence and lack of ownership; a person who practices this will always be watchful and, at life's end, die without fear   or confusion.

  Vipassana
  Once some concentration has been developed, the mind can be   turned to observation of the physical and mental factors that rise and   fall in one's consciousness. Through continued practice, the Three   Characteristics of anicca (transitory nature of all conditioned phenomena), dukkha (inherent unsatisfactoriness of all conditioned   phenomena), and anatta (no permanent, abiding self can be found in   any conditioned phenomena) will become deeply known. As the mind   directly experiences these truths, the desires and attachments that cause so much suffering begin to drop away. Even a little vipassana   practice can bring greater wisdom and peace to our lives.

  THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
  
  We can experience these truths, which lie at the heart of the Buddha's   teachings, through direct experience. They can be viewed as
  (1) Diagnosis of an illness;
  (2) Prognosis;
  (3) Recovery; and
  (4) Medicine to cure the disease.
The first 2 truths deal with the way   things are; the last 2 point the way to freedom from suffering.
  
 1. The Noble Truth of Suffering
  Besides "suffering," other translations of the Pali word dukkha include unsatisfactoriness, dis-ease, and instability. All these words   point to the fact that no conditioned phenomenon can provide true   (lasting) happiness in our lives. The first step in a spiritual life is to look very closely and honestly at our experience of life and see that   there is suffering. We tend to overlook or ignore or just blindly react to   the unpleasant, so it continually haunts us. Yet although physical   suffering is a natural aspect of our lives, we can learn to transcend mental suffering.

  2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering
  Through a lack of understanding of how things truely exist, we create and recreate an independent self entity called "me."
  The whole of our experience in life can be viewed through this sense   of self. In consequence, various cravings govern our actions. Cravings   arise for sense experiences, for "being" or "becoming" (e.g. rich,   famous, loved, respected, immortal), and to avoid the unpleasant.  These cravings are the root cause of suffering.

  3. The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
  The mind can be purified of all the mental defilements that cause   suffering. Nibbana, the ultimate peace, has been compared to the   extinction of a three-fold fire of lust, ill-will, and delusion. One who has   realised cessation has great purity of heart, ocean-like compassion, and penetrating wisdom.

  4. The Noble Truth of the Way to the Cessation of Suffering
  The Way leading to cessation contains a thorough and profound    training of body, speech, and mind. Traditionally it's outlined as the    Noble Eightfold Path: (1) Right Understanding; (2) Right Intention; (3) Right Speech; (4) Right Action; (5) Right Livelihood; (6) Right Effort;  (7) Right Mindfulness; and (8) Right Concentration. On the level of  morality (sila), the Path entails restraint and care in speech, action,  and livelihood. The concentration (samadhi) level requires constant    effort to abandon the unwholesome and develop the wholesome, to increase mindfulness and clear comprehension of the mind-body    process, and to develop mental calm and stability. The wisdom    (panna) level entails the abandonment of thoughts of sensuality,  ill-will, and cruelty; ultimately it penetrates the true nature of    phenomena to see impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and    impersonality. When all 8 factors of the Path come together in  harmony to the point of maturity, suffering is transcended. In summary,   the Four Noble Truths can be thought of as that which is to be
  (1) comprehended, (2) abandoned, (3) realized, and (4) developed.

 

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