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Suan Mokkh #2

December 31, 2001 - January 10, 2002


About Thailand
About the Trip
Scenic Wallpaper
Thai Language
Links and Books
About the Author
Getting there
Ubon Ratchathani
Ko Chang
Surat Thani
Suan Mokkh #1
Suan Mokkh #2
Suan Mokkh #3
Suan Mokkh #4
Chiang Mai #1
Western Laos
Vang Vieng
Lake Nam Ngum
Nong Khai
Khon Kaen
Chiang Mai #2
Chiang Mai #3
Chiang Mai #4
Chiang Mai #5
Mae Sariang
Mae Hong Son
Tham Lot
Chiang Mai #6
Nan & Phrae
Um Phang
Mae Sot
Bang Pa-in
Udon Thani
Sakhon Nakhon
That Phanom
Nakhon Phanom
Sri Racha
Going Home

Here's the second email I sent home about Suan Mokkh:

Tree beside the meditation hall
So, picking up where I left off in my description of the hermitage: After the morning reading has been given everyone remains seated on their floor mats in the hall and meditates until 5:15am.
Inside meditation hall 2
The hall has a rooftop held up by concrete pillars, but no walls. So meditating in it is quite pleasant. A soft breeze is usually blowing through it, which keeps the mosquitos off you. You can look out at the stars and moon and their reflection off the two large ponds in front of the hall.

My view for much of the day

Women and men are kept seperated at all times in the hermitage to help prevent distraction. In the meditation hall, all the women are seated on one side and the men on the other side. At 5:15am the men leave hall 2 and move to hall 3 for yoga. We do stretching and yoga until 7am, focusing on strengthening our backs which get very sore from the long hours of meditating. As we're doing the Yoga the sun slowly rises filling the hall with orange light and the sound of roosters and birds rising for the day.

The speakers table
(ponds in the background)

After yoga we get a Dhamma talk from the abbot. The Pali word Dhamma has a rather broad meaning, but in most contexts it basically means "buddhist wisdom", so the Dhamma talk is basically a sermon, or advice-on-living if you will.

At 8 am we all move to the dining hall for breakfast. Every morning it was the same damn rice and barley gruel as the day before. For the first few days I didn't really mind this, but towards the end it was all I could do to make myself choke the stuff down without gagging.

After breakfast we have a break until 10am, but you are expected to do whatever chores you signed-up for during either this breaktime or the one you get after lunch. I signed-up for scrubbing the office toilets. Not an altogether pleasant task but a very quick one. Usually when I had completed my task I spent the rest of my break sleeping in my room.

After 10am there was another short Dhamma talk and then sitting and walking meditation until 12:30 when we broke for lunch.
The dining hall
(men on the left, women on the right)
Lunch each day was this light-brown rice, a yellow curry and 2 or 3 other dishs along with some fresh fruit. It was always vegetarian food and usually delicious.

I guess I'll break off the description here, for later continuance. Given that it seemed like all we did was meditate from dusk till dawn I'm suprised at how long it's taking me to describe the typical day. Hopefully nobody's finding this too boring.


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