Christmas, or any holiday season, is a good time to learn and practice meditation … this is about me learning a few years ago.
At 5am the train arrives in the southern village of Chaiya, Thailand, and an hour later I’m at Wat Suan Mokkhabalarama, for ten daysI will be learning to meditate, total immersion in the original Buddhism – Theravada.
I stay at the forest temple until the retreat starts: the mosquitoes are fierce, roosters and dogs wake me early, and on a damp spot in my room, a frog lives. Three days later I walk five hundred metres to the Dharma Centre where I’m assigned a room and daily task.
We’re warned: ‘Retreats are a challenging exercise. The conditions are the same as the rigorous lifestyles followed by monks and nuns. Talking will stop when the Venerable Ajahn Poh welcomes you this evening’.
Now, two days into the retreat, I’m wondering why I’m inflicting such pain on myself. I do not believe the monks when they say that all…
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