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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forest Wats and the forest tradition in Isaan Thailand

After alms round monks sit on the floor and eat their meal of the day out of the bowl at 0800.
"Wisely reflecting, I use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life;Thinking thus, I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease".
buddhism forest wats isaan thailand
The Forest Wats in sakon Nakhon Provice (1)
As someone once said to me “How the hell can you love someone else, if you don’t
love yourself?
The above quote was going to appear somewhere in one of the articles, but this is what the whole thing is about.

Karaniya Metta Sutta

This is to be done by one skilled in aims who wants to break through to the state of peace: Be capable, upright, & straightforward, easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited, content & easy to support, with few duties, living lightly, with peaceful faculties, masterful, modest, & no greed for supporters. Do not do the slightest thing that the wise would later censure. Think: Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart. Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or irritation wish for another to suffer. As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without enmity or hate. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here & now. Not taken with views, but virtuous & consummate in vision, having subdued desire for sensual pleasures, one never again will lie in the womb.
The Visuddhimagga presents three essential components of asceticism: 1) virtue or discipline (sila), 2) concentration or meditation (samadhi), and wisdom or insight (panna). These methods are pursued both consecutively and simultaneously.

The forest wats are the place to go, to give the mind and soul a chance to get some perspective back into the manic world that wants to devour us.
More about the wats, the bhikkhus, the people, the villages coming soon.