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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Forest Wats and Tudong Practice

The forest wats of Isaan Thailand provide a conventional abode for the Bhikkhu Sangha. It is the place where the supporters come each day to gather.
Often the business needs of the wat are discussed, as well as village matters.. Every wat has a unique schedule that is flexible, and ever changing, but designed around meditation, and in some cases furthering young monks educational needs.

Here is one monks schedule

2- 4am : Wake up and prepare for pindapat (alms round)
4-5am : Assemble the monks. Some monks have to walk a distance from their dwelling place to the sala to prepare
6am : Go for pindapat (alms round)
7.30am : Partake in the daily meal(only one solid meal a day)
11am - 3pm : Self practice doing walking and/or sitting meditation
3 - 4pm : Sweep the monastery area
4 - 5pm : Take a bath and freshen up
6pm : Chanting and teaching Dhamma to the laypeople
10.30pm: Short sitting or walking meditation
11pm-12am: Sleep

And the practices of a Tudong monk beyond the 227 of the Vinaya

The Visuddhimagga recommends thirteen dhutangas or ascetic practices. These were not originally Buddhist practices but represent an evolution of thought, represented in the documents ascribed to the body of Buddha's discourses. The practices became emblematic of Buddhist asceticism by the time of the influential Questions of Milinda or Milindapanho (12th century). The thirteen dhutangas are:
  1. wearing rag robes
  2. using only three robes
  3. going on  alms round (pindabaht)
  4. not omitting any house when on pindabaht
  5. eating only once a day
  6. eating only from the bowl
  7. eating no second helpings
  8. eating in the forest
  9. eating at the foot of a tree
  10. living in the open air
  11. living in a cemetery
  12. being satisfied with whatever dwelling one receives
  13. sleeping in a sitting position and never lying down
The forest monk was to use discarded cloth to make his robes,only secondarily accepting cloth deposited at his dwelling or along his daily path. Overall, the monk was to make and maintain three robes.

Next; A day in the wat for a lay person, visitor