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Monday, August 22, 2011

Arokhayasala and Wat Pramong, Amphor Phanna Nikhom, Sakon Nakhon, Isaan

Arokhayasala and Wat Pramong are one in the same yet quite different. Leaving Sakon Nakhon, once again in the rain, I planned on traveling the backroads toward Udon \ Nong Khai to near Amphor Phen. I saw a sign for Wat Kham Pramong and seemed to remember hearing about the place. Driving onto the wat the 100 rai lake, on the left, is near full and has flooded a couple of the shrines along and on it. It is Saturday morning and as I drive along I see beautiful modern buildings and few people until I pull up at what appears to be a modern clinic. I stop say hello and take a look around and then, looking at an article from the Nation newspaper I remember why the name Wat Kham Pramong sounded familiar. Asking where the "common" sala is I am directed back toward the lake and along a small road to an old style sala with a few cars and motorbikes parked alongside. It is just going on 0800 and the meal has been offered and the chanting is winding down. I enter, perform the proper actions and finish the chanting with the group. As usual the usual who are you, where do you come from, how do you know how to chant questions begin. After I answer it is my turn to quiz the monks and find out the following. The Wat was established by Ajaan Sim, a student of Ajaan Man (Mun). There are 5 monks there for the pansaa, 2 very old. The clinic is part of the wat, but this being a Forest Wat things operate quite separately. Arokhayasala is a Thai Herbal Nursing Home and much more. It's purpose is to alleviate suffering of those with cancer. The clinic and Arokhayasala can be read about at their website. I will get back there as soon as possible to document at least a full 24 hour cycle, so will not now go into more information about the people and facilities here.