advertise here

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ubon Ratchatani, a Buddhist morning in Beung Wai. Thailand

To look back a moment I arrived at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England back in 1985 and spent the next 5 years, more or less in Ajahn Chahs Monasteries in England and starting a relationship that has gone on for more than a quarter century. Over the past 17 years, here in Northeast Thailand I am still in touch with the Bhikkhus I have known and younger ones on an irregular basis. But, the place I always go when I need to get Dhamma books in Thai is Wat Pa Nanachat outside Ubon Ratchatani, in Southeast Isaan. It was founded in 1975, by Ajahn Chah, with Sumedho Bhikku as the first Abbot.
So it was that I arrived just after 0600 the 1st of September.Luckily the weather held up the 80 some kilometer drive from Amnat Charoen and while cloudy I was able to fill the back seat of the pickup with books. Looking around the grounds, the only thing not really changed are the Ubolsot and the kitchen. The new sala built by the crew from Wat Nong Pa Pong fits in sedately in the wooded Monastery and the new office a separate space for Ajahn Kevali to receive the many visitors. With more and more people arriving I decided it was time to move on to Wat Nong Pa Pong the other side of Beung Wai. A stop at the Chedi and the purpose built bungalow where Ajahn Chah spent his final years and then to the museum, that opens at 0800. It holds many artifacts that were in use in Isaan during Ajahn's life as well as many of his personal belongings. It is a quiet peaceful place. The maonastery is quire the opposite of the city temples that are noisy places. While the grounds were packed with supports here for the meal and to visit, the place was still nearly silent.