Practice in Burma or Thailand????

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Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Billymac29 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:57 pm

Has anyone practiced in either of these places???? I was thinking of going on retreat in either Burma (Myanmar) or Thailand, specifically Northern Thailand. I am having trouble choosing a place. Has anybody heard about any good spots in these areas? Have you visited any wats or monasteries in these places. I was looking for places that teach insight meditation. The only one in Thailand that I know is Wat Chom Tong. Does anybody have a preference they would like to share?

pros?
cons?

thanks

may all be well :)
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:08 pm

If you are looking at Wat chom tong then I assume you are looking at Mahasi technique, Burmese teachers tend to be more methodical and strict otherwise there isn't much difference I don't think.

One thing to be aware of is visas may be a problem for burma at the moment unless you have several months lead time in which to apply for a meditation visa as I know some centres aren't accepting people with a tourist visa.

If you are thinking up to 1 month then thailand is easier, if more then it's probably worth going to burma as once you have a meditation visa I think it's easier to extend it than it would be for a thai tourist visa.
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:39 pm

Hi BM

I was in Myanmar nearly two years ago for six weeks. I attended a 30-day Vipassana retreat at Dhamma Mandala, Mandalay. Its in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin as taught by SN Goenka.

If you have an interest in attending an (introductory) ten-day course in this tradition in either Thailand or Myanmar, then it should be no problem. The longer courses are for students of SN Goenka who have been practicing exclusively in that tradition for a number of years. However, its very common for some students to sit and serve courses 'back to back' for months at a time.

http://www.dhamma.org/en/bycountry/ap/

kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Kamran » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:19 pm

From what I have read, Burma is a great place to go for the real deal, but there may be some issues around dealing with the government, the oily food, the culture, the water,the heat, parasites, and malaria-carying mosquitos that should be considered.

If you want Mahasi method you might want to consider the Malyasian Buddhist Meditation Center in Penang. Malaysia.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Billymac29 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:23 am

Thanks all for the comments... Kamran, is the food and water that bad in Burma?
Ben, how did you fair with the food and water?

All be well
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Billymac29 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:27 am

Goofaholix wrote:If you are looking at Wat chom tong then I assume you are looking at Mahasi technique, Burmese teachers tend to be more methodical and strict otherwise there isn't much difference I don't think.

One thing to be aware of is visas may be a problem for burma at the moment unless you have several months lead time in which to apply for a meditation visa as I know some centres aren't accepting people with a tourist visa.

If you are thinking up to 1 month then thailand is easier, if more then it's probably worth going to burma as once you have a meditation visa I think it's easier to extend it than it would be for a thai tourist visa.

Hi Goofaholix,
Yes I like training with the mahasi technique... Are meditation visas that hard to get?

Be well :)
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby theY » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:44 am

It have a lot of reason to fobid you to come to thailand temple.

Don't be misled to come to thailand.

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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:03 am

Billymac29 wrote:Yes I like training with the mahasi technique... Are meditation visas that hard to get?


I don't know if they are hard to get but they take a long time, see viewtopic.php?f=41&t=14279

Food and water at Burmese meditation centres is fine, but expect to get diaorrhea at some stage. If you've travelled in the tropics before you'll be fine, if not i think it would be a good idea to to go somewhere like thailand or malaysia on your first trip.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:29 am

Hi theY,
theY wrote:It have a lot of reason to fobid you to come to thailand temple.

Don't be misled to come to thailand.

I don't understand your post. Perhaps it is an English problem.

Quite a few people here have Thai or Thai-trained teachers, and/or have spent time in Thailand. Clearly there are some excellent teachers in Thailand. I would caution, however, that there is a huge variation in Thailand (presumably this is the case in Burma as well..), and one would want to select a place where it was clear that there were English-speaking teachers and good organisation.

At the risk of straying off topic, Malaysia is also a serious option. Many of the famous Burmese and Thai groups (Mahasi, Pa Auk, etc) have meditation centres there, English is widely spoken, and visas are no problem for most passport holders. I've not been to Malaysia for mediation myself, but I've met a number of excellent Malaysian monks and know people here who go to Malaysia for retreats.

:anjali:
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:59 am

Billymac29 wrote:Thanks all for the comments... Kamran, is the food and water that bad in Burma?
Ben, how did you fair with the food and water?

All be well


Absolutely fine, Billy.
I only drank bottled water or boiled water (tea, chai or coffee).
As a general rule when I am in Asia I am a strict vegetarian/vegan with the exception of milk in chai or coffee.
I'm also very careful and I didn't eat any salad items or fruits that didn't have a thick skin like an orange or banana.
When I was in Myanmar I also spent nearly every day observing eight precepts. With a couple of exceptions having an evening meal and one lunch meal served after midday.
The vegetarian meals at the meditation centre seemed to be traditional Burmese vegetarian cuisine. There was plenty and quite delicious but part of my practice on retreat is to limit my food intake to only what I needed.
Food and water was a non-issue for me and nearly every other western yogi that I met.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby convivium » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:42 am

hint: do your digestion a favor and don't drink street tea and eat all the deep fried stuff. i really messed up my digestion in burma enjoying the tea culture.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:15 am

Billy...
If you do decide to Myanmar, and I do highly recommend it, let me know.
I have a short travel guide written by a student within my own tradition for those wishing on going on a pilgrimage. Its more relevant to those within the U Ba Khin/Goenka tradition but most of the material will be of interest to students of other teachers.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby nomorecurries » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:10 am

you could try Wat Ram Poeng in Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai) (mahasi technique). I had 10 days there 10 years ago and going back in December for more (is a nice place to go)

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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby theY » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:20 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi theY,
theY wrote:It have a lot of reason to fobid you to come to thailand temple.

Don't be misled to come to thailand.

I don't understand your post. Perhaps it is an English problem.

Quite a few people here have Thai or Thai-trained teachers, and/or have spent time in Thailand. Clearly there are some excellent teachers in Thailand. I would caution, however, that there is a huge variation in Thailand (presumably this is the case in Burma as well..), and one would want to select a place where it was clear that there were English-speaking teachers and good organisation.

At the risk of straying off topic, Malaysia is also a serious option. Many of the famous Burmese and Thai groups (Mahasi, Pa Auk, etc) have meditation centres there, English is widely spoken, and visas are no problem for most passport holders. I've not been to Malaysia for mediation myself, but I've met a number of excellent Malaysian monks and know people here who go to Malaysia for retreats.

:anjali:
Mike



We, thai people, have something same at terrible, Dan. We don't have only variation.

I completely write at this point by my experience around my country. I don't just ask from our monks like another do, because sometime they don't know more than their terrible central course and their traditon have train them, but living with monk and another teachers is my life.

Our observetion the vinaya precepts of sangha so week, and meditation teaching have being for worship and fame, include prapaa and another.

The least of our monks understand lābhasakkārasaṅyutta and meditate or teaching to enlighten. However vinaya of sangha and our learning have being under-restoration state, so those least of our monk effected from that, too.

Example fails:

In thailand actually include Wat Pā Nānāchāt of chā mahāthera:

-Every monks can get money, at least they get it for saṅgha, or to take a trip.
Āpattis can have in this case: geting money for self=pācittīya, for saṅgha=dukkṭa, even though the monk get money by mis-understand "It is another, isn't money".

-The best least monks of almost whole of our monks memorized only bhikkhu pātimokkha, so our monks can't take nissaya from their teachers
Āpattis can have in this case: dukkata to who let they get and nissaya taking doesn't success.
Another: no nissaya monks simile to orphan, and mis-nissaya-taking-monks simile to under-standard-student. Moreover, they are the hardcore orphan/student, because they get that state in hardcore teaching religious, so mistaking in chance will be more than another religious, too. Be pity.

-In Burma at least monks must memorized 2 pātimokkhas, bikkhu and bikkhunī. In some monastery will anti dis-memorized bikkhu, too. And they have moreover than ten thousands monks who can memorize a little vinaya summary book, name khuddasikkhā, but thailand have only 2 monk who can memorized that book. However they have their vinaya book that more detail than khuddasikkhā, but a little bit monks leaned it, and the most of leaned person can't observe vinaya follow to that book. They just learn to pass central test. Oh! my Buddha.

-We just have 2 memorized part(yes "part" no "whole") of tipitaka, moreover, one is bad in vinaya observetion.

-Pali skill of thai-monk have being in the level of crisis--the most can't read, almost whole can't speak or listen, even though they are passed high-level-central-test of Thai central Sangha. English is good more than that, moderately, but whole dhammavinayas and commentaries observe in Pāli, no Thai or English.

-Our cantral course of monk had wrote by unbelievers in commentary, their boss believed 'history ,such as Jātaka, from commentary is novel'--heretofore similar of this phase always in our central course. And their books had being the cantral course of our monk for moreover 100 years ago. Don't have anybody can change them.

In the past, prapaa had restrict vinaya more than nowadays, but they had been slowly losing their restriction, since those books published.

etc.

Check your Thailand database person about knowledge in this example fails carefully. If they just observe Thai tradition more than give you the referential informations, please, avoid them.

I'm not a anti Thailand Monk, I know about the good view of thai monk and the bad view of burma monk, too. But summary of tipitaka verified information is "We should deny Thailand to practice our mind because they loose our right buddhist learning system, so long time. And we just still at under-restoration state."

Although, I work with organization that try to restore our buddhist tradition, but our organization just be state at under-restoration organization, unstable. We should need teachers from burma, more than being teacher for another.

Another Experience:

-I have foreigner relatives who had ordained with thai prapaa for 1 month. Then he was worn away, he had being a heretic.


Recommend:

http://www.paaukforestmonastery.org/other_info.htm

Above school has tipitaka learning, observetion the vinaya precepts, and meditation completely strict more than thai prapaa and another of thai all the way.

Pitaka memorizer of srilanka and thai, only one of Thailand, go to practice samatha and vipassanā at this school. I talk with this thai-monk every year. I didn't take only a rumor.

No long time ago, I have spoken with vipassanā teacher of this monastery, ven.Revata. I had amazing that his teaching method similar with my thinking so much. Though we talked pass interpreter, but he can understand my following tipitaka thinking more than my buddhist compatriots, include my last, 3 years ago, main teacher. This case so amazing similar to somebody in this forum can understand my conclusion about Sujin mistake more than my buddhist compatriots, both my organization friends and her students.

note:

Shouldn't hate them.

Be pitying to thai-monk, please.
:anjali:


P.S. I believe thai tipitaka professors who read this reply will love and assure it. I choose to reply , to suggest you some view of thai-buddhism that you haven't known, like this because I just not want to let you know, but I have a little bit hope that this reply may let me get same thai buddhist tradition restorer ideology who may reading this reply, too. Another, it is a little bit declaration to the most thai monks "someone want to caution you about your out of tipitaka behaviour, but we can't act like that because you attach your out of tipitaka behaviour overabundantly to listen tipitaka or us."


May be off-topic reply, but I think it may be a little bit useful reply for you to choose meditation practice country.

From: a thai.

:anjali:
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:33 pm

Hi theY,

I'm sorry, I really don't understand most of your post. In my experience there are good and bad, serious and less serious practitioners and teachers of any nationality or group.

I hope that we agree that one should seek out good teachers, and avoid poor teachers, no matter what the nationality.

Be well,
:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby gavesako » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:01 pm

The most comprehensive guide to meditation centers in SE Asia (and up-to-date) is at http://www.retreat-infos.de/page24/page24.html (English and German). You will get the information from people who actually stayed there.

Another good overview of different centers in SE Asia is at http://www.wanderingdhamma.org/


Regarding the Vinaya standards of Thai monks, it is true that even in the previously strict forest tradition (Phra Pah), which mainly comprises the Dhammayut sect with the exception of Ajahn Chah monks and a few others, the rule about not keeping money has been falling by the wayside in recent years. So it is not uncommon to find Thai monks in brown forest monk's robes and with tudong gear putting some envelope with money into their bag or handling a credit card. However, I can confirm that Wat Pah Nanachat monks receive strict training on this and other Vinaya rules and are not allowed to handle or receive money themselves, nor keep it for the monastery. If someone wants to support their travel expenses or the building projects or printing of books, they can leave their donation in an appropriate box where it will be taken care of by a layperson (kappiya-karaka) accountant. The monks will be able to specify what they require and the layperson can then go and buy it. But we are not allowed to have personal accounts or credit cards or carry money with us.

Regarding the study of Pali and Tipitaka, the forest monks try to go back to the lifestyle of the Buddha's early disciples who lived simply and in nature, so they do not pursue academic studies generally. They also tend to rely on the early Pali texts and their message which is rather simple and straightforward, without going into all the refined details developed in the commentaries and sub-commentaries centuries after the Buddha. There has always been this division in Theravada and it will probably continue...

:reading: :buddha1:
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Practice in Burma or Thailand????

Postby theY » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:37 am

Hello, Gavesako.

I think we should have a new topic in these point:

-Handling/Receiving money for saṅgha of some foreigner abbot that I had listened from my monk who live in that monastery about 1 year.

-Memorized only bhikkhu pātimokkha of thai pra-paa and another.
Can have āpattis: Dukkaṭa every morning of nissaya-able--follow to kandaka-tradition writed in commentary. Dukkaṭa to nissayā-giver who can't memorize and determine 2 pātimokkhas--follow to tipitaka, or 2 vibhaṅga--follow to(follow by ?) commentary.

-Ācārn Man learned abhidhamma--follow to tipitaka, but new generation ācārn and his monks don't care abhidhamma.

etc.

-----------------------------------
I love many action what Pra-Paa do more than my monk action.

However, we still should talk together in many topics of dhammavinaya, because trying to talk together and understand between buddha-parisadda is the right way to observe our sāsana--follow to pātimokkha.

I try to make agreement with every interlocutors of me, that in the end of discussion, we must still love one another, and talk together next time in the same topic until we will have a co-conclusion, irrespective of discussion.

It is necessary and seriously to make this agreement in Thailand, and I choose to tell like it here, too. Because I don't want to make another feel annoyed. I just wanna to talk dhammavinaya to make clearly understanding between us.
-----------------------------------

Oh, I make off-topic more than I thought.
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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