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08.08.2014
The Koan has been described as a short story or sentence that initially seems paradoxical in nature, but can have any number of solutions when we start to think “out of the box.” It has been a fundamental part of the history and lore of Zen Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism practiced in Japan for a long time. That particular Koan is attributed to Hakuin Ekaku (1686–1769), and like all Koans can be answered in many different ways.
The Koan is often used as a test of a Zen student’s ability, and for monks in training. Koan literature typically derives from older texts and traditions, including texts that record the sayings and actions of sages, perhaps dating back to Bodhidharma (c.
Shuzan held out his short staff and said, “If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality. As the roof was leaking, a Zen Master told two monks to bring something to catch the water.
Meditation is one of those things I have flirted with over the past few years and I try to do at least 20 minutes every day to let my overactive brain have a time out. On November 19-20 I decided to go on a meditation retreat in Chiang Mai to see what it would be like. If a family is poor and cannot afford to feed or educate their boys, they can send him to join the monks and he will do the alms rounds in the morning and be schooled. Male monks cannot touch a woman, a woman cannot pass anything directly to a monk in Thailand also. All other forms of Buddhism stem from this original school of thought but then created a separate schools as they either disagreed with parts or wanted to form different schools of their own.
An example is the Chinese monks use Kung Fu and Martial Arts as a way to reach enlightenment and as practice for meditation. I had previously considered doing the four-day meditation retreat at Doi Sutep temple which overlooks Chiang Mai from a mountain but after visiting and realizing what a tourist display it was, I decided to look for other options. It mentioned that in conjunction with the International meditation centre, they offered an introduction to Buddhism and vipassana meditation course for foreigners. The course cost was 500THB for transport, accommodation and food and 300 to buy the whites. After this we were loaded into Songtaews and went for a 30 minute drive to the ‘International Buddhist Study and Vipassana Meditation Centre’. We had maybe 20 minutes to drop our bag and get dressed in our whites before the first meditation practice which was at 4.45pm. After the first session we were shown standing meditation, which is nothing more than standing on the spot with your eyes closed, hands in front, behind or by your side.
This went on for 10 minutes before we were shown the basic procedure for walking meditation. Afterwords we went through the three forms of meditation before a 40 minute ‘freestyle’ session where you could pick whichever style you were most comfortable with and practice that.
For the record, if you are not used to sitting in the lotus position with your back straight, it hurts after 10 minutes! When we were close to finishing we were shown the side lying meditation and flat-out lying meditation. We done one session of each before finishing our first day at the Chiang Mai meditation centre and heading outside for tea, Milo, coffee and biscuits before bed.
The morning gong sounded at 4.45am and I jumped out of bed as if I was wide awake and into the shower, put on my whites and went down to make a cup of instant coffee before the morning chanting session.


We started the day with 10 minutes sitting meditation inside and some Pali chanting before going outside to the grounds in front of the Buddha statue to 4 more sessions. Once again we had to wait until everyone had got their food and sat down to recite the pre-eating precepts before eating so as to remain mindful.
If You Would Like To Read About Me Questioning A Theravada Buddhist Monk… Click Here!
If you would like to do this retreat, here are all the details… Enjoy the experience! Buddhism and Thai Culture as well as general topics about Thai ways of living are discussed at the session. Adam documents his trials and tribulations while traveling the world and creating a location independent lifestyle.
For those looking for a 10 day silence retreat in the Thai countryside I recommend Wat Suan Mokkh.
Costs 1500baht for the days food and board,not literature or technology allowed and a break from life to contemplate or grasp meditation. If I had to sum it up, I would say Sunmudo is a combination of Zen BuddhistA monks flying through the air, kicking their way up stairs while doing pushups, performing a wheelbarrow race and meditating the whole time.
Mu (?­¦) means martial art in Korean (pronounced a€?wua€? in Mandarin Chinese, as in a€?Wushua€?).
On Day 7 of filming Lost in Korea, Jesse and I found ourselves in a Zen Buddhist monastery that specializes in Sunmudo. While Golgulsa offers daily short public demonstrations of the acrobatic portion of Sunmudo, our affiliation with National Geographic Channel meant we were treated to the whole show.
Jesse already has experience with Sunmudo, having filmed another Korean travel show in this exact location. I, however, will be trying out this ancient martial art for the first time tomorrow; bright and early, as the monks wake us up at 4am! It can reflect the enlightened (Satori) or awakened state of a person, or can be used as a tool to “shock” a discursive mind into expansive thought and consciousness.
But remember to supplement that study with meditation morning and evening, to foster better understanding and capture the aim of Koan practice, Satori (Enlightenment).
This was the day after my birthday, so instead of the usual getting drunk and messing around like previous years, I thought I would get the year off to a positive start. Also, when a man is old and the family cannot care for him, it is common for the monks to look after him. I actually came across the Monk Chat two-day retreat thanks to a lonely planet Thailand guide I had picked up in a hostel on my travels.
They also have Monk Chat sessions every monday, Wednesday and friday where anyone who has questions about Theravada Buddhism can ask questions openly to a monk. We were welcomed and handed a sheet to fill out which asked you personal info, religious beliefs and what you expected to get out of the course (I said I was there for the experience).
Personally, I had previous experience so I was ok with sitting down for 10-15 minute blocks whereas those who had zero experience became restless. It was basic buddhism 101, as if you had never studied anything before, which is fine as this was where most of the attendees were at. The place is set in really nice grounds with birds chirping away outside and manicured gardens.


There was not very much instruction on ‘how to meditate’ to be honest, just ‘focus on your breathing’ – watch as the breath falls in and out and feel it through your nostrils and deep in your stomach.
Theravada buddhist monks can eat meat (so long as they do not see the animal being killed or hear it) and can only eat two meals per day, with the last being around 11am. You will get leg cramps, dead legs, back pain and all sorts of tingles throughout your body when you do your first few meditation sessions. The trick to not falling asleep with lying meditation is that you have to keep your feet touching at the heel and toes. Using the form below, please provide as much detail as possible regarding its intended use; including URLs, size, duration, etc. It is the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese word a€?chan;a€? it is perhaps best known as a€?zena€?, its Japanese pronunciation. So monks do not shake hand with a woman, and a Buddhist nun does not shake hands with a man, ever. If you were just curious about how the Thailand monks live their life and wanted to get some more information, I recommend you pay a visit one evening and join in on the discussion if you are in Chiang Mai.
They are free and anyone can join, but it is expected that you have a decent level of experience with meditation as all retreats are silent and meditation is done in 3 hour blocks. There was some nice characters at my table and we talked about plans for travel (most were heading to Pai after) and about our meditation experience or lack of. The monk explained the story of Buddha, the four noble truths, his eight precepts, the reasoning behind the positions of the statues and a little about how the monks live there life.
We were shown the three lotus positions commonly used by the Theravada buddhist monks and started with our first session of meditation. The Monk Chat Session gives an opportunity to foreigners to have an interactive communication with Thai monks via talking informally. These words are derived from the sanscrit a€?dhyanaa€?, which literally means a€?meditationa€™, or a€?meditative statea€™. It is a unique in that it contains a variety of different elements that complement each other.
It is actually frowned upon to perform any exercise as this is seen as unnecessary to the development towards spiritual enlightenment.
We were which we not sure if it was for us or part of the full 10 day Vipassana retreats course.
It was quite strange but hey, I was there to see how the Theravada Buddhist Monks live and this is it.
After this we were to do an Alms demonstration, which is what the monks have to do every morning to gather their food from the Thai people. We had a bit of time before the next meditation session so I walked around the grounds and shot some Go-Pro footage. We were told to take one, grab your food, sit down and wait until everyone had done the same before eating. It is seen as a credit to the family when one of the sons takes the robe and joins the monk-hood.



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Comments Meditation with monks chiang mai

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