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Wat Tham Thong Monastery

Northern Thailand Meditation Centre

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Wat Tham Thong Monastery (mean Tong cave) - the important center of studying of the Buddhism and Vipassana meditation in Northern Thailand. Centre is the branch of the largest monastic award of Thailand, Wat Mahathat in Bangkok, monastery Wat Tham Thong is unique. Though the basic program is offered in Thai language, here give some lessons by english, and the temple becomes popular place for farangs where is possible to be trained in bases vipassana in Thai style.

Vipassana based on methods taught by Mahasi Sayadaw. Main teacher of Tham Thong - Ajahn Suchin Vimalo tries to support strict discipline in a monastery though using mobile phones, socializing and reading of books - strictly is not discouraged.
 
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How to get

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Wat Tham Thong Forest monastery is located in Chiang Mai province, 83 km south from the capital of Northern Thailand. Follow highway 108 (southern ring to Mae-Hong-Son). 5km before the Hod district you will see big noticeable sign on the Thai and English languages - Wat Tham Thong. The guidelines can also serve as a great lone hill on the left side and a gas station, right behind the sign. By public transport from Chiang Mai: take song-theos (passenger pick-up) blue or yellow color which leave local bus station is located approximately 300 metres from Chang Puak gate - the centerpiece of north side Chiang Mai old city. The fare is very cheap. If you are traveling with a group can be better take in any place in the city rent pickup truck and arrange a visit to Wat Tham Tong. Also have a daily buses to Hod: 09:00; 14:00 from the Chiang Mai gate, stopping left from 7/11. Said to driver that he stopped near Ban Mon Hin/Ban Pae village.

Then, after landing, You will have to walk 3 km, or if you are lucky to catch a ride. Asphalt road to the monastery, which first passes through the village, and then winds between plantations longan, well marked, so you should not get lost. The main direction - towards the mountains. Far be clearly visible most conspicuous mountain cleft. If you get lost, just ask a local: Tang Pai Wat Tham Thong, Yu-tee-Nai-krup/ka. The entrance to the temple is easy to find, high statues of mythical Yaks and Buddhist wheel of time with the name of the monastery (in English) hanging between two pillars.

After the gate continue straight. until you run into a wide altar, surrounded by monastic buildings. You need to the right, go inside and explain why you have come in Wat Tham Thong. If for retreat 'Maa Vipassana' (emphasis in the two words on the last 'a'), although some monks here understand simple English.
 

Accomodations

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Wat Tam Tong Forest monastery takes a lot of space. The monastery territory stretches along a narrow mountain gorge through which the river flows. Most cuti/huts are located along the river in front and rear (closer to the mountains) part of Tham Tong. Men and women live separately. You can live in groups and individually. The farang usually provide the best independent housing. From simple bamboo huts to quite a decent brick bungalow, shower and toilet separately, outside. Inside minimal facilities, including a mat, a light blanket, small pillow and mosquito net. I lived in a bungalow, a hexagonal shape?, there is a socket, an electric lamp, and stood a small table with an electric water heater inside. All bedding accessory and keys from cuti issued on 'reception' of the monastery upon arrival. There You will ask the passport (may be present), and desired term.
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Best time to go

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Wat Tam Tong is located in Chiang Mai province - Northern Thailand. In recent years, the weather is unpredictable, and winter months (December, January and February) increasingly cold. So if you have decided to meditate exactly at this time, remember that nights are very cold, especially in the wee hours (10 to 13 degrees above zero) and it would be wise to take warm clothes. At this time of year the mountain is usually covered by a dense fog that dissipates about 10:00 and then the air very quickly warms up to +30.

The best time for meditation retreat at Wat Tham Thong - rainy season (may - november). At this time throughout Thailand, including the north parts of the country are comfortable temperature, both day and night, and the rain is good thing for meditation.
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Food

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Menus forest monastery does not possess fine cuisine, and the food is part of the process of spiritual development. Dining in monastery twice a day: morning 07:00 and in the afternoon around 12:00. The food is very simple - boiled rice with stewed or steamed vegetables and herbs. In addition as a side dish also offers pork, chicken and fish prepared according to various recipes. The food is mostly not spicy, if not enough pepper is always at hand. For dessert, offer biscuits, waffles and fruit.

The process of the meal begins and finishes with a prayer. Essentially this is the same bin-ta-bat (when the monks go in the morning, collecting alms), but the nearest village is only 3 km away and the whole process in a simplified form occurs inside the temple. The first to get food to the monks, which moves the chain, one approach to place food. Next food take women, and in the end the men. For all of the prayers and rituals, on average it takes 10 to 15 minutes. Some days Wat Tham Thon is visited by local residents, who as donations presented to residents of monastery delicious desserts and local pastries. Drinks are water, tea and coffee - all for free.
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Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)
The monks of Wat Tham Thong love to care for fruit trees. Longan (Lam Yai) restated everywhere in the central part of the monastery, Ma-fuang (carambola) planted along the road from the entrance gate, in addition, there are farang trees and manao(lime), and many others.
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Contingent

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)At Samnak Patibat Dhamma Tham Thong monastery basics of Vipassana mainly trained Thai people. Farang here is a rare phenomenon, but nevertheless, foreigners wishing to join Buddhism in Thai style, are always welcome. In Wat Tham Thong dominated by women, the percentage of men is very small. Thai people come from all Kingdom of Thai, including Bangkok and the southern provinces. Everyone should wear white clothes. (can be get cheaply in Chiang Mai)
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Daily Routine

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Wake Up: monastery wakeup bell's usually at 03:30 and then all events in monastery follow these sounds, such as: breakfast, beginning of classes, lunch, etc., After lifting men gather in one of the prayer halls, women come to another place. Such places there are several. On special days of the lunar calendar (full-moon, Buddhist holidays) - men gather in the cave temple located in the far area of the monastery. To the entrance of the cave, which is a small grotto that leads to a steep staircase decorated with characters from Buddhist mythology. Prayers continue until 05:30, next 30 minutes - meditation (Vipassana).

Morning exercise: after the end of the Buddhist morning rituals all, including monks accepted for cleaning the territory. The main instrument is the broom, which are usually up to 07:00.

Breakfast: taking into account the specificity of place, time to prayers and rituals, breakfast in Wat Tham Thong starts at 08:00. Men and women eat separately. Men start eating after the monks, together with them in the common room.

Lunch: Start at 11:30, after the first morning classes vipassana. Procedure of reception of food the same, as for a breakfast, and the menu is a more variously, including soup.


Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Meditation: At 09:00 the bell rings and everyone gather for meditation. In a monastery vipassana based on methods of Mahasi Sayadaw. Meditation center Wat Tham Thong - branch of temple Wat Maha That in Bangkok; the same system of meditation is used. Also it is possible to use own methods. Training group - men and women together. Lessons pass daily in the same place, from 09:00 - 21:00, with a break for lunch and 2 hours for relax.
The teacher - two nuns. Laypeople together with monks are built in ranks and move from one end of a hall to another, repeating aloud a mantra. The teacher gives the command for again arrived, then corrects for you as required. All classes are by Thai, but nuns casually speak in English, as also some thai-pupils. You should go not simply stupidly from a corner to a corner, and with each step to say the certain phrase, thus coordinating movements with your consciousness. From manuals to you will offer only two sheet, format А1. To download here... After each hour of circulation - next come time meditation+prays in sitting position. Then the small break and all repeats again. Opensided hall for training is cooled by fans.

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Sights and Features

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)The center covers about 30 rai (12 acres) on both sides of a narrow, wooded valley. A peaceful setting with running stream, caves, and mountains. The land and surrounding mountains belong to National park Doi Inthanon.

In 2012, the Japanese master in a monastery had been constructed Mukei Hermitage which contains inside three magnificent Budda statues, including the Japanese goddess of mercy.
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Verdict

Монастырь Ват Тхам Тхонг (Wat Tham Thong Monastery)Monastery Tham Thong is considered by Thai people as elementary school of training bases vipassana. Hence, if you already have some experience of use of this practice of meditation - here will be not interesting for you. On the other hand if you want to receive real experience of stay in the Thai monastery/temple far from other world - welcome to Tham Thong. You will surround only hospitable Thai people, all training passes in Thai language, and anybody here will not get you inquiries, offers to go to drink some beer, or to distract from an overall objective.
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