The heartfelt wish of everyone at Wat Tam Wua is for all beings to be happy, peaceful, free from enmity and suffering. Concider Wat Tam Wua a home away from home. In order to respect the community and practice here, some information and guidelines is provided below.
The Budda taught a path to completely eliminate suffering by developing profound insight into the nature of reality. Insight(Vipassana) involves first allowing one's mind to settle and become calm. In meditation, one learns to rest in mindfulness, bare awareness of the present, while letting go of habitual thought patterns and emotions. With a calm open mind free of preconceptions, beliefs, opinions or desires, it is possible to see deeply into the nature of things and understand the relationship between our experiences of happiness and suffering their causes.
In order to calm the mind and meditate one needs to simplify one's busy life, attending to basic needs but minimizing distractions. While at the monastery, it is recommended that reading be limited, and oriented towards practice. Eating less rests one's digestion and is conducive to clarity of mind. Noble silence is not routine here, but quiet moderation is respectful, and talking is best kept to a functional minimum. Relax, enjoy the practice. Check for yourself just what is conducive to calm and just what hinders.
If we wish to develop meditation practice, Budda taught that one needs proper conduct, right instruction regarding meditation, as well as correct view or understanding. These are called the Three Trainings of Conduct, Meditation and Wisdom. The common sense wisdom of "doing no harm" is precisely the foundation needed for one's meditation practice, protecting oneself and others from conflict and disturbance. More specifically, there are five negative actions that should be avoided: killing, stealing, lying, intoxications and sexual misconduct. The wisdom that arises naturally from calm open awareness informs one's conduct and meditation practice in turn, so the three trainings are interdependent.
Prior experience of meditation is not necessary. Most meditation sessions at the monastery are guided by the abbot, Ajahn Luangta. Luangta speaks English and is an experienced meditator in the Thai Forest Tradition.
Usually we meditate using the four postures: walking, standing, sitting and lying down. In particular, we use breathing as the object of mindfulness, a simple natural phenomenom that is always present, and inclines the mind towards calm and away from excitement and distractions.
Try to develop the confidence to experiment with meditation, and learn directly from your own experience, from direct observation, from nature.
Luangta requests all those staying at the wat to participate fully in monastery life by attending all scheduled sessions, as well as helping with community chores!
Note that this schedule is subject to change. Listen for the monastery bell or drum to signal the start of meditation sessions and other events.
5am Wake up, be mindful. Practice individual meditation.
7am Offering alms to monks in the sala(main hall), followed by breakfast for the rest of the community.
8.30am Group meditation-Vipassana in the main sala.
1030am Offering meal to monks in the sala, followed by main mealfor the rest of the community(note: no eating after midday)
1pm Group meditation-Vipassana in the main sala
4pm Community chores: sweeping the grounds, cleaning the sala, monastery areas, laundry (note: while cleaning be mindful)
5pm Relax time Afternoon tea(no Eating)
6pm Evening Chanting and meditation at main Dhamma Hall in the Sangha area. This session usually finishes by 7.30 Practice individual meditation in your kuti untill sleep. Lights go out around 8.30pm
The schedule allows plenty of time for individual meditation, relaxation or simply enjoying the beauty of the wat and its surroundings. Try to make good use of the time, recollect the opportunity offered and most importantly try to be mindful, aware of here and now, in all one's activities.
Wat Tam Wua is located 35 km from Mae Hong Son on route №1095 to Pai. Buses and sangthaews stop at the driveway in Baan Mae Suya. The wat is a one and a half kilometer walk from the bus stop.
Individual accomodation in simply huts or "kutis" is usually available, no need to write in advance.
Accomodation for males and females is strictly separate. You are welcome to stay for any duration but a minimum of a week is best for meditation.
Bedding is minimal to encourage practice and discourage languor, but please ask staff for more blankets if necessary and make yourself comfortable.
Dress should be modest, ideally the white loosefitting garments worn by lay meditation in Thai wats(widely available in markets and shops and very cheap).
Filtered drinking water is available, as are hot beverages, tea, coffee etc.
Only vegetarian food is offered and eaten at the monastery.
Malaria is rare here, but still a risk. Use reppelent and nets.
The closest store is in Mae Suya village: take the left trail across a small bridge off the driveway, about half way down to the main road.
Communication with the monasteryvis by mobile phone only, using the 12Call network.
If you have any special needs, dietary, for the example, please consult staff. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you are in need.
There is a small library at the wat with Dhamma books in several languages
Please don't forget to sign the Guest register in the main Sala.
Leaving Wat Tam Wua
Inform staff one day before your departure, clean your cuti and fold up bedding. In common with most wats, Wat Tam Wua depends on donations to provide facilities for meditators. Thai understand this noble tradition and offer alms,gifts or donations generously. A contribution that covers at least the basic costs of you stay is appropriate, but if you do not have the means, please try to contribute by helping with community chores.
Thai Buddhist culture
As elsewhere in Asia, avoid pointing the soles of one's feet at monks or nuns or images/objects revered by Buddhist.
Thai bow to monks, to the Buddha, the Dhamma(teachings of the Buddha) and the Sangha(community of worthy practitioners). In general, one bows too when arriving at and departing a meditation hall.
A monk's discipline involves protecting his senses and hence monks are not permitted to be alone with or touch women. In accordance with this principle, men are generally closer to the monks, sitting to the fore in meditation halls, and taking priority in offering alms etc.
Address: Wat Pah Tam Wua, Baan Mae Suya, Huay Pha, Mae Hong Son 58000