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  • hardie karges 1:44 pm on December 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forest temple,   

    Thailand Outback Up North, part 2: Drive He Said (Buddhism for Sale)… 

    Continued from previous…


    Feast fit for priests at Jaw Jalern Forest Temple

    One thousand baht!”

    Amen!” the crowd roars in response to the emcee’s declaration, hooting and hollering to beat the band, whatever that means, here in Thailand, as elsewhere, taking delight in small pleasures…

    The emcee continues. “And now we have a contribution to Forest Temple Udom Tham, from Chiang Rai Prakan Chiwit, the life insurance that is there for you just when you need them most, for the sum of… Ten Thousand Baht! Ooohhh, that’s nice!”

    Amen!” the crowd answers in agreement, one group from faraway Isaan obviously cutting up and loving it, trying to outdo all the others in their silliness and sober raucousness… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:03 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Araanyawiwek, , forest temple,   

    Thailand’s Real Full Moon Party (My Brilliant Career as Designated Driver) 

    img_0953No, my friends are not all drunkards and reprobates, though a few certainly are. But the group I drive for now is quite different. They only like the orange stuff—and yellow. No, not Lucy in the Sky with Diamond sunshine, or even ‘mellow yellow’–and certainly not Donald Trump. No, these guys are hooked on Buddha, and the Dharma, and the Sangha, the Buddhist brotherhood…

    Every traveler knows about Koh Pha Ngan’s legendary full moon bacchanalian orgies of drugs, sex, and alcohol, right? But how many know about the Thai Buddhist ‘rains retreat’ ‘Pansaa’ season that lasts for three months, and during which every monk returns to his original home temple of ordination for the duration of this Buddhist ‘Lent’ season, with the implication that this is not a frivolous matter to take or leave. It is an obligation… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:11 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Have I missed something – like, where is our better half?


      • hardie karges 3:23 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Tang? She’s at home, going back to LA soon, then I’ll come back here…

    • davekingsbury 7:07 pm on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I suppose the only way to displace the addiction of consumption is to replace it with a compelling angle on the world that opens up its free, simple and natural wonders … oh yeah, Buddhism, and thanks for the front line reports!

    • davekingsbury 6:36 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Actually, you know, that would make a good idea for a post. … might be a worthwhile contribution. As a Nobel Literature Award winner once sang, ‘You gotta serve somebody …’

  • hardie karges 1:02 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forest temple, ,   

    Life in a Thai Forest Temple, part 3: Kids, too… 

    IMG_0740The morning starts at 4:00a.m. with morning ablutions, then prepare the temple for morning prayers at 4:30. By 5 a.m. the priest will show up and fill my heart with espresso and let the chanting in Pali begin:





    …and so on and on for at least a half hour. That’s over by 5:30 and preparations for the morning walk into town begins, gathering my collection bags while the priests fasten their robes and ready their bowls. By first light at 6 it’s off on the rounds by barefoot and bowl, taking offerings and offering blessings in return, again all in the Pali liturgical language. Few people line the way out in the countrysides, but there’s always one or two, waiting for us instead of their kids, who’ve long gone off to the big city down under, only to revisit maybe once a year for New Year. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:27 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Very well described and interpreted.

    • tiramit 7:25 am on May 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great description. The barefoot thing I would find very hard…

      • hardie karges 7:50 am on May 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        It certainly feels odd at first, but rather nice on lonely roads. Filthy markets are another story…

  • hardie karges 1:52 pm on July 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , forest temple,   

    Life in a Thai Forest Temple, part 2: Ballot-Proof Monk-in-Training… 


    Continued from previous…

    There are FOREST TEMPLES and there are forest temples, relative to the degree of separation between them and all the modern conveniences and contrivances, including electronics. Music is prohibited by the Eight Precepts of Buddhism, but that would generally only apply to priests and even then—you know. This is more like a half-way temple, half-way between deep forest and Chinatown, close enough to a small city to do the morning rounds, remote enough to still get away from it all, or at least most of it…

    Isn’t this always the way it is for me, straddling the edge of two dimensions and making the best I can of it, making my bed on the threshold, and walking the fine line between extremes, blinking in and out like life on the installment plan? Isn’t this implied by the Buddhist Middle Path anyway? I see my mission to somehow combine forest and technology, and leave the butt-ugly cities to the dogs and sewer rats… (More …)

  • hardie karges 2:00 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , forest temple, ,   

    Life in a Thai Forest Temple: part 1, Mae Chan 

    IMG_0712Mention Thai Buddhist temples to someone, and the image they probably get is that of the gaudy gilded red and orange structures that dot the landscape (t)here, with maybe a mention or two of the corruption and sleaze that dogs the state-supported religion, and which could give the Vatican a run for its money as a source of occasional shame to mix in with the more typical reverence that rivals that of the monarchy as a foundation of Thai culture here…

    But there is another side of Thai Buddhism that is much more impressive to many of our Western tastes, and which rivals Tibetan Buddhism, if not yet Zen, in the number and popularity of its Western adherents, and that is the Thai Forest tradition. Barely a hundred years old, it is the exact opposite of the Dhammakaya flying saucer-like temple that has gotten so many Facebook shares lately, with its million-minion meditation sit-ins and its current run-in with the Thai government over allegations of money laundering… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:49 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My reply did not go through. What can I say? Your description is very enlightening – and my great nephew has taken up Buddhism.


    • davekingsbury 8:42 pm on July 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I look forward to more updates from the Temple. Your commentary straddles the traditions in an interesting and accessible way.

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