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Pah Nanachat Monestery
One day I
talked to someone who had gone to this monestary. She
told me about her typical day, which included getting up
at 3:00 AM for chanting and meditation. She also said you
are only allowed one meal a day.
searched the net and found a website about the place. It
is promoted as a place where you can go to "search for true happiness." The website
says "the trainees have to join and follow
everything that the monastery expects them to do..."
Here are some
of the other rules there:
supposed to "avoid
swinging their arms, head, and body"
You are also
supposd to "avoid complaining, telling a lie,
talking too loud, and saying something that might
cause the break among them."
And you have to follow
the 227 monk's rules (the basic Theravada code of
monastic discipline) to comply with
The website says
The monastery has
been blessed as a good place for meditation and
Dhamma teaching established by Venerable Ajahn Chah,
one profoundly wise Buddhist meditation master of
The site also
recommends that people who want to be trained as Buddist
monks should study all the rules before they go to the
monastery so they can live there
I note just a bit
cynically that the website doesn't mention mastery
of the English and Malay languages as a condition of success there!
(General page on success)
Full article below
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Library and Bookstore
and more visitors to Thailand are interested in Buddhism.
Many of them come to Thailand to ordain as it is very
well known Buddhist country. Wat Pah Nanachatis one of
their destinations, said a monk from England who
has ordained at the monastery for 2 years. However,
ordaining at the monastery seems to be really challenging
for many of them. It is important that they should study
and prepare themselves well beforehand about their
unforeseen living at the monastery.
With a very tranquil forest monastic environment, Wat Pah
Nanachat (the International Forest Monastery) is an
appropriate home for many foreign monks from a wide range
of nationalities to practice meditation. It is located in
a small forest of Bahn Bung Wai of Amper Warin Chamrab
about 15 kilometers away from the city of Ubon
Ratchathani of Thailand.
The monastery has been blessed as a good place for
meditation and Dhamma teaching established by Venerable
Ajahn Chah, one profoundly wise Buddhist meditation
master of Thailand, in 1975 as a branch of Wat Nong Pah
Pong. Therefore, many foreigners who search for true
happiness come to ordain at the monastery every year.
In Thailand, there are many good places for people who
are interested in practicing meditation."This
monastery is also one really good and quiet place for
meditation practice. It is quite far away from disturbing
things. To live here is a good opportunity for me to
practice. And, traditional monastic training is always
provided very well here, kindly and mindfully said
one monk who is from America.
Men with shaved heads who wear loose white and long
trousers with white shirts are trainees who are during
the traditional monastic training before ordaining at the
monastery. The interested foreigners who want to
ordain here have to be initially trained about
traditional way of monastic living for a short period so
that they can live peacefully and successfully. The
training is relative to the Buddhas teaching and
code of monastic discipline, explained a senior
monk who is from Germany.
It is not easy but not too difficult for the trainees to
be during the traditional monastic training period at Wat
Pah Nanachat. They will be taught about how they can
enjoyably live with local culture. They are expected to
follow and join all monastic activities such as meeting
and work activities, rules or regulations, and daily
routine of the monastery. Therefore, all of them have to
adjust themselves very well with these things.
As the trainees have to join and follow everything that
the monastery expects them to do before the ordaining,
early during the traditional monastic training, many of
them may face some challenging difficulties. The
difficulties may be relative to monastic activities,
rules and regulations, and daily routine of the
monastery. For many current trainees and monks as they
used to be trainees of Wat Pah Nanachat, There were three
most outstanding challenging difficulties: getting up
early, weather, and hunger.
The first quite common difficulty for them early during
the training was getting up early. It is one of the rules
of the monastery. "When I first came here, it was
quite difficult for me to get up so early in the morning.
However, it could make them to become more active",
said one trainee from Holland.
At 03.00 AM, because of the rules of the monastery, every
trainee had to get up to participate in the monastic
activities such as morning meeting for chanting and
meditation. Also, while monks went out to surrounding
villages on alms-round, trainees did the chores such as
sweeping the monastery and helping in the kitchen.
In general, for some people, getting up early in the
morning may be not a problem, but it should not be
disregarded for prospective trainees who want to ordain
at the monastery. To make sure that they can follow the
rules of the monastery efficiently can mean that they can
ordain and live in the monastery more happily or without
Weather was also the common challenging difficulty that
many current trainees and monks as they used to be
trainees at Wat Pah Nanachat used to face during their
traditional monastic training. As most of them
are from the western countries which some are considered
cold countries, therefore Thai hot weather was a problem
for them early during their training period.
However, after they had lived with that condition for a
while, they could overcome the problem and their bodies
could be accustomed to it. "The weather here is
really hot for me. In my hometown, it is quite cold. When
I first came here, I had to take a shower more frequently
than before", explained a monk from Finland who has
just ordained for only 2 months.
Also, as Wat Pah Nanachat allows the trainees to have
only one meal a day at about 09.00 AM, the hunger can be
one difficulty of many of them. Many current trainees and
monks who used to be trainees said that they were usually
hungry early during the training period.
However, after living at the monastery for a while, those
trainees and monks could be used to living with those
difficulties because their bodies could adjust themselves
After the traditional monastic training in a short
period, the trainees then can ordain. The difficulties
that they may face after the training period (after they
ordain) may be different from those they have to face
during the training. However, they will certainly have
227 monk's rules (the basic Theravada code of monastic
discipline) to comply with.
"Actually, it is generally agreed that the monk's
rules laid by the Lord Buddha are considered great thing
to keep; they are not a problem at all. However, they
possibly cause difficulties for the future
trainees", said another monk from America.
According to monks at Wat Pah Nanachat, three most
outstanding challenging monk's rules for them were
relative to speech, gestures, and damaging living plants.
They said that these rules were difficult to keep.
Why rules about speech were challenging for the monks is
that they had to be well mindful about their speech such
as to avoid complaining, telling a lie, talking too loud,
and saying something that might cause the break among
The next challenging rules were about gestures. In any
habited area, they had to avoid swinging their arms,
head, and body when they walked and avoid tiptoeing or
sitting with arm akimbo.
The last outstanding challenging rules for them were
about damaging living plants. They said that when they
did the chores such as sweeping floor, it was hard to
knowingly avoid damaging living plants like grass and
other small plants.
Therefore, it will be very useful for prospective
trainees to study about monk's rules before they come to
the monastery. It will be faster for them to learn about
the monk's rules when they ordain.
Thus, it is quite necessary that the future foreigners
who want to ordain at Wat Pah Nanachat should prepare
themselves well before they come to the monastery. There
may be difficulties caused by monastic activities, rules
or regulations, and the daily routine during the
traditional monastic training. If they can prepare
themselves well beforehand, they will be able to live in
the monastery successfully.