Wat Suan Mokkh offers Meditation Retreats in English in Thailand from 1st to 11th of every month. Registration is at least one day before retreat begins. Donation is less than 2,000 baht, it includes food and accommodation. Wat Suan Mokkh is known for having hosted Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikku who once said “Wat Suan Mokkh is not just a monastery…; it is also a state of mind.”
For more information about Wat Suan Mokkh Meditation Retreats in English in Thailand please contact:
c/o Suan Mokkhabalarama
Tel / Fax: (00 66) 7743-1597
Wat Suan Mokkh is located on Highway 41, near Chaiya, 50 km north of Suratthani. The main railway line and highway runs between Bangkok and Suratthani, which is also the nearest airport.
A typical day of meditation at Wat Suan Mokkh.
4 am: Wake up; Bathe; Meditate; Yoga; Meditate
7:30 am: Breakfast; Chores; Dharma Lecture; Meditate; Walking Meditation; Meditate
12:30 pm: Lunch (last meal of the day); Chores; Meditate; Walking Meditation; Meditate; Chanting
6 pm: Cup of Tea; Hot Spring; Meditate
9 pm: Bed. No reading. No writing. No smoking. No drinking. No sexual activities
10 pm: Lights out
Meditation System :
Anapanasati (mindfulness with breathing) according to the Buddha’s Anapanasati Sutta. New students first learn some theoretical background and the purpose of Dhamma practice, then the preparations for and the 16 lessons (objects of investigation) which make up mindfulness with breathing. Walking meditation is also done using mindfulness with breathing; if one has difficulty doing this, one can observe sensations in feet or legs. One practices the first 4 lessons (the body foundation of mindfulness) to calm one’s breathing and body and to stabilize the mind. Then one refines both the calmness of the mind and one’s understanding of how it works by working with lessons 5-8 (the feelings foundation of mindfulness) and 9-12 (the mind foundation of mindfulness). At any time that the mind is suffciently calm and stable, while practicing with right understanding and motivation, insight can take place, even during the first lessons. Lessons 13-16 (the Dhamma foundation of mindfulness) further develop and perfect insight into right knowledge (vijja) and liberation (vimutti). The goal of this practice is to realize the voidness- emptiness of the 5 khandhas (body, feelings, memory, thought, and sense awareness), that there is nothing worth attachimg to as “I” or “mine”, To aid the development of right understanding (samrnaditthi), the Buddha’s teachings on anatta (not-self) and pariccasamuppada (dependent origination) are examined in detail and depth. The study and investigation of these principles are considered essential at Suan Mokkh.
Suan Mokkh Style :
The purpose of Dhamma practice here is to get free of the tyranny of ego in order to live peacefully (in realization of Nibbana) and usefully (in service to Dhamma and humanity). Thus residents try to practice unselfishness in everything they do meditation, study, work, talk, sleep, amd whatever Iife asks. Suan Mokkh is not a “meditation center” per se where people come only to “meditate.” This is a Garden of Liberation, a place to study and practice Dhamma in a wholistic way. Study and investigation of Buddha-Dhamma given in the Pali suttas is an essential foundation for practice. Joyful service for others is the context of practice. Thus cultivating Right Understanding amd Right Aspiration with the path of samatha and vipassana becomes liberation now. Each person integrates the tbree aspects of study, service, and meditation in the way that works for them. With growing mindfulness and wisdom, temporary liberation blossoms into the perfect voidness empty of “I” and “mine,” full of wisdom and peace.
Set on 300 rai (120 acres) of forest at the base of Nang A Mountam. Group meetings take place outdoors whenever possible. Two “ships” (one a meeting hall, the other a rock garden) can be visited, but the bot (uposatba) sits atop Golden Buddha Hill in the center of the monastery. This natural open-air setting under the trees probably resembles uposatha areas used during the time of the Buddha. A Spiritual Theatre, near the ships, has Buddhist paintings from many traditions. Reproductions of ancient Indian sculpture that depict the Buddha’s life decorate the outside walls of the theatre and are scattered around the monastery grounds. The International Dhamma Hermitage, 1.5 km east of Suan Mokkh, has been the site of meditation retreats since 1989. Ten-day retreats in English begin on the frst of every month (one must arrive 1-2 days in advance for registration). Thai retreats take place mid-month of most months; retreats for monks are held occasionally too. The 120-rai (48 acre) site has coconut palms and small trees with many open areas. A new forest monastery of about 70 rai (28 acres) lies beyond the hermitage; foreign monks and laymen come for very long-term study amd practice in the Suan Mokkh tradition. English is the medium of instruction.
Laypeople eat 2 vegetarian meals a day at a foreign kitchen (at the hermitage during retreats, at Suan Mokkh between retreats). Monks and novices eat once or twice a day from food collected on pindabat amd provided by the monks’ kitchen (mostly non-vegetarian).
Description from: http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org
Wat Suan Mokkh is a forest monastery where about 40 monks live in little huts in the forest. From July to September, during the traditional three month rain retreat, the number of monks may increase to more than 70. Another part of the monastery grounds is reserved for nuns and lay women.
At one time, before 1996, a small community of foreigners lived at Wat Suan Mokkh, known worldwide as a centre for meditation. Today only occasionally foreigners will stay longer than two or three days before or after the retreat at the associated International Dhamma Hermitage about 1.5 km to the east of the main monastery.
This hermitage attracts more than 1,000 foreigners a year to Wat Suan Mokkh, which sometimes appears as Wat Suan Mok in some publications and websites that try to capture the pronunciation. The visitors attend 10-day silent retreats with instruction in meditation and Dhamma. The instructions at the International Dhamma Hermitage are given in English.
There are a number of other buildings at Wat Suan Mokkh, including the Spiritual Theatre and the assembly hall in the form of a big ship – a metaphor for the Dhamma – with a foreign library and the sculpture workshop. The foreign library has a variety of books on meditation, Buddhism and related topics in many languages including English, German, French and Japanese.
Staying at the main monastery provides an interesting opportunity to get in touch with the monastic lifestyle of forest monks in Thailand. It is not necessary to dress in white and you do not have to keep silent while staying there but you are asked to dress and behave respectfully and to keep the Eight precepts.
During retreats at the International Dhamma Hermitage, meditators have small individual rooms; separate buildings for men and women. Bathing is Thaj-style from tanks; toilets are Asian-style. Other times visitors stay at Suan Mokkh; men have small dormitory rooms; women stay in individual rooms or dormitories; Thai-style bathing from tanks (most men’s areas are in the open); mostly Asian-style toilets. Monks and novices stay in individual kutis scattered through the forest or in monk’s dormitories if all kutis are occupied (they often are). Most buildings and kutis have electricity.
Suan Mokkh: The Garden of Liberation website is: http://suanmokkh.org/
International Dhamma Hermitage website is: http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org/