Tag - monastery

Battambang, Cambodia

Battambang, Cambodia
Battambang, Cambodia
Battambang, Cambodia
Battambang, Cambodia

The second largest city in Cambodia, Battambang makes the idea base to explore the surrounding attractions. Situated to the northwest of Cambodia, Battambang is full of interesting buildings left over from the French colonial era and has a pleasantly relaxed feeling that entices many travellers to extend their stay for a day or two.

Battambang takes its name from the legend of an ancient Khmer king, who is said to have calmed the city’s rebellions with his battambang staff. As you wander through the city streets you will see a statue representing this event as well as a number of interesting statues depicting mythical animals and religious characters.

There is plenty to see and do in Battambang. Start by climbing the hill of Phnom Sampeu to enjoy spectacular views of the city and explore the hill’s caves, stupas and monastery. Near the hill is Wat Banan, which is dubbed a mini Angkor Wat and contains a large Buddhist shrine. Just to the west of the city, Wat Ek Phnom has also been constructed in Angkorian style, while Wat Baydamran is home to hundreds of fruit bats.

Situated 70 kilometers north of the city of Battambang in northeastern Cambodia, Bantaey Chhmar is a pretty temple complex built by Jayavarman VII as a tribute to the death of his son Indravarman and four generals in battle. Dating back to the 9th century, this is a great place to explore on a day trip. A mighty battle took place on this site in 1177 when it was invaded by the Cham people. Those interested in the areas unusual history can find the story engraved on the stone ways that surround Bantaey Chhmar. The complex has been overgrown by forest, giving it a mystical quality and it features large Avalokiteshvara faces which are reminiscent of the Bayon temple near Siem Reap.

Head out of Battambang to discover the ancient wooden houses of Watkor, which is a very pretty village. Other nearby villages worth exploring include Kompong Seyma, and Ksach Puoy. These villages offer a real insight into traditional Khmer life and you will still find people engrossed in skills such as weaving and basket making.

An interesting way to explore this area is by riding the bamboo train known as the norry. The Wat Poveal Museums is a good place to learn more about the Khmer arts, while just 44 kilometres from the city is Pich Chenda, a very pretty nature and wildlife preserve.

Walk along the bank of the Sangker River in the evening and you will discover a large number of small food stalls selling traditional Khmer food and also delicious French bread. This is a great place to get a cheap meal and perhaps wash it down with a beer or two.

A great way to travel to Battambang is by boat from Siem Reap. This scenic journey takes you slowly through the countryside, past floating villages and fishermen along narrow canals and waterways.

Kirirom National Park, Cambodia

Kirirom National Park, Cambodia
Kirirom National Park, Cambodia
Kirirom National Park, Cambodia

Cambodia’s first official national park, Kirirom has been open to visitors since 1997 and covers an impressive 800 acres. Situated 112 kilometres from Phnom Penh, many local city dwellers travel here on the weekend, spending the night amid lush forest and pine groves. However, arrive during the week and you will have this picturesque area virtually to yourself.

Kirirom means ‘mountain of joy’ in the Khmer language. This is a great place to escape from the heat and King Sihanouk had a palace built here in the 1960s as a summer retreat. This is also a great place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience Cambodia’s natural beauty.

As you explore the park you will discover a number of pretty lakes and waterfalls. There are food vendors located at various points throughout the park and this is the perfect place to stop for a picnic while you soak up the spectacular scenery.

There are a number of walking trails, with one of the most popular being the two hour hike up to Phnom Dat Chivit. Also known as End of the World Mountain, pause for glimpses of black bears and unparalleled views of the Elephant Mountains and Cardamom Mountains.

At the top of the mountain you will find a Buddhist monastery and a clear water lake, which is a good spot to cool and enjoy a snack from one of the vendors’ carts. Although a number of animals live in the national park such as elephants and tigers sightings are rare, although it is possible to see other animals such as porcupines and colourful hornbills.

If you don’t fancy travelling straight back to Phnom Pehn when darkness falls, head to the nearby Chambok village to spend the night in a traditional wooden house. There are a number of good restaurants here and an impressive 40 meter high waterfall.

Prasat Preah Vihear, Cambodia

Prasat Preah Vihear, Cambodia

Prasat Preah Vihear, Cambodia

Also known as Khao Phra Wiharn or Sacred Monastery, Prasat Preah Vihear is one of Cambodia’s most striking monuments from the Angkorian period. This 800 meter temple is situated at an elevation of 730 meters and offers spectacular views across Cambodia to the scared mountain of Phnom Kulen.

Prasat Preah Vihear is an important pilgrimage site and was build to represent Mount Meru where many important deities are believed to reside. Climb the monumental stairway and pause to appreciate the detailed carvings that adorn the temple.

Look out for the Gopura on the third level, which displays an early rendition of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The temple sits atop Pey Tadi, which is a rocky cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains on the border between Thailand and Cambodia, providing interesting views into both countries.

Many people take a picnic with them so that they can enjoy the stunning views from the top while they eat. The large market place at the foot of Prasat Preah Vihear is a good place to buy freshly cooked food and snacks.

Prasat Preah Vihear is a great place to visit on the way into Cambodia from Thailand or just before you leave the country. For a really memorable adventure, travel to Prasat Preah Vihear by helicopter from Siem Reap.

The sunset is spectacular from the top of the temple and it is worth sticking around at the end of the day to see it. The nearest town to Prasat Preah Vihear is Kantharalak. Here you will find a number of basic guesthouses, restaurants and pretty places to explore, making this a good place to spend the night.

Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand

Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand
Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand
Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand
Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand

Famous for its lively full moon parties at Haad Rin Beach, Koh Pha-ngan has a chilled-out hippy atmosphere that combines nightly hedonism with day time water sports and lazing on the beach. Situated in the south of Thailand 20 kilometres north of Koh Samui in Surat Thani Province, this is an ideal destination for travellers who enjoy less crowded, more private beaches. The best way to reach Koh Pha-ngan is from Koh Samui and the boat trip takes about an hour.

Haad Rin is Koh Pha-ngan’s most popular beach. Lined with beach bars playing a wide assortment of music, the white sands can get pretty crowded. Luckily, Koh Pha-ngan offers many more secluded stretches of white sand for those who prefer a little privacy. Ao Thong Nai Pan is perhaps the second most beautiful beach on Koh Pha-ngan reachable by boat or songthaew from Thong Sala Pier.

Another extremely beautiful and tranquil beach is Ao Si Thanu, whilst the nearby tiny island of Koh Tae Nai can be reached just 5 minutes by chartered boat. This island offers jungle-covered hills, a long stretch of golden sandy beach and colourful coral reefs, perfect for diving or scuba diving.

Koh Pha-ngan has some extremely pretty jungle waterfalls waiting to be discovered including Than Sadet Falls, Phaeng Falls, Than Prapat Falls and Than Prawet Falls. A great way to see the falls and the rest of the island is to take a guided boat tour. Boat trips usually take around 10 people, last all day and include snorkelling and lunch. The boat trips are also a great way to meet fellow travellers and exchange tall tales and travelling tips.

Wat Khao Tham is a cave temple located on the hilltop of Khao Kao Haeng. There is a monastery here that is ideal for meditation amidst the well-preserved nature. The monastery offers 10 days meditation retreats and can be found near the pretty village of Ban Tai.

Another interesting temple is Wat Madio Wan, where a replica of Lord Buddha’s Footprint is enshrined on the hilltop Mondop, whilst jungle trekking up to the island’s largest mountain of Khao Ra is a great way to see the island.

Many people stop at Koh Pha-ngan for a day or two before heading on to Koh Tao, which lies 45 kilometres north of Koh Pha-ngan and is known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao, which means Turtle Island in the Thai language, is very small and covered with palm trees and pristine white sand, the perfect exotic island.

Krabi, Thailand

  • Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand
Krabi, Thailand

Welcome to Krabi, said by many to be the ‘most beautiful province in Thailand’. Located approximately 814 kilometres from Bangkok, Krabi Province can be found in the south of Thailand and consists of more than 150 attractive islands and beaches.

There is plenty to see and do in this province, and it is easy to lose yourself here for more than a month as you hop from island to island and beach to beach. Popular activities are sea kayaking and canoeing, whilst diving and snorkelling are always popular in Thailand’s crystal clear waters.

Ao Nang is the closest beach to Krabi Town. This area is mainly occupied by large, upmarket beach resorts. You can hire a sea kayak or long-tail boat and explore the uninhabited island of Koh Hong.

Just 6 kilometres away from Ao Nang is the well loved are much talked about Hat Noppharat Thara, which is a famous 3 kilometer long white sandy beach, perfect for taking it easy and soaking up some rays. Elephant trekking is popular in this area, while the hot springs at Khlong Thom are a good place to ease aching muscles. Whilst there, check out the informative Wat Khlong Thom museum.

Railay is perhaps the prettiest beach in this area. This is a great place for rock climbing, and the sunsets at Hat Rai Leh West are spectacular.

There are some interesting limestone cliffs to explore. Tham Phra Nang is named Princess Cave after a local legend. The cave is hidden in the lagoon of Sa Phra Nang (Holy Princess Pool). Climb the cliff top for spectacular views.

Nearby, Tham Phra Nang Nai (Inner Princess Cave) is a series of illuminated caverns of high beauty. A feature point is the unusual ‘stone waterfall’, which is made of sparkling golden quartz.

Khao Phanom Bencha National Park consists of 50 square kilometres of virgin rainforest and a whole host of pretty waterfalls including Nam Tok Huay To, Nam Tok Huay Sadeh and Nam Tok Khlong Haeng and it is possible to swim in most of the waterfalls. The park is also home to the cave of Tham Khao Pheung, which contains stunning shimmering mineral stalactites and stalagmites.

Another area of natural beauty is the large Than Bok Khorani National Park, where caving is the main activity. Caves of interest here include Tham Hua Kalok, Tham Lawt and Tham Sa Yuan Thong. If you need a break from the beach, there are many interesting temples in the area to explore. Look out for the monastery of Wat Sai Thai, which is a particularly auspicious place and very interesting around Buddhist holidays.

There are many places to get a good meal, and of course seafood is top of the menu. Barbecues can be found all along the beach and western food is widely available. If you are looking to save a few baht, the night markets are generally the cheapest places to eat and these are the best places to find tasty, authentic Thai food.

Chonburi, Thailand

Chonburi, Thailand
Chonburi, Thailand
Chonburi, Thailand
Chonburi, Thailand

Chonburi is a province full of beautiful sandy beaches, enchanting tropical islands, abundant natural resources and delicious fresh seafood. This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city for a while and relax on the beach. The capital town of Chonburi is the nearest seaside town to Bangkok. Located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Chonburi is just 80 kilometres from Bangkok and very popular with residents of Bangkok on weekends and holidays.

Chonburi province contains many places of interest for visitors. Particularly well known throughout the world is the seaside town of Pattaya, while the town Si Racha is famous throughout Thailand for its spicy chilli sauce.

Particularly of interest in the area is the picturesque island of Ko Si Chang, which was made popular when King Rama IV, Rama V and Rama VI visited the island for some much deserved rest and relaxation. King Rama V initiated the construction the first palace for royal home-stay in the summer, and the idea proved popular with subsequent rulers and people of note.

There are many beautiful beaches and other places of interest on Ko Si Chang. The meditation caves at the Tham Yai Phrik Vipassana Monastery are a good place to get in touch with nature while learning the art of meditation.

There are plenty of great places on the island to swim, such as the picturesque Hat Tham Phang (Fallen Cave Beach), Hat Sai Kaew and Hat Tha Wang Palace, which is a great picnic spot.

The San Jao Phaw Khao Yai Chinese Temple is located high on a cliff top overlooking the sea and offers spectacular views over the ocean, and the limestone cave of Tham Saowapha is definitely worth a visit, although don’t forget to take a torch.

There are a number of small islands located around Ko Si Chang such as Ko Khaam Noi, Ko Ran Dok Mai and Koh Prong. A good way to explore them is to rent a sea kayak, go scuba diving or go on a snorkeling trip to the nearby Ko Khaang Khaow (Bat Island).

Koh Si Chang is a great place to sample the abundant local seafood, and what could be better than eating fresh barbecued seafood on the beach whilst you drink and cold beer and watch the sun slowly set.

The Abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat

The Abbot of Wat PahNanachat, Ubon Ratchathani, ThailandBy Jaruwan Supolrai, English and Communication student, Ubon Ratchathani University
Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1955. He became interested in Buddhism by being inspired from reading the Buddha’s message while a biology student. And in 1978 he then stayed at Wat Buddhadhamma near Sydney before traveling to Thailand to ordain.

He received his novice ordination from Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara at Wat Bowon Niwet Wiharn in Bangkok. And in 1979 at the age of 24 he received full ordination with the late Venerable Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong, a forest monastery in Ubon Ratchathani, the northeastern Thailand.

He then spent many years wandering on ‘tudong’ in the forest, staying in secluded monasteries and seeking out great meditation teachers and following their footsteps especially the late Venerable Ajahn Chah’s. From 1994 to 2002 he stayed at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery in Western Australia as deputy to Ajahn Brahmavamso.

In 2002 when Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro left Wat Pah Nanachat Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo took over his duties and become the abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat, a branch monastery of Wat Nong Pah Pong with an international community of English speaking monks, which run by the late Venerable Ajahn Chah.

Since then he diligently has worked training ‘anagarikas’ and ‘novices’ and guides the monks at the Wah Pah Nanachat. Always he gives a talk to Buddhists and people who come to give the offerings in every morning, which the talk can be counselling to those in need. And on the religion day he gives the Dhamma talks at Wah Pah Nanachat and other branch monasteries of the late Venerable Ajahn Chah in Thailand and sometimes in other countries around the world.

His First Contact with Buddhism

According to his biology background while in a university, he studied both life of animals and plants. So those things led him to be interested in studying the life of human beings and discovering what life was about, what was the true happiness and what we people were searching for.

One day when he went back home he had a chance to read a Theravada Buddhism book that his friends left at his home.

“I did not intentionally read it, I was just reading for killing the time” said the Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo. Then he could not put it down, reading it all the night until finishing, becoming more interested in Buddhism, his faith had arisen.

He said, “I appreciated of the Buddha’s teaching, because it was about the Four Noble Truths,” Since he did not find a true happiness, nobody found “paqqa” wisdom.

He began asking himself; Where is the person who has the true happiness? Where is the person who has the ‘paqqa’ ? Where is the ‘paqqa’? All the answer goes to the Buddha. The Buddha is the person who has the “paqqa”, he see through the sufferings, he pointed the cause of suffering and a path out of suffering that we can be free from sufferings getting the real happiness.

His Turning Points

With his curiosity in Buddhism, in the morning, he did not hesitated to go to the bookstore to buy Buddhism books. The result from reading a second book and seeing the picture of a monk on the cover of the book, which was the first monk he had ever seen in his life, had inspired him to want to be a monk.

“Having never ever seen any temples or any monks before, but I wanted to be a monk like him in the picture, it is because of my faith in Buddha, said the Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo.

After that, he went to the Buddhist Society in his hometown. When getting inside the temple. He said, “I had long hair and was dressing up in hippie style” and he did not know how to behave himself there. He did not take his shoes off until someone told him to take them off.
 
And there was a sign with the word, ‘Observe the Five Precepts’ written on a label inside the temple.
 
After reading the Five Precepts on that label, he felt it was the right thing for him at that time, so he decided to observe those precepts for the sake of himself and other people to be safe from any other harmful things all around. And later on, he began to practice meditation from reading many books.
 
Finally he met Ajahn Kantaparo, who used to stay at Wat Bowon Niwet Wiharn in Bangkok and came to teach Vibbassana (insight meditation) in Australia recommended him to come to Thailand.
 
Flying to Thailand
 
Not like any other farangs visiting many interesting tourist attractions when first coming, when arriving Bangkok he told a taxi driver to go to Wat Boworn Nivath Vihan where he became ordained a novice monk.
 
“From the first day that I came to Thailand until this day, I spend my time at the monastery I did not go to any other place”, said the Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo. And when asking why he chose to come to Thailand, “Because Thailand has a lot of Westerners and a lot of the old traditions” he said.
 
Training Under Ajahn Chah
 
A monastic life after having a chance to meet Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong and having him as a preceptor, he had spiritually trained with many Dhamma materials among many other training monks.
 
“I needed to change everything, I needed to speak Thai, I needed to eat Thai food and etc.” said the Venerable Nyanadhammo. It was tough with the change of food, language, weather and cultures. The food was extremely basic: sticky rice, leaves, curries – which were all put in one pot together – and a few bananas.
 
And what is more important was that the change of his manner to be suitable as the make him a good monk that he had to behave correctly. ” I felt like I was a new person, I was born again I was died from a farang and was born to be a Thai, “he added.
 
As Ajahn Chah’s way of teaching, he usually left his monks pretty much alone to practice and to learn the Vinaya or monastic codes of conduct; he would take them aside only occasionally if he sensed there were some problems need to be solved.
 
Ajahn Chah Gave Him a Kick

 
One day Ajahn Nyanadhammo and his monk-friends went on the same alms-round together into the village, and, as they were coming back to the dining-hall, there was one monk started complaining about the monks who hand out the food.
 
Self-righteous anger came up in him, and he said to him, “Instead of complaining about the other monks, why don’t you get up and help us?” And then he stormed off in a huff.
 
As Ajahn Nyanadhammo was walking, he heard Ajahn Chah’s voice saying, “Good morning” in English. (The only words he knew in English were ‘Good morning’ and ‘Cup of tea’.) He turned to see him standing only three feet away with a big radiant smile on his face. And he said, “Oh, good morning, Luang Por.” And he radiated loving kindness to Ajahn Nyanadhammo, and the aversion completely disappeared and he was really happy.
 
That evening he decided, “As Ajahn Chah was very friendly to him, he would go over and offer him a foot massage”: that was a way to do some service for him, and he often would teach Dhamma at that time. So he was sitting on a cane seat with Ajahn Nyanadhammo sitting on the floor and massaging his foot.
 
When the bell rang for evening chanting. Ajahn Chah told the other monks to go to the chanting and Ajahn Nyanadhammo was left together with Ajahn Chah; it was a beautiful cool evening, with the moon coming out full, and the sound of some seventy monks chanting, he said “It was just wonderful. Ajahn Chah sat in meditation as I was massaging his foot – and my mind was on cloud nine, uplifted with joy”.
 
At that point Ajahn Chah kicked him in the chest and knocked him flat on his back! He looked up in shock, and Ajahn Chah pointed at him saying, “See? In the morning someone says something you don’t like and you’re upset. Then someone else just says, ‘Good morning’ and you’re uplifted all day. Don’t get caught up in moods and emotions of like and dislike at what other people say.” That is one of the lessons that he still remembers to this day.
 
Staying And Teaching in Western Australia

 
After his fifteenth year as a monastic life in Thailand, he was requested to stay and teach the Dhamma in Western Australia. “I did not want to go there, I needed to go, because people there they were hungry for the Dhamma”, said the Venerable Nyanadhammo.
 
When he and his monk-friends first came there. They had to stay in a small house. Some days they did not have any meal, because nobody came to give them the offerings.
 
Not for long someone gave them a land in forest to build a monastery. Before they built a ‘sala’ and a ‘kuti’, they needed to stay in the hut for a while and had to bathe in the stream with cold water. He said, “I was living with kangaroos in the forest”.
 
“Some did not know Buddhism, some did not know gathering the alms-food”, he said, teaching Dhamma to Westerners is not easy like teaching Thais who were born in the land of Buddhism – basically have the faith in Buddha.
 
It is necessary for them to cultivate faith in the Buddha to them so that we can teach them how to meditate which is what the Westerners are interested in.
 
Teaching the Dhamma to Westerners might take a long time until it works. ” It was difficult at first but it worked and was useful in the end” said Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo.
 
The Family’s Thought
 
Asking what his family thinks about his ordination, when they heard about Buddhism, they did not understand. “And when I had became ordained wandering to meditate in the forest, they thought that I was crazy.”
 
But nowadays the family heard about Buddhism and have some knowledge and understanding the history of Buddhism. “They maybe see a picture on the television or documentary about Buddhism or Buddhist monks, because of that they understand” he added.
 
Things have changed quite a lot since he first came but generally he thinks most western people’s parents want their children to be happy and want their sons to be happy people to be peaceful themselves in the world. And generally the parents found it acceptable.
 
The Conclusion
 
Being of one monks here who follows the Buddha’s footstep and other great venerables, he has been seriously doing the Dharma propagation activities in Thailand and overseas – for the sake of making the world a peaceful place. ” Nowadays there are many interested Westerners coming to in Buddhism in Thailand” added the Venerable Ajahn Nyanadhammo.
 
*FOOTNOTES
 
“Tudong” – taking a bowl and robes and walk seeking out secluded places to meditate in the forest
 
“Anagarika” – a person in preparation to be in yellow robe and observe the Eight Precepts
 
“sala” a place where people gather making merits
 
“kuti” a place where monks stay in
 
“Luang Por” an old venerable
 
Wat Nong Pah Pong” – a forest monastery of marsh and pong” (pong is a type of high grass).

Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani

Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani
Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani
Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani
Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani
Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani
Monastic Training Life and Monkhood at Wat Pah Nanachat of Ubon Ratchathani

“More 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 Nanachat is 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 Buddha’s 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 any problem.

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 for it.
 
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 them.
 
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.