LEARN MEDITATION IN THAILAND
Wat Mahathat Temple (Pronounced What-Maa-Haa-Tart) enshrines relics of the Buddha. The temple is a highly revered temple in Bangkok, it was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before the city of Bangkok was founded in 1782. Just 700 meters north of the Grand Palace Bangkok. It is one of only six first class Royal grade temples.
Vipassana meditation center within Wat Mahathat Temple.
A well-known Vipassana meditation (insight meditation). Taught to Thais and Foreigners (in English) alike.
This meditation method aims at gaining insights into the true nature of life and our true purpose itself, with the realization of all external things being temporary and existing only indefinitely. Through mediation and contemplation, you may discover and address the why of suffering of man. How external desires for things can only bring a temporary diluted counterfeit form of happiness.
Humans true nature is to be blissful and joyful, with the noise of the modern day life; it can be tempting to associate your happiness with external pleasures, from fame to fortune. Meditation can assist you to be calm within the chaos, to be joyful in all situations. Hopefully the mediator will realize happiness/unhappiness is a choice.
Daily 3 hour classes are held in English from 7 to 10 am, 1 to 4 pm and 6 to 9 pm. Although classes are free, a suitable donation should be made. The meditation center is located in Section 5 of Wat Mahathat.
Next to the temple, on the other side of Maharat road is a large amulet market. Here you will find a large number of stalls selling amulets, Buddha images, and religious statues from very cheap to very expensive.
How to get to the Wat Mahathat
Chao Phraya river express boat is easiest, and a relatively fast way to get there. Two piers are at walking distance from the temple, Tha Chang pier and Tha Prachan Nuea pier.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 7 am until 5 pm. Admission is free, although a donation is highly appreciated and assists with many Temple community activities.
Learn & practice meditation continued
A list of retreats and temples in Thailand that teach Vipassana or Samatha meditation, click here for meditation retreats in Thailand.
Staying in a meditation retreat or Buddhist temple
Living in a Buddhist temple or meditation retreat to practice meditation, needs some discipline. Usually the day starts very early, between 4 am and 6 am.
As good conduct and behaviour is instrumental in cultivating a pure and balanced mind, students are required to observe precepts which are:
Abstain from being harmful to all living beings
Abstain from stealing
Abstain from sexual contact
Abstain from false speech
Abstain from consuming alcohol, using illegal drugs and smoking
Abstain from eating after 12 noon
Abstain from dancing, singing, playing music, watching entertainment shows, wearing perfume and make up etc
Abstain from high or luxurious places for sitting or sleeping
Some meditation retreats require no talking except during instruction sessions. Its best to employ common sense whilst there, and especially to cultivated and feel inner bliss and joy.
It is recommended to contact a temple or meditation retreat in advance and inquire about clothing requirements, whether meditators eat 2 or 3 times a day, accommodation, daily schedule, whether the teachers speak English and the rules you are expected to follow, availability etc
Meditation retreats and temples across Thailand
Wat Tham Wua in Mae Hong Son (website)
Wat Khao Tham on Koh Pha Ngan island (website)
Wat Suan Mokkh in Surat Thani (website)
If you are a beginner it is advised to choose a temple away from the noise of a city. Select a rural or forest temple would be better suited, for example the Wat Suan Mokkh or Wat Khao Tham, where instructions are given in English language in a peaceful, natural and quiet setting.
Temple customs and behaviour, interacting with monks
Whether you practice meditation in a retreat or in a temple, always be respectful and polite towards everyone. It’s best to talk less to quiet the mind, this is not a good time to catch up on social media and post selfies etc Do’s and Don’ts. Be especially respectful towards Monks, The Royal family and images of The Buddha.
When seated make sure your feet are pointing away from the monk.
Politeness and good intentions can go a long way especially if you are making a few cultural oversights.
Feet in Thailand are not considered auspicious so do not point them towards people, Monks or Buddha images etc is a must. Relaxing with your feet pointing up is also not a good idea.
Women cannot touch a monk or give something directly to them.
The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in the Grand Palace itself is the main attraction. A figurine of the meditating Buddha made from a solid one piece of green jade, clothed in gold and diamonds. It is greatly revered from the Royal family to Thai nationals alike, as Thailand’s utmost precious religious icon...
The Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is located 700 meters south of The Grand Palace. Its a world-renowned 46 meter long gold plated reclining Buddha. Its pose is representing entry into complete spiritual enlightenment ending all worldly reincarnations. Within the surrounding corridor there are 108 bronze bowls representing the 108 auspicious characteristics of The Buddha. It is believed dropping coins into these bowls brings wealth and prosperity...