*Hosting unavailable until summertime 2020*
The name of this place was given by the venerable Ashin Nagadipa, abbot of the mystical and esteemed Burmese Buddhist monastery Kyaik Htee Tsaung. Although in its infancy, there is faith that Thuwannabhumi Deepa “Light of the Golden Land” will manifest its auspicious name - a place where there is the light of hope and happiness born from truth and the refinement of mind and bodily conduct.
I am building a meditation center and monastery in the mountains of Northern Thailand. It is firmly rooted in the great lesson of the man who became the Buddha Gautama over 2,500 years ago. It is nestled in lush jungles that rise amidst the ancient slopes of rich soil pouring into the stream marking the foremost border of the land. I find it is a special place deeply connected with the spirit of nature, offering tranquility and a refuge from a clamorous society. Its purpose is to offer visitors the chance to practice the Buddha’s teachings according to my teacher’s example.
It is the way of this place that practitioners have the space to develop inner tranquility and discover the fruits of truth within themselves. Therefore it is important that we allow each other this sanctity of being, and not impose our view and will on others. It is also important that visitors respect that the teachings of the Buddha are the way of this place, and that they are careful not to misrepresent them to others here. Those who wish to come to teach and heal others will find that their purpose does not align with the purpose of this refuge. Here we learn to heal and teach ourselves according to the Buddha’s guidelines, and to gently be with others as friends walking the same path. The standard for being a teacher at the Burmese monastery Kyaik Htee Tsaung is very high. Until this level of exceptional mastery is reached, one is not considered a teacher there nor here. This includes myself, although I can share some basic principles of practice that will do for a stay.
I am a young Irish man living in Thailand. I have been studying and practicing the Buddhist path for several years with success, thanks to the guidance of my teachers. I have ordained as a temporary monk in Myanmar several times and have a close relationship with a venerable abbot and monastery there. The mediation centre was named by this abbot and is supported by him.
Currently, my father in law and I live on the land. He is a Buddhist monk living a simple life. He enjoys growing fruit, veg, and flowers.
The land is a spiritual refuge and so certain rules strictly apply, being the five precepts, abstinence from all sexual activity, and abstaining from the eating of meat and eggs. The five precepts are:
1) To abstain from the taking of life.
2) To abstain from taking what is not freely given.
3) To abstain from sexual misconduct.
4) To abstain from false, frivolous and harsh speech.
5) To abstain from the taking of mental intoxicants (the smoking of tobacco its allowed.).
Volunteers are also asked to refrain from wearing black and blood-red clothing. Females should cover shoulders, knees and cleavage. Males should not be topless and cover their shoulders when not working.
In Asia, respect is the essence of culture and it is reflected in many refined ways. Physical contact is reserved and this is especially the case with monks. Hugging is a precious and deep gesture and not given and received easily. Touching the head is especially considered disrespectful. Although many westerners express affection through touching, and this can be a beautiful symbol, visitors who enjoy touching are advised to refrain from this while staying here out of respect for the way of the culture. Also, pointing at a person or holy image is not considered respectful in many Asian cultures, as well as pointing your feet at people and holy images.
In many Asian cultures, ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘good-bye’ is not said between the locals. There is also a noble tradition that is dying out in respecting the conversation and truth of quietude. Practitioners need not be concerned that others are dissatisfied with them if they experience this from others. These affections are often expressed in slight gestures and giving instead. Although the owner is Irish, he has adopted many of the Burmese customs. You are supported and appreciated in all your good efforts.
Asians are also very understanding when others make honest mistakes. However, intended disrespect is taken very seriously, especially to the elders and monks of society. Volunteers are advised to check their tempers in such situations. Do not be concerned if you have made an honest mistake with respect to these guidelines. Forgiveness and the acceptance of forgiveness is in the nature of this refuge.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Computers/ Internet
Foremost, it is wished that visitors will benefit from the inner wisdom, solace and mysteries that we all possess. The method used to unlock our latent spiritual power is the eight-fold Path as taught by the Buddha. First there is the abstinence from worldly desires and corruptions (following the five precepts, as well as the complete abstinence from sexual practices and eating meat), then there is the active doing of good (in this case supporting the altruistic meditation centre intended to bring a wise happiness to visitors). This moral behaviour empowers the will of the mind, and so we can successfully practice releasing our mind from corrupted thoughts and motivations, and cultivate positive mental powers through mediation.
A purified and powerful mind may experience extraordinary psychic phenomena such as spontaneous remembrance of past lives, or visions of extra-dimensional beings. Such experiences reorientate our perspective on existence, naturally feeding the faculty of wisdom. Yet excitement can equally feed into folly. Otherwise, wisdom can be cultivated independent of such experience, and by applying a pure and powerful mind to the lessons of truth taught by the Buddha, we may discover profound depths of wisdom within ourselves. In this way, we may hope to discover the Nibbanic element, the realm of the fully enlightened who are free from suffering and death.
However, nibbana is a special experience unique to the Buddhist path. Practitioners should exercise caution in understanding their experiences. Misunderstandings can create great obstacles for the practitioner that inhibit their progress. Practitioners are also advised to be discrete in sharing their spiritual experiences with others, as this can cause confusion. Visitors should understand that these accomplishments take time and dedication and not to expect to leave enlightened.
Beyond this, construction skills may be acquired.
Currently, there is hosting available for 1/2 people depending on the situation.
Help is needed with a variety of hands-on tasks. Currently I am landscaping a great deal, and am preparing the first roads and shelters.
This is a big project and I commit most of my energy, time and assets to it. I enjoy hard work, and there is a lot of it that needs to be done. Volunteers should also enjoy hard-work and to be able to take care of themselves outside of work. Volunteers should keep themselves and their accommodation clean. If you know that you do not like hard-work or have a history of unreliable work, problems will surely arise. If you like a social environment you will likely find yourself bored. If you enjoy being reclusive, to be calm in nature and to practice meditation you will enjoy the experience.
I won’t want you to perform anything dangerous. The work can be physically intense at times, but, for the right kind of people, rewarding and you should feel very happy at the end of the day. There may also be more work than expected. I make great sacrifice to create this place against the odds for the benefit of others. Volunteers should understand that they are joining me in this good sacrifice rather than participating in an exchange.
Overall, some will love and appreciate the experience, and some will want to get out quickly. Make sure you carefully read through this page to understand which one you are.
Practitioners stay in a bamboo hut, one person to a hut. Accommodation is simple and pleasant, but not for everyone. If you easily feel uncomfortable in more rustic settings or have high standards you won’t be happy. There are many creatures that share this land with us.
I cook meals on the land now.
Wifi is very limited, it is better to make the assumption that you will mostly be without it. However, I often make brief visits to my house nearby which has wi-fi. Volunteers may join me whenever they have something important to do online.
Bring enough clothing to cover your work, it can get messy. We hand wash our clothing at the end of the day. Bring a nice and loose sets of clothes for meditation practice. Black and blood-red clothing is not allowed according to tradition.
It’s a cold shower or bucket wash. It’s in a semi-open space.
It is highly recommended that time off is spent developing inner peace. Occasional sightseeing trips to spiritual places may be arranged. A scooter is available for local transport for those with the appropriate licenses. The centre is an 1-1.5 hours drive from Chiang May city centre. Volunteers will have to take a taxi here as there is no public transport and hitchhiking is not usually understood in this area.
For longer stays, pick-up half way may be possible, at Doi Saket Temple (north-east of the center). There are probably several ways to get there detailed somewhere online.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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