Is there a Phrase (Mantra) I should Repeat when Meditating?

Monks chanting mantra at Buddhist temple.

Should I repeat a Phrase while Meditating? (Mantra)

This is a good question. The main goal of meditation as you begin is to reach a place where the mind is not churning out so many thoughts. It will be impossible for you to concentrate on the full breath until your mind has calmed down a bit.

I have used a number of different techniques in order to begin to calm my body and mind so that it is ready for the practice of focusing entirely on the breath. One of those techniques that I mentioned before that I used to do in the past was placing a lighted incense stick in a holder on the floor and shut off all of the lights so that all I could see was this small orange burning ash.

I would just focus on that orange dot, and even watch some of the smoke curl up off the tip of the stick. As I did this I became more relaxed and my mind became focused on that activity instead of the thoughts flying around in my head.

Another way that some people calm the mind during meditation is that they choose a mantra to focus on before they begin the serious business of focusing on the breath.

Meditation and mindfulness master, Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Peace is Every Step. Excellent book for meditation and mindfulness practitioners.

The Vietnamese meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh has many very useful phrases that you can use during your meditation to calm you down. I have not found anything better than his suggestions on mantras to say during your meditation session, so you might give them a try.

It has been years since I did this, but I can try to remember what I used to say with each in-breath and with each out-breath.

As I was breathing in, I would say something in my mind like, “Breathing in is life. Breathing out I let go.”

And it’s really as simple as that.

For some reason repeating a mantra time after time with each in-breath and out-breath calms the mind considerably and allows you to move forward in your practice by helping you let go of the thoughts and cares of the day. Then, you can begin letting go of the mantra and refocusing only on the in and out breaths.

I think that the ideal way to begin your meditation session is to think about it as an overall gradual lessening of input and focus until you finally focus entirely on the very small spot inside your nostrils or on your upper lip where you feel the breath most strongly.

So, one way that you might do this is as you come into the room for your meditation session you have many things on your mind, and then gradually begin letting those things go to focus on the simple physical activities of getting ready for your meditation.

As you sit down on the floor, or wherever you choose (no matter), you can start to look at finding exactly the right position for your meditation. You can start to remove things on your body that might interfere with your meditation because they cause you to feel them.

Things like bracelets, necklaces, watches, maybe large earrings or maybe nose-rings. I don’t know what you might be wearing, but any of these things can cause the slightest feeling that may interrupt your meditation.

You should probably be wearing a very loose shirt or no shirt at all. You should probably be wearing very loose pants, no socks, and no shoes.

The air in the room should be comfortable and no fans or air conditioning vents should be blowing air directly on you. Noises like a dog barking or baby crying should probably stop before you begin. Make an effort to quiet down everything you can control like a loud television or music or anything like that.

So look at it as winding the mind down to a fine point which you’re going to need as you meditate solely on the breath. Each thing that you do should be designed to lessen the amount of thought that your brain is having to do and winding it down to a slower pace and less-frantic pace of thoughts.

As you sit down, you can take an inventory of what your body feels like and whether or not you are in the right sitting position. You can query yourself and ask if there is anything that is bothering you as you sit there.

The next step is to bring in something that will help you calm the mind even further, so I suggested an incense stick that is slowly burning down. Or you can use a mantra in your head that you repeat over and over.

Breathing in, I live. Breathing out, I let go.

As you repeat these phrases over and over in your mind as you take each breath, gradually after five or ten minutes you will notice that your mind is starting to slow down a bit. Now, this might not happen for the first 10-20-30 sessions or more, but at some point, you will notice some progress as the mind begins to slow down.

Embrace the slow repetitive nature of the mantra with each part of the breath.

As you noticed the mind slowing down, start to make a transition from the focus on the mantra to a focus on only the feeling of the breath on the inside of the nostrils, or on your upper lip.

I encourage you to try many different things in your pursuit of calming the mind before you can begin really focusing on the breath in its entirety.

Using mantras or other tools to calm the mind is a useful but temporary method of slowing the mind down before real meditation on the breath occurs.

If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them if you just go to the Contact Page here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Sitting Meditation Position | 1998

Meditation Journal Entry – Sitting Position during Meditation

I found that meditation by sitting in a chair and putting my feet up on a table is the easiest way for me to relax. I feel no back/foot/leg pain and am able to lose myself in concentration on breath more easily. I also find that when I hear outside noises like fern moving about or the phone ringing that I seem to go into disassociating more easily and start immediately if I’ve been stuck in some thought process or emptiness up until that point. I am not attached to anything while I sit. I am just focused on breathing or else nothing at all.

I will continue to sit in a chair (the swivel one if possible) and put my feet up on the table with a sheet or towel under them for comfort. I don’t know that I believe that suffering while meditating must occur to progress through stages of meditation.

I’ve read that wisdom comes through two things…concentration of mind and awareness of attachment and labeling in wakefulness. For Ajarn Chah he felt his mind go inward and break apart his body, then come outward, then go back in and break apart the entire world! When he snapped out of that meditation he was in a changed state that appears to continue. It doesn’t reverse?

Meditation Catch-22

Meditation Catch-22 – Don’t Want the Experiences

I was lucky when I began meditating. I didn’t have any illusion about what states I might reach, what levels. I didn’t study any of that, because I just couldn’t have cared less at the time I started meditation.

To me, meditation was just an attempt at relaxation for twenty to thirty minutes. Immediately I began to experience the benefits of sitting still and focusing on the breath.

My normally running rampant mind – complete with Attention Deficit Disorder – began to slow down a little bit in the first couple of weeks. To be honest, it slowed down very little for the first month or so. Then, little by little, meditation began to have an amazing effect on my mind.

Thoughts began to pop up in less frequency than they had when I first began meditating. This was my first real taste of the mental relaxation that could result from a meditation practice. It was fantastic because once it started, it continued to operate on my fragmented mind, slowing it down even more over the next few months.

It was a few months from the time I started to when the mind first began stopping altogether. I mean, thoughts stopped. They just didn’t pop up at all for some stretch of time… seconds at first, then minutes and tens of minutes.

So, this initial benefit of meditation was actually two-fold.

1. My body relaxed. It felt better than sleeping during meditation because I was aware of how at peace the body was sitting silently without movement, stress, something to ‘do’. It was a great form of relaxation, and if this was all I ever got from meditating, it would have been enough. This was, after all, just what I was in search of when I first sat down to see what meditation was all about.

2. My mind relaxed. As I said, the mind began slowing the number of thoughts down that popped up while meditating, and slowed down to the point of stopping. This was unexpected, but really quite a bit more amazing than just having a relaxed physical body. I’d never experienced a relaxed mind before. I was exploring new ground, and that was exciting.

The next benefits, the awesome states of mind that followed the mind stopping, were all a surprise to me. I wasn’t looking for them. I didn’t know what they were when they came. When I first had the idea to meditate, I read some Buddhist books on it, and I found them to be filled with what I thought must be superstitions, and magical thinking. To me Buddhism was just another -ism that I didn’t care about learning. In the past I was a Catholic, then a Christian. Around age 22 I finally stopped reading the bible and had a World Religion class in college. I began then to question all religions and beliefs of every sort. One that you might not know about me, is that I questioned national-ism quite a bit. I found it to be just like many religions, and tossed it aside with the rest.

So, the idea of Buddhist meditation didn’t appeal to me much. After reading a couple of meditation books and eastern religion books, it looked to me like meditation could also just be a physical exercise. Well, physical and mental. I could sit and relax and watch my breathing, focus on it with my mind, and gain some sort of physical relaxation from it. What I could gain mentally, I didn’t have any idea about. As I said, it was like a bonus when I began to have some mental peace from it as well.

So, the mind had begun to stop during some of my meditation sessions while focusing on the breath. When it stopped, various things resulted. Experiences came and went. At times I would focus on the breath more, to make that focus laser sharp. Other times I would sit in the stillness of the no-thought state and just observe… without there being a separate observer. Hard to explain if you’ve not experienced it. It was as if being alive for the first time, without thought interrupting and changing the experience.

Soon various experiences came. Some were mellow. Some were filled with energy, emotion, and even weirdness. The mind is so extremely powerful that it can produce shocking experiences that change your life. Eventually, Jhana started and that was really a life-changing time period of my life. It revolutionized my entire being. It was incredibly powerful, not just the states themselves, but what happened after the meditation when the states had dissipated. There was this vibrant state of mind that was clear and free. Really something to experience.

Anyway…

The point of this article was to tell you about the Catch-22 situations in meditation and progress into the thoughtless and Jhana states.

Probably you have either read a book or two about meditation, or you have read articles online, seen some videos at Youtube about meditation, talked with a meditation teacher, a monk, a friend about meditation, or something like this in order to understand a bit about meditation.

I think most people don’t have a very simple goal in mind of just meditating to relax the body to start. So, I’m different that way. I’m also different because I didn’t know what mind states existed for relaxation, and didn’t really care. I was sure that studying them would be pointless because I didn’t think my mind would ever slow down enough to allow progress in that area. Attention Deficit Disorder is really an all-encompassing problem that affects the mind during all waking hours. I enjoyed about an hour of slower mind processes in the early morning if I woke up around 5:00 a.m., but otherwise my mind was fully engaged and chugging out the thought streams 100%.

The Catch-22 with meditation is that, in order to progress to the point where the mind stops and Jhanas and other experiences are possible, you must let go of any desire for it to happen.

Teachers of all sorts and I’ve seen a lot of videos and read a lot of books by this point, seem to go about telling students of meditation how to go about it in ways that I don’t think help them come to any real understanding of how to go from here to THERE. ‘There’ being the goal.

The Catch-22 is that the more you listen to these teachers, the less you are going to be able to experience similar things. The possibility for nibbana – the freeing of the mind from all suffering, gets further and further away as you make it more and more important in your mind. So, the problem is that building up the importance of attaining nibbana, nirvana, enlightenment, moksha, whatever you want to call it, hinders your ability to do just that.

In my case, I didn’t have any Catch-22 to get over. I wasn’t focused on stopping the mind. I wasn’t focused on Jhana. I wasn’t focused on enlightenment or anything like that. I just wanted to relax. Because that was my goal, and because I didn’t know anything about Jhanas, they came easily and without much difficulty at all. Within a year I’d seen all the jhanas a number of times. My mind changed, my ego changed, my life changed. I’m who I am today because of these changes.

The classic way to show you the Catch-22 is to point you to this video of Bruce Lee in one of his old films. I don’t know that Bruce Lee was enlightened, or not, but it’s a really great example to show you what’s happening with the teacher trying to show the student how to get ‘there’.

Bruce Lee and the Classic Catch-22 >

Starting after the 1 minute mark, Bruce Lee tells the student, “It is like a finger pointing a way to the moon…”

Bruce smacks his head. “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory.”

So, Bruce is showing him that the way, the instructions that he is giving are only pointing the way to the truth. They are not the truth themselves. The finger is not where to concentrate but beyond that. The finger is like a tool to lead the student to realize the truth on his own. Focusing on the finger will lead to nothing. The realization must come from inside.

So, every student that follows a teacher, a method, some rules, some path to get to enlightenment, to reach Jhana or some other experience, will experience this Catch-22.

I’ve seen it with Jiddu Krishnamurti teaching students. I’ve seen it with U.G. Krishnamurti talking to people. I’ve seen it with Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve seen it with some monks here in Thailand. I’ve seen it in the Buddhist texts.

Every teacher goes about trying to help students reach ‘there’ but I think so very few people get it at all.

I’m going to try to show you what it is all about here.

If you WANT to reach a state of mind like the Buddha, like some of these teachers who have experienced ‘higher’ states of mind, you cannot get there. In order to get ‘there’ you must give up the wanting for it. The Catch-22 is that when you want it – it cannot come. It’s like – the more important you make this goal, the less chance that you will ever see it.

I look at the monks here in Thailand that have tried for forty and more years to reach even the first few Jhanas, and they continually fail during meditation to have those experiences.

Why is that?

They have made the goal of reaching Jhana – of stopping the mind – SO IMPORTANT that it gets in the way. It prevents the person from getting into these states.

U. G. Krishnamurti tells people that they cannot get ‘there’ through a conscious willful act to reach it. He says it is impossible. I agree. It cannot happen. However, his style of teaching is to continually tell people there is nothing there. There is nothing to reach. There is nothing to ‘get’.

In some sense, he is correct. However, I approach it a different way.

During meditation, we need to be able to give up the wanting for a brief time. The focus needs to be on something else, so the mind can stop, and then we can move forward by giving up everything that arises after that. In the thoughtless state there can not be any wanting. There cannot be any desire to go ‘get’ some experience. The absolute ONLY way to have anything more occur is to keep the mind empty of thought, of desire, of will, of ego, and then naturally, the experiences come. As each experience comes and is experienced, one then lets go of it and the next experience comes. And so on.

 

 

Breathing Meditation Phrases that Help | 1998

Breathing In and Out Phrases to Help Attention and Numbness

I’ve made a commitment to dedicate some time to meditation a few times per week for a half an hour or however much time I have to do so. I just finished an hour session.

I was able to stay focused on my breathing and on my own thoughts. Outside noises didn’t interfere much at all after 10-15 minutes. I was able to continue through the neighbor’s dog’s persistent barking without getting upset at all.  I was able to remain very still and comfortable throughout the hour.  I am really calm when I get out of it too.

Right now I feel a real sense of tranquility and evenness. I am not high, nor low. Just even and tolerant and unstressed. I experienced the numbness stage today. My hands were numb though almost the entire hour, and at one point I felt my mind try to leave the confines of my body.

At a couple points my body started to dissolve from feeling and all there was that existed was mind. I am going to read more about non-attachment tonight from either Thich Nhat Hanh’s or one of the books that Dr. Supawanich gave me. I used breathing in I smile to myself, breathing out I relax for a bit, as well as one I made up, breathing in I don’t attach to anything.

Breathing out I let everything go…  I like this one a lot…

Meditation Questions: What to Do With Tongue When Meditating?

Monkey tongue sticking out.I was sitting here for a few minutes… I’ve been getting the feeling to sit in silent meditation for a little while now. I’ve been doing it off and on, and being mindful sometimes throughout the day.

As I sat here an hour ago or so, I realized that usually, I don’t tell new meditators who read my books – What to do with the tongue during meditation?

I hadn’t really thought about that question before now – but, now that it presented itself – I’ll see what I can say about it.

The tongue, during meditation, seems to stick at the roof of my mouth. I guess that’s the natural resting place of it. If your tongue naturally rests some other way – I think better to go with the way your tongue is naturally relaxed and doesn’t cause you to think about it.

I realized that the tip of my tongue is resting where the two big front teeth join. My tongue actually seems to be slightly between my upper and lower teeth. I’m not biting it – it isn’t that far between, but only a couple of millimeters. Now, do all tongues rest like this? I couldn’t tell you whether that is true, but mine seems to. Other times I try – my teeth are closed and the tongue just rests on the back of the front teeth where they meet, but more of the tongue is against the top front teeth.

So, no idea what your tongue is doing during meditation, but if it’s as relaxed as possible, that’s best. It doesn’t matter too much, but your mouth (lips) should probably be closed. Ideally, you’re breathing through your nose easily and without effort to hold your mouth together.

Make sure your jaw is totally relaxed too.

That’s about it. Don’t copy my tongue-position if the one you have is working for you. I just thought I’d comment on the topic since I don’t think I have done so in years.

🙂

Vern

“Meditation for Beginners – a 22 Day Course” my little ebook, gives you the basics on meditation… You can find it here.

[Photo credit – masashi mochida at Flickr.com]

Watching “Suffering” During Meditation

Suffering During Meditation… Watching Discomfort

One set up the garage as a meditation haven today. The bug light is in there to take care of mosquitoes. The Buddhists in the forests have mosquito nets which don’t necessitate taking their lives–but this one doesn’t have the luxury. It was done in mindfulness.

One drank some hot coffee before entering the garage and its 85+ heat and high humidity just to see if one could suffer more this time. One was reading the book by Levine called Gradual awakening that spoke of the times when meditation appears to be going badly is actually a time of great growth if one can come through it without attaching to or desiring better circumstances like (cooler, more comfy, less bugs, less noises outside,etc.)

It didn’t take one long before immersed in sweat, heat, and a position sitting on towels on top of the jacuzzi cover (thick hard foam). As soon as this one started, there was noticed a sharp pain coming from sweat entering an abrasion on one’s ankle where the hands remained. One started to move them away to erase the pain, but then stopped and re-placed them so that the pain would continue.

Not wanting things to be different is a concept that needs to start being followed. Sweat started to run down the body and tickled. A couple of mosquitoes did get to me and the itch was very intense towards the last 20 minutes or so of sitting. Through it all one was able to remain in what a book described as the sunyatta state (annatta) which is voidness and non-self. I really would like to avoid the fluff of Pali and Thai language which isn’t necessary in order to have or describe the experience.

One did not have thoughts of how it could be better. One did not reach to quell itching or pain or sweat from tickling various parts of the body. One just sat with it. Occasionally when concentration seemed fairly steady one would concentrate on the pain or discomfort to try to see the nature of it. One found that one could only concentrate on one discomfort at a time and that though multiple situations appeared to be bothering the body at once, in reality there were many competing stimuli vying for that crucial attention necessary to perceive them. One found that when attention was shifted from one to another that the original disturbance did not bother this one–unless the attention was shifted back to it.

One concentrated on focusing attention to the sensation of the nostrils as air passed over them on the inhalation and the exhalation. Though one was not able to maintain concentration very well throughout the sitting one was able to watch the process of thoughts arising and leading to other thoughts and eventually the whole process leading to full blown little fantasies played out in the mind!

It was incredible how small a diversion from the concentration on the breath it takes to divert the entire mind to another direction all together! One time one noticed that the bug zapper made a noise. This led to a thought that maybe some flies were in the air. Then this led to a thought about other possible bugs and lizards and spiders that may be crawling about. This led to a video picture in ones mind about some horrific creature that had big teeth! One felt the urge to laugh then because the whole process of diversion took just a couple seconds.

One immediately got back to the focus on the breath. This process happened many times tonight–perhaps a hundred or more–though not always completing a coherent thought sequence. Many times one caught the process as soon as it started. It seems to start with something perceived…some sound, pain, feeling, desire, etc. The mind takes this thing perceived and reacts instantaneously with whatever is within the mind to take the sensation to a different focus–perhaps as a way to entice the attention to follow it and not see it for what it was to start with–just a pain or sound or whatever.

Anyway, the further the mind can carry one away with the chain of reactions the more clever and far away from the original sensation the movement gets!!! It was not unlike my Freudian free association idea in which one follows a thought and its subsequent reactions down the line until we see what becomes of it.

I.E.: Thought-mind-full-overflowing-love-fern-scared-fear-feeling-temporary-changing-mind-world

The mind naturally does this on its own and infinitely better than we can do while consciously aware and choosing each word. The mind strings together chains of thoughts and reactions in a seemingly continuously flowing line of thought. The curious thing is that the result of its process is very far removed from the original sensation.

Mind is built for regurgitation and linking similar thoughts/experiences/perceived sensations/goals/desires/opinions/wants/things we want to be/ etc. That is all mind is–a storage bank, an infohouse. Much deeper is the soul or spirit that can guide with wisdom and in consonance with the one consciousness of the world (all that is).

Just have to write an incredible example that Levine wrote in the above mentioned book. He wrote that the only difference in the pleasure received from touching your lover sexually and touching rotting bird carcass is the contents of the mind. (Not as explicitly–but same idea). Everything that we’ve been taught and conditioned with decides feelings!

Meditation Tips for Advanced Students

Found on the outside of a building at Suan Mokkh Temple in Chaiya, Southern Thailand.

There are a number of things advanced meditation students are doing that are impeding their progress. Assuming you want to progress quickly through the stages of meditation and see some tangible benefit to your practice, you are always looking for new ways to go about things. Read these two meditation tips and see if they might apply to you.

Advanced meditators want a formula. They want step by step instructions to do this, that and the other thing – and a guarantee to get further than they presently are. I would love to give you that – if it worked. But really, that is not the problem. This problem is that you are not dedicated to your practice. I don’t mean you’re not sitting enough. Everyone in the far stages of the game seem to be able to sit for hours on end meditating.

What matters is not length of time spent meditating, it’s the effort you use while there. Sit and watch the breath… if thoughts or other distractions like pain, tickles, sounds, heat, cold, or other things pull you away – refocus on the breath at that tiny spot inside your nostrils. Concentrate on watching each breath come in and out right at that spot. Watch it over and over.

When explained verbally like that – it sounds easy. Guess what? All you need to do is follow that. Really, that’s just about the entire game of meditation – right there.

It is far from easy. Some find it easier than others – and jhana levels come, a lot of new experiences come… and they are on the way to wherever they are going. Most people just cannot continually refocus the mind on the breathing – time, after time, after time… thousands of times. You don’t need more instruction. You don’t need more time sitting. You just need to work while you are sitting. Work while you are doing walking meditation. Work at being mindful outside of meditation.

Another real problem for advanced meditators is – they WANT IT too much.

This might be even bigger than the previous stumbling block.

Wanting = attachment, which = failure. Failure to go forward.

Meditation requires letting go of all resistance, fluff, experiences, and attachment in the mind. Unfortunately, the vast majority of meditators across the globe first read many books and then find a group and teacher to help teach them meditation. It’s my opinion that if you do that – you’re going about meditation the wrong way.

If your entire goal, and all efforts, all thoughts, all knowledge you accumulate – is to get to first Jhana… you’re going to have a really difficult time of it. Ask the hundreds of thousands of monks in Thailand and across Asia. There are very, very few that have even experienced Jhana. Fewer still who experience it regularly.

Why is that?

Monks want it worse than any other meditators.

Instead of going about meditation like that – where you have a goal to reach Jhana or some other experience… revise your goal and give yourself half a chance.

Revise your goal to…

I’m going to meditate to find relaxation.

If you find relaxation, then you’re already winning… the goal is yours. Continue on doing it.

When you restate your goal this way, and take the focus off attaining some level of Jhana – you are reconditioning the mind in a way that can let you move forward when the time comes. You’ll need to say it over and over to yourself as a mantra so you believe it.

What will happen when you get close to Jhana is, you’ll not be thrilled about it. The goal is relaxation. First Jhana isn’t necessarily that… it’s filled with emotion really – rapturous joy. When you start to experience first jhana – you’ll let it happen and not attach to it nearly as much as if it was the goal.

When you first experience Jhana you will see – it’s maybe the most momentous experience you’ve ever had in your life – certainly the most extreme thing your consciousness has ever experienced. If your goal is to keep that up – you’ll attach to it very strongly – and it will elude you forever more.

Instead… if you make your goal relaxation… you’ll have Jhana – not be that impressed, and it will come again. Eventually 2nd, 3rd, and the rest follow. Each one you must not get too excited about – and focus just on relaxation and letting go of all hindrances that pop up – mostly attachment to getting to Jhana.

When I first started meditating I didn’t even know what Jhana was. I knew there might be strange experiences I came up against… but I knew that I should ignore them and not get carried away by them. I let them go… Sometimes if I planned to get up in a certain amount of time – and yet I was into the Jhanas – I’d just get up and go do whatever I had to do. I gave the Jhanas no respect at all. What happened then was that they came so easily I hardly needed to do anything. Really – this is one of the very little known keys to getting through Jhana levels.

See how you would have been better off to start meditating for “relaxation” as a goal – instead of attaining something?

See how much easier it is for beginners to do so before they get wrapped up in the idea that Jhana is going to save their life, and save the entire planet once enough people know about it?

I have explained the very simple process of meditation in the book at the top right column on this page. It’s cheap, and it can help you immeasurably. If you cannot afford the $2.99, write me and I’ll give it to you.

 

A Quiet Place for Meditation in Thailand

I think there must be many people that are looking for a quiet place to meditate in Thailand – but they have no interest in attending a 10 day silent retreat, or any other guided retreat. These are most likely to be advanced meditators from various schools of meditation who are at a loss where to go to find a good place to meditate on their own.

I have an answer for you…

I too have been wondering about a place like this. I have considered numerous times, creating a place like this – but, time, money, and other obligations have proven bigger than my idea and if I want to meditate I just sit on the floor in a bedroom at my home, or at a local temple for a short while – but it is usually quite noisy.

For years I’ve wanted to find someplace to go for a couple of days to meditate on my own schedule.

Finally I found it. I just happened to read further on a website I’ve visited often, and there it was…

At Wat Suan Mokkhabalarama in Chaiya, Thailand (southern Thailand just north of Surat Thani province) it is possible to stay at the Thai side of Suan Mokkh (the original “main” Suan Mokkh temple), for a few days and practice meditation on your own schedule.

It’s funny, but the option to do so must have been there for years, and I just never saw it mentioned anywhere. So, I’m writing this so you can see it too!

I’ll be planning a stay there for a couple of days for some sitting and walking meditation. If anyone would like to go at the same time and meet up there – great, just let me know.

I will probably leave the car here for my family, and just take the motorbike.

If you have any questions about anything before you go – just write me at: aimforawesome@gmail.com and I’ll respond quickly.

Here’s a brief rundown of what they offer at Suan Mokkh:

Dormitory – there are separate mens and women’s dorms.  These are basic, and I think they are small rooms for women and open dorm for men, with a mosquito net, mat to lay on. I have not been inside the dorms yet – but will post photos and better description after I return. Temperatures during April – December are hot and I am not sure if they offer a fan or not. January through March is fairly nice at night – best temperature for the year. I don’t think they have blankets, but meditation cushions and maybe towels would be available.

Restroom – Sinks – Bathing – There are communal sinks to wash and brush teeth, and showering is done by splashing water from a very large clay jar. Restrooms are all located outside the dorms and are very basic. They are sit down toilets – western style, not the squat overs you see some places in Thailand.

Meditation Facilities – There are a number of buildings that can be used for meditation at Suan Mokkh. Some are meditation halls in the middle of the forest, with few sounds. Others are closer to the highway and trucks can be faintly heard passing. There are also kilometers of dirt trails (almost roads) where walking meditation can be done. It is quite peaceful at Suan Mokkh and you probably won’t have to deal with people talking much at all. The sounds of nature fill the air in the forest – cicadas, frogs, birds, wind.

Library – There is a basement library filled with rare meditation books in English that you might enjoy. I found some great books there on my last visit. If you are staying in the dorms you can check out the books, there is a nun (magee in Thai) that will help you.

Food – Outside the front gate are a couple of Thai food ‘restaurants’ that offer various southern curries over rice. Most dishes are spicy, but there are a couple that are not. There are a number of small convenience type shops where cold drinks and other snacks can be bought as well. If you want different food, a short trip up to Chaiya city can give you many more options. If I happen to be there at the same time you are staying, I will probably be making food runs on the motorbike occasionally.

Meditation Instruction – There is no meditation instruction offered at this location – everyone speaks Thai.