Sorn-Thawee Meditation Center

Sorn-Thawee Meditation Center, Chachoengsao, Thailand

MEANING OF NAME

“Sorn” is the person who donated the land. “Thawee” is the founder and head teacher at the center. Also known as, Samnak Vipassana Sorn-Thawee.

ADDRESS

Bangkla, Chachoengsao 24110.

DIRECTIONS

From Bangkok, take a bus to Chachoengsao from either Northern (Moh Chit) or Eastern (Ekamai) bus terminals.  Then take a bus toward Bangkla; get off after about 25 min. (just past KM post 17) where the bus turns left at Bangkla Crossing; walk across the highway and follow the intersecting road south 300 meters, then turn right another 300 meters at the sign.

MEDITATION SYSTEM

Vipassana, practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.  Techniques using the tool of mental noting are similar to those taught by Mahasi Sayadaw. Formal sitting and walking meditation is done 8-12 hours a day.  Mindfulness is applied to all of one’s daily activities. One must practice systematically through waking hours in order to develop the concentration needed for effective insight meditation.

TEACHING METHOD

Daily individual interviews are considered essential. Meditators report previous day’s experiences, then receive instruction and guidance.

MEDITATION TEACHERS

  • Phra Ajahn Thawee, abbot (Thai; age 76)
  • a Western nun (Austrian) teach foreigners.

LANGUAGE

English and German are always available.

DESCRIPTION

Attractively landscaped grounds of 24 rai (10 acres) with ponds, trees, and colorful shrubs. Rice fields surround the centre.

SIZE

  • monks: 15-22 
  • novices: usually 0 
  • nuns: 20-30 
  • laypeople: 40-50 A new Dhamma Hall has 70 rooms for meditators.

DAILY ROUTINE

4 am. wakeup; 6:30 am. breakfast; 7:30 am. individual interviews begin; 11 am. lunch. Day is spent in or near one’s kuti doing intensive individual practice. Meditators should not sleep more than 6 hours. No group practice is offered.

FOOD

Good quality and variety; vegetarian is available on request. Two meals are served in the morning. Meditators eat mindfully in their kutis. The community eats as a group on special occasions.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Individual kutis with screens, fans, electricity, and attached bathrooms with running water. Older kutis have Thai-style bathrooms; newer kutis have western-style facilities.

WRITE IN ADVANCE?

Yes, necessary to arrange accommodations.

ORDINATION

Not available.

OTHER INFORMATION

Only individual (solitary) practice is offered at present; this isn’t for everyone as some people feel the need for the support of group practice. A Dhamma hall under construction is expected to open in 1993; check with the centre then to find out if group practice will be offered. The usual retreat duration is 50 days; 20 days is the minimum recommended stay.  Visits of less than 2 weeks don’t allow enough time to develop insight and won’t be allowed. 

Meditators observe 8 precepts, keep noble silence (especially not to talk about one’s meditation experiences with others), wear loose-fitting, modest clothing, and abstain from reading, writing, or listening to radios. A blanket or light sleeping bag is needed in the cool season. A 50 baht (US $2) daily fee covers running expenses.

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