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Wat Phra Dhammakaya Meditation Retreat

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Wat Phra Dhammakaya Temple, Pathumthani, Thailand


‘Temple of the respected body of the Dhamma.’


Khlong Sam, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani 12120. Telephone – (02) 516-9003 to 516-9009.

This is a massive temple covering 1 x 3.8 km in area. There are huge buildings with roofs almost like UFO saucers. It’s a gigantic place and there are few Westerners here but Thais love this kind of Buddhist Temple.


Located 40 km north of Bangkok in neighboring Pathum Thani Province. On Sundays and major Buddhist holidays, the best times to visit, free chartered buses to the temple depart from near the Victory Monument in Bangkok between 7 and 8 am.; the buses won’t likely have English signs, so look for passengers dressed in white clothing. 

Temple buses depart for the return to the Victory Monument between 3:30 to 5 or 6 pm. By public bus, go to Rangsit (buses include air- conditioned #3, 4, 10, 13, 29, and 39; non-air include #29, 34, 39, 59, and 95). From the market area in Rangsit (one block south of the main bus stop), take a bus #1008 to the temple.


Dhammakaya meditation in the tradition taught at Wat Pak Nam. The system is said to be an efficient way to purify the mind. One begins by bringing the attention to a point in the center of the body. A crystal ball or Buddha image is visualized as a nimitta (mental image); a mantra such as “Samma Araham” or “Buddho” can be used to further reduce mental chatter. 

As the mind becomes clearer, the wisdom inherent in the mind will manifest itself. It is this wisdom that’s called “Dhammakaya.”


Teachers give instruction in Thai during meditation periods. Some monks can also give instruction in English. A cassette tape sold at the Information Center has fairly complete instructions in English; literature is available too. Meditators write down their experiences daily for the abbot, who makes comments for progress.


  • Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu, abbot (Thai; age 47) 
  • Ven. Dattajeevo Bhikkhu, vice abbot (Thai; age 50)


The vice abbot speaks some English. Some teaching monks speak good English and one speaks Mandarin Chinese.


The central area has beautifully landscaped parklands of lakes, trees, and grass; the bot, Information Center, and monks’ residences are here. Group meetings take place in large pavilions or in the open air. Vast areas to the west host major gatherings. The total area is 2,500 rai (1,000 acres).


  • monks: 130-200
  • novices: about 200
  • resident laymen: about 90 resident nuns and laywomen: about 160
  • visiting laypeople during the week: about 150 visiting laypeople on regular Sundays: about 2000 visiting laypeople on the first Sun. of the month: about 8000 visiting laypeople on major Buddhist holidays (Magha Puja, Vesaka Puja, and Kathina): about 40,000.


4:30 a.m. begins the day; 5-6:30 a.m. morning chanting and meditation session 1; 6:30 a.m. give alms to monks or help clean temple grounds; 7 a.m. breakfast; 9-11 a.m. meditation session 2; 11 a.m. main meal; 1-4 p.m. Dhamma talk and meditation session 3; 4:30 p.m. drinks; 6:30 p.m. evening chanting; 9 p.m. meditation session 4; 9:30 p.m. sleep.


Good quality and variety are supplied by the temple. Meditators and laypeople eat twice a day in the morning. Monks and novices go on pindabat within the temple; laypeople can bring food or purchase it in the temple to offer. Drinks are supplied in the afternoon.


Very simple. Meditators stay in palm-thatch housing or sleep in the open in the dhutanga tradition with a klod (special umbrella with mosquito net). Men and women live in separate areas.


Recommended. The best is to make a day trip on a Sunday. You can talk with people and determine if you’d like to apply to join a retreat group.


Can be requested. One must speak fluent Thai.


The Information Center has a series of short English videos, shown on request, that introduce the aims and way of life at Wat Phra Dhammakaya. Books (also one in Chinese), a meditation tape, videos, and the newsletter “The Light of Peace” are available in English. Many Thai publications have been produced. A small library has some English books. 

The very dynamic and outgoing style of Buddhism practiced here makes the temple unique in Thailand. (The emphasis on fund-raising and attracting large numbers of followers resembles the style of evangelical Christian churches.)

Sundays are “open days” at the temple, the best time to visit; members make a special effort to attend on the first Sunday of the month. Most major cities in Thailand have a branch meditation center; Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok also have retreat centres. 

Only group practice is offered here — you cannot come and do an individual retreat. Visit (best) or write ahead for information on suitable dates that you can join a group. Laypeople follow 8 precepts and wear white clothing.

More Notes on this Meditation Retreat

The Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a Buddhist temple located in Thailand, known for its massive size and its emphasis on meditation. The meditation retreats they offer are pretty popular among both locals and foreigners looking to deepen their meditation practice.

The ratio of Thais to Foreigners is about 99:1.

At these retreats, you can expect to immerse yourself in various meditation techniques, teachings, and practices under the guidance of experienced instructors. The retreats often last for several days to weeks, providing participants with ample time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on their inner journey.

One of the notable aspects of the meditation retreats at Wat Phra Dhammakaya is the use of a meditation method called “Dhammakaya meditation.” This technique emphasizes the practice of mindfulness and concentration to achieve deep states of meditation.

Participants usually engage in a combination of sitting and walking meditation sessions throughout the day, interspersed with periods of rest and reflection. The serene and tranquil environment of the temple grounds provides the perfect backdrop for this introspective journey.

In addition to meditation, retreatants may also have the opportunity to attend Dhamma talks, participate in chanting sessions, and engage in other spiritual activities aimed at fostering personal growth and self-awareness.

Overall, a retreat at Wat Phra Dhammakaya offers a unique opportunity to delve into the ancient practice of meditation within the serene and supportive setting of a traditional Buddhist temple. It’s definitely an experience worth considering if you’re looking to deepen your meditation practice or simply recharge your mind and spirit.

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1 thought on “Wat Phra Dhammakaya Meditation Retreat”

  1. I like to participate meditation me how to connect with program..

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