Forest Buddhism,Wat Tham Champa Kantasilawat, Mukdahan, Thailand

Wat Tham Champa Kantasilawat, Mukdahan, Thailand is one of those places rarely encountered in following the history of Forest Buddhism in Northeast Thailand. Here is a cave complex where Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Mun, Luangta maha boowa, who at the time was just plain old maha boowa bhikku meditated. There might be conflicting stories as far as the history of the place, but there is no doubt that this was and still is a place, like so many here in the mountains to meditate. The remains of the sala under the overhang are still elegant in their simplicity….

Food in Isaan, Northeast Thailand

Let’s Talk About Food in Isaan, Northeast Thailand, Vietnamese Food Sort of

I have posted about Vietnamese food, the lack of it and where I have found it in some previous posts. As far as Vietnamese food is concerned the only authentic Vietnamese food I have found so far is…Continue reading


Finally a Real Vietnamese Pho Restaurant comes to Mukdahan, Thailand, or Does it?

Saw the shop last month and almost drove the 100 kilometers from Nakhon Phanom to check it out while at the illuminated Boat Procession Festival in Nakhon Phanom.  It is in the big PTT center on…Continue reading


Another Vietnamese Pho Shop Arrives in Sakon Nakhon,THailand

that does not serve pho. I do enowy a bowl of quaytiaw, but the are not the same thing. The owner kindly eplaned to me that quaiytiaq is Thai Noodle Soup and Pho Vietnamese Noodle soup and since they…Continue reading


More About Food at Big C, Sakon Nakhon,Thailand

I would never have thought that my post about MK Restaurant would have raised the comments that it did, especially on Twitter. And, for sure I never knew that there was a MK song. Opinions are just…Continue reading


Eateries in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand,Yahd Thip Laap Phet Restaurant

Nakhon Phanom is not a bastion of fine dining Mukdahan and Ubon are both better supplied with Vietnamese restaurants, while Nakhon Phanom has perhaps a more sizable Vietnamese population  There are…Continue reading


Auspicious Places,Nakhon Phanom,Thailand and More

Phra That Srikhun at Wat Dan Sao Khoi, Nae Kae District, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand

Phra That Srikhun at Wat Dan Sao Khoi, Nae Kae District, Nakhon Phanom is the That for Tuesday and home to a modern Boon Pawet Banner, Smaller than That Phanom it is said to have been constructed in…Continue reading


Phra That Prasit, Na Wa, Nakhon Phanom,Thailand, and Silk Nearby

Phra That Prasit Historical Sites & Monuments Located in Amphoe Na Wa, the stupa is designated as a holy place, especially for one born on Thursday. It is believed to grant the wish of working…Continue reading


Wat Srithep Pradittharam, Nakhon Phanom,Thailand

Wat Srithep Paditharam was built is 1859. The Phra Saeng Buddha image dates back to the reign of King Chaiyachetthiraj of Vientiane while the Phra Sai image was brought to Thailand during the reign…Continue reading


Episode 15 Google and the Geezer vs Tourism Authority of Thailand

Getting ready to post  the article about Phra That Prasit in  Nakhon Phanom I did a search to ensure that the Tourism Authority of Thailandand the other travelguide copy and past professionals did…Continue reading


Thaiso in Kusuman,Sakon Nakhon and a Sunday Drive

I wanted to finish up the tour of Auspicious Thats in Nakhon Phanom and checkout a couple othr thing so Saturday morning we drove from Sakon Nakhon to NaWa District in Nakhon Phanom to see Phra…Continue reading


Toilets on the Path, Ajahn Chah, Buddhism

Toilets on the path” by Ajahn Chah, Introduction by Ajahn Jayasaro
Ajahn Jayasaro has devoted many years to documenting the life of Luang Por Chah. The YouTube biography gives people a real view of a human being, who experienced life in rural Northeast Thailand, and gave his teaching in a down to earth, easy to understand way… Are you too bust seeking Nirvana to clean your toilet?

The following talk was originally given in the Lao language and translated into Central Thai for Luang Por Chah’s biography ‘Upalamani’. It’s a very powerful talk and why I was particularly keen to include this in the Thai biography and a certain amount of it in the new English version is that nothing quite like it exists in English translation……

Most of the work that has been done has focused on the meditation and wisdom teachings. In fact in daily life at Wat Pah Pong those types of Dhamma talks were really quite infrequent and very much treasured when they were given. But the daily kind of instruction and most of the talks were on what we call ‘korwat’ – monastic regulations, emphasizing the sila side of practice.

Part of that probably has to do with the fact that forest monasteries, particularly Ajahn Chah monasteries twenty years ago, were of a very different composition, a different nature than they are these days because of the large number of novices. The teenage novices would tend to be very energetic and boisterous and would affect the atmosphere of the monastery quite significantly, as you can imagine. That’s the reason why work projects were so predominant in monasteries those days. Abbots had the problem of trying to administer a community in which as much as half of the members weren’t that interested in being monastics. Monks of my generation have a lot of stories of naughty novices, difficult, obstreperous and obnoxious novices. Although at Wat Nong Pah Pong the percentage of novices was somewhat less, they did have an influence, together with temporarily ordained monks, or monks who were hanging out not really knowing why they were there – ordaining as a gesture to show gratitude to their parents.
I was surprised when I first went to Wat Nong Pah Pong expecting a boot camp – a really tough kind of monastery. Certainly there was that, but what surprised me was the number of monks and novices, who didn’t seem to appreciate what was going on, and weren’t that committed to the training Ajahn Chah was giving. This meant that many of the talks given stressed ‘korwat patipat’ rather than being refined talks on the nature of samadhi & jhana etc. The kind of rhythm you would find in monasteries – whether it was WPP or a branch – was that you would have a storming desana that would blow everyone over and leave people shaking. Then things would be really strict for a few days. Then it would gradually deteriorate until one or two things happened that were really gross and you knew there would be one of these rousing desanas. So you would then brace yourself. Then the same pattern would start again.
Ajahn Chah gave the strongest and best of this particular genre of monastic discourse. This talk is particularly strong. What’s remarkable about it is that this wasn’t given in his so called early days, in his forties or fifties, when he was still very vigorous and strong, but actually towards the end of his teaching career – when the abiding image of Ajahn Chah among western monks was of this grandfatherly figure…but that was very much of a simplification. The kind of Ajahn Chah you see in photographs in books, smiling and kind, was certainly one Ajahn Chah, but it was not the whole story. I think this talk gives quite a good impression of that.
It’s very difficult to render the tone of one of these talks. With Dhamma talks there is the content of what’s being said, but there are also all sorts of non-verbal things going on, as well as the whole background of the relationship between a teacher and his students. This is something of course which doesn’t appear in print. For someone who has never lived in a forest monastery with a Krooba Ajahn [a highly revered senior monk in the Thai forest tradition], when they listen to one of these talks it can seem to be a rather hectoring and bullying kind of talk, over the top and a bit too much. So you really have to try to put yourself in that position of living in a forest monastery where things are starting to go downhill a bit and it’s time for the teacher to get people back on track.

 

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Wat Lao Buddhavong, Catlett Virginia, Lao Buddhism

Ajahn Bounmy has been the Abbot at Wat Lao Buddhavong since it’s inception more than a quarter century ago and my association with the Lao Community and the Wat goes back  that long ago as well.
The time I had with the Indochina Community Center, Vilay Claluenrath and the Lao Community was an experience I remember fondly to this day. And having the time to visit Vilay, the folks at the Wat and see the progress made made for  a wonderful visit to  the D.C. area…..

Google and The Geezer, An Android Adventure, Getting Gassed (Temporarily in the U.S.)

Now that I have wheels, an 9 year old KIA Spectra, I am able to get out and about. But getting out in about in the States means I have to buy Petrol, commonly called gas here in the States and gas prices vary significantly as you can see if you click on the thumbnail.
While not EVERY petrol/gas station is listed most are and the aplication does seem to show the lowest price available in the area.
As long as people participate, that is update the prices when they stop at the location the prices will be correct.
This app is most helpful when travelling the Interstate highway system as the most visible prices are often the highest. There are plenty more American specifis apps out there are I will be mentioning more soon.

AT 20 cents a gallon swing remember that is a lot of beer.

Honeymoon Island State Park,Duneden, Florida

The pioneers called it Hog Island, but it became Honeymoon Isle in 1939 when a New York developer built 50 palm-thatched bungalows for honeymooners. Today, visitors can drive across Dunedin Causeway to enjoy the sun-drenched gulf beaches, mangrove swamps and tidal flats. Nature lovers will find osprey nests, a wide variety of shorebirds, and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida. The park boasts several nature trails and bird observation areas. Visitors can swim, fish and snorkel in the warm waters of the gulf or picnic while they enjoy the beautiful scenery. Shelling is particularly good here, as the currents deposit an incredible variety of seashells on the shore. Showers are available, along with a gift shop and snack bar……

Jade Bistro, Asian Cuisine, Saint Petersburg, Florida

Jade Bistro specializes in Vietnamese food, but has Thai, Chinese and more. The carryout menu pictured is an exact copy of the eat in menu.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that the sauces were not in their normal containers. This technique is often used to make you feel a bit upscale, while in fact the products are inferior, which proved to be the case here. The sri Racha sauce was mostly ketchup and the Nouc Mam had an odd taste.
While the Pho was okay it was not as good as Pho Quyen

Buddhism,Karma, Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto and Born Again Buddhists

 

This story about  P.A Payutto, a well known Thai Buddhist monk. This story as well as many other talks and articles can be found at the website Buddhism Now. I always enjoy these type stories as they remind me of the Born Again Buddhists that I bump into.

The best way to explain a  Born Again Buddhist is an incident at a monastery in Thailand that is often visited by westerners. A young man asked the Ajahn about wearing a facemask. Why do you want to wear a facenmask? asked the monk. Because I worry about killing the microbes in the air. answered the young man. There was a moment of silence before some in the back of the group asked the youngster if he walked on air…