Suan Mokh, Thailand

Suan Mokh experience

Two weeks ago I left Chaiya.

I remember fireflies, bugs, ants. I remember lizards, snakes, spiders, geckos, and I surely remember them mosquitoes. I recall being amazed by the beautiful lush scenery, the palm trees, alleys, pathways. The hot hotsprings, cool meditation halls, ponds and grass. Grass as the heart of the Garden of Liberation.

I remember the simile about life not being like a high mountain to climb in order to reach its peak (perfection strive mode) but rather being many hills. And on these hills there is sunshine, rain, snow, wind. The choice to go up & down & around them is ours. We can always choose to enjoy the natural landscape of this life. I remember ‘meditation is like learning to ride a bicycle’. I remember the singer who rediscovered the courage and self-confidence to write a song after years of mental blockage.

I remember breathing in. I remember breathing out. I remember doubts arise about the sense and nonsense of becoming increasingly aware of this ever recurring process  I remember Ajahn Poh (82-year abbot) and Tan Mehdi (monk). I remember Yossi (volunteer) inviting us to stay at Donkin (Dharma Dūta hermitage) near the retreat centre for free, anytime, for days, weeks, years. I remember carrying loads of sand to cover paths around the hermitage. I remember the words about there being cobras, scorpions, spiders. I remember how I cried silently when Santikaro gave a translation of a talk by Buddhadāsa about the destruction of nature in Thailand and SE Asia in general. I remember this talk about the senseless brutality and destruction that came about by the passing of Man entered the open door of my heart and made me sob bitterly.

I remember the hard bunk and the wooden, yes, wooden pillow. I remember sweating a lot. I remember the smiles of fellow participants. I recall sounds of crickets, grasshoppers, frogs, birds. I remember an inspiring evening on day 10 with retreat participants recounting how these days affected and changes their lives. I remember listening to stories about wearing masks, about eating-disorders, about depression, headaches, crashes, near-death experiences, life-changing insights, back pain, childhood conditioning, perfectionism, workaholism.

I remember we were all looking for truth within ourselves. Discovering through direct experience what is really going on in this ever-changing field of sensations, feelings, moods, thoughts.

I remember understanding leads to compassion. I remember the mind as perfectly clear.

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Dhamma investigation, Sharing, Suan Mokh, Thailand

Dhamma shield

Not that I am invulnerable. Not that I can’t get hurt. It’s just… I am so confident that nothing really bad can happen to me. So confident I am guided by a physical well-being that helps me refrain from intoxicating this precious gift. I feel protected by way of an inner peace that results from letting go what has been in the past and letting come what is there to come in the future.

Both past and future are thoughts happening in the present. Nothing more. It’s just thoughts arising here and now – and passing away. Some are more persistent than others but only insofar as I keep feeding them. Like a dog that comes to my house one day and begs for food. I give him some leftovers. The next day he arrives again. Doing what a dog does best. I prepare something for him. Same same next day. After a week it’s MY dog. Similar pattern with what goes on in my mind.

Most of us think that we think what we wanna think. When we find out there is nothing but thoughts overlaying clear perception on what is actually happening, then we catch a glimpse of truth, a taste of Nibbāna right there!

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Life is so wonderful. Full of wonders. Of course I had troubles, yes, even cravings for nonexistence during the retreat at Wat Now Tahm, I mean Wat Kow Tahm. It was intense! As I said before, there is no space for halfheartedness on this island. And things naturally come up during a retreat like this. I have witnessed, though, that every time after I hit bottom I rise like a phoenix out of ashes. Like a goddamn phoenix mate. Soar up and feel liberated. Reminiscent of the legend of Icarus, I remind myself that this too shall pass. Do not get attached to states of mind, Hakeem. Take it easy. Nice and slow.

If sickness comes, it will manifest in physical sensations. Let it come. I can deal with it. If a tooth falls out, there will be blood. It will not bleed forever. If I am to die what me worry. Death is the natural result of having been born. That’s not pessimistic. It’s not speaking of the proverbial (d)evil. It is what I call realism. Being in touch with reality. I am a vegetarian, alright (I felt liberated as soon as i dropped the label ‘vegan’ for my persona) but still, a meat-puppet is what I am.

Well that’s just my opinion man.

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Suan Mokh, Thailand

In the middle of nowhere

nowhere to go.
nothing to do.
no one to be.

here i am, in the middle of nowhere.

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Men’s dormitory at Suan Mokk

at 7 a.m. i arrive at Suan Mokk, the garden of liberation.

i am going to stay here for ten days, doing anapanasati, mindfulness of the breathing.

after that, on Nov.11th or 12th, i will write the next blog entry.

i am looking forward to this experience, even though it is hot and humid and I feel kinda wasted at times. dissociative process going on. surrealistic situations kicking in. then, the breath again.

today is sort of arrival day. get acclimated. i slept in the night train. I slept in the dormitory (not much else to do in there) for the last 5 or 6 hours.

i love you all.
be happy 🙂

p.s. OK, to be honest, and maybe to unworry some of you who are reading this (hi mom) i am not staying in the middle of nowhere. the road five minutes from here is actually quite busy. and the mosquito net I brought serves me well (thx bro).

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Road to Chaiya

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Dhamma investigation, Sharing, Suan Mokh

the Tonic of the Noble Ones

to you, dear friend, and yes hakeem, to you too, this is dedicated. reprinted from the website of the dharma hermitage I will be going to at the end of october.

This tonic is formulated from 7 medicines:

Add one measure of the bark of “don’t know nothing.”
Add one measure of the heartwood of “the heck with it.”
Add one measure of the root of “that’s just how it is.”
Add one measure of the leaves of “without any ‘me’ or ‘mine’.”
Add one measure of the flowers of “nothing worth being or having.”
Add one measure of the fruit of “die before dying.”

Equal measures of these six makes a total of six measures together.

Add the seed of “remainderless quenching” equal to the rest (six measures).
Bless these medicines with 108 repetitions of the mantra sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya*.

Place them all in a ceramic boiling pot and cover with water. Boil the liquid down to a third.

Drink three times a day. Don’t forget! One teaspoon each time is enough. You’ll be cleared of the disease most terrifying for us.

If you aren’t cured in a month, continue taking for a year. If you aren’t cured after a year, you’re crazy and can stop taking it.

* Nothing is worth clinging to.

(source: http://www.suanmokkh.org/index.htm)

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