LEARN MEDITATION IN THAILAND
Wat Mahathat Temple (Pronounced What-Maa-Haa-Tart) enshrines relics of the Buddha. The temple is a highly revered temple in Bangkok, it was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before the city of Bangkok was founded in 1782. Hosting Thailand’s largest monastic order- Vipassana meditation centre and the world's oldest Buddhist university. Just 700 meters north of the Grand Palace Bangkok. (directions). It is one of only six first class Royal grade temples.
Vipassana meditation center within Wat Mahathat Temple.
A well-known Vipassana meditation (insight meditation). Taught to Thais and Foreigners (in English) alike.
This meditation method aims at gaining insights into the true nature of life and our true purpose itself, with the realization of all external things being temporary and existing only indefinitely. Through mediation and contemplation, you may discover and address the why of suffering of man. How external desires for things can only bring a temporary diluted counterfeit form of happiness.
Humans true nature is to be blissful and joyful, with the noise of the modern day life; it can be tempting to associate your happiness with external pleasures, from fame to fortune. Meditation can assist you to be calm within the chaos, to be joyful in all situations. Hopefully the mediator will realize happiness/unhappiness is a choice.
Daily 3 hour classes are held in English from 7 to 10 am, 1 to 4 pm and 6 to 9 pm. Although classes are free, a suitable donation should be made. The meditation center is located in Section 5 of Wat Mahathat.
Next to the temple, on the other side of Maharat road is a large amulet market. Here you will find a large number of stalls selling amulets, Buddha images, and religious statues from very cheap to very expensive.
How to get to the Wat Mahathat
Chao Phraya river express boat is easiest, and a relatively fast way to get there. Two piers are at walking distance from the temple, Tha Chang pier and Tha Prachan Nuea pier. Get there by Chao Phraya boat.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 7 am until 5 pm. Admission is free, although a donation is highly appreciated and assists with many Temple community activities.
Bangkok Shambhala Meditation Center
Conveniently located in the city, Sukhumvit Soi 23, and run by a non-profit organisation – The Shambhala Mandala Association which is part of a global community aiming to awaken kindness, goodness and wisdom. This vision is held in the principle that all human beings have a fundamental nature of goodness. The technique taught is Shamatha Viphashana, a mindfulness-awareness meditation. Originating directly from the Buddha Shakyamuni been passed from teacher to student for over 2500 years.
They host multi level meditation classes. Also on offer a regular schedule of study events, visiting teachers and special workshops. Drop-ins are welcome to any scheduled event, however online registration is recommended to guarantee availability. Classes are free however donations are appreciated.
Dhamma Dhani Vipassana Meditation Center
Dhamma Dhānī, one of the many centers established worldwide. Dedicated to the practice of Vipassana Meditation, one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation, taught in India for more than 2500 years ago to harness the Art of Living. The technique is taught at a ten-day residential course. Commonly asked questions.
This community centre has a range of events held in English and Thai, including the popular Meditate with a Monk Mondays. It also gathers the local mindfulness community for a monthly Thai Buddhist ceremony held daily in Thai temples considered the staple entry to Buddhism. Visitors are welcome to observe or join in, and the half-day session includes a guest speaker to discuss Dharma Elements, or the matrix of the teaching in Buddhism. Previous topics include; The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Karma, Sense Desire, The Four Noble Truths and Kilesa.
The Middle Way Meditation Retreat
Is a nonprofit operating in six countries. In Bangkok, the organization coordinates retreats at its Power of Peace location, a peaceful and natural setting on the outskirts of the city. Focusing on the study of the Middle path, a technique aiming at attaining a state of wisdom and purity within. The three-day retreat introduces beginners to practice mindfulness through Buddhism and meditation. Yoga and other activities are available to enhance a conscious living. Meditations are overseen by a Monk who can guide through meditation obstacles.
Wat Prayong International Meditation Center
A small centre just outside of Bangkok. With meditation retreats during the first weeks of the month from November to February in German, English and Thai. The retreats train participants in Buddhist philosophy and lifestyle, from bowing to chanting, mindful work, discussion sessions with monks, and insights to the eight Buddhist precepts. Founded by Mae Chee Brigitte Schrottenbacher, a Buddhist monk, honoured by the UN as an “outstanding woman in Buddhism” .
This shop house in the suburbs of Bangkok has been converted into a small community centre, with a Buddhist library, meditation room and meeting space for spiritual events and workshops. Focusing on Vipassana mediation lead by Archarn Helen, honoured by the United Nations as a prominent Western Woman Meditation Master in Southeast Asia.
Meditation retreats and temples across Thailand
Chom Thong Insight meditation center at Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong temple near Chiang Mai
Wat Suan Dok temple in Chiang Mai
Wat Umong temple in Chiang Mai
Doi Suthep Vipassana meditation center at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai
Please note I suggest you contact these centres before arriving to ensure all details are current and any requirements, rules, reconfirmation schedule, and appropriate clothes / supplies to bring etc you may be required to provide. etc
If you are a beginner it is advised to choose a temple away from the noise of a city. Select a rural or forest temple would be better suited, for example the Wat Suan Mokkh or Wat Khao Tham, where instructions are given in English language in a peaceful, natural and quiet setting.
Staying in a meditation retreat or Buddhist temple
Living in a Buddhist temple or meditation retreat to practice meditation, needs some discipline. Usually the day starts very early, between 4 am and 6 am.
As good conduct and behaviour is instrumental in cultivating a pure and balanced mind, students are required to observe precepts which are:
Abstain from being harmful to all living beings
Abstain from stealing
Abstain from sexual contact
Abstain from false speech
Abstain from consuming alcohol, using illegal drugs and smoking
Abstain from eating after 12 noon
Abstain from dancing, singing, playing music, watching entertainment, perfume & make up etc
Abstain from high or luxurious places for sitting or sleeping
Some meditation retreats require no talking except during instruction sessions. Its best to employ common sense whilst there, and especially to cultivated and feel inner bliss and joy.
Temple customs and behaviour, interacting with monks
Whether you practice meditation in a retreat or in a temple, always be respectful and polite towards everyone. It’s best to talk less to quiet the mind, this is not a good time to catch up on social media and post selfies etc Do’s and Don’ts.
Be especially respectful towards Monks, The Royal family and images of The Buddha.
When seated make sure your feet are pointing away from a Monk.
Politeness and good intentions can go a long way especially if you are making a few cultural oversights.
Feet in Thailand are not considered auspicious so do not point them towards people, Monks or Buddha images etc is a must.
Please note: Women cannot touch a monk or give something directly to him. Do's and Dont's.
The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in the Grand Palace itself is the main attraction. A figurine of the meditating Buddha made from one solid piece of green jade, clothed in gold and diamonds. It is greatly revered from the Royal family to Thai nationals alike, as Thailand’s utmost precious religious icon...
The Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) is located 700 meters south of The Grand Palace. It is a world-renowned 46 meter long gold plated reclining Buddha. Its pose represents entry into complete spiritual enlightenment ending all worldly reincarnations. Within the surrounding corridor there are 108 bronze bowls representing the 108 auspicious characteristics of The Buddha. It is believed dropping coins into these bowls brings wealth and prosperity...