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Meditation in Thailand: Background and Courses
Meditation is found in some form or another in all major religious traditions but in Buddhism it is integral to the path to enlightenment. The practitioner trains his or her mind so that it can understand the four-points that form the core of the Buddha’s teaching: suffering, what causes it, the end of suffering, and the path to that end.
Consequently, the art of meditation is a highly developed one in Thailand. One doesn’t need to be a Buddhist, or even be interested in Buddhism, to benefit from meditation. A valuable training that can be applied to daily life, it greatly helps concentration and can lead to a state of peace and calmness, no matter where the meditation is performed.
There are two main branches in Buddhist meditation: Samatha (calmness, concentration) and Vipassana (insight), which stresses mindfulness.
The techniques of Samatha meditation are many, some of them older than Buddhism itself. Amongst the most commonly practiced in Thailand is Anapanasati, or “mindfulness with breathing”. Mantra meditation, in which given words are repeated over and over to help focus the mind, is also widely practiced. Kasinas, where mediators concentrate on an object outside themselves, such as a crystal ball and candle flame, is yet another form.
Sati, or mindfulness, is the key to
Vipassana meditation. When the mind is untrained it is wide open to outside
disturbances, and the objective is to be aware of what happens but not dwell
upon it. So you train yourself to be aware of the body’s movement, the rise
and fall of the chest as you inhale and exhale, the movement of the legs and
feet as you walk, and your feelings and state of mind. Walking, sitting and
lying meditation are a few of the Vipassana techniques, and to avoid
distractions as far as possible the retreats are usually held in isolated
and peaceful surroundings.
Where To Go:
IMBC (International Buddhist Meditation
World Fellowship of Buddhist
House of Dhamma (Vipassana) Insight
Ban Ing Nam Health Resort & Spa
Thailand Vipassana Centre
Dhamma Kamala200 Baan Nern-Pasook (Behind Thai-Rath Vitaya 7 School), Tambol Dong-Kee-Lek, Amphoe Mueang, Prachinburi 25000, Thailand.
Tel & Fax: 0 3740 3515
The Middle Way Meditation Village
Thailand Vipassana Centre
Suan Mokkh Forest Monastery
Wat Khao Tham International Meditation
Wat Pa Nanachat
Sourced in part from tourismthailan.org
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