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Meditation

Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics Mar 10, 2016

Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre

Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics

GPS waypoint: 14°33'25.4"N 101°31'45.0"E
Location: 174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong District, NakornRatchasima, Thailand

Alms Round
A forward-thinking monk at Thai Plum Village, Bro. Nguyen Luc, asked if I could be a part of the monastics' alms round to a nearby village by carrying the food received by the monks and nuns. It was a privilege I wouldn't pass up. An alms round is when the monks and nuns go out of their monastery and essentially beg for food. They are given food / water and sometimes money by householders (people who earn a living and not in the monastic order). The householders in turn, are given a blessing by the monks and nuns. Monastics, by tradition, cannot earn a living in order to devote their lives in the pursuit of self-realization. As such, they have to beg for food. This is a tradition that dates back to the time of Buddha.

Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics

Luang Prabang, Laos
The first and last time I witnessed the alms round was in Luang Prabang when I was a passing backpacker. The monks came out of their temples to a waiting line of tourists who came prepared very early in the morning to give them food. This ritual became popular in Luang Prabang that it has become a tourist attraction.

Informing the Villagers
The week prior, some monastics already made their rounds in the village to distribute leaflets letting them know that monks and nuns from the Thai Plum Village would be passing through for their alms round. This would prepare the villagers to make ready anything they'd like to give the monastics.

Theravada and Mahayana Tradition
Buddhism, in the last 2500 years since the time of Buddha, has branched-off to many monastic traditions and remains the staple religion in Thailand. The widely accepted tradition is the Theravada Buddhism. These are the monks who wear the dark mustard colored robe. They subscribe to the original tenets of Buddhism which is rigid and steeped in the ways of the old world. They do not cook so they have to beg for food. They only eat one meal (or 2) a day. These are the monks the Thais are accustomed to.

The other branch of Buddhism is the Mahayana Tradition to which Thai Plum Village is a part of. Mahayana adapts to the changing norms of society and is viewed as 'modern' by the traditionalists. Even within Mahayana, there are other traditions, some, more open than others. Thai Plum Village is perhaps one of the most open - it allows its monastics to play music, play sports, cook and eat 3 times daily and even have precepts to govern the use of cell phones and cars! It doesn't mean they're party people - they simply adapt to the changing norms of society and make their tradition more accessible to the younger people. As monastics, they live by defined precepts that govern their moral and spiritual conduct. They wear a dark chocolate brown colored robe - and Thais are not used to seeing this. Thus, even though Plum Village is Buddhism in a Buddhist country, it remains largely unheard of, and unknown to Thais.

Ending Thoughts
Thai Plum Village has a well-stocked kitchen and the monastics eat healthy vegetarian food. When they do the alms round, it's not really because they need food. They do this because it's part of the Buddhist tradition, and also because this practice connects them to the nearby villages and allows them to share their merits and showcase their mindfulness. It encourages people to visit the center and benefit from its tradition.

--- TheLoneRider

Thank you Bro. Nguyen Luc for making me a part of this time-honored tradition.

Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre

with direction coming from Bangkok

GPS waypoint: 14°33'25.4"N 101°31'45.0"E
174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong District, NakornRatchasima, Thailand

it was 6am when we left the center, still dark arriving in town the monastics form their line and begin their walk walking single file
the Thai brother walks behind the traditional Vietnamese hat, the Non La, to the left of the monastics somehow, Spartans come to mind seeing them walk slowly in cadence is like moving poetry
we were passing by mostly commercial establishments a motorcycle man passes by Bro. Nguyen Luc carries a white bag for the food and slings a Plum Village shoulder strap bag we walked perhaps a kilometer along this highway
three nuns people rubber neck because they are not used to seeing monastics in dark brown robe interestingly, Theravada monks are closing in from behind high-end resort development billboard while monastics on a vow of poverty pass under
RARE! Theravada monks on the other side of the same street from the Mahayana monks Theravada monks walk much faster...Plum Village monastics walk mindfully the long walk continues people who give alms are given a blessing
more givers along the street the givers bow in reverence as the blessings are given the Brothers the Sisters
monastics pass through heavy billboard advertisements for Khao Yai resorts and development after eating vegetables for 2 weeks, I was craving for these grilled Kai Yang chicken street hawkers give generously to the monastics a blessing is given
more blessings a child gives to the monastics nearing the end of our walk the last blessing
Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre

Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre

Location: 174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong District, NakornRatchasima, Thailand
Tel: +66(0)2-885-5980
Email:visitus@thaiplumvillage.org

Blogs on Thai Plum Village

  1. Goodbye Thai Plum Village Mar 20, 2016
  2. Yoga at Thai Plum Village Mar 19, 2016
  3. Pond Picnic with the Monastics Mar 14, 2016
  4. Sentence Expansion Mar 12, 2016
  5. Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics Mar 10, 2016
  6. First Day of Teaching English at Thai Plum Village Mar 8, 2016
  7. Cyber Monk Redefined Mar 6, 2016
  8. Thai Plum Village, Day 6: Plum Village and Vipassana Mar 2, 2016
  9. Thai Plum Village, Day 5: Visa Snag Mar 1, 2016
  10. Plum Village, Day 4: Picnic with the Monastics on Lazy Monday Feb 29, 2016
  11. Plum Village, Day 2-3: Getting Settled Feb 27-28, 2016
  12. Plum Village, Day 1: Arrival Feb 26, 2016

How to Get to Plum Village from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport

You are encouraged to arrive at the Center Friday afternoon between 2-4 pm
  1. Suvarnabhumi Airport to BTS Train Line by TRAIN
    there is already a direct train from the airport that goes all the way to Bangkok with a final stop at Phaya Thai. Upon airport arrival, go down to Basement and take the Airport Link train to Phaya Thai Station. Get off and walk (.8km) to the Phaya Thai BTS Station | 35 mins | Baht 45
  2. Phaya Thai Station (N2) - Victory Monument Station (N3) by TRAIN
    board the BTS train heading to Mo Chit. This takes you north but get off at Victory Monument Station (N3) which is just one stop away
  3. Victory Monument Station - Plum Village by VAN
    upon arriving at Victory Monument, take Exit 4 and go down to the basement and walk 100 meters towards the Suzuki Showroom. Across is a pool of vans. Line up at ticket counter No.18, "Jamnong tour" for the trip all the way to Plum Village, Pak Chong. (Baht 500), 3.5 to 4 hours. Take the 11am or 12 noon van to ensure you arrive at the center before 4pm.

How to Get to Pak Chong (Proper) from Bangkok by train

ignore this if you plan to go to Plum Village. Take the direction above instead
  • If you are arriving Bangkok and would like to proceed directly to Pak Chong without spending a night in Bangkok, best to take a plane that will land in Don Mueang Airport in time for the #71 Train (Bangkok to Si Sa Ket) to stop at the MRT Train Station, Bang Sue, which is only a short walk from the airport. Train schedule at Bang Sue Station: Fri 10:27am, arriving Pak Chong 1:30pm. Express aircon car (Baht 289), non aircon (Baht 198). Duration is 3 hours, stopping right in the heart of Pak Chong. From Pak Chong.

    You can also take the train from the main terminal near the center of Bangkok at the MRT Station, Hua Lampong Railway Station. Departure, Friday 10:00am.

Plum Village Cost Index

(US$1 = Thailand Baht 35.77 = Php 47.52 as of Feb 28, 2016)
  • Baht 500 van from Victory Monument to Plum Village
  • Baht 289 Express train from Bang Sue MRT Station (Bangkok) to Pak Chong Train Station, aircon (non aircon, Baht 189)
  • Baht 500 taxi from Pak Chong to Plum Village (call this taxi number, Mr. Khun Paisan: 085 772.4519 for the trip to Plum Village)

Things to bring if staying overnight

  1. mosquito repellent
  2. hat/umbrella
  3. flashlight
  4. not a requirement, but it helps if you bring clothing in the dark brown color in order to blend-in
Adventure Hostel Bangkok

Adventure Hostel Bangkok

Location: 1541 Phahonyothin Rd., Payathai, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: 062 527 2581
Hours: open 24 hours
Features: central location by the N7 Saphan Khwai BTS train station, clean aircon rooms, fast and reliable internet, staff who will go the extra distance for you, reasonable rate
Nawa Sheeva Hotel Chiangmai

Nawa Sheeva Hotel Chiangmai

Location: 184/2 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, 50200 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tel: 061.272.8008 / 053.326.583
Features: salt-water swimming pool, expansive space, big luxurious rooms, great hotel cafe using top-of-the-line espresso brewer
Nawa Saraan Hotel Chiangmai

Nawa Saraan Hotel Chiangmai

Location: 37/1 Singharat Lane 2, T.Sriphum, Muang Chiangmai, 50200 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Tel:
Features: upscale container-themed, luxury appointments, central location

Thailand Blogs by TheLoneRider

    Bangkok
  1. Loving Bangkok All Over Again Feb 22-26, 2016
  2. Adventure Hostel Review Feb 22-26, 2016
  3. Hotel Review: Riva Surya Bangkok Oct. 20, 2014
  4. The Shopping Malls of Bangkok Oct 6-20, 2014
  5. Bangkok's Street Food Delight Oct 6-20, 2014
  6. Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014
  7. Bangkok Dec 31, 2005


  8. Chiang Khong
  9. Ten Days in Chiang Khong, Thailand Apr 30 - May 9, 2016


  10. Chiang Mai
  11. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  12. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  13. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  14. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Chiangmai (Thailand) April 9-10, 2016


  15. Chiang Rai
  16. Exploring Chiang Rai, Thailand May 11-16, 2016
  17. Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016


  18. Chiang Saen
  19. Exploring Chiang Saen, Thailand Apr 28-30, 2016


  20. Mae Sai
  21. 4 Days in Mae Sai, Thailand Apr 25-28, 2016
  22. Border Crossing - Mae Sai (Thailand) to Tachileik (Myanmar) Apr 23, 2016


  23. Pai
  24. Exploring Pai, Thailand May 19-24, 2016
  25. Visiting the Land Split in Pai, Thailand May 23, 2016
  26. Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon May 23, 2016
  27. Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) May 21, 2016


  28. Pak Chong
  29. Pak Chong (Thailand) En Route to Siem Reap (Cambodia) Mar 20-21, 2016
  30. Goodbye Thai Plum Village Mar 20, 2016
  31. Yoga at Thai Plum Village Mar 19, 2016
  32. Pond Picnic with the Monastics Mar 14, 2016
  33. Sentence Expansion Mar 12, 2016
  34. Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics Mar 10, 2016
  35. First Day of Teaching English at Thai Plum Village Mar 8, 2016
  36. Cyber Monk Redefined Mar 6, 2016
  37. Thai Plum Village, Day 6: Plum Village and Vipassana Mar 2, 2016
  38. Thai Plum Village, Day 5: Visa Snag Mar 1, 2016
  39. Plum Village, Day 4: Picnic with the Monastics on Lazy Monday Feb 29, 2016
  40. Plum Village, Day 2-3: Getting Settled Feb 27-28, 2016
  41. Plum Village, Day 1: Arrival Feb 26, 2016


  42. Phan District, Chiang Rai Province
  43. Yoga with Amm Prajna Pitchaya and the Sivananda yoga community of Phan May 16-18, 2016
  44. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016



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Mar 10, 2016

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