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Meditation

Thai Plum Village, Day 6: Plum Village Tradition and Vipassana Mar 2, 2016

Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre

Day 6: Plum Village Tradition and Vipassana

Location: Thai Plum Village
174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong (district), Nakhon Ratchasima (province), Thailand

The Little Voice
Before heading out to Thailand to teach English and consequently immerse myself in the Buddhist practices of Plum Village in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, there was a little voice in my head saying I didn't need any more immersion on any other spiritual pursuit, as Vipassana already provides all the answers to all my questions. With Vipassana, my spiritual needs are satiated.

The Louder Voice
There is also a louder voice in my head saying that I have nothing to lose by learning something new. Master Thich Nhat Hanh has helped many lives with his system. His monastic order is relatively young (since 1982), but in that brief time frame, it has already spread globally. There must be a compelling merit to all this.

Plum Village Monastery

Vipassana Background
I began my Vipassana 10-day silent meditation course back in 2009 and have since taken 7 courses altogether, 3 sits and 4 serves in two countries (serve means volunteering to provide the logistical support [kitchen helper] for the meditation sitters while still actively participating in all group sits). Vipassana has many traditions too, but I have taken that of S.N. Goenka. Without going into the mechanics, Vipassana has been transformational in empowering me to realize that everything I need for my self-realization already resides within. This is a broad and sweeping paradigm that has enabled me to architecture my life from a position of power and control. I create my own life templates compliant to my uniqueness instead letting society, government or religion take control and make decisions for me.

Plum Village Background
To be honest, I only heard about Plum Village last Dec when I was invited to attend one their sits. I have not even read any of Thich Nhat Hanh's books. But from what I've glimpsed (yes, just a glimpse) so far here at the center in Thailand in the week I had been here, I begin to see the tip of the iceberg which have provided an indelible impression.

Mirror Image
Coming from the lineage of Buddha, Plum Village tradition and Vipassana should be more similar than different. And indeed, as I immerse myself in Master Thich Nhat Hahn's tradition, the differences diminish everyday and I now see how similar they are. They are almost a reflection of each other. They both extoll the tenets of Buddhism. To say that they are 2 sides of the one coin would not even be accurate as that suggests they are different but complementary. Rather, my analogy is that both of them are the parallel rails of a train track - they mirror each other. Different tradition, different names, different teachers, but they run along parallel lines and the object remains the same - happiness by staying present. It's not really as over-simplistic as it sounds.

Similarities
Both Plum Village tradition and Vipassana practice non-reaction to craving and aversion. They both emphasize non-attachment to everything - people, places, things, etc. Both subscribe to the impermanence of everything. Both take refuge in the breath to bring the self back to the present.

Plum Village Difference
Plum Village tradition embraces the full spectrum of Buddhism, but with its own flavor. Vipassana only takes a part of Buddhism and makes it a stand-alone non-sectarian discipline, making the practice available to anyone of any faith. The difference between them is where they put emphasis or focus on the practice.

Plum Village is a Zen tradition focusing almost entirely on mindfulness in everything, 24/7. The practice is such that nearly every activity becomes a meditative ritual to avoid going into the auto-pilot habit pattern of the mind. The monks' movement is placid, their demeanor calm and gentle, keeping awareness in the here-and-now, as the clock ticks. They even have a timed reminder when a bell rings every 15 minutes where they stop whatever they're doing for a few seconds to remind themselves to be present and bring the mind and attention to the here-and-now. Even the chewing of food is a solemn meditative process.

Like Vipassana, they have their own version of meditating on body parts, but that seems to be a minor part of the practice. They call it Total Relaxation and is done for an hour, 4x a week (according to the retreat schedule given to me).

Vipassana Difference
What Vipassana applied from Buddhism is the meditative technique of creating awareness on individual body parts, observing sensation without reacting to it - similar to Plum Village's Total Relaxation. But Vipassana dissects this process down to its core anatomy and makes for the entire practice where you can meditate for 11 hours a day for 10 days. The process is a deep surgery of the mind down to the root level to exorcise all the negativity. This process alone can take several lifetimes to master. Just like Plum Village, Vipassana practices mindfulness but not as hardcore as the Plum Village tradition.

Ending Thoughts
Yes, they are two different traditions at the surface level but really parallel along its tenets as you go deeper in the practice. The difference is where they put their focus on. I am fortunate that by the time I leave Plum Village, I would be a student of 2 great teachers - Thich Nhat Hahn and S.N. Goenka. What a privilege to learn from these 2 masters!

--- TheLoneRider

Disclaimer: The above article is not official by any means...just my observation

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



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
    Bangkok
  1. 15 Days in Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  2. Peoplescape: Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  3. Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion July 10-24, 2018
  4. Revisiting Terminal 21 Mall, Bangkok July 23, 2018
  5. Rope Skipping, 4mins Full-on July 22, 2018
  6. Sunday Visit to Chatuchak Weekend Market July 17, 2018
  7. Fork on the Road: Abundance or Poverty by Choice? July 16, 2018
  8. Loving Bangkok All Over Again Feb 22-26, 2016
  9. Adventure Hostel Review Feb 22-26, 2016
  10. Hotel Review: Riva Surya Bangkok Oct. 20, 2014
  11. The Shopping Malls of Bangkok Oct 6-20, 2014
  12. Bangkok's Street Food Delight Oct 6-20, 2014
  13. Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014
  14. Bangkok Dec 31, 2005


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


  17. Chiang Mai
  18. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  19. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  20. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  21. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  22. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  23. Yoga In The Park - Chiang Mai July 31, 2018
  24. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  25. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  26. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  27. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  28. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  29. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Chiangmai (Thailand) April 9-10, 2016


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


  33. Chiang Saen
  34. Exploring Chiang Saen, Thailand Apr 28-30, 2016


  35. Mae Sai
  36. 4 Days in Mae Sai, Thailand Apr 25-28, 2016
  37. Border Crossing - Mae Sai (Thailand) to Tachileik (Myanmar) Apr 23, 2016


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


  43. Pak Chong
  44. Pak Chong (Thailand) En Route to Siem Reap (Cambodia) Mar 20-21, 2016
  45. Goodbye Thai Plum Village Mar 20, 2016
  46. Yoga at Thai Plum Village Mar 19, 2016
  47. Pond Picnic with the Monastics Mar 14, 2016
  48. Sentence Expansion Mar 12, 2016
  49. Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics Mar 10, 2016
  50. First Day of Teaching English at Thai Plum Village Mar 8, 2016
  51. Cyber Monk Redefined Mar 6, 2016
  52. Thai Plum Village, Day 6: Plum Village and Vipassana Mar 2, 2016
  53. Thai Plum Village, Day 5: Visa Snag Mar 1, 2016
  54. Plum Village, Day 4: Picnic with the Monastics on Lazy Monday Feb 29, 2016
  55. Plum Village, Day 2-3: Getting Settled Feb 27-28, 2016
  56. Plum Village, Day 1: Arrival Feb 26, 2016


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



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Mar 2, 2016

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