Dec 30, 2018
Author: Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno
the path to becoming an arahant
Pages: 113 pages
Publisher: Forest Dhamma Books
Publication date: 2005
Rating: (5 out of 5 stars)
Location: Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery, Mae Hong Son, Thailand
DIY Guide to becoming an Arahant
I stumbled upon this book while doing my 10-day meditation retreat at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery. This is one powerful book about an arahant's account of his meditation journey - his challenges, what he has achieved and the wisdom learned along the way. It serves as a blueprint for a meditation path to those who wish to go deeper into their practice.
Here, the monk-author describes having a meditation word to anchor his meditation focus. His word was Buddho - Buddha's words for the in-breath and the out-breath. Buddho became the sole object of his attention. At some point, he atained clarity and stillness of mind where Buddho wasn't even needed. Having attained that though, he was lost. What would he use to anchor his meditation with, if Buddho wasn't even needed? He started defaulting back into awareness.
In the passing days, he would straddle between Buddho and awareness with increasing beneficial results until he reached Samadhi - an intense state of focused awareness, assuming a life of its own, independent of any meditation technique. With continued practice, Samadhi built into an unshakable solid inner foundation where everyday thoughts and emotions are no longer desired. The mind remains peaceful and contented with no external thought. The feeling of continuous Samadhi is so concentrated that meditators either get attached to it or mistake it for Nibbana.
Pain, Body and Knowing-Self
He would meditate continuously for long hours without feeling the body...until he experienced intense pain. His mindful investigation led him to this new wisdom - that the body, pain and the knowing-self (citta) are 3 independent entities. Pain cannot exist without the citta allowing it - therefore, it is in our capacity to stop pain. Upon realizing that, pain completely stopped.
What particularly helped me about this book is that the monk provides a personal narrative to complement the meditation text-books. I could then understand the teachings at the day-to-day-life level and not from 50,000 feet above sea level. His personal tale is compelling for a seeker like me as he puts flesh and blood and human struggle into the difficult path of deepening a meditative practice that transcends textbook descriptions and definitions.
My experience within the hallowed ground of this monastery exceeded all expectations. Having done the 'hard core' Goenka courses 9 times, I thought this would be a breeze. Yes, it was a breeze but in a profound, intense and delightful way. The open interaction allowed friendships to form and deepen. Introduction of new concepts (The Knower, Samatha,) allows me to navigate through the byzantine maze with a blueprint.
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Next stop: Peoplescape at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery
Mae Hong Son (city), Thailand
Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery Blogs
- 20 Days of Monastic Life at Wat Pa Tam Wua...Goodbye and Thank You Dec 12, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019
- Peoplescape at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery Dec 12 - Jan , 2019
- Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - the path to Aranhantship Dec 30, 2018
- Goenka and the Theravada Forest Monastery Vipassana Traditions Dec 25, 2018
- The Knower Dec 24, 2018
- 10-Day Meditation at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery Dec 9, 2018
Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery Information
Bangkok to Wat Tam Wua Forest Monastery by Bus
- go to Mo Chit Bus Terminal near Chatuchak. Bus #509, #9 and #157 go there
- at the ground level, go to Ticket Counter #13, #14 or #15 - Sombat Tour counter
- schedule and pay for your bus ticket
1 Destination/Origin: Mae Sariang. Take the bus that passes through Chiang Mai/Pai.
- upon boarding, explain to the driver to drop you off Wat Tam Wua Monastery, otherwise, you might end up in Mae Hong Son town which is 30 minutes further out. Best to show him a written instruction in Thai.
- from the main road, it's a one kilometer walk to the monastery
FYI / Tips
- even though the Wat Pa Tam Wua website states that you need the abbott's permission to stay, you can just go straight there without any prior booking or registration.
- accommodation, food (no dinner), blankets, pillow, white shirts/pants and floor mattress will be provided at no charge. Donations are accepted.
- BEWARE: by the entrance to the monastic compound is a convenience store. It is not run by the monastery. The vendor offers Mae Hong Son/Pai tours without any quotation and charges exorbitant fees in the end. He also tells people that part of the fee goes to the monastery - this is not true. He has been reprimanded already but still, he continues his shady business.
- floor mattress on hard bed provides no cushioning. If this is a problem to get good sleep, you can bring an inflatable camping mattress (usually 1-inch cushioning and not too bulky to bring)
About Mae Hong Son
FYI / Tips
- Mae Hong Son Airport has flights to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Mae Sot, Hanoi (Vietnam), Laos (Luang Prabang, Mandalay, Naypaytiaw, Vientiane) and Yangon (Myanmar)
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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