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Any of Us Have at One Time or Another Found the Toll of Living in the Modern World Hard to Bear

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  Any of us have at one time or another found the toll of living in the modern world hard to bear. Stress, depression and disillusionment are some of the diseases of modern times that leave us yearning for a solution, a cure, so to speak. More and more people are turning to meditation as they fail to nd the answer through worldly paths. Buddhist Meditation Meditation is found in some form or other in all major religious traditions. ven those who are not religious use it to focus the mind, to hone it, so that it works better. !n Buddhism, meditation is the integral to the eight fold path to enlightenment. #ne trains one$s mind so that it can see the four point Supreme %ruth that forms the core of Buddha$s teachings& su'ering, what causes it, the end of su'ering, and the path tothat end. ven if you are not interested in Buddhism, meditation is a valuable trainingthat can be applied to daily life, for it helps with concentration and when done correctly can lead to a state of peace and calmness that$s beyond worldly joys. %here are two main banches in Buddhist meditation& samatha (calmness, concentration) and vipassana (insight), which stresses mindfulness. %his doesn$t mean that the two are entirely separate, since you cannot be mindful unless you have at least some level of concentration. %he techni*ues of samatha meditation are many, some older than Buddhism, others developed after the time of the Buddha. Among the most commonly practiced here isanapanasati, or +mindfulness with breathing+. %his techni*ue was advocated by the enerable Buddhadasa Bhikku (-/0 -0), founder of Suan Mokkh 1orest Monasteryin Surat %hani. Meditators at Suan Mokkh (2arden of 3iberation), follow the -4 steps of anapanasati as laid down in 5ali te6ts.Mantra meditation, in which you repeat a few words over and over, is also widely practiced. 1ollowers of this techni*ue may chant +Buddh+ as they inhale, and 7dho8 as they e6hale. %he words may vary, but the purpose of chanting is really to get the mind focused. 9et another widely taught techni*ue is kasinas, where meditators concentrate on an object outside themselves, such as the :ame of a candle, or a crystal ball.Sati, or mindfulness, is key to vipassana meditation. 9ou train yourself to be aware of the body$s action, the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and e6hale, the movement of your feet and legs as you walk, as well as your feelings, your thought, and nally, the state of mind you are in. ;alking, sitting and lying meditation are but a few of vipassana techni*ues. ;hen the mind is untrained, concentration can be shattered by the slightest stimuli noise, smell, heat, hunger, pain, etc. %he key is to become aware of what happens, but not dwell on it. Still, a novice can only ward o' so much distraction, and that$s one reason why vipassana retreats are usually held inpeaceful and isolated settings.  Meditation teachings are widely available in %hailand. 9ou can attend a class at one of the teaching monasteries for an afternoon or evening. ;at Mahadhatu near the 2rand 5alace, for e6ample, has two meditation training centers open to locals and tourists. #r you may join a vipassana retreat, which usually takes a weekend or longer. A number of retreat centers, most of them located in the provinces, run intensive courses of up to four weeks on an ongoing basis. All vipassana retreats re*uire you to follow the 1ive Buddhist 5recepts. %hese include refraining from harming all living beings, from taking what is not given, from improper se6ual behavior, from lying and incorrect speech, and from taking li*uors and drugs that will cloud the mind. Some retreats may re*uire that you take you take the ight 5recepts,which in addition to the rst ve include refraining from dinner, from all forms of entertainment and bodily decoration, and from sleeping on high mattresses. Preparing for Meditation 5reparing for Meditation <espect for one$s teacher is inherent in %hai culture. At the start of a vipassana session, you must attend an opening ceremony, where you pay respect to the meditation masters and present them with traditional Buddhist o'erings of incense sticks, candles and :owers usually three lotuses or a hand garland. %here is also a closing ceremony, where you thank your teachers and bid them a formal farewell. ven if you cannot stay for the duration of the course, be sureto perform this ritual before you leave, since not doing so is considered very rude.#nce you get enrolled in a course, be sure to follow only the techni*ue taught there. Mi6ing techni*ues will only confuse you. =sually, you are given instructions daily, andre*uired to report your progress or lack of it to your meditation master on the following day. After the interview you will be given advice and new instructions, or oldones to repeat.All white, modest clothing is re*uired at vipassana retreats. >heck ahead if there is a shop on the compound, or if you have to bring your own. At most monasteries, simpleaccommodation and food are provided, usually free of charge. %alking, reading and writing are discouraged, as they will distract you from your meditation. And meditators are not allowed to leave the retreat compound unless absolutely necessary, so be sure to bring enough change of clothes, toiletries and personal items for the duration of the course.1or rst time meditators, it might help to attend a day session or two before you join a long retreat. Bangkok has a number of meditation centers o'ering day classes in nglish. Many temples around the country also teach samatha and vipassana meditation. >ontact the nearest o?ce of the %ourism Authority of %hailand for a list of local temples where nglish speaking classes can be arranged. Where to Learn Buddhist MeditationCentral Section Five, Wat Mahathat Yuwarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara Location  & 0, %ha 5rachan, 5ranakorn, Bangkok, %hailand  Tel.  & / @@@0 4 %hais and foreigners have long come to Section 1ive of ;at Mahadhatu to learn mindfulness meditation. >lasses are held from &// -/&// p.m., -&// C&// p.m. and4&// &// p.m. %hese are mi6edD at any given session there will be beginners and advanced meditators, monks and laymen, locals and tourists. nglish speaking instruction is available on Mondays, ;ednesdays and 1ridays. 9ou can come for a retreat of three days or longer. Meals and accommodation are provided on the compounds free of charge. Bring enough sets of clothes, toiletries and personal items, and an o'ering of :owers, a candle and nine sticks of incense for the opening ceremony. Eonations are accepted but not solicited. The Middle Way Meditation Retreat (POP ouse! Location  & 5#5 Fouse, Glongsong, Glongluang, 5athumthani, %hailand Tel.  & / CH -4-4 website  & www.pophouse.info %he 5ower of 5eace Fouse (5#5 Fouse) welcomes you to join our meditation course. Euring your 0 days with us, you will learn how to meditate to rela6 both the mind andbody amidst the peaceful, natural environment and family atmosphere. %he program will introduce meditation concept and meditation practice to participants. %he meditation method we use at 5#5 house is the Middle ;ay meditation techni*ue (Ehammakaya), one of the most ancient techni*ues of meditation in the world. !ts simplicity srcinality and e'ectiveness has made the Middle way method among the most popular meditation techni*ues in %hailand and its international popularity is growing fast. Middle way meditation is all about self discovery rela6ation and purication of the mind. %his meditation will have no con:ict with any religion or creed, a meditation that you can use in your every day activities that will create peace in your life. The Young uddhists #ssociation o$ Thailand (Y #T! % &nder Royal Patronage Location  & C 5hetchkasem <oad Soi HC Bangduan 5hasicharoen Bangkok, %hailand Tel.  & / @CHH @H@H Website  & www.ybat.orgIengI 9BA% was founded by a group of committed young men and women who wanted to learn more about Buddhism and to disseminate it to %hai Society. %he 9uwabuddhiga 2roup held successful Sunday Ehamma activities and meditation classes. As a result,senior Buddhists praised them for showing young people the relevance of Buddhism to their lives and that Buddhism is not only for older people but it is appropriate for the younger generation as well. 9BA% has been active in the promotion of meditation practice for over ve decades. 1ive 9BA% meditation centers have been established with support from lay Buddhists and former participants in Mother Er. Siri GarinchaiJs JMind development for peace and wisdom coursesJ. East Wat haddanta #sah'a Theravada  Sommitre Pranee )i*assana +enter  Location  & Moo -, Baan Kong 5ru, Kong 5ai Gaiw, Baan Bung, >honburi, %hailand Tel.  & / 0@ @04-Meditation Master & Ajahn Bhaddanta Asabha, Ajahn Somsak Sorado. >apacity & 0/ persons (<ecommend booking in advance) %he retreat is widely open for both beginner and e6perienced meditators. #n the retreat, all meditators are e6pected to keep silence at all times e6cept when giving meditation reports. All meditators must keep the eight training precepts. Meditators need only bring conservative clothing (preferably white colored clothing), personal hygiene accessories and essential medication.  Ajahn Asabha was Fead Meditation Master at ivek Asom Meditation >enter (>honburi, %hailand), where he taught vipassana meditation for 0 years. !n -, Ajahn Asabha became 5resident of ;at Bhaddanta Asabha %heravada and Fead Meditation Master at Sommit 5ranee ipassana Meditation >enter, where he now resides.Ajahn Somsak Sorado, a disciple of Ajahn Asabha, has been teaching vipassana meditation at ivek Asom Meditation >enter for over H years. Fe was in the =nited States on Buddhist missionary duties for @ years and is now permanently stationed at;at Bhaddanta Asabha %heravada. North orthern -nsight Meditation +enter at Wat Ram*oeng (Ta*otharam! Location  & %umbon Suthep, Amphoe Muang, >hiang Mai, %hailand Tel. & / H0@ 4@/ e6t /  %he Korthern !nsight Meditation >enter has been teaching mindfulness meditation to thousands of tourists and locals for more than @/ years. !t has nglish speaking monks, nuns and volunteer facilitators on sta'. %he center o'ers a @4 day basic course on an ongoing basis. After you have completed this course you can join the -/ day !nsight Meditation <etreat. %ourists are re*uired to present two passport photos, two copies each of a valid passport and visa with entry stamp. Modest white clothing is re*uiredD this can be bought at the %emple$s store. Eormitory style accommodation and meals are provided free of charge. Eonations are accepted but not solicited. The Middle Way Meditation Retreat in +hiang Mai  Ehamma <esearch for nvironment 1oundation Location  & ;at Suan Eok, Amphoe Suthep, >hiangmai, %hailand Tel.  & / H0@- -C@C Website.  & www.meditationthai.orgSurrounded by pictures*ue hills and lofty mountains at -,-@/ meters above sea level. %he Middle way Meditation illage has magnicent vistas, fresh cool mountain air andour facilities provide immaculate and comfortable accommodations, all designed to enable you to learn and practice Meditation while living in close touch with the natural beauty that will surround you. %here you will learn the Ehammakaya method of Meditation which is both the simplest and the oldest known techni*ue in the world,taught by ordained highly trained Buddhist Monks e6pert Meditation instructorsL Wat Phra .hatu Sri +homthong Location  & Moo @, %umbon Baan 3uang, Amphoe >homthong, >hiang Mai, %hailand Tel.  & / H0@ 44 %his temple is headed by the monk who founded the Korthern !nsight Meditation >enter at ;at <ampoeng. Meditation retreats are held on an ongoing basis. Meditators must present identication card or valid passport, and inform the temple of their intended length of stay. %hen they can choose whether to follow the 1ive or ight 5recepts. %he temple provides meals and simple, dormitory style lodgings, mostwith their own bathroom. 5roper clothing is available at a shop ne6t door to the monastery. Bookings are advised, since the retreats draw large crowds during major Buddhist holidays and >hinese vegetarian festival. North East Wat Pah anachat  Location  & Bung ;ai Amphoe ;arin >hamrab =bon <achathani, %hailand Website  & www.watpahnanachat.org;at 5ah Kanachat is a Buddhist monastery in Kortheast %hailand, in the %heravada 1orest %radition. !t was established in -H by en. Ajahn >hah (-- -@) as a branch monastery close to his own traditional forest monastery ;at Kong 5ah 5ong in=bon <ajathani province, with en. Ajahn Sumedho, an American disciple of his, as the rst abbot.%he monastery aims at providing nglish speaking people the
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