Nong U-Mong

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    • Day 12

      Chiang Mai day 2

      March 22 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

      We had bikes for 24 hours so two off us hopped on one after breakfast and drove to a national park. It was so peaceful, barely anyone was there so we had a wander and found two waterfalls to have a swim under. Haven't been swimming since I got here, so was lovely and refreshing.
      In the afternoon I paid a visit to an artists village called Baan Kan Wat. It was a compound filled with a few cafes and loads of craft stalls selling all different kinds of art from pottery and jewelry, to spoons and skin care. They also had a ton of classes you could take like learning watercolour, making your own pom pom earrings or creating a mosaic. I didn't do any classes but loved looking around, if I wasn't backpacking I would have bought so much stuff!
      Just before sunset I went to a temple nearby the artists village, the temple was cool but what I liked most about the place was that there were chickens and all kind of birds running around the place. As it got dark, the area was filled with sound of chickens cooing and the bugs in the trees humming so loudly, which was bizarre as the temple itself was so calming to look around, but the noise was crazy.
      Later on I finally found the egg salad sandwich in a 7/11 that everybody raves about! ...was sadly very disappointing, the white bread here is very sweet :(
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    • Day 214

      Wat Umong Meditation Center

      February 18, 2018 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

      Ein alter Waldtempel ist ab jetzt mein Zuhause. Für die nächsten 10 Tage heißt es:

      - um 5h aufstehen
      - 5:30h - 6:30h Meditation
      - 6:30h - 7h Hof fegen
      - 7:30h - 8h Frühstück
      - 9:30h - 11h Meditation im Wald
      - 11h Mittagessen
      - 12h - 14h Pause
      - 14h - 16h Meditation
      - 16h - 17h Hof fegen
      - 18:30h - 20h Meditationsstunde mit dem Mönch
      - 21:30h Schlafenszeit

      Dies ist kein Vipassana Center, aber in diesem buddhistischen Tempel wird natürlich nach Buddhas Meditationslehre (Samatha) gelehrt. Hinzu kommt, dass man mit den Mönchen und fast so wie die Mönche lebt. Es ist außerdem wunderschön hier. Mitten im Wald begrüßen uns Rehe und Hirsche und die gesammte Tempelanlage ist uralt und besonders.
      Natürlich sind Tagsüber auch viele Touristen unterwegs & es gibt hier Kobras und giftige Spinnen, aber mit denen brauch ich ja nicht näher bekannt werden. Einen wirklich großen Skorpion habe ich, zum Glück aus genügend Entfernung, aber bereits gesichtet😮.

      Dafür kann ich von meiner Terasse aus die Flugzeuge, vom nahegelegenen Flughafen, beim aufsteigen beobachten.
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    • Day 11

      The monastic community

      February 11 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      I was lucky to form a relationship with the nun (Meshi) who volunteers to do our Pali chanting in the evenings.

      She is a small person, half my size literally, very humble, shy and seems like she would rather disappear into space than call attention to herself. Her name is Meshi Vin.
      Being a nun in a very patriarchal society and monastic system, she isn't actually allowed to read too much about yhe dharman and her discussion of her little exploration is not allowed with the monks. So in me she saw an opportunity to both practice her english and talk about the dharma and interpretations of it.
      Interacting with her was a lesson in humility as she is probavly the most humble person I have come across in my life.

      She invited us to a monthly alms-giving ceremony held at the monastery where the locala bring their best prepared meals to share with the monks. After a ceremony and a very long sermon in thai everyone symbolically puts rice in the monks' and meshi's bowls and then everyone eats what the villagers brought. What a spread!
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    • Day 10

      Retreat companions

      February 10 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      There were moments when it felt like being back in boarding school again. Dettached from society and my retreat companions as company. I didn't find the intermittent fasting difficult at all as it was a slightly longer version of what I usually do, and the routine, in the end of the day is just another routine once you adapt to it.
      As part of my duties I cleaned the dog posters, did sweeping of the grounds, cleaned the dorms, etc. It is meant as meditation in action, or post-meditative activity. The leaves were quite the experience of futility and impermanence as you would sweep and ten minutes later it would be full of leaves again.

      As to my companions, Sucheela, a 65 yo retired primary school teacher with a lazy eye, a limp and what seems like some sort of social inadequacy was my little source of happiness in the initial days of seriousness. Here tendency to photograph and video the most awkward of situations, and her apparent nonsensical of sweeping would bring a smile to my face, a living reminder of the touch of humour the buddha recommends to always keep in mind.
      Vanessa, a 28 yo german on tour. Yanira, who stepped out of finance in Spain to go learn english in Australia. Josh, an englishman turned american through the finance world who is now financially free at the young age of 38, based in Panama and exploring the world of wellness and alternative therapy in search of his Ikigai. Basil a refugee Palestinian camping out indefinitely on the temple grounds while doing digital nomad work and acting like he da boss of da place. Franco, an italian theater director in his 60s taking some time out in his beloved Thailand and temple hopping, which he has been doing since the 90s. Justin, a 31 yo buddhist in theory and practice, english teacher as profession, whom I thoroughly enjoyed debating and spending time with. Felipe, a 30 yo columbian flight attendant living in Spain. A chinese couple who seemed to be very adept at Qi Gong and very peaceful together. The thais and the chinese I unfortunately wasn't so able to interact with.
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    • Day 9

      Deep dive into self!

      February 9 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      It was quite the adventure being plunged into solitude and self-exploration. Also rather freeing in a way, to be rid of all external stimuli and influencing factors. Not knowing the people around me and so being free to ignore their existence and just concentrate on myself.

      I was confronted with solitude, pain (both physical and emotional), sticking to the meditation schedule despite aches in different body parts, while being led by the reading/study I was doing. Sleeping on a hard floor seemed like the mercy at the end of the day.

      While sitting I learnt to sit with the pain, develop discipline, renunciation and perseverance while at the same time being very kind, gentle and soft with myself. Remembering the basic fact that I had nothing to prove to anyone and that this is a purely individualistic experience. You are alone, and there is no one to prove yourself to and no one to save you either. As buddhism keeps reminding you, you are alone. You are born alone and die alone, and all in between are experiences of coming across what is not desirable and not being able to hold onto what is desirable.

      I explored the theory and practice of the four types of mindfulness, vipashyana awareness, glimpses of emptiness, sharpening of perception, dealing with renunciation, etc. All keeping in mind the basic facts of impermanence, egolessness and suffering.

      Particularly impactful was the in depth exploration of The Four Noble Truths, both in theory and in practice.
      1. The truth of suffering
      2. The origin of suffering
      3. Cessation of suffering
      4. The path

      I delved deep into my suffering while reading about all the types of suffering there is in life, according to buddhism. Karma was also quite the topic.

      All of this brough immense mental peace and quiet. I found myself doing everything at a very calm pace, while being very appreciative of my surroundings and the people around me. I was much less reactive and so much more permissive.

      All in all ... quite the experience...!
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    • Day 8

      Retreat lifestyle...

      February 8 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      There was nothing flash about this place. It was very run down, in a melancholy yet very original way. No one seems to care much about your presence, the monks seem lazy, even slothful, and tourists come and go visiting the temple. The monks live in houses around the lake and weren't often seen.

      The rules are simple: no killing of any beings (including mosquitoes), no stealing, minimal speaking, no intoxication, no sexual interaction, no use of devices, respect, etc.

      The timetable:
      - Meditation: 6-7am, 9-11am, 2-3pm
      - Pali Chanting 6-7pm
      - Meals (eaten in silent reflection; mindful eating): breakfast 7.30am, lunch 11am
      - Work/Sweeping/Cleaning (meditation in action): 7-7.30am, 4-5pm
      - The rest is free time, which I used for studying budhist texts.

      It is quite a relaxed monastery in that no one is looking over your shoulder telling you what to do. Meditation is not supervised. And speaking happens, although moderately.
      I was glad to land in a somewhat relaxed environment with mostly beginners.
      The food was delicious and healthy, just what the doctor ordered!
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    • Day 7

      Wat Umong

      February 7 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      The temple where I chose to go meditate is a 14th century temple in the forest adjoining Chiang Mai which was built by the Lanna King for his favourite monk. This monk needed tunnels to hide in when he had fits of supposed mental "derrangement", which is why this temple is unique in comparison to all other temples in the country. H
      Tera Jan was apparently brilliantly intelligent and very liked by the monastic and lay communities.
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    • Day 56

      35. Chiang Mai, Wat Umong 🛕

      January 16 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Das "Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham" ist eine etwa 700 Jahre alte buddhistische Tempelanlage 🛕.
      Es liegt Nahe des Hauptcampus der Universität Chiang Mai 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓 mitten im Wald 🌳🌳.
      Heute weithin als Zentrum für Meditation und buddhistische Lehren bekannt.

      In mehreren aus einem Hügel gegrabenen Tunneln befinden sich Schreine mit Buddha-Bildern, in denen Gläubige dem Buddha ihren Respekt erweisen können 🙏.
      Die Tunnel sind mit Ziegelmauern 🧱 ausgekleidet, verputzt und mit buddhistischen Wandgemälden 🖼️ bemalt.
      Auf dem Hügel befindet sich ein großer, runder, glockenförmiger Chedi.
      Die Wohnräume der Mönche liegen verstreut im Wald 🌳🌳.
      Entlang des Weges rund um den Hügel befindet sich eine Sammlung beschädigter Buddha-Statuen, die auf dem Gelände zwischen den Bäumen verstreut sind.

      Eine Tempelanlage ohne "Glanz und Gloria"..., minimalistisch gebaut in einer friedlichen Atmosphäre.

      Mal was ganz anderes... .
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    • Day 10

      Wat Umong

      January 15 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Wat Umong liegt ca 4,5 km von unserer Unterkunft entfernt und soll zu Fuß in gut 1 Stunde erreichbar sein, also machen wir uns zu Fuß auf den Weg. Leider hat uns Maps nicht verraten, dass durchgängige Fußwege oder gar gesicherte Übergänge wie in Deutschland hier eher sehr selten sind.
      Zum Glück kommen wir heil an und beschließen ganz fest, für den Rückweg ein Taxi, TukTuk oä zu nehmen. Wird nicht klappen, wir laufen wieder 🥵.

      Die Tempelanlage selbst ist um die 700 Jahre alt und dem buddhistischen Glauben gewidmet. Besonders interessant sind die Tunnel unter dem Chedi und seine schlafenden Bewohner 🦇.
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    • Day 13

      Baan Kang Wat - Noa and Joy

      December 29, 2023 in Thailand

      The legend (Noa) and the tourist (Joy) decided go check out Baan Kang Wat, south-west from Chiang Mai. I read about the Art Village online and wanted to see it before we leave to Railay Beach.
      We took a taxi and arrived shortly after midday at the entrance to the art village.
      We started exploring but we didnt get far. Everywhere were shops with books and cards, clothes and accessories, ceramics and other beautiful art pieces. We walked through the streets and could barely take our eyes off not only the pieces for sale but also for the beautiful light effects all over the houses. Diffrent materials like crystals, glass and fabric were hung everywhere, splitting the sunlight into rainbows and colors. It really gives it a fairytale vibe.
      The village closes at 6pm and at that point we were hungry. Down the street the legend had seen another art village they wanted to check out so thats what we did.
      There were some cute coffee shops and restaurants. To our luck a vegan one, so we ordered some delicious tacos (last picture) and quesadillas (no picture available, we were to hungry) and celebrated our adventure together.
      Thank you to all my readers.

      I wish you a wonderful day my readers. I hope you enjoyed my story.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Nong U-Mong, หนองอุโมงค์

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