Biija wrote:Hi, Martin. Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I do agree. My body languished bit by bit. I also partially agree when you say about the Thai food. Although I had access to high quality food at Wat Pah Nanachat, some of them seems to be almost empty in terms of nutritional value (=too light). Anyway, I was always very thankful for whatever sort of food I had when staying there. At some point, I will think about other traditions. By the way, would you recommend some? Again, thanks for all your tips.martinfrank wrote: I guess the many hours without food made your body eat your reserves - which you didn't have!
Please do not write emails to Thai monasteries asking about eating in the afternoon. I guess that no Thai Abbot will say that he allows food in the afternoon, but many will allow breakfast and lunch and (in practice) in the afternoon drinks which contain lots of calories which I guess would be enough for you. Exceptions for old and/or sick monks will be tolerated. Generally food is what has to be chewed.
Please understand that most Thai Abbots consider their monasteries to be strict regarding Vinaya but some will be more strict regarding Pindapata others more about money, others more about food and drink. Some require all monks to do physical work or sweeping, others do not.
It would be best for you to visit monasteries in different parts of the country, and maybe also in Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.
Here is a quote from Ajahn Chah
Nobody will stop you from developing sila-samadhi-pañña in a normal, average monastery. Don't worry about staying in various places, a few months here and a few months there until you find what fits you best. Your goal is not To Be A Monk but Nibbana.There was once a Western monk, a student of mine. Whenever he saw Thai monks and novices disrobing he would say, ''Oh, what a shame! Why do they do that? Why do so many of the Thai monks and novices disrobe?'' He was shocked. He would get saddened at the disrobing of the Thai monks and novices, because he had only just come into contact with Buddhism. He was inspired, he was resolute. Going forth as a monk was the only thing to do, he thought he'd never disrobe. Whoever disrobed was a fool. He'd see the Thais taking on the robes at the beginning of the Rains Retreat as monks and novices and then disrobing at the end of it... ''Oh, how sad! I feel so sorry for those Thai monks and novices. How could they do such a thing?''
Well, as time went by some of the Western monks began to disrobe, so he came to see it as something not so important after all. At first, when he had just begun to practice, he was excited about it. He thought that it was a really important thing, to become a monk. He thought it would be easy.
Later on he reached a stage we call... bored; bored with the Holy Life. He let go of the practice and eventually disrobed.
''Why are you disrobing? Before, when you saw the Thai monks disrobing you'd say, 'Oh, what a shame! How sad, how pitiful.' Now, when you yourself want to disrobe, why don't you feel sorry now?''
He didn't answer. He just grinned sheepishly.
Since I wrote about "lax" monasteries, I will not give here names of monasteries, as this would be disrespectful. What kind of monastery are you looking for? How much teaching do you need? Do you want to study Pali, Abhidhamma, Vipassana? Do you need a monastery with a library? Would you say you need the support of a group of monks or are you basically looking for a kuti and time to meditate?
Do you have Thai sponsors or supporters? Would you be afraid to stay in South Thailand? What about Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia? If you send me a Personal Message, I will do my best to help you further.