|Small house close to the entrance.|
|Painting by Emanuel Shermann. There are many of his works here from the 1960's.|
|Another Emanuel Shermann painting on the wall at the "Eye Building."|
|Outside the Eye Building it is covered in these black and reddish concrete representations of early life in Siam.|
|At the top of the hill is the main outdoor area where Buddhadasa spoke to the Sangha. It's a wide open expanse with sand on the ground.|
|A colorful poster of Buddhadhasa Bhikku. This poster is on the second floor of the "Eye Building."|
|The Eye Building. There is a spirit giving away eyeballs painted on the corner of this building. An interesting photo!|
|Lots of wildlife at Wat Suan Mokkh. There are many small man-made ponds around the temple and a few kinds of frogs. I saw 3 frog species yesterday.|
|A monk's kuti - hut - where he lives in the forest at Wat Suan Mokkh.|
|Another monk kuti under bamboo on the hill.|
|Roosters and chickens, chicks, are everywhere!|
|At the study building, skeletons hang on the wall near the "Wheel of Becoming" canvas.|
|Near the art center.|
|On the way to breakfast, two Theravada Buddhist monks walk down the path.|
Yesterday we again visited one of our favorite Buddhist temples, Wat Suan Mokkh Theravada Temple located in the small province of Chaiya, just north of Surat Thani, Thailand. This temple was founded by Buddhadasa Bhikku and Vern came to know it because he spoke with a monk, Santikaro, who stayed there for 13 years.
The temple was created in the forest tradition - similar to Ajahn Chah's temples in the northeast. There are acres and acres of forest, and the vast majority of the grounds have not been touched at all. Monk's kutis (huts) and other buildings are separated by large tracts of forest, trees, flowers, ponds, etc. There are dirt trails throughout the temple. There are dozens of Thai monks staying here. Yesterday I didn't see any foreign monks, and no foreign meditators staying in the men's dormitory, or walking around the grounds. It is getting to be one of the hottest times of the year currently and maybe that is what is putting off visitors for now. Here is Vern's meditation journal entry at his main blog.
Buddhadasa was focused on meditation and true dharma. He visited Bangkok as a young monk and found the Buddhist system in place to be corrupt, self-serving, and not what he wanted to be a part of. He traveled back home to Chaiya and took over an abandoned temple and started the amazing Suan Mokkh temple and the International Dharma Hermitage across the highway and down the road. This is a place where foreigners from the first to the tenth of each month can join a 10 day silent meditation retreat. This is a vipassana (insight) style retreat and is usually attended by dozens, to over 100 people each month.
Suan Mokkh sells no amulets, no statues, nothing except t-shirts with some sayings Buddhadasa once said.
Enjoy the Suan Mokkhabalarama Photos!