Any ideas where there are good meditation courses/sessions in chaing mai or bangkok?
looking at doing afternoon sessions as opposed to a full week long stay. Am a beginner with meditaiton
#1 butzyp00 has been a member since 1/7/2011. Posts: 2
While I'm sure they exist, I've never researched afternoon meditation sessions for Thailand. Most of the temples/centers I'm familiar with offer retreats, but usually it's a minimum stay of at least a few days. That said, you can visit virtually any temple in Thailand, and perhaps chance upon some meditation instruction. I can't now recall the name of the temple, but I once stumbled upon a situation in Vientiane where English speaking monks were making themselves regularly available to instruct and have discussions with foreign travelers at a certain time each week, and this sort of thing is not too uncommon.
As for specifics, in Chiang Mai you might check out the International Buddhism Center at Wat Doi Sutthep. If I recall correctly you can take as short as a few day retreat there, and at the least it's a good place to go and talk to someone. They could probably steer you in the right direction for afternoon sessions in C.M. Their website is www.fivethousandyears.org.
Near Bangkok you might consider Wat Sanghathan in Nonthaburi. It's a traditional Thai meditation temple and they do accept foreigners for retreat. There are a couple Western monks and nuns who provide instruction in English, and they're quite flexible. Beginners are welcome. If you email them and let them know what you're looking for it's highly likely they'll be happy to give you a few afternoons of beginner instruction. There are also nice rooms available for cheap just off the temple grounds so you can do it somewhat on your own terms. I had a good experience there a couple years ago. Their website is www.vimokkha.com.
You may also be interested in these:
www.suanmokkh.org, www.watkowtahm.org, www.dhamma.org, www.buddhistravel.com.
In the mean time, my advice would be to first pick up a book or two on meditation or listen to some talks. Look around and see what speaks to you. Personally I've gained a lot from reading Ajahn Chah, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Shunryu Suzuki. There's also plenty of good talks for beginning meditators available for free on the web. Check out www.dharmaseed.org and www.buddhanet.net. Also on the web, good written meditation instructions may be found at www.accesstoinsight.org and www.what-buddha-taught.net.
Once you get a mental grasp of what meditation is (and is not), just force yourself to sit down everyday and do it, even if it's just for 5-10 minutes a day at first. It might not feel like it's "working" for the first couple months, but eventually something does start to happen. It's not something you can "try" or "will" to do, it's about letting go and just experiencing how things really are. Personally, after I put forth the initial effort it definitely changed my life for the positive.
Anyway, after sitting for a few months you may find yourself ready for a retreat, but in my opinion consistent practice is more important than intensive retreats anyway, although plenty would disagree with me there.
Best of luck,
wow. that was an impressive amount of information. DL, have you actually spent time as a monk or is this just something you've seriously studied?
there used to be an international buddhist center near where sukhumvit road turns into phloenchit road, but i don't recall seeing it the last time i was in bangkok. there does appear to be meditation instruction for english speakers at wat mahathat, but i couldn't tell from any of the website listings how current the information is. but there may be enough info at this link to get you started. http://www.mcu.ac.th/IBMC/html/course.html
Thanks exacto... the result of a large scale degree project on Buddhism in Thailand for a degree focusing on Buddhism, not to mention genuine interest. Good call on Wat Mahathat, definitely worth a try.