After I stayed in the north of Thailand for 10 days I was looking for a workaway job. I found a Dhamma meditation centre which was looking for an assistant to help them with their daily duties & who can help them with teaching english and mindfulness to kids in the school. I thought that sounds really interesting so I applied and I immediately got a response that I can come.
It was hard to leave the beautiful small hippie-town Pai in the north because I felt like home there but I also didn’t want to get stuck somewhere now.
I took a bus to Chiang May and stayed there for a night. I had no clue where I should go when I arrived at the bus stop. I jumped in a shared taxi and got dropped off somewhere in a place which they call old city. I walked around and found a hostel sign which said that there are rooms for 2 euros. I checked in immediately and met up with a guy from the couch-surfing app who picked me up by motorbike and showed me around in Chiang Mai. Its a very pretty and chill city with lots of amazing temples and markets.
I slept in a 10 bed dorm and next to me was a guy who was snoring the whole night. I didn’t get much sleep. The next day I caught a bus down south to a place called Nakhon Sawan. I went to the busstop in Chiang Mai and asked for the bus connection down to this place. They told me that there are no busses available today. I didn’t believe it and went a few meters further. A woman asked me where I am going and she sold me a ticket to Nakhon Sawan immediately. It was very cheap and the drive took around 8 hours. There were 80 percent locals in the bus, hardly any tourists.
I arrived in Nakhon Sawan and there was no bus anymore who went to the workaway place in Ban Rai. I chilled a couple of hours in a beautiful park which is called Sawan Park and in the evening a local woman I got in contact with on couch surfing picked me up and she and her dad invited me for dinner and that I can stay with them.
The lady is working as a dentist in a place close by the meditation centre. I slept like a baby in a very comfortable bed and the next day in the morning she brought me to the bus-stop from where I could catch the bus the the centre. I was very grateful that I met her!
A motorbike taxi was waiting for me at the bus stop in Ban Rai. It took around 20 minutes to drive to the place and I had a big cramp in my legs while carrying my two backpacks on the motorbike on a very bumpy road. I arrived around lunchtime and a very friendly guy came to me and helped me with my stuff when I arrived at the centre. I talked to him for a while before the head-nun Luangmae came to me. I immediately felt like home here.
Amazing people, amazing nature, amazing atmosphere!
There are many small bungalows (cuttis) in the property. I got my own one in the back of the place, it was so peaceful there.
I had a talk to the head-nun and she explained me and the other workawayer about her life before she ordained as a nun and why she made that decision.
The next two days two other volunteer arrived as well so we were four people in total. 4 nuns, 4 dogs and one lovely cat were living at the centre.
A day at the centre looked like this:
We stand up around 4:30 am and meditate together from 5-5:45 am. Then we drive to town and go for the alms round (called Pindabata). Nuns and monks are not allowed to handle money, so they can’t buy their own food. They can only take donations from laid people who offer them food. It was very interesting to go with them and see how that works. We helped them carrying because the people gave so much food everyday. We never had too little food.
We arrived back at 7 am and prepared everything for breakfast and cleaned the area.
At 8 am we had breakfast and I was always so happy when we could finally eat.
At 9 am we cleaned up the whole area and were sweeping leaves outside in the garden.
Twice a week we drove to the school after lunch to teach kids mindfulness and english. The kids were 10 years old and very sweet but it was quite hard sometimes to calm them down a bit.
In the afternoon we sometimes had a Dhamma-talk were we all talked about meditation, buddhism, life, …. all the interesting and important things.
I could learn so much about buddhism during my stay there because they had so many interesting books and the head-nun was always there to listen to us and answer all of our questions.
She thought us walking-meditation which is a great kind of meditation and you can do that everywhere!
I thought that the nuns and monks are only allowed to eat vegan or vegetarian food but when I arrived here it was the total opposite. Almost every dish we got in the morning in town was with meat.
The nuns are allowed to eat meat because they don’t kill the animal themselves. That was kind of a shocking moment for me. Especially when we were walking through the meat-section in the local-market. Its so horrible to see how they kill the animals!
We had great neighbors who are living on a big farm. They have all kinds of vegetables and fruits and lots of chicken. I never saw so healthy looking chicken before, especially not in Thailand.
They have lots of space and a great home! Also they don’t spray anything on the veggies and fruits which is very rare here in Asia.
They often brought us fresh eggs, fruits and veggies!
There was also a small waterfall and a temple around an hour walk away. During my stay there it was always around 35 degrees and during lunchtime is was crazy hot. I am definitely not used to be at such a hot place where you have to cover your shoulders and knees without having an ocean close by.
My meditation and awareness of everything improved a lot and I find it very inspiring to live a life dependent on the offerings from others and to have no attachment to money or anything.
Back home people always worry about the money and so many people think that with money you can buy happiness which is totally not true.
How amazing would it be if there was no money?!
I really enjoyed my two weeks of volunteering in the Dhamma centre in Thailand. I hope I am going back there one day!