The International Buddhist Center at Prathat Doi Suthep practices Satipatthana Vipassana (Insight Meditation in line with the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness) based on Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw’s teaching. ( Ajaan Tong ‘s teacher )
Students meet with a teacher (Ajaan Buddhasak : Current teacher) during a set window of time after lunch, on an individual basis, and are given individualised instruction based on their practice and progression. This meditation technique inherit from Ajaan Tong. Ajaan Tong is one of Thailand’s most famous meditation teachers. In the daily interviews meditators receive very helpful and clear instructions for practice. Practitioners practice in their own bungalows or in the meditation hall. All practitioners receive individual meditation instructions.
“If someone calls you a buffalo, just put your hand on your backside and see if you have a tail. If you don’t have a tail, you’re not a buffalo.”
– Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo
During the retreat the four bases of mindfulness (observing body, feelings, mind, and mind objects) are practiced and all arising phenomena are noted mentally. Initially the rising and falling of the abdomen is the primary object of meditation during sitting, and the movement of the foot during walking. Each period of meditation begins with a mindful prostration. A period of walking meditation and a period of sitting follow. Beginners start with 10 minutes and increase gradually to an hour. Every day there is a Dhamma talk (5.30am ) and daily chanting (6 pm)
A beginners’ course is approximately three weeks. Since courses are individual no particular dates need to be observed. The retreat begins with an opening ceremony and ends with a closing ceremony. Persons who have already taken a course at the center can participate in 10-day courses. As the center at Doi Suthep is considered a training center, meditators are required to follow instructions as given and practice wholeheartedly. Meditators are asked to observe 8 precepts during their stay. ( Precepts for meditators )
The language of instruction is both English and Thai, depending on the group of meditators. English-speaking teachers, advisors and staff are always on hand to assist meditators in whatever way possible. Wakeup is at 4 a.m. and practice starts before breakfast. Breakfast is at 7 AM and Lunch at 11 AM. Reporting is either in the morning or afternoon. ( Regular time now is start 2 pm. )
There are individual rooms in separate areas for men and women. Accommodations are all modern-style with insect screens, lights/electricity, shared-bathrooms and showers at the end of the building.
Wat Doi Suthep is fully functional to support international dietary needs. Expect normal Thai dishes without spice and vegetarian alternatives at every meal. Breakfast (7 a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m.) are varied and of good quality. There is always a choice of two or three vegetarian dishes and sometimes fruit. Afternoon no meals should be taken (drinks such as milk, tea, and yoghourt are permitted). Drinking water is filtered and therefore potable. For special dietary needs, help can be sought by the foreign department.
Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shorts or tank tops). Wake-up is at 5 a.m. Daily necessities can be bought in the small temple-shops. A digital alarm clock, flashlight, flip-flops, water bottle, insect repellent, toiletries and possibly tea and coffee should be bought before the retreat. A sleeping bag and fleece jacket are particularly useful during the cooler season. These can all be bought in Chiang Mai city before you arrive at the center.