No matter what your nationality, color or religion, the
Northern Insight Meditation Center says you can improve your life and
mental development through the practice of Vipassana or Insight
The Northern Insight Meditation Center at Wat Ram Poeng
(Wat Tapotaram) can guide you on the path of a peaceful life with your
correct understanding of yourself. All you need is determination.
leafy canopies, five meditation students of different ages are performing
the three steps of meditation practice. The girl in the foreground is
mindfully prostrating in front of the Buddha image, whereas the other
three in the background are mindfully walking, with mindful sitting being
practiced by the boy at the rear.
Located near the back gate of Wat Ram Poeng, the center
is in a shady area with leafy canopies, green potted plants, and birds
humming above in the trees, offering you a sense of tranquility.
There are two sections, with the larger for Thai
meditation students, while the smaller section caters for foreigners.
“We do not accept anyone and everyone who arrives
here, but screen them first to see whether they come with resolve and will
not cause trouble to other meditation students,” said Phra Ajarn
Chaibordin, the monk teacher who supervises and oversees meditation
Interested students apply from a wide variety of
countries including America, Australia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan,
Portugal and Switzerland. They are not just Buddhists. While most are
followers of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism or Muslim, some practice no
Wat Ram Poeng provides a 26 day course in Vipassana
under the supervision of a teacher. However, those who do not have enough
time to join the full course, the temple offers the opportunity to
experiment in the practice of Insight Meditation for 10 days. There are
also six week courses offered.
Anyone reading through the general rules for meditation
students will immediately realize why applicants are thoroughly screened
first. The rules include the following: The clothing worn both day and
night must be white, and kept clean. The clothing for men: white trousers
and shirt. Women must wear a loose white sarong or trousers and a loose
white sleeved shirt with white sabhai (scarf worn over the chest and
around one shoulder). White underwear is a must for both men and women.
Every meditation student is prohibited from talking,
discussing or comparing their personal practices or experiences of
meditation with others and they are not allowed to mix other techniques
with their guided meditation practice.
All meditation students are provided separate rooms and
visitors are not allowed. The meditation students are also not permitted
to socialize, gossip, read - not even books about Buddhism - write letters
or diaries, listen to radios, tapes, CDs, or make telephone calls. Mobile
phones must be left at the administration office until the end of the
course. The temple authorities also have the right to refuse entry or
eject anyone who does not respect the rules.
The daily routine starts at 4 a.m. with the practice of
“mindfulness”, which is the heart of the Buddha’s teaching. The
chronological steps begin with the mindfulness of prostration, walking
meditation and then sitting meditation.
After a full day, at 10 p.m., the students may go to
sleep, still dressed in white as during the day.
“People who are interested in the course are to call
three weeks beforehand and a confirming call, on their arrival in
Thailand, must be done,” added Phra Ajarn Chaibordin. However, the
center is fully booked until at least May 25.
The temple does not charge a fee for the meditation
course, but donations are appreciated.
The Northern Insight Meditation Center, Wat Ram Poeng
(Wat Tapotaram), is located at No. 1, Moo 5, Tambon Suthep, Amphur Muang,
Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand.
For more information on the Insight Meditation course
and the prerequisites, please call 053-278-620, ext. 13 or email
[email protected] hot mail.com
Office hours are 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.