It is the 22nd of December and I am at a monastery near the city of Mae Hong Son in Northern Thailand. At breakfast this morning the temperature was 19C, that’s plus, and the birds were singing their hearts out. I’m here at this forest monastery, 50km from Burma, at the invitation of Ajahn Cagino, the Dhammagiri foundation and Dhamma friends from Singapore who support this monastery and often come to visit. This evening we shall begin a 7-day retreat.
Among our forest monasteries, Ajahn Cagino has created a unique space for the practice of wisdom and compassion. It is a forest monastery, an orphanage and retreat centre set among rural villages and extensive forests. Some 12 years ago Ajahn Cagino was walking tudong in this area and came across an orphaned boy. Must do something. He contacted his sister in Malaysia who organised funds for this boy to be cared for. On subsequent visits Ajahn Cagino came across more kids in need so supporters bought a house, people were employed, volunteers gave their time and so it grew.
The lower part of the monastery has 60 children in residence, the upper part for monks has 20 bhikkhus, many visiting from Wat Pah Pong who have just returned from tudong.… Read the rest