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  • About & Contact Wat Luang Phor Sodh

    This Website, www.dhammacenter.org, is hosted by Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram and the Wat Luang Phor Sodh Buddhist Meditation Institute (BMI), an associated institution of the World Buddhist University.

    The Website is one of our many international outreach programs with the main purposes of propagating:
    The right Buddhist meditation knowledge so that all may have right practice,
    The right understanding of Dhammakaya Meditation method, and
    The right practice of Dhammakaya Meditation for world peace.
    The other international outreach programs include:
    Meditation retreat for English speakers,
    Monthly Sunday Dhamma Talks on National Broadcasting System of Thailand which are also downloadable,
    Publication of English language books to help others understand Buddhism andto understand the practice of Dhammakaya Meditation.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email us, info@dhammacenter.org

    Contact at Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram Dammnoen Saduak District, Rajchaburi Province 70130, Thailand.
    Emegency Contact

    English & Thai Phra Somkuan

    Inside Thailand, call 081-837-8457 Outside Thailand, call +66-81-837-8457
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  • Retreat

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh first opened the first mediation retreat in 1982, helping monks become better qualified in the theory and practice of Dhammakaya mediation and eventually become meditation masters. Twice a year since then we have organized retreats from May 1-14 and December 1-14. During the May retreat, 300-400 monks and novices and approximately the same number of lay people and nuns attend the course. During the December retreat there are usually 400-600 monks and novices and a similar number of laity and nuns present.

    Since then, Wat Luang Phor Sodh has been well recognized across the country. Recently, there are five different meditation retreat programs available at the temple which allow us to train over 20,000 people a year including monks, novices, students, laypeople, etc.

    International outreach began when the Wat luang Phor Sodh Buddhist Meditation Institute (BMI) was approved as an Associated Institution of the World Buddhist University on April 19th, 2006, during the 23rd, General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists at Fo Guang Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The main purposes for international retreat are propagating: (1) The right Buddhist meditation knowledge so that all may have right practice, (2) The right understanding of Dhammakaya Meditation method and (3) The right practice of Dhammakaya Meditation for world peace.

     

    INTERNATIONAL MEDITATION RETREAT

    Most aspirants come seeking peace and happiness or relief from tension, and they find it. Beyond this, however, most find undreamed of treasures – self knowledge, heavenly joy, insight into reality, and possibly, even temporary experience of Nirvana. Such meditation can provide a road map for altruistic living which brings happiness for both oneself and others throughout life.

    Wat Luang Phor Buddhist Meditation Institute (BMI) teaches the Samatha-Vipassana (Concentration-Insight) Meditation technique, also called Dhammakaya Meditation, rediscovered by Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni, Luang Phor Wat Paknam, in 1916. This is direct implementation of Lord Buddha’s key meditation instruction given in the Greater Discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. It has proved extremely effective and efficient. The technique integrates concentration into trance states of absorption (Jhana) with development of transcendental insight (Vijja). The meditator stops still at the center of the body, delving deeper and deeper inside, climbing higher and higher up a ladder of more and more refined inner bodies, feelings, minds, and Dhamma, transcending to Dhammakaya (Truth Bodies) and advancing through Noble Disciple states to experiencing Nirvana.

    Samatha-Vipassana is guided, sitting meditation. The teacher provides spoken guidance during meditation. MP3 players are used for individual practice. BMI teaches meditation in English in two ways: (1) Meditation Guidance (Semi-private tutoring), and (2) Meditation Retreats

    At BMI, international meditators take the middle path, adopting resolutions and procedures that demonstrate serious commitment and facilitate meditation progress, while eschewing excessive self-torment which can impede development. For example, participants take eight precepts [NO killing, stealing, sex, lying, intoxicants, eating after noon (just two meals per day), entertainments or luxurious beds]. No smoking is permitted at the temple, and meditators dress in simple white clothing (available at the temple store) to signify their commitment to self-purification. But, everyone sits comfortably, either cross-legged or on a chair, according to personal preference. And, we do not practice Noble Silence. Serious meditators just naturally become less talkative, but helpful exchanges among fellow students can be productive. The meditation technique attracts practitioners directly to more refined, purer and happier states.

    Meditation Guidance

    BMI offers Meditation Guidance or semi-private tutoring in English all year round, starting whenever you choose and lasting as long as you like. If you have the time, please try to come for 10 days to two weeks for the best result. It generally requires 5-7 days to develop the inner calm necessary for rapid progress. But, individuals vary greatly, so all are welcome for either longer or briefer periods.

    The program has many options, so each meditator can adapt it to his or her own preferences. Breakfast is at 06:30 and lunch at 11:00. We practice 8 precepts, which implies no eating after noon. The core of each day is either three or four meditation sessions, depending on how long one can stay. Meditations average 45 minutes. They are usually intimate, with not more than 5-10 participants. Meditations are recorded on MP3 for individual practice, and provided on CD to take home (Group A at 07:00, 09:00, 01:00, & 03:00. Group B at 08:00, 10:00, 14:00 and 16:00.) Serious Buddhists often add Morning or Evening Chanting and Meditation, held everyday at 05:30 and 19:30. Even casual visitors enjoy attending once as a memorable experience. At Evening Chanting, meditators can be taught personally, in English, by the revered Meditation Master, Dr. Phra Rajyanvisith.

    Other memorable experiences include going along on the morning alms round at 6:00 AM and practical “how to live a good life” discussions with Phra Bill. For those who volunteer to teach, perhaps most memorable are the fun interactions with monks and novices eager to learn and practice English (Daily 12:30-14:00). Participants interested in learning more about Buddhism can do this through directed readings and discussion. Finally, most unforgettable for those who can scale the heights, is the indelible experience of the most lovely, most serene state ever experienced – Nirvana.

    The meditation atmosphere is the middle path — serious, but not overly harsh, with considerable flexibility in accordance with each participant’s preferences. Meditators wear simple, white clothes to signify purity. Some white clothing is available free and top quality new outfits are available at the temple administration office for 490 or 990 Baht per set. Meditators take eight precepts — no killing, stealing, sex, improper speech, intoxicants, eating afternoon, partying or entertainments or ornaments or makeup, and no high or luxurious beds. Sleeping is generally on thin mattresses on the floor under mosquito nets. Tents are available for those seeking more seclusion. There is no smoking on the Wat campus.

    Retreat Schedule

    Day 1 Every Day Last Day
    05:30 Morning Chanting (Opt)
    06:30 Breakfast
    09:00 Opening Ceremony
    11:00 Lunch
    12:00 Orientation, Tour & First Lecture
    16:00 First Meditation
    17:00 Discussion
    19:30 Evening Chant (Opt)
     
    05:00 Morning Chanting (Opt)
    06:30 Breakfast
    07:00 Beginner Meditation #1
    08:00 Intermediate & Advanced #1
    09:00 Beginner Meditation #2
    10:00 Intermediate & Advanced #2
    11:00 Lunch
    12:00 Rest or Teaching English1930
    14:00 Beginner Meditation #3
    15:00 Intermediate & Advanced #3
    16:00 Beginner Meditation #4
    19:30 Evening Chant (Opt for beginners)
    05:00 Morning Chanting (Opt)
    06:30 Breakfast
    07:30 Meditation
    09:30 Last Meditation
    10:30 Group Photo
    11:00 Lunch: Final Banquet
    12:30 Graduation Ceremony
    14:30 Bus to Bangkok

     

    BMI offers three intensive retreats per year, May 1-14, August 1-14, and December 1-14. Retreats are similar to guided meditation, but more intensive, with a sunrise meditation at 05:30. They usually involve 20-30 international meditators. Several hundred monks and laity attend the Thai retreat simultaneously in May and December. During retreats there is more access to the venerable Meditation Master in joint Thai-English sessions. This is especially useful for those who become advanced. There is also more chance to study Buddhist practices, Vinaya, Dhamma and Chanting. The large number of participants necessarily implies less silence.

    Facilities

    Retreats promote the simple life in a beautiful refuge. Participants wear plain white clothes available at the Wat Mini Mart which also sells essentials and snacks. Beds are board frames topped with thin mattresses. Bathrooms are separate buildings with both Thai and Western toilets and showers in some stalls. The kitchen serves good Thai food – simple, but varied and often spicy. Most dishes are non-vegetarian – choose what suits you. Vegetarian food can also be provided, if the kitchen is given advance notice. Please complete the online registration form and indicate any special needs. Although the environment promotes solitude, one is not cut off. The Wat’s university library (Mon-Fri 8:00 am -6:00 pm) has Internet and is air conditioned. The local town, Damnoen Saduak, is only 15 minutes by Song Thaw (2 bench) buses that pass the Wat gate every 10-15 minutes. (One finds ATM machines and banks in the town, but the best exchange rate is at the airport upon arrival.) Buses to Bangkok (a 2-hour ride) stop at the Wat gate every 20 minutes. There are no taxis nearby. Participants wash clothes by hand.

    For Meditation Guidance, women usually stay in the women’s dormitory or in the screened traditional Thai Sala on the lake shown. Men stay in the men’s dormitory, under the information center. Sleeping is generally on the floor on thin mattresses, under mosquito nets. All facilities have clean restrooms. Those seeking more complete escape from civilization can also stay in tents.

    THAI MEDITATION RETREATS

    All meditation retreats at Wat Luang Phor Sodh, except for international retreats, have basically the same daily schedule, though depending on the group to which one is assigned the difficulties of dhamma taught and the period of meditation will vary:

    05:30 - 06:45 Morning Chanting  and Meditation
    7.00 Breakfast
    09:30 - 11.45 Meditation
    11.00 Lunch
    14:00 – 15.00 A Dhamma Lecture
    17.00 – 18.00 Meditation Workshop
    19.30 – 21.30 Evening Chanting and Meditation

     

    1

    Daily lectures are given by renowned Dhamma teachers who are invited to come to the temple to speak. Meditation instruction can also be given in English by the abbot and by English speaking monks when available. Both visitors and residents will sleep in the Dhutanga-tradition under a special umbrella with mosquito-net called a KLOD [Klod]. They will stay in the parklands about the monastery grounds, in close contact with nature and trees, helping calm the mind which is very helpful for their meditation. The Lord Buddha taught many times, "There are these forests, these roots of trees. Meditate now, lest you regret it later."

    1. Meditation Master Trainings

    2

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh has been selected as the National Coordination Center of Provincial Meditation Institutes of Thailand (Elected by the Directors of Provincial Meditation Institutes from all over the country at a Seminar and Practicum organized by the National Buddhist Office 23-25 April 2008 at Wat Yanawa, Bangkok, and recognized by the Sangha Body).

    Each year, the Wat has two two-week courses, May and December 15-28 and expects to train over 700 monks over the course of the year.

    1. Bi-annual Meditation Retreats

    3

    The 2 main retreats for Thai-speakers take place May 1-14 and December 1-14.

    The December retreat is the busiest with around 1,200 practitioners (400-600 monks and novices, and the rest nuns and lay-people), while the May retreat attracts around 600-700 participants. The retreats are open to all people, the laity taking the opportunity to undertake the 8 training precepts and practice along side the Sangha.

    Note: At the end of the retreats # 1 and 2, all participants will receive a diploma, by either the abbot of Wat Paknam or the abbot of Wat Saket

    1. Meditation Retreats for Students

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh has been appointed as the Center for Development of Virtues and Ethics for the Security of the Nation, Religion and Monarchy in the central region. All Thai schools are required to develop ethical programs for their students, and so each year there are over 15,000 students who come to practice meditation on weekends (Fri, Sat and Sun).

    1. Special Meditation Retreats

    Specially requested retreats are held for groups of employees of the government, private organizations, institutes or associations are held throughout the year.

    1. Hot Season Ordination

    4

    The Middle of March is the major school break, and it is custom in Thailand that young boys spend part of their school holidays as novices at a monastery. Many boys like the idea so much that they return to the same monastery year after year. April 1-18 is Hot Season Ordination for boys between the ages of 10 and 18. It is required that they come to the Wat at least 7 days in advance of their ordination to receive orientation. Please check the schedule in the calendar section. If you have any questions, please email us at bmi@dhammacenter.org for English and info@dhammakaya.org for Thai.

    OTHER MEDITATION RETREAT PROGRAMS

    Meditation Master Training

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh has been selected as the National Coordination Center of Provincial Meditation Institutes of Thailand (Elected by the Directors of Provincial Meditation Institutes from all over the country at a Seminar and Practicum organized by the National Buddhist Office 23-25 April 2008 at Wat Yanawa, Bangkok, and recognized by the Sangha Body). Each year, the Wat has two two-week courses, in both May and December 15-28 and, throughout the course of the year, expects to train over 700 monks.

     

    Bi-annual Meditation Retreats

    The 2 main retreats for Thai-speakers take place from May 1-14 and from December 1-14. The December retreat is the busiest, with around 1,200 practitioners (with 400-600 monks and novices, and the rest nuns and lay-people), while the May retreat attracts around 600-700 participants. The retreats are open to all people, the laity taking the opportunity to undertake the 8 training precepts and practice alongside the Sangha.

     

    Meditation Retreats for Students

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh has been appointed as the Center for Development of Virtues and Ethics for the Security of the Nation, Religion and Monarchy in the central region. All Thai schools are required to develop ethical programs for their students, and so each year there are over 15,000 students who come to practice meditation on weekends (Fri, Sat and Sun).

     

    Hot Season Ordination

    The Middle of March is the major school break, and it is a custom in Thailand that young boys spend part of their school holidays as novices at a monastery. Many boys like the idea so much that they return to the same monastery year after year. April 1-18 is Hot Season Ordination for boys between the ages of 10 and 18. It is required that they come to the Wat at least 7 days in advance of their ordination to receive orientation. Please check the schedule in the calendar section. If you have any questions, please email us at bmi@dhammacenter.org for English and info@dhammakaya.org for Thai.

     

    International Meditation Retreat

    International outreach began when the Wat Luang Phor Sodh Buddhist Meditation Institute (BMI) was approved as an Associated Institution of the World Buddhist University on April 19th, 2006, during the 23rd, General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists at Fo Guang Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Since then, the main purposes for international retreats are propagating:

    • The right Buddhist meditation knowledge so that all may have right practice,
    • The right understanding of Dhammakaya Meditation method, and
    • The right practice of Dhammakaya Meditation for world peace.
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  • Requesting Ordination

    Requesting Ordination

    requesting ordination 1 The temple and monastery of Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram in Thailand is a very busy place. During the rainy season the number of monks will reach almost a hundred. Nationwide the total number of monks is from the usual 100,000 to 200,000. This is all due to an old Thai tradition, many males (from the age of 20) will ordain for the three-month rainy season and most of them will then disrobe and return to lay life. This is possible, because Buddhist monks don’t take lifetime vows.

    So like most monasteries in Thailand, this monastery has two main categories of monks: The short term monks who will ordain in order to make merits for their parents, especially for the mother who has no possibility to ordain herself, and then the long-term, dedicated monks, who might choose to spend their entire life wearing the orange robe. In both cases it is a unique opportunity for a man to spend time in solitude, studying the Buddhist teachings and meditating in order to purify the mind. The day he returns to lay life he will be well prepared to fill his future role as a good citizen.

    Monks at this monastery come from all walks of life, the majority being younger men with good education and academic degrees. Some are scientists, doctors, engineers, businessmen, and pharmacists and they come from all parts of Thailand. The monk who was pharmacist in lay life now has his own clinic at the monastery helping fellow monks with medical problems, and the monk who was an engineer is the brain behind the buildings, bridges and monuments at the monastery.

    The monks at Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram engage in various teaching activities. First and foremost, all monks and novices are required to study the national Dhamma studies syllabus and Pali language, to accompany the practice of meditation development. This Dhamma course is a comprehensive study, covering all the teachings found in the Tipika, the holy Buddhist scriptures. The Pali studies allow the scriptures to be approached in their original form, as well as helping to maintain the tradition of Buddhist monasticism in as pure a form as possible.

    All this learning is then passed on in an abbreviated and practical form to the lay community in various ways. In this temple we have facilities to accommodate large groups of up to several hundred people, to come and practice and listen to lectures on the teachings. These groups are mostly school children who spend a few days, usually during the school holidays, at the temple. They are taught both individually and as a group, and are encouraged to follow and consider the monastic code of morality. Either the abbot or one of the senior monks will lead the daily Pujas and offer a lecture in the evening.

    The monastery has also ordained several foreigners over the years, men from USA, Japan, Malaysia, China, Russia, Britain and Denmark. At the moment the temple has two American monks, one has been a monk here for eight years and spends most days of the year teaching meditation to the English speaking visitors who come to visit the Wat and he also assists the Venerable Abbot to teach Dhamma in English once a month via National Thai Radio.

    Like other temples, Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram has a number of novices. They are young boys from the age of 10 up to 19. When they reach 20 they can ordain as monks. The code of discipline for novices is not as rigid as that for the monks. A monk observes 227 precepts while novices only have 10 precepts to follow. Like the monks they study Buddhist scriptures, the ancient language, Pali, meditate, and even do a fair amount of physical work.

     

    Requesting Ordination

    requesting ordination 2

    Ordination can be requested as either a novice or a monk, but a candidate must be able to speak and understand basic Thai in order to be accepted. All candidates are required to undertake the 8 precepts, practice Buddhism and meditation for 1 or 2 weeks in order to be qualified to be ordained based on the monastery rules [there are monks who train all international candidates in preparation for ordination].

    According to the Rules laid down by Lord Buddha, some may not become monks:

    1. One who has murdered an Arahant (Enlightened One),
    2. One who has murdered his mother or father,
    3. One who has injured the Lord Buddha,
    4. One who has caused a schism in the Sangha,
    5. One who has pretended to be a monk without ordination,
    6. One who has left the Sangha and ordained in another religion,
    7. One who was a monk and committed any of the four ‘disrobing offences’ (parajika),
    8. One who is a Eunuch or Hermaphrodite.

    Qualifications to ordain as a monk and a novice

    1. The candidate must be 20 years of age or more, counting from when “consciousness first appeared in his mother’s womb”. If, by mistake, he was ‘ordained’ under the age of 20, the candidate remains a ten precept novice and is not a monk,
    2. The candidate must a Buddhist to be qualified for ordination,
    3. The candidate must have permission of both parents, or guardians if parents are deceased,
    4. No smoking or drinking any kind of alcohol,
    5. No certain diseases such as HIV or other serious diseases [All applicants are required to have medical check, it costs about 500-1000 Bath or $20 and is included in the application fee].
    6. There are others still who should not be ordained, although if they are ordained by mistake their ordination is valid. These include: one with infectious diseases, a slave, one escaped from jail, one known to be wanted by the police, one with unpaid debts, one in the ‘King’s Service’ (e.g. a soldier), one maimed, deformed, disabled or very old (meaning to the extent that it is impractical to perform the duties of monastic life). One also needs the permission of one’s parents. Also, one may not be ordained without a set of robes and a bowl of one’s own.

    An applicant needs to bring:

    1. Two 2 inch-Photos without glasses
    2. A government issued ID card, passport or drivers license.
    3. 12,000 Baht for ordination procedure, not including the cost of medical check.

    Note: An application form is available at the temple.

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  • Meditation Master & Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram

    Meditation Master & Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram
    Luang Pa 1
    • Abbot, Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram (July 9, 1991),
    • President of the Executive Committee, National Coordination Center of Provincial Meditation Institutes of Thailand (Elected by the Directors of Provincial Meditation Institutes from throughout the country at a Seminar and Practicum organized by the National Buddhist Office 23-25 April 2008 at Wat Yanawa, Bangkok, Thailand and recognized by the Sangha Body),
    • Director and Principal-Meditation Master, Wat Luang Phor Sodh Buddhist Meditation Institute (Since 2006)  An Associated Institution of the World Buddhist University,
    • Vice-chairman of the Administrative Committee, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Region 15 Academic Services Center (November 19, 2007),
    • Director, Dhammakaya Buddhist Meditation Institute (1981),
    • Manager, Rajburi Provincial Pali Studies Center (Appointed by the Sangha Body, October 20, 1999),
    • Director, Rajburi Provincial Meditation Practice Center (Appointed by the Sangha Body, March 6, 2001),
    • Director, Center for Development of Virtues and Ethics for the Security of the Nation, Religion and Monarchy (2009).

    Phra Thepyanmongkol’s mission is to revitalize Buddhism, placing equal emphasis on scripture study and meditation practice. He has published over 80 books, 250 articles, and two journals. He makes monthly radio and weekly TV broadcasts nationwide and internationally in both Thai and English, and has recorded over 900 Dhamma lectures. His efforts have achieved noteworthy success both in the national Dhamma and Pali examinations and in training over 2,000 senior monks as Vipassana meditation teachers. Phra Thepyanmongkol has studied and practiced Buddhist meditation since 1970. He has passed Nak Dhamma Ek & Pali Level 6, and has taught meditation since 1982. From 1986-1989, he taught Buddhism at 17 universities and temples throughout the United States.

    Phra Thepyanmongkol has been the Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh, which he founded and built, since July 9, 1991. The Wat currently trains over 15,000 participants per year. It has been designated by the Sangha Body as both a Provincial Pali Studies Center (on October 20, 1999) and as a Provincial Meditation Training Center (on March 6, 2001). At that time, less than 100 of the 35,000 temples in Thailand had achieved this honor. In 1998, he received the Royal Ecclesiastical Rank of Phra Bhavana Visutthikhun, and in 2004 the rank of Phra Rajyanvisith. He received an honorary doctorate in Buddhist Principles in Management from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in BE 2550 (2007) and a second honorary doctorate in Buddhist Studies from Mahamakut University in BE 2552 (2009). In BE 2551 (2008), he became President of the National Coordination Center of Provincial Meditation Institutes of Thailand.

    Phra Thepyanmongkol’s mission is to revitalize Buddhism, placing equal emphasis on scripture study and meditation practice. He has published over 80 books, 250 articles, and two journals. He makes monthly radio and weekly TV broadcasts nationwide and internationally in both Thai and English, and has recorded over 900 Dhamma lectures. His efforts have achieved noteworthy success both in the national Dhamma and Pali examinations and in training over 2,000 senior monks as Vipassana meditation teachers. Phra Thepyanmongkol has studied and practiced Buddhist meditation since 1970. He has passed Nak Dhamma Ek & Pali Level 6, and has taught meditation since 1982. From 1986-1989, he taught Buddhism at 17 universities and temples throughout the United States.

    Phra Thepyanmongkol has been the Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh, which he founded and built, since July 9, 1991. The Wat currently trains over 15,000 participants per year. It has been designated by the Sangha Body as both a Provincial Pali Studies Center (on October 20, 1999) and as a Provincial Meditation Training Center (on March 6, 2001). At that time, less than 100 of the 35,000 temples in Thailand had achieved this honor. In 1998, he received the Royal Ecclesiastical Rank of Phra Bhavana Visutthikhun, and in 2004 the rank of Phra Rajyanvisith. He received an honorary doctorate in Buddhist Principles in Management from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in BE 2550 (2007) and a second honorary doctorate in Buddhist Studies from Mahamakut University in BE 2552 (2009). In BE 2551 (2008), he became President of the National Coordination Center of Provincial Meditation Institutes of Thailand.

    Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram

    Phra Thepyanmongkol has led Wat Luang Phor Sodh to become a recognized center of excellence in meditation practice, Pali language, scripture studies, and temple administration. The temple conducts or coordinates training locally for Rajburi Province, regionally for Ecclesiastical Region 15 (four central provinces), nationally for the Thai National Office of Buddhism, and internationally for the World Buddhist University.

    At the provincial level, Wat Luang Phor Sodh is one of very few temples in Thailand designated as both a Provincial Pali Studies Center (since 1999) and a Provincial Meditation Institute (since 2000).

    At the regional level, Wat Luang Phor Sodh serves as an Academic Services Unit for Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, training monks from throughout Ecclesiastical Region 15, which consists of four central provinces: Samut Song Khram, Ratchaburi, Petchaburi, and Prachuapkhirikhan. The Wat currently provides pre-university courses for monks lacking pre-requisites, and a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Buddhist Studies, and a Master’s Degree Program in Buddhist Administration.

    At the national level, Wat Luang Phor Sodh has served as the Coordination Center for all Provincial Meditation Institutes throughout Thailand since 2008. Also, in collaboration with the National Office of Buddhism, the temple has trained over 1,500 senior Thai monks from throughout the country to become teachers of Vipassana Meditation. In addition, Venerable Phra Thepyanmongkol’s perceptive Dhamma lectures are broadcast regularly over the National Broadcasting System of Thailand, on both radio and TV, in both Thai and English.

    At the international level, the Wat Luang Phor Sodh Buddhist Meditation Institute (BMI) has been recognized as an Associated Institution of the World Buddhist University since 2006. It trains a continual stream of international meditators in English, with exceptional results.

    Profile as a Monk

    Name: Phra Thepyanmongkol (Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai Jayamanggalo) Abbot of Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram, and Director of Dhammakaya Buddhist Meditation Institute
    Date of birth: March 6, 1929.
    Entered monkhood: March 6, 1986.
    Buddhist Dhamma: Completed grade three of Buddhist Theory, and grade six of Pali studies.
    Meditation Master: Venerable Phra Rajbrahma-Thera, Deputy Abbot, Meditation master, Wat Paknam
    Meditation Experience: Practiced Buddhist meditation since 1970.
    Preceptorship: Appointed since January 31, 1996.
    Ecclesiastical Title from December 5, 1998: Phra Bhavana Visutthikhun
    Ecclesiastical Title from December 5, 2004: Phra Rajyanvisith
    Ecclesiastical Title from December 5, 2011: Phra Thepyanmongkol
    Honorary Doctorates  
    2007 An honorary Doctorate in Buddhist Principles in Management from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in 2007.
    2009 An honorary Doctorate in Religious Study in Buddhism from Mahamakut Buddhist University in 2009.

     Profile before Monkhood

    Work: Research specialist, United States Information Services (USIS), Bangkok.
    Visiting lecturer in research methodology, research and evaluation, and public opinion surveys to various academic institutions (Thammasart University, Bangkok University, etc.)
    Academic Qualifications: Certificate in accountancy, Bachelors of Commerce, and Masters of Arts in public administration (Honors), Thammasart University.
    Certificate in social science research, Institute of Social Research, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
    Certificate in Wang OIS Management Courses, organized by USIS, Washington DC, USA.

     

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  • Biography of Luang Phor Sodh

    Biography of Luang Phor Sodh

    Luang Phor Sodh 1

    The master of the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, the late Abbot of Wat Paknam, the Venerable Chao KhunPhraMongkol-Thepmuni, is fondly known and revered throughout the land as Luang Phor Wat Paknam, or simply as Luang Phor Yai, meaning senior father or meditation master. Luang Phor was born October 10, 1884 (BE 2427) to a humble rice-merchant family of Supanburi Province as Sodh, the second child of Nai Ngern and Nang Sudjai Meekaewnoi. As was typical in

    those days, young Sodh received his education from the temples. At fourteen, when his father died, he became the chief bread winner for the family. Successful

    as he was in rice trading, at age nineteen the compassionate young man resolved to become a monk (bhikkhu) for life.

    Having made arrangements to ensure his mothers welfare, the young man entered monkhood three years later, in July 1906 (BE 2449). At the age of twenty-two, he was ordained as Candasaro Bhikkhu at Wat Songpeenong, near his home. Phra

    Ajahn Dee of Wat Pratusarn, Supanburi, was his main Preceptor.

    The day after his ordination, Candasaro Bhikkhu beganmeditation practice and study of Pali scriptures in search of deeper and wider knowledge, he moved fromWat Songpeenong toWat Bodhi (Wat Phra Chetupon Vimonmangkalaram) in Bangkok. There, he frequented the centers of meditation practice

    and Pali study.

    Soon, Luang Phor was recognized by his teachers, Phra Khru Yanavirati (Po) of Wat Bodhi and Phra Ajahn Singha of Wat Lakorn Tham, as an accomplished meditation instructor.

    During those early dry seasons, Luang Phor adopted Dhutangavatra, the Austere Practices for Purification such as wandering in solitude through the forest wilderness, staying in caves and practicing

    the Dhamma with piety.

    After ten years, Luang Phor set aside his informal study of the Pali Scriptures, having reached sufficiency to read the Mahasatipatthana Sutta.

    Thereafter he devoted himself totally to meditation practice.

    Luang Phor spent the next Buddhist Lent at Wat Bang Khoo Vieng, on Bangkok Noi Canal, where his benefactor, Phra Ajahn Choom, was the abbot. There, at nightfall on the full-moon day of

    September, in his twelfth year as a Bhikkhu, Luang Phor prepared himself for meditation in the uposatha. He invoked illumination and guidance, and made a vow dedicating his life to Buddhism. Luang Phor vowed not to rise from his seat in front of the Buddha statue until he was permitted to attain some understanding of the Dhamma as discerned by the Buddha.

    With his mind set and its components of vision, memory, thought and cognition all at rest at the center of his body, two .Anguli. (joints of the middle finger) above the navel, Luang Phor was able to penetrate the full depths of the Dhamma as it was revealed to and by the Buddha. That revelation of the Dhamma and ever more refined Dhammakayas (Dhamma bodies) was so profound that it was only possible when the mind was at rest at the bodys center. After lent, Luang Phor went to teach at Wat Bang Pla, where three monks and four laymen who

    followed hismeditation procedure were also able to attain various degrees of insight. Thereafter, Luang Phor gradually became renown throughout the land.

    Somdej Phra Vanarat, Head of Bhasicharoen Sangha District, spotted Luang Phors potential and requested him to assume the Abbotship of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. This was a neglected and deteriorating monastery erected five centuries earlier.

    Luang Phor wanted to decline this request, but he could not. With utmost patience and remarkable leadership, Luang Phor gradually rebuilt the monastery until it is today one of the largest and most important monasteries in the land. In 1949 (BE

    2492), Luang Phor received the ecclesiastical rank of Phra Bhavana-Kosolthera. This was followed by the title Phra Mongkol-Rajmuni, and in 1957 (BE 2500) by the title Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni.

    Vijja Dhammakaya, the revelation of the Dhamma as attained by Luang Phor, was the heart of his teaching. His service to Buddhismcan be seen

    from his regular routine:

    • Meditating day and night with Bhikkhus and Upasikas (nuns) in different sessions.
    • Leading Bhikkhus and Samaneras in the uposatha every morning and evening, paying homage to the Triple Gems and ending with a sermon.
    • Teaching public meditation practice every Thursday at 2:00 pm.
    • Delivering public sermons on holy days (Uposatha or Wan Phra) and Sundays.
    • Supervising the Pali Institute.

    Thus, Luang Phor devoted his time and effort almost exclusively to teaching meditation. His disciples multiplied into the thousands. It was not uncommon for revered bhikkhus in far corners of the country, who apparently never met Luang Phor, to know him well and to respect him as their mentor.

    His decease at the age of 75, on February 3, 1959 (BE 2502) was just a pause for the immortal master. His life should serve to remind other mortals to pursue their own obligations to the Noble Path carefully. Luang Phors teachings live on, manifesting the Ultimate Righteous Truth.

    Written by Phrarajbrahmathera
    Vice Abbot, Wat Paknam Basijareon, Bangkok.

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