Monk Life and Natural Dyeing

Here are pictures about the natural dyeing process. The monks boil the ironwood tree bark chips for a long time (days). When a drop of dye is dropped in a glass of water, a ball will form and sink to the bottom. At that point, the dye master will empty that batch of dye into containers and then reboil the same chips with fresh water to make more dye. You can do this two or three times before the chips are used up. The dye is added by sprinkling just a little bit onto the robe and then rolling it […]

Where to Ordain?

The short answer is: If you are looking for vinaya (places that don’t touch money), and you believe in the commentaries and Abhidhamma and want to meditate, you have two choices, Pa-Auk and Na-Uyana. If you don’t believe in the commentaries and Abhidhamma, you are best off at a Thai Forest Monastery like Ajahn Chah (Mahanikaya) or Ajahn Maha Boowa (Dhammayut) monasteries. There are other places that I might recommend too. This is SBS (SasanaRakkha Buddhist Sanctuary) in Malaysia and The International Institute of Theravāda in Sri Lanka. I will mention them later. I often get asked advice about where […]

The Robes of Theravadan, Mahayanan, Tibetan Monks

It occured to me that people don’t know one type of Buddhist monk from the other and a post was needed to explain this. First a little bit of history. Theravada is the closest thing as one can get to the original form of Buddhism and is based on the Pali texts. The countries that have Theravada as their national religion are; Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. It dates back to the Buddha from 5th century BCE Later, came Mahayana – Chinese Buddhism of the 1st century BCE. The texts are based on Chinese and Sanskrit. It is […]

Why Is Vassa (Rainy Season) Late Sometimes?

There seems to be confusion about when vassa is this year. This year is a special year and Vassa starts the day after the full moon day in August. The full moon day is August 3rd and Vassa starts on August 4th. However, there are some traditions that believe that Vassa has already started with the full moon day of July 4th and Vassa on July 5th. Who is correct? Today we will explain how the two calendar systems work and which one should be followed. The Buddhist Calendars follow the lunar calendar. We all know that the uposatha day […]

Murder He Won’t

A friend of mine once told me his story about how he had a knife in his hand and was raging with anger. He was going to kill his wife and her new found lover. Below is a short retelling of the story in third person. The Story My friend from the former Soviet Union did his first Goenka meditation retreat in 1999. The retreat was free and was very popular around the world. (dhamma.org). Before that, he was already into martial arts and Taoism and although they talked about meditation and controlling the mind, he did not really feel […]

What is a Kuti?

A kuṭi is a small hut or lodging that a monk lives in and it is one of the basic four requisites: Robes, Food, Lodging, & Medicine. They come in various sizes and qualities and I have prepared a small showcase of pictures which can show more than just the words.