Monday, January 4, 2010


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Ray said...

Dear Nash, I read your article in the Bangkok Post with interest. It was very illuminating.

I and my wife will be in Thailand for another eight weeks and then we're moving to the Philippines. What a shame.

I completely agree with your comments about mindfulness. But I must admit that sometimes i am puzzled about mindfulness and what it means.

I am 69 now and have been a Buddhist since I read a book called Siddartha when I was 17. But it will take me a million years to perfect my character. You could almost call me, if you like, a weekend Buddhist. But amidst the intricate confusions of Samsara I have stuck to my creed. I still think that the farthest flights of Buddhism are way beyond ordinary mortals. I think that Buddhism, rather than being something from the past is like something on the far future when man has overcome all the trials and tribulations which he has in the present.

According to your comparison of the Lotus Standard I guess I am about midway between 3 and 4. However it remains the most important thing to me.

As Bodhidharma said, "Once mortals see their nature all attachments end. Awareness isn't hidden. But you can only find it right now. It's only now. If you really want to find a Way don't hold on to anything."

Anyway Nash I am here for another two months so if there is anything organized I'd love to consider attending.

Ray Miller

nash said...

Dear Ray,

Thank you very much for taking your time to drop by and leaving some inspiring words. I am humbled to know that you enjoy a writing for a mere beginner like myself.

Please do not consider yourself anywhere near Lotus Type 4! Anyone who had a "calling" since 17 is certainly a special person, one that is bent to be awakened sooner rather than later.

Regarding mindfulness courses, I would highly recommend Chiangmai Vipassana Center. I have been to many places, but Chiangmai is the clear winner. Their 7-day course is a life-changing experience. I am not talking about myself only, but for the thousands of people I was able to witness in my 43 retreats.

Please let me know via my email address if you are interested so that I would arrange to have a translator for you. If schedule permits, I may volunteer myself. I have had the honor to help translate for a several people who don't speak Thai before. Not that the course requires much translation. As you may have known, it is an action-based program where you are coach to walk, sit, eat, and do your daily activities with mindfulness.

By the way, the course is free of charge, including everything, room and board and lectures. But if you want to donate, they post the actual expense per person on the white board there. It comes down to only 2,800 Baht per person for the whole 7 days. Donation is not required since the course can run by donation from former participants (such as myself) that find the course very helpful to their life.

Thanks again for writing. I sincerely hope that you would be able to try the 7-day course before you leave Thailand. If I am someone who was moved by Siddartha at age 17, I certainly would try to learn how it is to live, eat, walk, sit and think like him. This course will give you that opportunity to have a taste of what it is like. As Lord Buddha used to say, "Don't believe anything easily, even if it comes from me. Try it and see for yourself. Then and only then that you can choose to believe."


Nash Siamwalla
Your friend from Bangkok Post

nash said...

p.s. Next 2 courses at Chiangmai Vipassa Center are primarily for Chiangmai U's med students, but they accept outsiders, too, if they don't mind being among the youngsters.

Next courses:

Feb 27-Mar 6 (med students)
Mar 17-Mar 24 (med students)
Mar 27-April 3

Talib said...

Dear Nash, I too just read your article in the newspaper this week. My attention was caught by the title with was a discussion on Taoism - one of my interests!
Your knowledge and writing is wonderful to read. Yes Zen is similiar Taoism. However, one thing I would like to add is that while many of the ideas of Taoism are very similiar to concepts taught within Buddhism, Taoism is still very different to Buddhism. This difference makes me wonder why many people familiar with some commonly held teachings of Buddhism avoid discussing some of the ideas within Taoism.
Also I just would like to ask if you know where I can find any Thai language books on Taoism in Bangkok?

nash said...

Dear Talib,

Thanks for dropping by. You're just what I need because I don't know much about Tao. I guess this explains why most Buddhists (at least in this country) do not discuss Tao.

I dropped by your blog and saw that you have a Zen sense of humor. Good for you! I like the one about wine. Really made me chuckle.

Thai-language books on Tao? I'm sorry, you may have asked a wrong person. As far as I remember, I didn't see any in Nai-in Bookstore. Well, you may try bigger bookstores.

When Nanmee Books had a branch in Sukumvit 26, I remember they had extensive collection on spirituality. Now that they have closed that branch, may be you could try their HQ in Sukhumvit 31?

Another place to look is Chula Bookstores, either the one in Siam Square, the one in Chula itself, or the one in Jamjuree Square at Sam Yan.

And once you've checked them out and found what you need, please come back to enlighten me on Tao, ok? Thank you very much in advance!