Ajahn Mosquito

One of the things I like the least here at the monastery is the insects. We’re in the forest, and there are a lot of bugs. All kinds of crawling and flying critters constantly landing on you, buzzing around your ears, crawling on you, stinging or biting you, dying all over your floor and your … More Ajahn Mosquito

Who benefits?

Generosity and merit-making are strong values in Buddhist culture, and I see it in action on a daily basis. People are very generous toward the monastery, and Ajahn has devoted his life to serving others. He’s developed his monastery because of people’s requests for teachings and retreats, and nowadays he sometimes takes in young novices … More Who benefits?


I once asked Ajahn during alms round whether he sometimes felt bad that he couldn’t say thank you to his donors. The question came from the fact that I felt a little bad when people would kneel to make donations, and he would walk on without even looking at them. The rule against saying thank … More Gratitude

The Second Arrow

One of Ajahn’s supporters is in a fairly advanced stage of kidney cancer. I’ve seen her come out of the house to offer food to the monk, but lately she has not been coming out. Every morning, her daughter fills Ajahn on the latest news. Yesterday and today, Ajahn was invited (and me, as his … More The Second Arrow

A Hut In The Forest

For the past month I’ve been living in a hut in the woods at a monastery in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. It is a kuti, or monk meditation hut. No electricity, no running water, and somehow no phone signal. It comes with an adjacent covered walkway for walking meditation. I love the simplicity of … More A Hut In The Forest

Getting Old Is Good

Yesterday, as we were walking through the streets of our little village, in Northern Thailand, Ajahn (teacher in Thai) suddenly reflected that he was looking forward to getting old. We had just passed a young woman in her late teens accompanied by an older lady whose wrinkled face and humble demeanour gave her an air … More Getting Old Is Good


Wednesday September 21, 2016 Warning: The following post is a whopping 3,500-word essay on the topic of nuns in Theravada. What started out as a normal blog post grew into a five-page Word document as I kept uncovering more about this fascinating (to me) topic. I don’t expect many people to read it, and I’d … More Bhikkhunis

Alms round, part 2

Monday, September 12, 2016   Post n° 7 – Alms round, part 2   One of the few opportunities for exercise at Shwe Oo Min monastery is the alms round every morning at 6:40. This is a one-hour walk through the village, during which the 100 monks and novices collect rice and other small dishes … More Alms round, part 2