At the time of the New Year many Thai people celebrate traditionally by making merit at the Temple. However a group of approximately two hundred monks gathered together to start their ‘Jarik’ (Walking) from the Great Stupa of Nakornsrithamarat to the Great Stupa at Prapatumchedi (the first Great Stupa in Thailand).
Lead by Pra Ajarn Charun Anongkano the Jarik symbolizes the way of The Lord Buddha’s teaching; it allows the Buddhist follower to understand and respect Buddhist spiritual practices and passes the message of compassion, gratitude and spiritual practice.
The monks began their Jarik on November 25th at Nakornsrithamarat, passing through Surathani, Chumpon, Prachaubkirikhan, Petchaburi, Ratchaburi completing their walk at the Great Stupa at Prapatumchedi. Walking for 50 days allows all Buddhist to understand the training and practice all monks undergo to complete their training. Each day starts at 3am for meditation before commencing morning prayer by 4am until sunrise. One meal a day is served at 9am and the walk begins at 10am ending at sunset; then evening prayer and meditation before sleeping around the cremation area. 50 days of walking together strengthens the connection amongst the monks, supporting each other physically, mentally and spiritually thus allowing them to be connected and to act as mentors for each other. After training to become a monk they will have 227 precepts and must refrain from all material aspects which surrounds them everywhere. They walk between 15 and 25 kilometres each day carrying a few personal belongings, walking in the strong sun barefoot is the real practice of understanding suffering and how they will overcome these issues during this practice. A few of the monks have painful knee conditions but still wish to participate to overcome their suffering. The practice is important not only to overcome suffering but to focus and clear the mind and free the mind from temptation and other demons. This is real training for the monks, it is easy to sit and meditate in the Temple and forest but the practice of the Jarik allows them to keep their awareness at all times and to focus their mind completely.
Being fascinated by this Buddhist practice I decided to meet the followers 3 years ago as they passed through Hua Hin. At first I had little understanding but after visiting with the monks several times over the New Year I gained a much clearer insight into the purpose of this annual ritual. This year the followers have been joined by a Buddhist monk from Germany. The Jarik takes place every year from late November until mid January across Thailand. For further information please visit: http:/www.phradongyang.com or email: Phradongyang@hotmail.com.
If you are in Hua Hin and wish to participate in any of our Buddhist activities or meditation classes we have a small community “Vatara” that aims to promote Buddhism spiritual practice within the Hua Hin community, please contact us for further information at: Buathon@hotmail.com
Reported by Dr. Buathon Thienarrom.
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