Learning from a Monk: Phra Puttar Teaches Meditation at New Life

monk talk groupLast month we were once again blessed with a gifted guest. Phra (Monk) Puttar Chamsomboon from Wat Mahatat in Bangkok spent one week with us teaching about Vipassana meditation, Buddhism and what its like to be a monk. His laid back demeanor and witty charm made us all feel comfortable, dissolving any uncertainty one might have about asking a deep, or maybe not-so-deep question. Nothing felt taboo, he was all ears for us and always ready with a wise response.

Phra Puttar helped us to understand the Buddhist view of suffering–that all suffering is the result of expectations. He counsels not to get swept away by sensations or feelings; that they are only momentary and they always bring suffering–even the so-called happy ones.

Phra says he became a Monk to work on himself.  “We all start with ourselves first–our physical body and our mind.”   He says the goal is to develop the discipline that helps us get rid of suffering.

Phra Puttar’s advice to everyone in recovery is simple:  Start with your mind and expectations.  Meditate to understand the truth about yourself, not just sitting but consciously learning. His key point to remember is that the Buddha can only point the way; we must do the practice in order to progress toward realization of the highest peace. The meditation classes he taught started with a lecture and lead in to a guided meditation, leaving plenty of time at the end for his students to share and ask questions.

He believes New Life is a good place for residents and volunteers to learn about themselves.  “It’s relaxed and comfortable in nice surroundings.  You are not disturbed by the outside.  New Life gives you the space you need to explore yourself,” he says.

Phra Puttar teaches mediation at Wat Mahatat, an international meditation center in Bangkok.  People interested in learning Vipassana meditation can receive instruction in English and simple accommodations at no charge (donations appreciated).  His website is www.dhammathai.org/e/meditation/page6.php.  He is also on Facebook: Puttar Chan.

In the future we look forward to seeing more of Phra Puttar around campus here at New Life; he has arranged to visit us for one week each month and continue his teachings of Buddhism and meditation.

–Many thanks to one of our volunteers for this guest post

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