newsletter on international buddhist woman's activitiws
Vol.18 no.1 (no.73) October-December,B.E. 2545 (2002)
Dhammarakkhita At Namo Mountain, Chiengmai
The natural setting of Doi Namo.
Samaneri Dhammarakkhita who was the first Thai lady to be ordained as a samaneri at Songdharmakalyani Temple in Thailand early this year is now spending the vassa
(rain retreat) at our temple. After the vassa she will be staying at a meditation centre at Doi Namo
(Doi means mountain) in Chiengmai, a well known province in the northern part of Thailand.
The Samaneri has an interesting story to share with us regarding the centre and how she found herself there. This centre is associated the Prathat (Buddha's relics) Doi Namo Temple, it is situated in Baan Thung Buak Khao, Maepang, Prao District, Chiengmai. The temple compound covers 35 acres of land which includes public cemetery, and it is under the care of the Forest Department. On this mountain, there are many beautiful trees, thus the area is shady throughout the year. The well known meditation masters in the past like Luang P'u Man and Luang P'u Waen frequested the place and often spent the vassa on this Mountain. There is an ancient stupa left in ruin, though renovated but it still stands tilted.
Previously this mountain was a residence only for monks, but as it turned out the residence monks sometimes went down to the plain and bought liquor up the mountain. When the village chief came for a visit, he found them dead drunk. Since then the village chief and the villages who support the centre declared the area to be available only for nuns and women practitioners
In 1996 a group of maechis (white robe nuns) led by Maechi Lupi Subharatna started fund raising and built an all-purpose building equipped with residential kutis, row of toilets and bath and also renovated the ancient stupa.
Samaneri Dhammarakkhita helped the monk to distribute exercise books and writing materials for the students up the mountain.
It was necessary to provide for water supply, so they had to purchase another small piece of land at the foot of the mountain to dig a well to supply water to the centre on the mountain.
This group of maechis and lay people worked very hard to keep the centre going. They planted many fruit trees, e.g. longans, bananas, papaya, egg-plants, etc. as a natural supply for those who intend to come to spend time practicing on the mountain.
Maechi Supi is now resident at the well known Wat Ramperng in Chiengmai proper due to her health she is too happy to invite the Samaneri to stay at this Doi Namo on the mountain.
During the previous visit, the Samaneri would ring the bell up the mountain at 5 p.m. it was a message for the villagers down the plain to prepare food offering for the next morning. The Samaneri walked the 2 kms. down the mountain for her alms round. The villagers were very happy to have the Samaneri practicing up the mountain where they made sure to provide her full support.
The senior monks who are in charge of the mountain happily welcomed her and now the monks in the neighboring area planned for various projects to have the Samaneri involved with the development of the village and the mountain.
The Samaneri was educated in Australia, I am sure she will be more than happy to welcome our readers who might like to have an experience of living up the mountain and practice in the natural settings.
195 Petkasem Highway
Muang District, Nakhonpathom
Tel.& Fax. 66 034 284 315