Wat Thamkrabok – at the Telegraph

The Telegraph UK has a gallery of Wat Thamkrabok – the temple famous for more than 20 years for its controversial, but often effective drug rehabilitation scheme.  This temple was founded by a Mae Chee, not a monk, though it was many years before it was given official ‘temple’ status.

While many temples have risen to fame, and faded from view since the ‘early’ days in the late sixties and early seventies, this temple has steadily been fullfilling its mission. There are questions in the Sangha about how much temples ‘should’ do social work for the community. Should goes in quotes, because there is no real resistance from the Sangha to stop temples with social help schemes, even though the majority feel temples should be about dhamma. Afterall, clinics and medical professionals should really supervise such schemes shouldn’t they?

Similar questions were raised over the last 50 years as Thailand’s schools shifted from being managed by the temples, to being run by qualified educational and teaching professionals. For the most part this shift in education has been a good thing – schools are better run by professionals than by monks and nuns, even if there are some downsides.

Click on the image below to link to the slides on the Telegraph.

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About Cittasamvaro

Auto blogography of an urban monk
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3 Responses to Wat Thamkrabok – at the Telegraph

  1. Craig says:

    Paul Garrigan wrote a book, Last Escape, about his time at this temple. His blog is at http://paulgarrigan.blogspot.com/ and his new book, Dead Drunk, is due for release at the end of April, 2010.

    • Cittasamvaro says:

      Good link. The summary for the book starts :

      In my new book Dead Drunk I discuss how a Thai temple called Wat Thamkrabok helped me beat my addiction to alcohol. It is now almost four years since I left the temple and it really does feel like my addiction has; been completely defeated. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but all I can say is that alcohol does not seem attractive to me at all these days. I have experienced some wonderful highs in recovery; highs that would have once offered plenty of reason for alcohol-fueled celebrations. I have also needed to deal with lows that previously would have had me running to the bottle

  2. Richard says:

    I remember watching a clip about this ‘temple’ on YouTube – the black monk – I can;t remember his name now – looked like a particularly scary chap! His story about how he came upon the temple and found his ‘calling’ is interesting. I must say that when I heard how he talked to some of the ‘druggies’ I was suprised that a monk could utter such things. But then again, I was suprised when I heard that one ‘orahaan’ kicked a monk in his charge to the floor in order for them to get him out of his sulk and ‘wake-up’; I guess that there are various ways to train humans and the human mind, and that it is the result, the liberation from addiction in the druggies’ case or understanding the correct view for the monk in question, that is important. Although I struggle to see the ‘metta’ in some of these methods – perhas that is my failing, not theirs!
    Anyhow, an interesting place nevertheless, although a temple that I hopefully won’t be visiting soon!

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