This page provides information about the main Suan Mokkh monastery, its founder Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and the Buddhdadasa Indapanno Archives (BIA) in Bangkok.
Wat Suan Mokkh - main monastery
Wat Suan Mokkh is a forest monastery where about 40 monks live in little huts in the forest. From July to September, during the traditional three month rain retreat, the number of monks may increase to more than 70. Another part of the monastery grounds is reserved for nuns and lay women.
At one time, before 1996, a small community of foreigners lived at Wat Suan Mokkh, known worldwide as a centre for meditation. Today only occasionally foreigners will stay longer than two or three days before or after the retreat at the associated International Dharma Hermitage about 1.5km to the east of the main monastery.
This hermitage attracts more than 1,000 foreigners a year to Wat Suan Mokkh, which sometimes appears as Wat Suan Mok in some publications and websites that try to capture the pronunciation. The visitors attend 10-day silent retreats with instruction in meditation and Dharma. The instructions at the International Dharma Hermitage are given in English.
There are a number of other buildings at Wat Suan Mokkh, including the Spiritual Theatre and the assembly hall in the form of a big ship - a metaphor for the Dharma - with a foreign library and the sculpture workshop.
The foreign library has a variety of books on meditation, Buddhism and related topics in many languages including English, German, French and Japanese.
Anyone arriving early for a retreat, wanting to stay longer or arriving during retreats is welcome to stay, initially for up to seven days, at the main monastery. If, after seven days, you intend to prolong your stay, you need to get permission by the abbot of Suan Mokkh or his representative. Permission will readily be granted to dedicated meditators and students of Buddhism. Doing a chore (community work like sweeping leaves) while staying is part of the practice.
Accommodation in dorms (for men) or individual rooms (for women) is free; food is available inside the monastery or at the nearby stalls.
Please note that there are neither organised activities nor a certain schedule to be followed, no teachings or instructions been offered while staying at the main Suan Mokkh monastery. This possibility is therefore most suitable for people who have done a retreat at the International Dharma Hermitage already or for experienced meditators who can use the wat's facilities without guidance.
Staying at the main monastery provides an interesting opportunity to get in touch with the monastic lifestyle of forest monks in Thailand. It is not necessary to dress in white and you do not have to keep silent while staying there but you are asked to dress and behave respectfully and to keep the Eight precepts as described in the Basic Rules page of this website.
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (Slave of the Buddha) became a monk 1926 at the age of 20.
He founded Suan Mokkh (The grove of the power of liberation) in 1932 and moved it to its present location about 10 years later.
"His goal has been to produce a complete set of references for present and future research and practice," says the About the Author section in his many printed books.
"He has studied many schools of Buddhism as well as other major religious traditions. He seeks to unite all genuinely religious people in order to work together to help free humanity by destroying selfishness."
His last project was to establish the International Dharma Hermitage where people from all over the world study the 'Truth of nature' and engage in mental cultivation or meditation.
His books, some translated into English, skilfully explain anapanasati meditation and other aspects
of the Buddha's teaching.
Ajahn Buddhadasa died at Suan Mokkh on July 8, 1993. He was 87 years old.
For more information about Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, about his translated books and available tapes and CDs in English, please visit the website of Santikaro
, a former monk and the main translator of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.
Another former monk of German nationality has translated some of Santikaro's English translations into German.
Please visit www.buddhismus-muenchen.de
Both, English and German translations are available after the retreat in the retreat center or at the Dhammadana Foundation in front of the main monastery.
Postal service is available via BIA-Bangkok (see below).
Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives - "Suan Mokkh Bangkok"
The Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, adjoining a small lake just outside the north-western edge of Chatuchak park in Bangkok (see map below), is a new and modern building dedicated to the heritage of the late Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. It is often referred to as "Suan Mokkh Bangkok".
It hosts facilities suitable for meditation, lectures, discussion, exhibitions etc. Beautifully decorated open air areas and a large bookshop with Thai and English language Dharma literature are integrated as well. Activities are being held regularly and a notice board gives information on other Dharma activities in and around Bangkok.
Present activities do not include meditation retreats.
Most activities are in Thai but more English language activities are in the making.