The monks and I: Teaching and learning in Thailand

March 31, 2011

Foreigners are being invited to teach English to Buddhist monks at two temples in Thailand — at a cost of hundreds of dollars.

And staff at one temple claim that many visiting instructors “experienced nirvana temporarily” during meditation sessions.

The temples, Wat Luang Phor Sodh in Ratchaburi and Wat Doi Saket in Chiang Mai, run slightly different programs, but essentially offer the chance to learn about Thai culture while teaching English.

Foreign teachers have to pay for their own lodging, food and other expenses, as well as their airfare to and from Thailand. And though all of the saffron-robed monk students are male, the temples welcome both men and women teachers.

“All English speakers are … Read more »

Get enlightened on Germany’s meditation trail

June 20, 2010

In harmony with the rushing Ammer River, Norbert Parucha, our guide, recites Lao Tse. Poised on a rocky ledge overlooking the water, he stands craggy-faced and as solid as an ancient tree. He might be part of the mountain’s landscape but for the soothing melody of his speech and the rugged hiking boots on his feet.

Here, along the Ammergau Alps Meditation Trail, he calls us to contemplation. We stand, above the rapids, embraced by a belt of wine-bottle green pine trees and a smattering of moss-covered boulders. His words flow out into the brisk air and down to the water. It’s our job to catch them like summertime fireflies in a jar — and … Read more »