Even to this day I am often remembered at Thamkrabok as Phra Alien. I did format and upload some pages in Russian a little while ago and it was most pleasing when I found out that a non-English speaking addict arrived from Russia after reading the new website pages. Of course, I do still answer the telephone and reply to many emails from addicts, and those who love them, from all over the world.
My goal is to help them to decide if Thamkrabok is the right choice for them and I try to steer them in the right direction as appropriate. I have been aware for a number of years of the lack of support for recovering addicts — ex-Thamkrabokers as it were — after they had completed treatment and left the monastery. I still manage and contribute to this forum. In February , being mindful of the low level of support at home for recovering addicts, I arranged a week long retreat at The Barn Rural Buddhist Retreat in Devon, England exclusively for ex-Thamkrabokers.
Although, Martine has a very busy teaching schedule she very generously travelled from her home in France to help with talks, group discussions, personal interviews and guided meditation.
The Hungry Stones and Other Stories, by Rabindranath Tagore
Disappointingly, not enough ex-Thamkrabokers signed up for the retreat to make it viable, however it was opened up to the general public and was oversubscribed in a very short time. I try to visit TKBM at least once every year. Thamkrabok monks take a number of extra vows following ordination including one not to use any form of transportation. This is part of the Sajja practice of setting and holding boundaries. Therefore, no one currently in robes can realistically travel beyond Thailand that is why I was asked to represent Thamkrabok at the inaugural Buddhist Recovery Network conference in Los Angeles during October Do you have any future plans related to TKBM?
Looking to the future, if time and money were no problem, I would like to establish a Buddhist Rehabilitation Centre somewhere in Europe. Effectively a safe house based on the structured framework of The Barn in Devon but with aspects and influences of Thamkrabok included.
The Bodhisattva Vow: Eight Views
Combining working on the land primarily growing food , meditation, Thamkrabok Sajja and the Five Precepts as the basis for a happy and healthy drug and alcohol free community. On another front, I have often thought of how the critical success factors of the Thamkrabok treatment programme might be applied to drug and alcohol treatment programs on Native Indian Reservations in the United States.
This might not be as crazy as it sounds as there are a lot of similarities between the Thamkrabok regime and Native American cultures; location and isolation Sacred Places , ritual, herbal medicines, sweat lodges and chanting. I would like to explore this possibility if there were enough interest within the Native communities.
What are the most effective components of the program? The original treatment process was devised by the 1st Abbot, Luangpor Chamroon and his aunt Mian reverently known as Luangpor Yaai. The program developed over many years since the first addict was treated in into a highly effective systematic regime. There are perhaps five main identifiable elements of the program that work on two complementary levels: the spiritual and the physical.
These elements are, in no particular order —. After 5-days, the white tee-shirt is exchanged for a red one indicating that the addict has completed the crucial vomiting treatment. Secondly, the vow and the mantra. Sajja is a Pali word found in Buddhist texts which has the broad meaning of embracing truth, loyalty, purity and honesty; as in The Four Noble Sajjas.
As well as Sajja in this broader sense, the Thamkrabok community use individual Sajjas or vows, not only as a key component of the detox treatment but also in their day-to-day approach to Buddhist practice. It does not matter whether you take a Sajja not to use drugs for life or a Sajja not to be angry for 7 hours.
- The Hungry Ones!
- The First Vow:.
- Ritter-Kinder-Geburtstag (German Edition).
What is important is to see this commitment through to the end. The Sajja that is taken not to use drugs is considered to be the most important part of the detox and recovery process. The ritual drug and alcohol Sajjas are presided over by senior monks who recite the words of the vow and the addict repeats the words, line by line, as best they can.
After 5-days of treatment, an addict may request a personal Sajja to help with his recovery.
THE HUNGRY STONES
At the time of taking this personal Sajja, the addict is given a piece of paper on which is written a unique mantra, called a Kahtah, known only to them. The Kahtah can be used as an object of meditation or as a blessing for food, but most importantly it is to use in times of high stress or temptation.
After 7-days the paper is swallowed by the recovering addict. The third critical success factor is peer support. All addicts wear the same uniform and everyone is treated the same regardless of social status outside of Thamkrabok. Addicts in their first days of treatment are helped, supported and encouraged by those addicts who have already completed the critical 5-days vomiting treatment.
The group provides ongoing mutual support and a no-holds barred answering service to questions from addicts considering treatment at Thamkrabok. Also this year will see the opening of a new bed residential after-care facility for ex-Thamkrabok addicts in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. The fourth factor of success is meditation and Dhamma or Dharma talks. Thamkrabok practices a unique approach to Buddhism and for most addicts the monastery is their first introduction to Buddhism in any form.
Addicts in treatment sweep up leaves from around the monastery twice a day and some, but not all, see and appreciate this as a type of work meditation.
A lot of addicts do leave Tham Krabok with the rudimentary beginnings of meditation practice. To further aid recovery in a small way, I have recently started a Fifth Precept meditation group in my own home town. The group is open to anyone in recovery from alcohol or other drug addictions, being Buddhist or otherwise, regardless of meditation experience. The 1st Abbot, the late Luangpor Chamroon being made aware of western Step programs developed his own 12 meditations that he thought would give focus to the addict on his personal situation and his way forward However, they may still have a use in an after-treatment meditation support group or similar.
It is said that the recipe of natural ingredients is known only to the current Abbot and the Herbalist monk. Make no mistake; this is a very real and very rapid detox. How does TKBM help people recover from addictions? Thamkrabok gets them physically clean with a very real, very rapid herbal detox. Thamkrabok gives them a simple rule for staying clean — the Sajja. Thamkrabok gives them a simple tool for relapse prevention — the Kahtah. The rest is up to the addict.
Thamkrabok is a one-chance option… if someone is not ready they should not be encouraged to waste that one-chance. In my opinion the right people get to Thamkrabok at the right time… and then they always succeed. Many of them relapse… some of them die. If an individual is willing to change their habits and their outlook, then there is a good chance that Sajja will work for them. It would be unwise and unfair to fill up an aeroplane with addicts and take them to Thamkrabok… it just would not work.
When we stop taking our drug s of choice we most often find that we are lacking in ethics, or morally bankrupt.
We have spent too many years lying, cheating, stealing, abusing and even prostituting ourselves; so when we get clean we simply do not know how to behave properly. The Thamkrabok Sajja is not simply a vow to stop taking intoxicating substances; it is a commitment to starting a new life, embracing truth and honesty.
Effectively, we must radically change our view of the world, and our view of ourselves in that world. Any person or organisation claiming 60, 70 or even 80 percent success rates are effectively selling a wonder cure.
I deliberately say selling because there is normally a fee involved. Thamkrabok works for the people it works for…. Thomas took his research seriously to the point of ordaining as a Thamkrabok monk for 3-months. The Journey of the Hero commonly has three steps:. So you face your vulnerability and break out of many youthful fears and neuroses. Which of these do you feel have been most helpful in your own recovery?
I, of course, observe my own vow never to touch alcohol for the rest of my life. This has been reinforced by formal vows or Sajjas taken at Thamkrabok; one Sajja for narcotics, one Sajja for alcohol and one Sajja for nicotine. It is difficult to fully practice the Sajja approach to Buddhism and recovery outside of Thamkrabok Monastery, so I complement my Sajjas with a commitment to the Five Precepts; in particular but by no means exclusively, the Fifth Precept. If I can hold fast on the Fifth Precept then I am less likely to transgress the other Precepts, but that is not a guarantee.
Personally, I have certainly experienced less suffering and dissatisfaction in my daily life since adopting all the Precepts as a life model. The more I look at the Precepts, the more they make sense. I can look at each precept individually or at all five together. In recovery, the Fifth Precept is my greatest challenge as breaking it will inevitably lead to breaking some or even all of the other commitments, leading to misery and suffering in my life.
If I indulge in drugs or alcohol I will invariably hurt those whom I love or who love me. I may cause them harm in many ways including emotionally, financially and possibly even physically. I am not only damaging those around me, I am putting my very existence, my very own life, at increasing risk. Kingdom…will be like : see note on Mt — Mt I do not know you : cf. Mt where the Greek verb is different but synonymous. But the wise virgins are adequately equipped for their task, and stay awake may mean no more than to be prepared; cf.
Mt , Lk — The latter are unspecified. As punishment, he loses the gift he had received, that is now given to the first servant, whose possessions are already great. A difficult and important question is the identification of these least brothers.
Related Hunger & Thirst - This Present Vow
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