Category Archives: Amnat Charoen

Small village, large wat compound

Wat Aranyapaisan is a beautiful monastery in a large, well-kept compound in the village of Ban Sroi, Amphur Phana, Amnat Charoen Province. There were nine monks in residence when I visited in late May 2017.

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Buddha Images Outdoors

Buddha images on hillsides and atop mountains are a feature of driving through the Thai countryside, and it is always a pleasure to catch a glimpse of one from the window of a train.

They are seen more and more frequently, it seems to me, in wat compounds and by the roadside. Here are a few I have seen and photographed recently.

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The next one is at Wat Khuha Sawan, Khong Chiam, Ubon Ratchathani Province:

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Wat Muang Sawat

Wat Muang Sawat (or Wat Ban Muang Sawat) is situated in Tambon Phana, Phana District, Amnat Charoen Province. It has three gates and this one is probably the ‘main gate’ even if most people might enter through another one.

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This gate has two features which make it attractive. There are no electrical or telephone wires on this side of the road; and there are 3-D ‘teaching’ pictures moulded onto the walls adjoning the gatway. These may be particularly appropriate because on the other side of the road is Ban Muang Sawat (Primary ) School.

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The sequence of childhood, old age, sickness and death is illustrated:

And there are somewhat grim warnings of the evils of adultery, gambling, and drunkenness:

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We can also see a monk teaching against theft, drunkenness and adultery:

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And we are also shown positive images of ‘good’ behaviour:

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The Wats of Tambon Phana

Introducing the Wats of Tambon Phana, Phana District, Amnat Charoen Province.

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wat-plt-gateWat Phra Lao Thepnimit

wat-burapa-gateWat Burapa

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Wat Muang Sawat

wat-treeratWat Treerat Prachasan

wat-nk-gate-1Wat Nek Khammaram

wat-don-kwanWat Don Kwan

New gateways

For a long time I used to walk into a monastery compound without taking much notice of the gateway I had just walked through. Much like most other people, I suspect. But nowadays I am possibly as interested in the gateways as I am in what lies beyond them.

So as this blog (or at any rate, this new incarnation of an old blog) has a special page allocated to gateways, and as gateways may be the first we know of the presence of a temple or monastery, I am going to begin with a post about gateways. A post about new gateways, in fact.

The first is one I discovered in a nearby village just a few days ago and I re-visited it with a camera earlier today.

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Wat Saeng Thong, Ban Na Sabaeng, Phana District,

Amnat Charoen Province

The gateway itself is impressive, but I particularly like the way that it frames the large Buddha image at the far end of the compound.

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There is another side gate still uncompleted, very close to this main one. Here are the craftsmen at work completing the decoration .

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So today I was lucky to see a gateway newly completed and another being worked on by a friendly gang of craftsmen. A few days ago I stopped on  my way to Ubon Ratchathani tp photograph a new gateway that has been standing in the same unfinished state for more than a month now. I suspect that more money is needed here!

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Wat Pharoj, Ban Pharoj, Muang Samsip District

Ubon Ratchathani Province

Welcome to the new isantraveller

Isantraveller will be back with new posts, focusing on travels to Buddhist temples and monasteries of North-East Thailand, otherwise known as Isan.

The site aims to reflect something that I became aware of after visiting many Buddhist temples and monasteries — that they are not all the same, though they may seem so to the weary traveller. They share many features but each reflects the particular interests of the founding abbot and his followers, and the local people who have supported them over the years. Undoubtedly, they also reflect the wealth or lack of it of those supporters.

These two gateways illustrate what I mean: the one simple and fairly plain, the other ornate. They both stand beside the same road, some 10 kms apart.

 

Forest Monasteries, Ubon Ratchathani

Wat Nong Pa Pong is a forest monastery and meditation centre in Amphur Warin Chamrap on Highway 2178 about 6 km from Ubon. The ordination hall is an all white building. Inside is a wax image of Phra Acharn Luang Por Chah, a famous meditation monk born in Ubon Province. The late Phra Acharn Chah founded this temple and he is revered throughout Thailand. Monasteries founded by him can be found throughout North-East Thailand and there are also branch monseries founded by his followers in several countries throughout the world.

This Chedi surmounted by a That is in the temple compound at Wat Nong Pa Pong. The Chedi contains relics of Phra Acharn Chah.  Another building within the temple grounds is a mueum containing the few posessions that the Acharn had during his life.

Many of the branch monasteries founded by Phra Acharn Chah are in Ubon Ratchathani Province. Monks are not always  in residence because many of the branches are used for meditation retreats which are of a limited duration. One example is Branch 25 which is located on Highway 212 between Ubon and Muang Samsip.

At the entrance to the monastery here, set well back fom the main road but clearly visible down a long drive, is this That , a typically Isan form of Chedi or Stupa. This one is very similar to the famous Phra That Phanom, but smaller. Relics of Phra Acharn Chah are housed within the that.

Branch #85 is a forest monastery found on the outskirts of the small village of Ban Tham Yae in Amphur Phana, Amnat Charoen Province. Here is the sign on Highway 2134 that by-passes Phana.

This monastery does have monks in permanent residence.

Wat Pa Nanachat is another forest monastery and meditation centre founded by Phra Acharn Chah. Th monks here are not Thai and if you are interested in the Acharn’s teaching this is a better place to visit. An English-speaking monk wll always be happy to talk with you. However, you should not expect  to be able to stay here unless you are willing to conform to their very strict rules. This monastery is in Tambon Bung Wai, Amphur WariChamrap, about 12 km from Ubon. Travel along Highway 24, turn left to Amphur Kanthararom, Si Sa Ket Province (Highway 226). There will b a sign pointing the way to the monastery, which is about 1 km off the highway along a dirt road.