History & Culture

Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram (Wat Suanmok)

Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram (or Wat Suanmok for short) is a temple set in a forest. Apart from its splendid setting, the temple itself is somewhat ordinary, aside from its extraordinary history. It was founded by Thailand’s most famous monk, Ajarn Bhikkhu Buddhadhasa. Ajarn Bhikkhu professed a Buddhism stripped of the mysticism and magical elements it had acquired over the years. After studying scripture he spent 6 years meditating in the forest and emerged with an unorthodox, yet very pure approach to Buddhism that attracted monks from around the globe. His writing (both English and Thai) made Bhikkhu Buddhadhasa the most widely read scholar on the subject in the west. His radical approach got him in trouble with the Thai authorities who regarded his anti-capitalism teaching as suspect. The temple is dedicated to his teachings and probably the temples nicest feature is the ’Spiritual Theatre’ – an interpretation of Dharma in pictures. The temple building also features a number of murals and sculptures in a range of international styles. The temple is a favourite for those looking for a meditation retreat.

Details: Admission to the temple is free but, of course, donations are gratefully accepted. Mediation retreat cost 120 Baht per day for ten days. There is not advanced booking for the retreat.

For more information see the website (below).

How to get there: 50 kilometres north of Surathani on Highway 41, the easiest way to get to the temple is Singtaew which costs 30 Baht.