Joy’s Tales from Thailand

Tales from Thailand (2018) #7

Dear Friends,

Uuuuh, happy springtime, from Wattle Hollow. I have often been greeted with big loving hugs, and then, immediately: What are you doing here? You haven’t sent the final Tales From Thailand yet.

True. I wake up every morning, wondering and hoping Will this be the day I finish up the Tales?

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And SCROLL DOWN for a treat of imagery from this final newsletter post from Thailand:

Tales from Thailand (2018) #6

Hello again, dear readers.

I have a tricky topic to entertain this time: Saints.

They seem to come in all shapes and sizes. I probably miss quite a few of them, because of my busy, windy” mind. But still, I can describe a few that I met last week, at the “Inner Dimensions of Climate Change” Global Youth Conference at S.D.S.

Forty young eco-activists came from all over Asia and the Pacific islands to support each other and examine the internal process of “cooling” our own minds, within the fiery blasts of environmental decline/disasters we face today.

Right is Bob Maat. He has been walking in Cambodia for forty years, to restore sanity to the traumatized Cambodian survivors of U.S. bombings, and then the catastrophic “killing fields” of Pol Pot. He has, literally, followed in the footsteps of Maha Gosananda. Bob is light and easy, never promotes himself, has little to say, doesn’t do email. Yet when I asked I asked him, “How’s your mind?”, his simple response: Quiet. **

Read more…. CLICK HERE to view/download the full newsletter (pdf) Tales from Thailand #6

Tales from Thailand (2018) #5

As promised, dear readers, I’ll begin this Tale with my six days at a rural orphanage outside of Kanchanaburi, in western Thailand.

I’ve been away for four years, and I was quite pleasantly surprised to see the changes: Some of you may remember my concerns about the martial punishment which was practiced daily, especially as meted out by a couple whom I called “Mr and Mrs. Meany.” I even asked my Thai friend to translate a letter to the director, Maechee Jutipak, about the well-documented negative consequences of martial punishment: The children simply learn that harshness is the most efficient means of communication.

For whatever reason, Mr. and Mrs Meanie are gone. Wonderful.

And the nuns in charge now seem to be firm but gentle task-masters…

Read more…. CLICK HERE to view/download the full newsletter (pdf) Tales from Thailand #5

Tales from Thailand (2018) #4

Hundreds of retreatants, ninety percent of them women, climb up here to the roof on Saturdays and holidays, at the end of a long slow-walking meditation. The entire roof is a tribute to a Mongolian/Tibetan deity named Green Tara. My teacher, Maechee Sansanee, installed this naked-breasted goddess ten years ago. In Thailand, an extremely conservative group of monks hold the reins, as in most of Asia. Or as in most of the world’s religions, perhaps I could say?

Maechee says that women don’t need political power… they simply need to have faith in themselves, in the Buddha-dharma, to keep “jai yen”/a cool heart and serve society…

Read more…. CLICK HERE to view/download the full newsletter (pdf) Tales from Thailand #4

Tales from Thailand (2018) #3

Hello again, dear readers. Here I am again, at the climax of my perennial Hit Parade song:

Happy birthday to you-ou-ou…
Happy birthday to me-e-e-e…
Every day we are born,
And every day we are free-e-e-e..

Except, it was my actual birthday that evening, having completed seventy-one revolutions around the sun, counting the first year. And I have added a little component this year: after Every day we are born, I now tuck in the line,

And every day we die….

before the finale: Every day we are free-ee-ee-ee. (sung with gusto, and accompanying movements).

How can we be re-born unless there is newly created space?

Speaking of the Circles of life, I’ve been encouraging Nawng-Joy to focus on the methods by which our master gardener (remember the unsung
hero?) Chom has created this paradise. A wider audience around the world could reap the benefits of his decades of research. As I told Chom, via a translator, years ago:

I’m planning to ruin your life, by making you famous. You’ve been having this happy quiet life in the background here for too long now.

Read more…. CLICK HERE to view/download the full newsletter (pdf) Tales from Thailand #3

Tales from Thailand (2018) #2

I’ll have to choose two among the myriad magical events last week. Both will relate to the great circle of human life, its beginnings and endings. This has been Khun Mae’s (Maechee Sansanee’s) focus for the past decade.

Last Sunday (and the first Sunday of every month, for many years), the Serene Mind Project happened again: Many dozens of couples arrive in the morning. All of the women are pregnant. Everyone is encouraged to pay close attention to their mindstate, and how it might affect the growing embryo inside. Even our water-bottles here at the center carry the reminder:

A mother’s womb is the entire world to the child inside.

Read more…. CLICK HERE to view/download the full newsletter (pdf) Tales from Thailand #2

Tales from Thailand (2018) #1

Hello again, dears. Thank you for your best wishes and your interest in my journey. I myself haven’t more than a vague clue about what will be unfolding here.

But all of my adventures seem to be grooming me for the same life lessons:
1. Nothing, nothing (!) is ever awry.
2. Be patient (5555**) and alert
3. Keep an open and refreshed heart, known here in Thailand as “jai yen.” (cool heart)

I don’t need to go charging toward my goals like a bull rhinoceros in heat…. Alternatively, I breathe deeply, and return to lesson #1, above. This Lesson Plan requires daily repetition, for me, like a cosmic Sesame Street re-run.

I am truly “home” again, here at Satthien Dhamma Sathan (SDS), perhaps more than ever before. I feel more able to accept the lovingkindness and graceful beauty that is offered me at every turn, with less urgency to prove my worthiness . . .

CLICK HERE to view/download pdf of Tales from Thailand #1 newsletter

Tales from Thailand: A Prologue

Greetings, dear readers. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Some of you are new readers, and some may remember my last Tales From Thailand, 2014. But very few folks know the context of this return to Thailand, four winters later:

Four years ago, I asked my spiritual teacher and guide, Anna Cox, a question. . .

“What is going on with this child? I love so many children at the orphanage, but she seems to have stolen my heart in a unique way.”

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