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The Buddha Metta Pilgrimage brought together four monks, a nun and fifteen individuals from Britain, New Zealand and Thailand who wanted to experience what it is like to live in the Thai Forest Tradition.
We came together for a two week pilgrimage, travelling around NE Thailand. We stayed at temples, slept in caves, and listened to Dhamma talks from experienced Forest teachers.
We assembled at Wat Pah Kanjanabhisek, the monastery of Luangpoh Sudhiro. This is a Dhammayut forest monastery on the edge of the town of Phu Wieng in Khon Kaen a province of NE Thailand.
On our first evening a group of about a dozen students arrived with tents and sleeping bags. They were from the Buddhist University, and wished to support us and share part of our experience.
This was a wonderful example of the generous and openhearted welcome we received throughout the trip. The students spent their weekend with us, cooking food, joining us on the trips and practicing their English.
They seemed to have fun and gain as much benefit from us as we all did from them.
Day 2—Saturday 8th
The first two days we slept and ate at Wat Pah Kanjanabhisek, travelling to local temples and places of interest. This was a helpful time to get over jet lag, get used to the climate and the food; and get to know the other members of the group.
key aspect of each day was the morning Alms round, where the monks gather
shortly after six am. They walk barefoot to the local town to provide
the opportunity for local people, who cannot come to the temple, to
make merit by offering the food that they will eat before midday.
When the monks return to the monastery there are usually a number of local community members who help present the food, and after a Dhamma talk and blessing, we all joined in to eat our main meal of the day.