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  Wat Pa Ban Tat
Catagorize: Temple

This temple is at Ban Tat, Ban Tat sub-district, Meuang district, Udon Thani province. It is about 16 km from Udon Thani town to the south. Faithful people in Ban Tat gave an area of  approximately 163 rai and many plots around the wall. In addition, the temple also bought additional area of 140 rai. The total area is 300 rai for mediation. It is generally quiet and shady with high trees. It is a habitat of small and big animals such as pheasant, red jungle fowl, birds, squirrel, tree shrew, common wild pig etc. 

Entering the temple, you will see a sermon hall that is a large wooden pavilion. It used to be a one-storey pavilion but it was raised to become a two-storey pavilion so that it can be used more. The upper floor houses a large Buddha image that is the principal Buddha image of the temple. It is also used for training monks and novices and a meeting room for the monks, eg, forthnight recitation, Buddhist Lent Day pray, etc. The cabinet to the right of the principal Buddha image houses bones of Phra Ajarn Man Phuri Thatathera who is a teacher of Luang Ta Maha Bua and of other monks. The first floor of the pavilion is used for having breakfast, giving sermon and talking to laymen and their relatives who come from all directions. 

The construction of a large pavilion outside the wall was completed at the end of 1991. Faithful people asked Luang Ta Maha Bua for his permission to build it. He thought it would be beneficial for being a place for organizing national activities.

The dwelling structures of monks and novices called kutis - are simple and one m from the ground. They are single units scattered throughout the dense forest. They stand fairly for apart and are separated from each other by strips of forest dense enough so that the inhabitants cannot see one another. The whole area is tranquil and quiet, more so than the front area of the monastery which we have just mentioned. A monk will stay alone at his kuti without interactions with others. He spends all his time concentrating on his own practice - exerting himself in the practice of sitting and walking meditation in the area of his own kuti as if he were the only person around. He doesn‘t stop to chat with others, but follows in full detail the methods and forest practices taught by the Lord Buddha.

There are more than 10 permanent dwelling structures, which are residence of Luang Ta, senior monks and laymen and a place for mediation. It can accommodate about 50-100 people. The dwelling structures of laymen and monks and those for males and females are separated. 

Luang Ta stressed that five disasters that monks should not interfere are newspapers, radios, TVs, videos and telephones because they are obstacles to meditation. Additionally, electricity is not supplied to the temple and there is only a generator to be used for some occasions such as religious ceremonies. 

The major activities of novices are mediation and walking mediation to practice their wisdom and clean their passion. The monks at this temple do not accept to chant at the ceremony outside the temple so that they can practice the teachings of Buddha and meditation. 

At present (1991), there are 49 monks and one novice staying at the temple and some novices who come to study more percepts. The total number of monks and novices is 50-60. In the morning before asking for alms, they help clean the pavilion and the compound. They walk to ask for alms for about 3 km and stop in front of the temple. At 3 pm, they clean toilets and the temple compound. 

Luang Ta tried to teach monks and novices about simplicity, solitude and saving. Many people may be surprised that there are no signs of the temple name but this can make people realize what this Dhamma puzzle means. Some may interpret that if they travel to the temple by following the map that will tell you what you will pass. Although there is no name of the destination, the traveller will know absolutely if he arrives or not and the name is not necessary. Similarly, the travel to nirvana is just to follow the Dhamma principle. Upon arrival, it is not necessary to ask if they arrive. This principle may make wise people know what Luang Ta teach them after stepping into the temple. 


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