Buddhists recognize four different kinds of clinging or attachment

king, and this is a Buddhist teaching not being offered as a reflection in Thailand today. The great majority of Thai people identify themselves as “Buddhist” and as such one might think they study and try to practice the teaching of the Buddha. Sadly that seems not to be the case. The King of Thailand, Rama IX died recently after 70 years on the throne, the only King most Thais have ever known. In my opinion the teachings of the King such as moderation and self sufficiency and others are wise and useful lessons and practices for people. These teachings of the king will be alive as long as people choose to keep them alive, but an attachment to anything or anybody impermanent is sure to lead to suffering.
Before I share some of the teaching on attachment that I have found useful here are a couple things I have learned in my attempts to practice Buddhism.
The three characteristics of existence; Anicca,Dukkha, Anatta. Now,for me impermanence and suffering are easy peasy. I see it every moment of every day. But, not self there’s the bugger a lot of work to do here. And the Brahma Vihara; Love or Loving-kindness (metta) Compassion (karuna)Sympathetic Joy (mudita)Equanimity (upekkha). The first 3 over time I have managed to incorporate into my practice in some ways at some levels, but the last is the toughy. And for me the lack of equanimity is tied to attachments…
Enough from me, and there are many more examples from the Buddha’s teaching but I leave those reflections for the Buddhist leaders of Thailand to offer the people

Highway 22 project. A new EWEC, East West Economic Corridor?

panicI read today that Thailand is goung to the ADB, Asia Developement Bank for a loan for the second phase of the Highways Department’s four-lane main-road construction project on Highway 22. I was somewhat amazed to read that Nattaporn Jatusripitak, an adviser to Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, said the planned routes extended the project from Udon Thani-Sakon Nakhon, and Sakon Nakhon-Nakhon Phanom to Roi Et-Yasothon.
I have drivdn highway 22 many tmes from Udon Thani-Sakon Nakhon, and Sakon Nakhon-Nakhon Phanom, but in fact it does not go through Nakhon Phanom to Roi Et-Yasothon.
Highwat 23  starts est to east at Highway 2 south of Khon Kaen to RoiEt and Yasothon and carries on to Ubon Ratchatani.
When I first read the article the first thought thsat came to mind was the joint effort by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the State Railroad promoting a tourism project which was train excursions from Khon Kaen to RoiEt.
There is and was no train tracks from Khon Kaen to RoiEt.

When I tried to contact TAT in Bangkok I was told to contact TAT in Khon Kaen and there I was told to contact Bangkok. I do not know how much money was spent on this project, but I feel certain it was substantial.
Now more than half of 22 is already 4 lane, or dual carriageway. Sadly the final 30 or so into Udon town are impeded by vehicles using the shoulder lane for parking and the U-turn access between directions is dangerous and the cause of a number of accidents that I have witnessed.
From what I have noticed Phase 1 must have started about 10 years ago. How much it cost and what was it scheduled to include I have no idea. What specifically is Phase 2 supposed to complete and when? Why does Thailand need an ADB loan  for a relatively low cost project? Has or will highway 23 be redesignated   highway 22? Why isn’t the continuation of ther road from yasothon to Ubon included?
My big question is is what happened to the EWEC and why is it not being completed prior to the project?
Is this just another government fiddle?
In other than a fictional land journalists migh be questioning this announcement?
Over the years I have seen projects identified, the costs and the purpose and rarely have i seen 1 completed, or if completed of a poor standard.
My point in this post is simply: Where does all the money go?
Is anyone ever held responsible for projects tha are not completed, or shoddily completed?

And most of all the people who suffer from inadequet roads and services.

The Vinaya, The 227 Rules for a Bhikkhu and Buddhism in Thailand

People ask why I use a picture of a monk at an ATM machine in some of my posts about Buddhism in Thailand. Some people tell me that it is alright for monks to have money in Thailand. And many have told me it is not polite to post it.
It seems that there is a lot of confusion about Buddhism, superstition and the monastic code in Thailand. I have always found a number of references useful “The Buddhist Monk’s Discipline Some Points Explained for Laypeople by Bhikkhu Khantipalo” and in particular the discussion about money.”For Laypeople: A lay-person should never offer money directly to a bhikkhu… even if it is placed inside an envelope or together with other requisites. They should either deposit the money with the monastery steward, put it in a donation-box….

Buddhism, A Buddhist Monk is Allowed 4 Requisites

luangtaFood, Clothing, Shelter, Mdicine are the 4, only 4 requisites that Buddhist Monks are allowed. As stated in Buddhanet, “Sundries; As circumstances changed, the Buddha allowed monks to make use of other small requisites, such as needles, a razor, etc. In modern times, such things might include a pen, a watch, a torch, etc. All of these were to be plain and simple, costly or luxurious items being expressly forbidden.”
There is only 1 Vinaya and that has not changed, and Buddhist Monks are allowed the 4 requisites. Not money. Not cars. Not Airplanes. Not Amulets.

Tampa, Florida to Sakon Nakhon, Thailand, and Along the way.

guinnessTampa Airport, except for it’s location is a treat. I usually score TSA precheck so secutity is shod.
The problems with airtravel in the States are; hordes in wheelchairs. O;der folks have learned that there is no paperwork necessary to request a whellchair at the airport so many “lambutory” seniors (Lambutory= lazy ambulatory) get free rides to the plane. 20 or more wheelchairs lined up at a gate is not unusual. Another problem is the amount and weight of “carry on” luggage. Bags for the overhead bin are at maximum size, and their is no tonnafe limits on domestic flights. Retailers now sell kits, or sets with the maximum size upper bin cases as well as the maximum size underseat bags. All of this makes bording the aircraft s slapstick comedy. Considering the girth of many Americans,their lack of exercise and coordination bumps and bruising at boarding are not uncommon.

Buddhism, Bhikkhus, and Wealth

Over the years I have heard many excuses and  reasons  about wealthy monks and monks having money, both in Thailand and America. Luckily Bhikkhu Ariyesako explains things clearly in  “The Bhikkhus’ Rules,A Guide for Laypeople

There are many other important rules covering how bhikkhus deal with wealth and money.[102] (It is also the tenth of the Ten Precepts for a novice (saama.nera) or dasasiila matanun [see End Note 4].) These came to be set down because donations coming from a lay devotee’s faith in Dhamma might, on mis-occasion, lead to the corrupting of the bhikkhu-life. Although these rules might seem relatively straightforward, there are various interpretations and ways of actual practice. And the practice often does not coincide with the theory. Yet it certainly remains a very important aspect of Vinaya, guarding against forgetfulness of the real way to happiness:

PC Cowboytown, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Thailand

cowboy1Before anyone tells me the place is in Udon Thani, I know that, but the Address in the brochure says Nong Bua Lam Phu, so as far as I am concerned, up to them, or him, and he is a lot bigger than me, check out their facebook page and the Cowboytown website. Larry “Buckaroo” Westfall and I were on a road trip in the area when we headed thar pardner. The place has one hell of a lot of money put into it and from what I see on their facebook page and website the hasn’t been a whole lot going on. Plenty of equipment and things to do. I wasn’t all that impressed with the Exotic Prison, or as it is called Zoo.

Camp Khon Kaen And Nam Phong and Friendship Highway,Khon Kaen,Thailand

(First posted May 2013) Since Larry already posted the story Camp Khon Kaen And Nam Phong and Joe was kind enough to pass on this reminder Nam Phong, a PDF from the Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Brotherhood, a web site I have gotten a lot of information from over the years, so thanks for reminding me Joe. I will show you what the road is like from Khon Kaen to Camp Khon Kaen about 12 or so Kilometers out of town.
Also to the airstrip in Nam Phong you go North for 31 kilometers to Nam Phong, over the bridge and U-turn onto the road to the village of Nam Phong continue on enroute to Kranuan until you see the fate to the airbase on the right(from NamPhong Village it is about 10 Kilometers ti the airbase. I will be reposting my Khon Kaen and other maps soon. I had not had a chance to check out the airstrip before even though I know a few guys associated. PS ignore time date stamp was 2nd of May 2013

Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell

cemeteryI have been at Arlington National Cemetery many times, for official events, to visit friends joaquin2801graves, to show folks around and just to go to meditate. To say I’m comfortable there might be a bit of a misstatement , familiar might be a better word. I had passed the Florida National Cemetery a number of times, but never stopped until the other day. Take a look at the Google Earth view on the left. Arlington in in a major urban center and when there I usually feel somewhat in touch with the world around me, but the Florida Cemetery is in a rural area and, excuse the expression, but dead quiet.. ( Just a note here. Picasa albums are no longer available and as far as I know I can only insert a link to the Google Photos album, so I’ll be imbedding more shots into the article)
horizontalI drove around the winding lanes for some time, stopping occasionally to gaze at the different yellowtreegrave stone types, horizontal and vertical .


Here are some statistics via Wikipedia
Arlington National Cemetery
U.S. Department of the Army Size 624 acres (253 ha)
Number of graves ~400,00o

United States National Cemetery, Florida

Size 512.9 acres (207.6 ha)
Number of interments 129,000

I can only suggest that people visit those National Cemeteries near where they live and reflect on the circumstances that caused than to hold the remains that are interred.
I sort of run out of words in cases like this so read the words of Wilfred Owen in his Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
      — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
      Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
      Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
      And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
      Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
      The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

In the Scaffolding of an Illuminated Boat, Nakhon Phanom,Thailand

nkp-13First posted Auk Pansaa 2013
This video shows an Illuminated Boat being lit as close up as possible using my Samsung Galaxy Camera and should be viewed full screen.I have been posting photos and stories about the goings on at the Illuminated Boat Procession and Red Cross Fair in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand for a few days now and have beenn receiving questions and comments about the same So far I have found the Tourism Authority of Thailand advertesment the the fair starts on the 12th pretty much a fallacy as little is actually The boat races start on the 15th and the Illuminated Boat Procession and Parade takes place on the 19th While  there are no shortage of booths selling bric-a-brac, and associated Chinese junk Everyone selling the same food and watching the folks pass by, not buy…