Joining an Esoteric Buddhist Initiation on Holy Mount Koya

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One of the most unique experiences you can have in Japan is to journey to Mount Koya to take part in an esoteric Buddhist ceremony granting entrance into a sacred mandala—a visual representation of enlightened mind. The event is open to the public and held twice a year at the picturesque Garan temple complex—the home of the Shingon school—which was founded in 826 by the great saint Kobo Daishi. Kobo … Continue reading…

Wat Jed Yod – A Little Bodh Gaya in Chiang Mai

stucco temple art at Wat Jed Yod temple

Despite being one of the most important historical temples in Chiang Mai and having some of the most beautiful original stucco artwork in Thailand, Wat Jed Yod is largely quiet and free of tourists. It’s not only quite peaceful, but Wat Jed Yod is also designed like a miniature version of Bodh Gaya, making it an interesting temple to poke around and have a look at. The name Jed Yod … Continue reading…

The Biggest Buddha in Chiang Mai

the largest buddha statue in chiang mai

Most visitors to Chiang Mai have been to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on top of the mountain overlooking the town. But there is another holy temple on a mountain top close to the city that few know about. The temple, Wat Prathat Doi Kham, is also home to the largest seated Buddha image in Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat Doi Kham is actually older than the city of Chiang Mai. It … Continue reading…

Yi Peng and Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai – the Floating Lantern and River Goddess Festivals

Yi-peng celebration in Chiang mai

The Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai is a unique celebration in Northern Thailand that coincides with Loy Krathong, which is celebrated throughout the country. Chiang Mai is the old capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which for many years co-existed independently with Siam. The North part of Thailand still has a certain character and charm that differs from the rest of the country. This is especially reflected in local festivals … Continue reading…

10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat in Thailand

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For many people, a 10-day long silent Vipassana meditation retreat is a life-changing and eye-opening experience. I had done a lot of different types of meditation before I joined a 10-day Vipassana course in Thailand, so it wasn’t all totally new to me. But it was still quite challenging, and the methods of sitting and walking meditation taught were something I wanted to learn and try out. I chose to … Continue reading…

Temple of the Four Buddha Footprints Near Chiang Mai

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A great little excursion outside of Chiang Mai is to visit the Temple of the Four Buddha Footprints. The Thai name of this temple is Wat Phra-Phuttha-baat Sii Roi วัดพระพุทธบาทสี่รอย. This temple is remarkable for its four giant, overlapping Buddha footprints carved in stone. But it’s also great for its location, far up among lonely wooded hills. This makes it an excellent destination for a day-trip by motorbike outside the … Continue reading…

Buddhist New Year’s Eve at a Thai Temple

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With so many people rushing around the city to get drunk before the clock turned twelve, it was nice to see local Thai people gather at the temple to ring in the New Year. Thousands gathered at Wat Phra Singh in the middle of Chiang Mai’s old city to make offerings, sit in meditation, and chant prayers. By the time we showed up, a little after 11 pm, it was … Continue reading…