Thursday, April 11, 2013

My fifth year of the PhD journey

Hello Sorry for being away for a long time. I have been quite busy with my heavy study and I am not very disciplined to write a blog all the time. Anyway, I have been back. Now I am still in the Netherlands struggling to finish my study. Life particularly my study is up and down depending on relevant factors such as my concentration, my supervisors, my boyfriend and my family. However, I still practice meditation to practice the mindfulness almost everyday. I have found that meditation is very helpful especially in a difficult time since it could calm me down and wait for a proper time to solve a problem. I could also see that mindfulness allows me to see what happens in the mind more clearly: anger, hatred, happiness, anxiety and see how it goes. It is obvious that these these mental phenomenon more clearly. It is a long journey, but I will keep trying...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buddhist experience from the fieldwork


Now I am in Ayudhaya, where I have stayed for a month for my foeldwork. I will head to Nakornratchaseema tomorrow morning. During these days, I have learned a lot from local people, local government, etc and I have really appreciated all their kindness and support given to me. I really don't know how to pay them back. I just hope that after my study, I could do something for the country and for some students as it will be worth all support I receive during these days.

There is one feeling I have always noticed in my mind - it is a sort of 'Mana' or the feeling that I am better than other people. There are two main causes of this feeling, apart from a nature of human being in me. On the one hand, I have made quite some effort to get my study done and fortunately, I have been sort of successful. I am very pround of myself sometime and tend to become more confident in myself than before. I could understand some people who are successful and become over confident and even arrogant. It is from all bloody hard work that you have pass through and you start to get some fruit from it. On the other hand, I have been praised (or complemented) that I am so smart, intelligent, brave, competency, etc. Normally I tend to think that what I am doing is very common, but when there are more and more people saying that I have done something so special, I have become pround of it. I see this feeling arising several times.

For me, the advantage of being confident and pround of yourself is you believe that you are able to succeed something. This belief is really important when you want to achieve. However, the main disadvantage of being too confident with high 'Mana' is, as we all know, a high confesent person is likely to think that they are better than other people and to down on them. My exeprience tells me that everyone has their own ways and conditions of living things and of doing or not doing something. These life conditions are uncomparable and it is discussing to try to make it comparable. We just do our best for what we have and who we are.

I will try to be mindful of the 'mana' feeling a lot more. I dont want to be a sort of discussing person who always think that I am better than other people.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My sixth time retreat at Wat Pa Nannchart

Dear friends,

I am back again after a few months away from my blog. Now I have been back to Thailand to collect information for my study. At the moment, I am waiting for feedback from my supervisors and I spent this short free time on meditation retreat at Wat Pa Nanachart, my favorite temple.

The last time I was there is September 2008 - just a few months before I went to the Netherlands. This time,my sixth visit, is the longest time I have ever been there (5 days: 20-25 Jan). I have found that I have different experience at each time due to my life conditions at each moment. Apart from the fourth time that I met Robert, I think I love this retreat the most.

There are so many reasons about this. First of all, I was very peaceful to be there - good weather, not too many people, well-adjusted physical conditions and better meditation practice (esp. in the afternoon). I did sitting and walking meditation for 3-5 hours a day, depending on the temple's work and myself. All the routines at the temple eating less, working hard (for the temple's chores) and sleeping less are a real mental practice that allows me to perceive how body and mind work to get what they want. Meditation certainly provides me quite some calmness to watch the mind more clearly. This peaceful time also allows me to see my weak points especially low effort during tiredness.

Second, living at the temple really shows me how our life should be. We actually need only 1-2 meal a day, a small shelter to protect us from cold, heat and rain and some clothes. 4 basic needs are just what we need and the what is more is just like a gift to our life. Due to the peace, I really feel that we can be simply happy by just this simple way of living. Its unnecessary at all to have too many.

Moreover, I really feel that the practice is similar to my study - I need to work hard for it, no matter how difficult it is. I can see that the harder I have worked for it, the more consequences and output I have received and learned. This can be applied with both of my study and meditation as body and mind are needed to be practice along the way.

Now I have been back to Bangkok with strong intention to practice more to earn more mindfulness every day life. It's not easy at all if you have a lot to do and you have many people to live with. However, I still believe that we have always gain something when we practice more and more. I promise with myself that I will never ever give up to grow myself up in this path.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Autumn in Holland

Hi everyone

Sorry again that I haven't written anything during these 4 months. My main excuse is I am very busy with my study. I have finished the first phase of my fieldwork and come back to Holland since September. It is not a good time for the weather because it is getting colder.

However, things go well with my study as I have made some progress, for example, I have created possible typologies from information from the fieldwork. Now it is getting more serious since I need to develop research tool such as questionnaires and questions for interview. I also have to have very systematic approach to select cases/samples. This work will come very soon.

In relation to religion, I am a bit less in most things since I have been back. I don't meditate very often like the past because I do not feel like doing it. This makes a big impact on my mindfulness as it is obviously less due to low ability of mind to be mindful. I still chant everyday, but it's not enough to calm down the mind. Overall, religious activities have little priority at the moment.

Sometime I think that it is ok because life here is very stable....just study, eat, sleep and meet people a bit. There is nothing challenging the mind, mindfulness or insight. However, it is not always like that. I feel like when I am not religiously ready for the suffering, I tend to be more suffering than it should be due to the bad thoughts and crazy emotion added in the problem. When this happens, it is very difficult to be mindful of it. It is impossible to watch it on time and let it go - cannot even see the emotion that comes and goes.

I really think I need to meditate more.....but do not know whether I will be successful with this.

Best wishes for everyone

Kai, the mindfulless girl

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Offering at Kalasin


At the moment, I am now in Kalasin, the Northeast of Thailand for the fieldwork. I have finished exploring the case since yesterday and today and I just relaxed and went to two temples. I know these temples by asking local people and a monk with thmain questions about 'good' temple and monks. Finally,I end up with forest temples (Wat Pa) with the purpose of meditating.

I have some interesting thoughts from the deed today. On the one hand, when I kept asking a monk at the firat place I went, the monk said that I can go to any temple I like because to make offering to a temple is a good thing to do. Good intention is already very nice. But he said did not make any impact on me as I went to the other temple that is regarded as 'good'. A monk at the second place also said something similar. Gradually this really makes me think about my intention to make merit. I start to think whether it is with 'Chandha' which is 'good willingness' or with 'Kilesa' or 'craving' to gain very high merit from good temples and good monks. Then I can see that it is the mixture of these two things because there is another thing I have noticed from myself.

On the other hand, after I offered, I tend to think all the time that monks who receive my stuffs will keep it for themselves or make it a public use because my intention of 'Sangkhadana' is for the public use. I dont want monks to keep it on his own. This kind of 'narrow minded thought' worried me for several times when offering because I kept thinking about it, worried and felt unhappy with the thought that monks must keep it for himself. Then I realize that this is silly because I intend to make a merit, but m mind is just full of craving and worrying. What is this for?

The master said that wholesome and unwholesome mind are very impermanent, nonself and suffering as other matters in the world. For me, wholesome mind can even result in unwholesome mind if you are not aware of the craving which is always in your mind and ready to work anytime.

I wanna share this with everyone.

Best wishes

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One and half month in Thailand


Until now, I have been in Thailand for one and half month for the field work. Everything goes well with my study as I have gradually collected information of each case. I have learned quite a lot from this study especially how to deal with different kind of people. Actually I always think that I am able to manage people quite well, but there is, of course, some difficulty that needs to be passed through.

For the fieldwork, I think I am quite lucky that I have met some good and kind people who are willing to help me and have helped me a lot....I still don't know why they did that, but it just happened like that. I try not to think about it in the Karma perspective because I cannot prove it. More practically, I will try to be good like them as it is important to always be a helpful person. It can benefit a lot to other people.

I will start my big trip to the south very soon (in this week). i am a bit scared to travel in that area because I have heard that people there are different. But I just hope that everything will go smoothly with my trip. I hope that I will have a chance to collect all the useful information which will benefit my study and hopefully environmental situation of Thailand in the future. Its quite a big hope, but I will try my best for it.

Best wishes for everyone

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My changes


Since I have been back, I have noticed that there are a few changes about me. The first change is I like to stay at home more then the past. Even though it's quite hot at home, but I still prefer to sit in front of the computer, do my study, watch TV (very rare) and clean the house. I think I receive this habit from the way I lived my life in Holland - just study at home and don't go out. The other reason is I am still a bit tired and have less desire ti buy stuffs.

The other interesting change is I tend to have less beliefs in spiritual stuffs. Certainly, I receive this thought from Robert and the way I live my life in Holland. Dutch people rely their lives on the system (working, educating and government system) and effort. If both work well, there is no need to pray and make a wish from any god or spirit. You do your work wisely and make an effort, then it's not too difficult to get things done. It also happens with my study. I just have to work hard to finish my paper. No one plays bigger roles than my effort. However, in Thailand, since welfare system still does not support everyone equally, since the poor is still everywhere and since the promotion relies more on the connection (with biggg people) rather than the real performance, invisible stuffs such as spirit tend to be more significant because it's the only a few hope people have when there is nothing much left for them.

I still make a wish when I go to a temple. Most of my wishes are about having more opportunity to make merit and to do something good together with Robert. i also make a wish for my study. But I still need to work hard for it.

Change is also impermanent. I might change to be the same kind as before or might change to be the other person. We never know. What is more important is to realize all those changes, understand it and make the good use of it.

Best wishes for everyone