Frequently Asked Questions

How much is this going to cost me?
Staying at Tam Wua is free, but you can leave a donation. All costs are covered through donations, and all work is done by volunteers. Please leave your donation in the box located in the small Dharma hall near the monk dwellings.
How long can I stay for?
You can stay for between 3 to 10 days.
Do I need my own white clothes? What else should I bring?
We can provide white clothes, and we will wash them for you. If you want to wear your own, that’s fine too. You should bring basic toiletries, like shampoo and a toothbrush.
And an honest desire to learn, grow and challenge yourself.
Do I have to give up my phone or other electronics?
No. While it would probably be helpful to your practice if you didn’t use them, that choice is yours to make. We will not take away your phone, or stop you from using it.
However, deep introspection and breakthroughs are less likely to happen while you’re on social media. It might be better to spend the time asking why you find it so difficult to be without it.
I’ve never been to a meditation retreat before, and I’m a novice at meditation. Is that okay?
Yes. Tam Pa Tam Wua tries to be welcoming and accommodating to people at all points on their spiritual journey. However, it might be worth learning the basics before you arrive. If you are just starting out, we do make an effort to be beginner friendly. Talk to the Information desk or a monk about any difficulties you might have.
Our schedule has a bit more flexibility to it than many other retreats, making your stay here a little less intimidating. Our Dharma talks will cover the basics for people new to meditation or to Buddhism. We do work to keep Tam Wua as a welcoming, open, hospitable place for people taking their first steps. That being said, it’s also worth keeping in mind that Tam Pa Tam Wua is a monastery and Vipassana meditation retreat, not a relaxation centre or resort. Please keep your behaviour monastery appropriate, and remember that you must attend every item on the timetable.
I’m very devoutly Christian / Muslim / Atheist / Hindu etc. Am I still welcome?
Absolutely! People of all faiths are welcome at Wat Pa Tam Wua. We do ask that you show respect to Buddhism, and keep in mind that teachings will be in a Thai Buddhist framework. But your religious beliefs (or lack of) should not be an issue.
If you have any specific problems, (for example you cannot bow to the Buddha) visit the Information desk and we will find a solution.
Can I give somebody my phone or electronics to take away the temptation?
Yes. If you are worried about the temptation, you can put your phone in a locker behind the information desk.
What sort of food will be served?
Tam Wua serves two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. Both meals are vegetarian. An average lunch would consist of rice, a vegetable curry, either some noodles or another vegetable dish, fresh local fruit, and biscuits. There is no dinner, but this tends to be less of a problem than people imagine.
Do I have to be silent the whole time?
No, silence is your choice. Meditation centres generally promote silence, and there are good reasons for that. We would encourage you to go silent for part of your stay, as it is beneficial for your practice.
If you do choose to go silent, then put on a “Silent” badge, available at the information desk. We also have one half of the dining hall that is silent, in the other, you are free to have quiet conversation. We do ask that you try to observe “right speech” when talking. Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Try not to distract or disturb others with your conversation.
If I’m cold at night, can I get another blanket? Another pillow?
Of course, please visit the information desk.
I’m really struggling with Evening Chanting. Chanting in three languages that I can barely follow is leaving me so bored!
Try to follow the chanting with laser-like focus. Imagine that you are leading the chanting, and every syllable has to be perfect. You’ll find your attention improving, and feelings of boredom will become less likely to arise. If the attention is strong enough, they will not arise at all. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how strong your focus is in the session after chanting.
I don’t think my knees, hips and back can handle sitting cross-legged for very long! What can I do?
We provide chairs as well as floor cushions, and you can switch at any time. If the pain becomes too much, switch to a chair. However, exploring different physical sensations is part of every meditator’s journey. Try sending the mind out into the pain, rather than recoiling from it. Examine it closely for a while. You might be surprised by what you find. Then, switch to a chair.

Still have any questions?
We will happily answer them!

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