Wat Pa Silawa

Mini Post

 

I occasionally have the urge to have some alone time and one of my favourite places, that gets me out of the many home/farm based options, is a forest wat (temple) a ten minute drive from us called Pha Silawa.

It is not visually spectacular in it doesn’t have lots of large photographic buildings but makes up in other ways. The wat is set in large, treed studded grounds, is serene, peaceful and immaculately maintained.

The boss monk called Pu Yao (phonetically) is very well respected, the nicest guy and runs a tightly disciplined wat. Pu Yao is hugely supported financially but is one of the few abbots I know who doesn’t then use that on constructing more and more buildings, most of which are never used. This temple is much the same as when I first started to come here in 2014.

If experiencing a Buddhist chant and meditation is your thing then there is an evening program here every day commencing 7:00 pm. Very local and super friendly.

I hope these photos give you a little insight as to why I love spending time here.

This tree is used for some of the candle ceremonies the wat has. At night people circulate three times around the ubosot (monk ordination hall) and then leave candles burning under this tree. Lovely.

All the roads and paths are swept every day. Not a leaf out of place. This is the main entrance into the wat. Being a Thai forest tradition wat it is extensively treed.

It’s hard not to capture beautiful characterful images in Thailand.

Even the dirt paths are swept. This leads to the accommodation of a monk. They are scattered throughout this large temple grounds.

I like to spend time here. Super simple, but for me that’s the attraction.

Most times I come here I am just about the only person here. Pu Yao and his monks are in constant demand so are usually elsewhere later in the day.

A mixed of Buddha statues and those of monks.

The previous abbot of this wat.

The ubosot building. I have been given access to this for meditation by Pu Yao, which is a real privilege as it is closed to the public and usually only accessible by monks. Another example of the amazing kindness I come across in my Thailand life. The pots on the left are Isan rubbish bins and although they look to be made from metal are actually rubber!!!

Very unusual to see the traditional red, white and gold in a forest wat grounds. Most of their buildings are constructed from timber. Notice how well maintained this one is. Peeling paint, cracked walls and dirt is often the norm unfortunately.

The main public hall. Simple.

And that simple theme continues inside. I am not a Buddhist but I have a feeling that Buddha would be far more appreciative of this type of arrangement than the tourist, money raising constructions you see elsewhere. Spectacular to photograph but so removed from the simplicity Buddha left his palace for. For the evening chant is low lighting, candles and the room is full of people dressed in white. Spectacular in its way.

A daylight version but you get the idea.

We are so lucky in Thailand that they automatically cater for the dual language. Not always but usually. We would be so more lost without their consideration. After all this is a temple in the middle of nowhere and I would be one of the very few farang who visit. Can you see Australians providing signs like this in English and Chinese? I think not.

And this is the entrance to the toilets. Very classy.

A kitchen washing area. Immaculate. Each station has its own dishwashing liquid bottle and each tap has a filter bag.

And the storage area. Everything in its place.

I have covered this before. The monks’ begging bowls have rounded bottoms. When they are washed they are set on top of these rubber rings to hold them in place! You’d never guess would you?

There are male and female dormitories. These are the female ones. You can stay in the temple if you want and join in.

As well presented as everywhere else.

These are forest monks so their robes tend to be earthier in colour than the bright orange of the moo ban (village) wat monks.

Thanks for reading.

Tony

8 Comments

  1. Vivien

    A heart warming and wonderful article, thanks for sharing this Tony.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you so much Vivien.

      Tony

      Reply
  2. Hans Ruediger

    …………..another good post, Tony! I found myself smiling inwardly over my gleefully positive reaction to this exceptionally clean and appealing temple. Once again, my parents’ Teutonic up-bringing, always stressing as a supreme mandate ‘ good order and discipline’ in one’s life, manifested itself via my grateful appreciation of this sparkling place of worship. So very different from an unfortunate number of other temples I have visited over the last few years.
    A rhetorical lament only, to be sure …….. but wouldn’t it be great if this concept of cleanliness became more universally applied to roads, side walks, empty lots and some beaches throughout the country …… ? I’m jus’ sayin’…

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      It is a delight to see a wat maintained like this. So often one sees monks elsewhere sitting around or on their mobile phones when their surroundings could do with a good clean or paint. The forest wats on the whole tend to be more disciplined and keeping grounds swept and everything clean and organised is just part of the daily routine. If that attitude then rippled outwards……………

      Reply
  3. Jim Busby

    I can understand your attraction to this beautifully maintained pha wat. It is a very inviting and peaceful place to collect one’s thoughts. You are right that there is not the over the top buildup even with the extra donations coming in, which makes it all the more appreciated. In fact, at some point some follow ups on the many wats you have posted on in the past that were very much over the top, and out of place is due over time. Buddha is smiling on this one.

    Be at peace,

    Jim

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      I enjoy the ‘tourist’ wats for their photographic opportunities, but in my mind they aren’t designed to promote the core essence of Buddhism or any contemplative path. These forest wats, because of their lack of man-made distractions, almost force one into sitting quietly, absorbing the surroundings and slipping into whatever meditative discipline comes naturally. Perfect.

      Reply
  4. Greg Carroll

    Thank you for sharing Tony – it means a lot to see these images. We can see why you like going there. Yuri explaining that Pha means forrest – it is very much a temple in the forrest.
    We also talked about it being Buddhist Day on Monday. It made the post all the more relevant

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Yes. The Pha/Pa will always be in the name of these forest wats. They are my favourites not for the architecture but for the peacefulness and connection to nature. If you want to understand more about the history of the Thai forest wat tradition this site is a good one https://forestsangha.org/

      Reply

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