Open Mind Projects Thailand
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Be Welcome to connect, share and contribute.
Great story from a Volunteer about the Thai Bang Fai Phaya Nak Festival in October! Volunteer Abroad – Openmind Projects!
This is the story as Toto told it to me.
Many, many years ago, so long ago it is longer than I can remember, said Toto, when Buddha was one of the lower species, at the bottom rung of his journey towards enlightenment, Buddha was King of the Toads.
At that time the world was inhabited by all kinds of animals, humans and spirits; good spirits such as the ones that live in trees to protect them. The most selfish of all the creatures on Earth were, unsurprisingly, the humans. They were self-interested and had no respect for nature. They had little respect for the Gods as well. They ended up doing untold damage to their environment.
Paya Than, the God of Rain became very angry with the humans and decided to stop all rain on Earth for seven years, seven months and seven days. This is the foundation of the number seven being an unlucky number in Thailand. The people, being unaware that the lack of rain was the result of their own selfishness prayed to ask the spirits why there was no rain. By this stage the Buddha, as King of the Toads, had already developed some power through his meditation and was able to provide an answer to their prayer. He told the people the lack of rain was a punishment for the selfishness. This punishment brought upon the people on Earth also affected the innocent animals and spirits. That seemed so unfair. No one was more moved and angered by the unfairness of the punishment than Naga a powerful and fearsome serpent. Naga considered that Gods should be beyond anger and judgement and that the role of the God of Rain was to provide regular rain, not to punish everyone on Earth. Naga was full of his own power and decided, without consulting anyone, to go to Heaven to confront Paya Than, the God of Rain. He would battle with the God, bring him to submission and force him to do his duty and make it rain again.
Naga was no match for Paya Than and was soon thrown back to Earth badly beaten and close to death. Buddha took pity on the impetuous Naga and again using his special powers was able to heal Naga and give him a special, new shiny skin and a majestic horn on his head. From then on Naga vowed to always protect the Buddha. However, the problem of the lack of rain persisted and something had to be done. Buddha decided to consult all the creatures and spirits on Earth. They came up with a plan and this is what they did:
The termites built a termite mound so high that it reached the Heavens. Scorpions then climbed up secretly and crawled into Paya Tam’s clothes and stung him until he was so weak that the other creatures and spirits that followed could together overcome the God. Paya Than in shame asked to be killed. However, the creatures and spirits did not want to kill him, they wanted him to return the rain, The God therefore agreed, under duress, to make it rain again. The Earth and all the creatures in it were saved.
In appreciation of the return of rain the people on Earth established the Rocket Festival to precede the rainy season. In effect the rockets send praise to Paya Than who responds with rain, lots of rain.
By this time Buddha had progressed on his enlightenment journey from being the King of the Toads to being the Prince Siddhartha. The King invited a seer to make predictions about the prince’s future. The seer concluded that the Prince would either rule all of the world’s seven continents or become a fully enlightened Buddha. The King had ambitions for the Prince to conquer the world but the Prince chose to continue on his path to enlightenment.
The Devil tried to deter the Prince from his chosen path by having his three evil daughters provoke him, tempting him to desire that which he had vowed to reject. The Prince, as Buddha, resisted. As a last attempt to steer the Buddha away from his journey to enlightenment the Devil attempted to wash him away with fierce rains and storms. This is where Naga returned to the story. Naga coiled his long and heavy body into a mighty tower. Buddha sat on top of the coil sheltered under Naga’s head. While Buddha was sheltered and unaffected the Queen of soil and earth used the flood to wash all evil away.
Naga wanted to follow Buddha and managed rise to being a man and then a monk but he still retained his quick anger. One day, in anger, he turned back into the form of a serpent and scared a group of monks. In sorrow for his weakness, Naga told Buddha he wanted to be a monk. In that way he would always be close to Buddha and protect him. However, Buddha refused the request and told Naga that he must first get rid of his basic desires such as anger and jealousy and his lowly serpent like ways. To do this Naga had to go back to the underworld to restart his journey towards enlightenment. Naga asked Buddha if he did this could his memory be part of the progress of Novices toward becoming Buddhist monks. This is the foundation of the practice of Novices going through the ‘Nag’, the preparation, when they wear white clothing for three days before entering the monastery. Naga accepted the challenge and returned to the underworld where he continues his quest for enlightenment. It is from this underworld, below the full and fast flowing Mekong River that Naga sends fireballs into the air every full moon in October. This is the Naga Fireball Festival, ‘Bang fai phaya nak’. It reminds Buddha that Naga is still there, still struggling. In this way Naga also thanks Buddha for his encouragement and praises him for his wisdom.
Written by Peter Stolp – 9 October 2014
Photos credit: Lukas Sommer, Marcel Pirosca
Started off the morning with taking a short walk along the boulevard of Mekong River after a great breakfast of omelet and cheese at Mut Wee Garden Guest House http://www.mutwee.com
Than was called by inner guidance to go to Wat Sri Chaam Chuan. Sat in the main temple there for awhile all alone. A wonderful energy build up occurred with rainbow swirling around. When I went out to walk further I was asked by a monk to come forward. He gave me a water blessing 3x on the head and each shoulders. After this I felt very energized to continue the journey in the presence of Now.
This beautiful Lotus Flower greeted me on the way.
The next destination was the Wat Tung Sawang. It took awhile to find it and a friendly man from Florida, USA assisted me to find it. I walked along the highway 212 returning some streets that I had passed along the way.
reference a story Julian Wright wrote on his blog of Mut Wee Garden Guest House.
Quote: The prize for the prettiest temple would probably go to Wat Tung Sawang. Its tiny but immaculately sculptured chapel with highly detailed porticos, and its collection of Buddhist deities outside, each under its own fanciful little roof, gives it an Alice in Wonderland bizarreness. Unquote
I waited for awhile because there was a family who wished to take photographs of a monk together with the family on the front of the temple here. After this I went into silence for awhile in the temple. Some clarity came through that I remembered this flow and why the interior of my home in The Netherlands was related to this resonance.
Hereby the various dieties that vibrated here.
Above is the center of the deities.
Than I climbed up the tower there with a huge drum, which I touched lightly 3 times and a huge bell which I also sounded.
From there the view of the temple was magnificent.
From here I was called to go to the Sala Jao Phu Ya. Was not that impressed by these surroundings but the symbol did give its message.
Sala Jao Phu Ya is the Chinese Mahayana temple and, unlike some Chinese temples, is kept doll’s house perfect. Nong Khai has a strong Chinese and Vietnamese population who originally would have been Mahayana Buddhist.
Reference story written by Julian Wright of Mut Wee Garden Guest House.
Now it was almost 12:00 a.m. and the temperature was rising. So I decided to go to a special lady at her coffee shop. She serves the finest Green Tree with Lime at the library and this time she had baked a chocolate cake. Delicious!
The Tzolkin Calendar Spiral Movement of Sunday, April 16
Chant: Cib, Men, Ben, Etznab, Akbal
Planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Neptune
Affirmation: All Polarize in order to Dream
All seal the Input of Abundance
With the Lunar tone of Challenge
All are guided by the power of Vision
Quote: The gift of your cosmic identity is to be a conscious dreamer ~ an inner voyager ~ a disciple of your own intuition ~ an agent of plentitude. As a Blue Night you have the capacity to abide in the sanctuary of self, receiving the rich mysteries within; to embrace the darkness of night and commune with deep internal realms; to appreciate the dream-like nature of reality and comprehend the creative potency of our psyches; to awaken out of the collective spell of materialism, scarcity and greed by being a vessel of gratitude and generosity, inviting us all to celebrate ourselves as heirs of nature’s intrinsic abundance.
As we own the powers of our minds in shaping our lives, we learn to lucidly “dream-up” our truest longings, from the inside, out.
Direction: West: Transforms ~ Chakra: Solar-Plexus ~ Planet: Saturn – Unquote
Tone 2: Lunar
Contemplate these code-words to invoke your key powers:
POLARIZE ~ STABILIZE ~ CHALLENGE
Tone 2 represents the principle of polarity. The gift of your cosmic identity is to access the power of Counter-balance. Activate your Lunar powers by honoring the yin and yang of life as contrasting aspects of one wholeness; by welcoming challenges as opportunities for strength and growth; by being a bearer of stability; by consciously challenging others – encouraging their expansion and development; by challenging the consensus reality; by being wakeful to the art of constructive opposition; by holding your personal perspective even when it isn’t popular, and yet on the contrary, being able to make dramatic shifts that offer coherence as you feel moved by inner knowing; by striving to integrate your inner polarities, and stabilize your own equilibrium; by understanding obstacles to be necessary creative tension that can open new pathways of evolution; by aspiring to be firmly steadied within the constant pulling of night and day, in breath and out breath, moon and sun, self and world…
Above is written by http://www.13moon.com
Blessings to All.
Review of Camp for Teenagers and Young Adults of Open Mind Projects in Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 2 – www.openmindprojects.org
A special girl who is always there every day. She greets and invites you for playtime every day. Here is one of our game together under the table, our own created safe home.
The early afternoon started by a walk from Mut Wee Garden Guest House to Open Mind Projects. Already a warm temperature has risen now.
There was a team of photographers (3) who went by each pretesting to take some pictures.
Upon arrival Joiy (teacher), Moa (organiser of the camp) and myself were ready to do the pretesting of the English with the campers. For example, the written translation of Thai to English and from English to Thai. Also, there were verbal questions asked and answered in English.
Along with this there was also pretesting of Teamwork with a volunteer and staff members plus Informational Technology with staff for each camper. A score was given to analyze the abilities of each camper. From this individual score teams were formed so that the teams would reflect a balance within the group. In this way, each person can build up their confidence, motivation, skills etc. for the whole of the camp. Each camper has good qualities within themselves along with contributing to be a team player for the whole of the camp.
A dinner was cooked by trainees and campers. We enjoyed the fabulous food at the table and could have some talks together to get to know each other more closely.
In the evening, all the campers gathered outside to hear which team/group they are going to be in along with a map which included rules and regulations of the camp. Also, each was handed out a tag where they could write their name on and could be worn around their neck.
After this was a short break, whereby I played some basketball with a trainee, and later activities were offered to get to know each other more better in a playful manner. Laughs and Fun was shared with each other during the evening.
Than I walked back to Mut Wee Guest House with fond memories of a great day and evening. Much Gratitude.
The movement via the Tzolkin in its resonance is:
Chant: Lamat, Men, Imix, Oc, Chuen
Planets: Venus, Jupiter, Neptune and Mercury.
KIN 211, Blue Electric Monkey – Galactic Activation Portal of High Resonance and Clarity
Key vibration: Resonate into connecting via activating service with each other.
The natural flow or supportive spiral movement energy of creating harmony via all different kinds of Artistic Skills as to be moved in the spiral of vision openness or goal of being yourself in communication with everyone.
The challenge, strengthening and open opportunity of being in a trusting state of a nurturing nourishment whatever the challenge. This will strengthen the openness within and without being brought forward in the hidden power of being in the flow of integrity of love and acceptance in all relationships.
To allow and surrender in this centered, grounded and anchored magical playfulness of innocence, spontaneity and compassion weaving new patterns within and without.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The morning started by a walk together with Pete (volunteer) from Mut Wee Garden Guest House to Open Mind Projects. A nice breeze blew along the boulevard of the Mekong River.
There was a team of photographers (3) who went by each workshop of English, Teamwork and IT to take some pictures. This was part of the vlog team.
Upon arrival Joiy (teacher), Moa (organiser of the camp) and myself were presenting a workshop in English to allow the campers to get used to the vocabulary of the themes for the next days. Core words like “debate, confidence, teamwork, environment, global warming, fast food, healthy food etc.”. They used their mobile to translate the words into Thai and was asked What does …. Mean? Why is there ……..? Some of the students gave very critical thinking answers.
In the evening each team had given itself a name like “Friendship”, “Sky” etc.
The evening was further spend by creating a image of the team via a portrait that symbolizes the team. The vlog team made photographs. Very creative processes took place.
The movement via the Tzolkin in its resonance is:
Chant: Manik, Lamat, Ik, Muluc, Eb
Planets: Earth, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury.
KIN 212, Yellow Self Existing Human
Key vibration: Resonate into measuring and defining the form via the free will.
The natural flow or supportive spiral movement energy of accomplishment via step by step process in communication or learning as to be moved in the spiral of harmony via the beauty and elegance of various artistic skills.
The challenge, strengthening and open opportunity of allowing the communication and thinking to be brought forward. This will strengthen the openness of learning by doing brought forward in the hidden power of trusting the remembrance of what has been learned and what is learned in the presence of Now.
To allow and surrender in this centered, grounded and anchored open mind of free to gain wisdom of various skills.
Gratitude for this vibration for All.
Review of 11 day Camp for Teenagers and Young Adults of Open Mind Projects in Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 1 – www.openmindprojects.org
Monday, April 3, 2017
The morning started by the walk from Mut Wee Garden Guest House to Open Mind Projects. A nice breezy wind flowed along the Mekong River.
Upon arrival Joiy (teacher) send me an email with the camp theme we will be sharing with the campers “Environment/Global Warming” which we had worked on together last Friday together with a Power Point Presentation. A learning and doing teaching worked out step by step together with a video, some active games in between and ending with a debate. This theme will be given every day to a group of teenagers of young adults who will be arriving tomorrow for the camp.
The other themes will be Jobs & Technology, Food & Health and Informational Technology. These will be given by other staff members and volunteers.
Than we all had a tasty lunch together. After lunch, we all had a follow up meeting so that everyone could discuss and listen to the feed back from others. It was a open space to listen and understand more about the themes.
We than came together again, Joiy and I, to finish off the theme along with the question for the debate. Along with this Moe, Joiy and I made the pretest for the campers concerning their knowledge and understanding of the English so that from this teams could be made for the rest of the 11 days. An example of this is translating from Thai certain personal questions written, speaking by answering personal questions plus translating a short story from English into Thai in the written form.
The movement via the Tzolkin in its resonance is:
Chant: Muluc, Ik, Ahau, Chuen, Oc
Planets: Mercury, Jupiter, Pluto and Venus.
KIN 210, White Lunar Dog – Galactic Activation Portal of High Resonance and Clarity
Key vibration: Resonate into working together to stabilize the challenge of honesty.
The natural flow or supportive spiral movement energy of trusting the self remembrance in all communication with others, relationships and projects to be moved in the spiral of communication within and without. Place this in a higher level.
The challenge, strengthening and open opportunity of being in the awareness of unconditional love without judgement that is being brought forward in the hidden power of being in the flow of magical playfulness of innocence, spontanietylearning by doing.
To allow and surrender in this centered, grounded and anchored instinct of listening, giving feed back plus speaking for me more out loud to the group. This is a offering of motivation, confidence, thinking skills, team work and awareness
Blessings to All.
Review of Volunteer Journey in Nong Khai, Thailand – Part 3
We had the weekend off from volunteering at Open Mind Projects. For me personally it was an open space to integrate what was all given, received and shared during the first week. Along with this I also needed to get some extra sleep as well due to the jet leg.
Saturday, April 1 (this is for me no fool’s day)
We were invited by Sven, Co director of Open Mind Projects, to come to his house and than we (7 of us) all went out for dinner at a lovely restaurant close to his home. Gaweechat (Co Director of Open Mind Projects) ordered various dishes to the liking of everyone. Very tasty some a bit spicy others spicy but so lovely to be in such good company.
Sunday, April 2
This morning I walked to Salakaewko “Sculpture Park” from the Guest House.
I first visited a Stupa which was lovely seeing it also had many clear quartz crystals in the Temple.
On the way, a lady stopped with her motorbike to give me a ride to the Park. It was such a compassionate gesture to be in such Gratitude.
Here is an outline of the Park written by Julian Wright of Mut Wee Garden Guest House
You can’t come to Nong Khai and not see the very strange Sculpture Park known as Salakaewkoo… World famous, as one one of the most extraordinary artistic creations of South-East Asia, it contains sculptures that rise more than seven stories high! It was built by the mystic shaman Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat, who passed away in 1996, after constructing it, with the help of devotees, for more than twenty years.
Luang Poo Boun Leua Sourirat loved snakes, so much so that he believed in the “coming of the age of the snake”. Seeing them as the purest of all animals, having no arms or legs with which to destroy the world, he described himself as being half man, half snake. Was this love of these phallic like animals in some way connected with his reputed homosexuality? He claimed that in his youth he had fallen into a hole in the forest where upon he met the acetic “Kaewkoo” who lived at the bottom of it. “Kaewkoo” taught him all secrets of the underworld, not least about snakes which were the principal inhabitants of that realm. Later, he trained as a Hindu Rishi in Vietnam and mixed Hinduism into his system of beliefs.
As a Lao national, he first started to produce sculpture on the riverbank on the Lao side of the Maekong river. But as the communists became more powerful, he became concerned that they may not accept his unorthodox views and so fled to Nong Khai in 1974, where he embarked on the creation of Salakaewkoo; his grandest artistic vision. The name means the “Pavilion of Kaewkoo”.
Luang Poo passed away in 1996 aged in his early seventies. He was ill, it was said, from a fall from a ladder up one of his sculptures. But others claimed that he was suffering from some kind of anemia.
The main building and incence chapel were built after his death, following his plans and drawings. He always claimed that his followers, who built all the statues, were entirely untrained, but their skill came to them from a divine source. Moreover, he frequently warned that anyone who drank even a sip of water in the park would eventually give to it all their money! However, in the years following his death Salakaewkoo became more and more run down and untidy… until the local government stepped in and decided that his legacy should not be allowed to deteriorate further, so now it is being repaired and restored to its former grandeur.
There are more than one hundred sculptures in the park some of them reaching seven stories up into the sky. Some depict snakes, others images taken from either Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism. Hinduism is well represented too, with images of Shiva and Pavati, Brahma and Vishnu.
The greatest sculpture of all is the Wheel of Life at the far end of the park. As this diagram shows (for a clear printable copy, click on it to download an Adobe pdf version) in Luang Poo’s view, is a cycle of influences and phases, which start at one’s conception and end at one’s death. The Buddhist elements of heat, breath, wisdom and change are represented, as are the stages of birth, aging, suffering and death. Finally, one follows the Lord Buddha over the wall of life to nirvana…
On the way, back to the Guest House walking on the Highway once more a lady with a motorbike gave me a short ride.
The afternoon I spent sleeping.
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