The practices

We practise Buddhism until we have a feeling for it.
After a time, a new kind of understanding arises.
— Ajahn Chah

The core of doing retreat is the things we practice during it.

The purpose of all the practices is to provide a quiet place for our monkey mind to relax, and to develop the habits so that we can carry them back to our day-to-day life.

The sources of practices and teachings at Kow Tham are the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition, particularly as taught by Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, and Buddhadasa Bikkhu. With emphasis on the actual goal of Buddhism: loving-kindness and compassion.


About the practice of silence …

Food reflection

We say this all together before eating a meal:

Considering it thoughtfully, I eat this food,
not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification,
but simply for the survival and continuance of this body,
thinking: ‘Thus will i destroy old feelings (of hunger)
and not create new feelings (from overeating).
I will maintain myself, be blameless, and live in comfort.’


In the normal retreat at Khao Tham, we practice a subset of the traditional Theravada Buddhist chants.

What are the chants? Why Pali? … Read more here.

Bowing, or prostration

Before and after meditation, and before and after a teaching, we do the “five-point veneration” (patitthitapanca) to show honour to the Buddha and to our teacher. While bowing we repeat “Anjali”, “Vandana”, “Abhikar” …

Exactly how do we bow? What is the meaning? and why do we do this? Read more here.

Mettā bhāvanā

About our core practice of mettā bhāvanā, one of the four brahamaviharas


About meditation
Sitting meditation …
Walking meditation …

Taking the Precepts

About the precepts
Why do we do this?
The Precepts

Listening to teachings

About the practice of listening to teachings …

Acceptance, Letting go

When there is mindfulness and right understanding,
then I can’t find any suffering at all in this moment, now.
— Ajahn Sumedho


About the practice of sleeping …

page revised: 3 July 2018

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