Kow Tham (Mountain Cave Monastery) International Meditation Center was developed by Head Nun Mae Chee Ahmon and has been providing monthly meditation retreats by experienced meditation teachers since 1988.
The purpose of the Kow Tham Center is only to spread the dhamma. All teachers and staff are providing their support freely in the service of the dhamma, and there is no charge for the teachings and guidance.
All meals and accommodation are provided, and a donation is requested to cover those costs.
Donate? Isn’t it free?
Yes — as is Buddhist practice all over the world, all teachings and guidance are given in the service of the dhamma.
However food, bottled water, electricity, petrol, laundry, etc, cost money here just the same as anywhere else. And the food and supply and service providers need to have money to give them to us! It takes about Bt 5,000 to cover expenses for you during the ten days of your retreat.
If you can donate more than your share, it can help to cover a fellow retreatant who cannot afford that much (no one is ever turned away for lack of funds). Also it can be used for other Center expenses such as building repairs, truck maintenance, etc.
In the West we think of giving or donating in terms of charity. But it is a different thing entirely in Buddhism: Donating or alms-giving is not about magnanimously giving to someone lower or worse off than you. Rather it is about showing respect, honouring them, and connecting yourself with them and with what they represent (Buddhism).
And this we do not have in the West at all: It is an integral part of Eastern cultures that the community supports teachers, monasteries, and other social services, on a daily, personal, level. And teachers and monks provide their services without any thought of reimbursement.
Even more, Eastern monks and other dharma followers cannot ask for money — for some, cannot even handle money — as part of their Precepts.
All this is new to us in the West. So when Eastern teaching meets Western students, confusion arises!
Please understand that this is an Eastern, Thai, teaching center. It has no source of income or magic money fountain. It exists purely to serve the dhamma.
The Thai managers of the retreat are out of their comfort zone by having to ask for money. But they realise that since their mission is to teach the dharma to Westerners, and Westerners do not understand this donation culture, they must make it clear, and explicitly ask.
How to support Kow Tham Center
Donations for retreat
Accommodation and meals are provided. Donations are requested and sorely needed for supplying your physical needs while on retreat, as explained above.
Donations to support the ongoing Center
The year-round damp climate, along with hard monsoon rains, termites, usage by so many people, and the occasional broken or “disappeared” item means that the Kow Tham Center is always in need of repairs and supplies.Here's the current needs
- Painting the dorms, toilets, and meditation hall.
- Treating the steep path to meditation hall and other walking paths, to prevent slipping during rain. A large container of cleaner will treat about 8 sq m and costs about Bt 160.
- Repairs to buildings, especially two dorm buildings and three kutis which have become unusable, mostly due to destruction by termites.
- Anti-termite wood treatment – about Bt 850 / can. (ongoing)
This is a big concern — buildings and wooden items are really being destroyed by termites, and the termiticide is so expensive that we can’t keep up.
- Recovering and replacement of the meditation mats and cushions. (ongoing)
- Washing, repairing, and replacing bedding, mosquito netting, etc. (ongoing)
- Cleaning supplies, indoor and outdoor brooms, leaf rakes, … (ongoing)
- Repairs to the old truck. Or even — a new truck!
- At retreat, or any time when at Kow Tham
- There is a donation box at the community area of Kow Tham, or you can give directly to Tookata.
- Send to bank
- Bank Name: Krungthai Bank, Thailand
- SWIFT Code: KRTHTHBK
- Beneficiary Name: Maninee Sookkasem
- Beneficiary A/C Number: 060-1-37735-4
Donate your time
- Kow Tham Center can always use help, from sweeping the grounds, cooking, serving food, fixing things, assisting in many ways! More information is here.
For more information about helping support Kow Tham Insight Meditation Center and these retreats, please contact us.
page revised: 16 July 2018