A few days before facing the difficult task of Vipassana meditation in the mountains in the north of Thailand, we come across a government building used as a meditation center.
The government building is located a few steps from the entrance to the abandoned female prison in Chiang Mai.
With your back to the entrance you simply have to go straight across the road and, after about twenty meters, on your left you will find this abandoned meditation center.
There will be no problems to enter this building, as there are no guards and the entrance from the back door is opened.
This building was used as a convention center until the day when they decided to move the office to another area of Chiang Mai and to change its name to “Teachers Savings and Credit Cooperative Limited”.
Two small statues guarde the entrance: a Buddha and another statue always related to the Buddhist tradition. As we try to find the entrance, some pink petals are resting on our heads, then swept away by the light breeze.
We go around passing the side of the structure where we find an open door. Without thinking twice we enter…
At that moment under our feet we find hundreds of photographs. Monks, temples, ceremonies, some subjects and other people unknown to us. Some books in Thai and instruction manuals on how to use a Kodak lie unused on a shelf.
Leaving this room we enter a corridor where hanging on a wall we see a calendar with the year 2555 (in Thailand there is the lunisolar calendar used for the holidays in the Buddhist communities).
In another room we find an umbrella hanging from a beam, which swings from side to side, marking the minutes, hours, days and even months…
Scattered throughout the entrance hall are incense, meditation cushions, statuettes, other photos, documents and signs. Hanging in a wooden door a leaflet inviting to attend some meeting of muay thai.
We climb up the stairs where we find a dog waiting for us. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of stray dogs in Thailand is numerous. In fact it is not uncommon to find someone even in some abandoned place. As soon as he see us he runs away, leaving us alone inside a completely empty room.
Separated by a thin wooden wall, we find another room with a blackboard in the middle. The sunlight that is filtered through some wooden gate valves reflects on the wall the beautiful pink flowers of which the building is surrounded.
Before reaching the second floor a sign asks us kindly to take off our shoes, a suggestion that we do not take with joy.
Another room opens before us, more spacious than the others. Likely they held the lectures here and talked to the public. In one corner of the room we find a portrait of one of the former kings of Thailand, now deceased and succeeded by Rama X.
After this break from the scorching sun of noon, we are heading towards the exit, ready to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year.