Buddhist temple in Mitchelstown - learn how to chant and meditate with Thai monks
In the busy and hectic world we live in, people often don't have time to take a step back and look at the world we are in - this week, reporter Sandra Quinn took to the new Buddhist temple in Upper Cork Street in Mitchelstown to learn how to chant and meditate with Thai monks.
Situated beside the garda station, the building is a hidden gem in the heart of the town. Behind its doors lie pictures and symbols to honour Buddha and a chanting and meditation room that helps people to float away into a realm of serenity.
The temple was set up by the head monk, Phramaha Rumpai Kaenkul, who is originally from Bangkok and many people in the town would have seen himself and the other monk Ven. Phramaha Rumpai Kaenkul walking around the town in their orange robes.
The head monk explained that the people are at the heart of the temple and that they are there to help both Thai people and Irish people who wish to explore Buddhism or merely practice meditation. They practice the meditation and chanting at 6am and 6pm each day, with morning and evening chants and anyone is welcome to join.
He first came to Ireland in 2011 and lived in Carrick-on-Suir before moving to Ballyhooly and then he came here in April and was joined by the other monk in May.
The monk explained that they try to walk around the town and meet people each day, as it makes people aware of the temple in the town.
There is a one year lease on the building in Mitchelstown, but in the future they hope to build a dedicated temple in Mitchelstown - which would be the first in Ireland. The temple was also set up as a registered charity in September of last year and people may give donations if they desire.
Explaining the Buddha ways of teaching, Phramaha Rumpai Kaenkul said that people should try it out before they make up their minds and they are open to people from all religions.
"If I am the chef, I cook something and offer it to people to taste - if they like it, they might come back again," the monk said.
He said that Buddhism is centred around a sense of calm, peace and quiet, while the chanting and meditation focus on effort, mindfulness and concentration.
Through meditation, the monk said that things in the mind can be slowed down, so that people leave with a knowledge and wisdom that they didn't have access to before.
Mitchelstown man, David Casey, has been going to the temple in the evenings for the past month and he said that while he hasn't converted to Buddhism, he finds the temple is a place where people can centre themselves.
"I get a very good message from the two monks. I find it very good for the soul and the heart. The monks are very friendly and nice and they learned English so that they could connect to people here in Mitchelstown," David said.
As a reporter, I approached the chanting and meditation with a curious, yet open mind and didn't really know what to expect. Seated in the most comfortable position for yourself on a cushion on the floor or chair, it all begins with the ceremonious lighting of the candles, followed by some chanting.
We were then taught how to control our breathing and using different words as you breathed in and out, everything else is blocked out of your mind, as you find yourself becoming completely relaxed and burden free - without even realising it, ten minutes had gone by in what felt like two or three.
This was followed by some walking meditation, where every movement is verbalised - again it seemed that we often walk around hurried and frazzled with our heads filled with thoughts and worries about the day ahead, but by focussing on each step and each intention, the mind is concentrated and not distracted.
After the hour, I felt very refreshed and relaxed and would highly recommend a visit to the temple for anyone who wants to find out more about Buddhism or is simply curious. People travel from all over the world to places like Thailand for this experience and now it is on our doorstep here in Mitchelstown, both for people of Thai origin as a link to home and those who just want to learn more.
Friday 6th September 9:42am