Thaton TempleTemple of Thaton
Wat Thaton - Temple of the Crystal Pagoda Chiang Mai
Wat Thaton is a large temple in a very beautiful environment just a few kilometres from the Myanmar/Boorder. Situated on a mound with views of the town of Ban Thaton and the Mae Kok stream. On the first floor of Wat Thaton is a sculpture of Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy.
It is also home to the Wat Thaton abbot's offices and a Buddhist college. The oldest building of the temple ensemble is the chedis or the stupa, a building in which relicts of Buddha, monarchs or very important friars are kept. The second floor contains the ubosote.
It is one of the most important structure of any buddhistic temple, as it is the place where new friars are mobilized. On step three you will find a huge picture of Buddha called Phra Buddha Nirandornchai in the subdued Mara-stance. The Phra Nakprok buildung, where the Vipassana-Meditationcenter is situated, contains the fourth area.
There is a giant sitting Buddha picture on the top of the edifice, protected by a mythologic seven-headed Naga snake. On the next floor there is a prayer room and a place for the participants of the prayer courses. One of the most prominent buildings in the temple ensemble is the new Chedi Kaew or Crystal Pagode, a splendid construction that can be seen from afar.
Above the lavishly adorned doorway is a representation of the Buddha in front of a Dhamma ring, the icon representing the Buddha's teaching. There is a very high, over 10 meter high, gold Buddha picture that holds a handout cup that looks over the area. Wat Thaton organises several programmes for the good of the area.
It has a Buddha School of Monks and Quizzes and a Vipassana Centre for Retreat. There is also a herb medical centre, a large assembly room, a large dining room and several other facilities. Ban Thaton has a very long tradition of Buddhism and Buddhaist philosophies. It is a very suitable place for contemplation, with its peaceful ambience and surrounding nature with views of the hills and plateaus.
Wat Thaton's Vipassana Medical Centre offers courses open to both Thais and non Thais. Lessons for non-Thai speaker will be in English. Courses are available for beginner and intermediate learners. More information about Vipassana or Samatha Retreat in Thailand and a full listing of Thailand sanctuaries and churches that offer Vipassana or Samatha teaching, see Thailand Sanctuaries.
Wat Thaton is situated in the small town of Ban Thaton in the north of Chiang Mai county near the Myanmar frontier. This temple stands on a mound at the southern end of the Mae Kok stream. Situated about 175 kilometres north of Chiang Mai and about 50 kilometres northwest of Chiang Rai.
You can reach Ban Thaton by coach from Chiang Mai. Busses leave from Chiang Mai's Chang Puak Coach Terminal, north of Chang Puak Gateway in the old fortifications. The Mae Kok Riviera from Chiang Rai to Ban Thaton is a funny excursion with great landscape on the way.
Wat Thaton is open from 8 am to 5 pm. The Vipassana Centre was shut down at the moment of the letter.