Chitta Bhawanaram Forest Monastery (วัดป่าจิตตภาวนาราม—Doi Saket)

This newly built (only five months old) Dhammayut monastery is fresh and glowing, and its buildings (mostly a Dhamma hall and several kutis) are quite attractively designed. 

Speaking with one of the monks about returning for practice, I was kindly invited to stay in one of the kutis. He said I was welcome to practice around the property, then with a smile he gestured toward a mysterious wooded area behind one of the kutis and said, “And we have a cremation ground.”

After a few minutes of chatting, I thanked him for his offer then wandered off to explore the cremation ground, for I might be interested in practicing there—perhaps on the next full moon night. After all, one of the 13 ascetic practices allowed by the Buddha is living in or near a cremation ground.

Indeed, as one passes between two kutis, goes through a gate, then walks down a narrow, quiet road into a nearby forest, one might first notice some wooden grave markers on the left, then maybe some tombstones on the right, then in the near distance, through the trees, is the cremation chamber—a somewhat impressive structure with a large iron door stained by soot. I must admit that even in the daytime I felt a tinge of discomfort—perhaps all the more reason to come back on the full moon.