Alms Bowls to Newcastle

Alms Bowls to Newcastle

This is another is a series of films made for the BBC about the Thai forest tradition and its introduction to England; previously we saw Blue Eyes in Saffron Robes, about western monks living in Wat Pah Pong in NE Thailand, then The Mindful Way, which mainly revolved around Ajahn Chah and his teaching, and then The Buddha comes to Sussex, which follows Ajahn Chah and his Western disciples as they begin a foundation in Chithurst, England.

Todays’ programme is roughly a decade on from the others and looks at the Harnham Monastery near Bradford, which at that time had Ajahn Pabhākaro for Abbot, and it mainly follows his life story, from being on active service in the Vietnam war, to becoming interested in Buddhism in Thailand, and finally ordaining as one of Ajahn Chah’s more senior Western disciples.

We also meet with some of the more prominent lay supporters, including Nick Scott who did a lot of work at Harnham and later at Chithurst itself; and the very likeable Farmer Wake who rented the property out for a nominal sum, simply because he liked the way the monks were living.

Apart from that we see some of the ways the monks seek to reach out to the community with open days, piṇḍapāta and so on, and again, as with Chithurst, by now the monastery is as much a part of the community as anything else is, being headed by Ajahn Munindo, after Ajahn Pabhākaro eventually disrobed and got married.


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