So there I was, after many years of reading stories and accounts, on the train towards Wat Pah Nanachat in Ubon Ratchatani Province, northeast Thailand. “It had been a long time coming” I thought to myself. Would it live up to the hype and expectations or would it just be another place, to at least try, to practice? My slight anxiety kept my mind ticking over imaginations of what it would be like whilst periodically being distracted by the ever more forested countryside we were now passing through.
On arrival at Ubon station, I quickly searched out a low cost guesthouse (with the aid of the holy book that is The Lonely Planet guide to Thailand) and settled down my things in my modest but perfectly adequate room; at 120 Baht per night (about £2.40) anything is perfectly adequate, and headed into the city centre to find food and explore the general scene. Following an interesting fair-type atmosphere in town (the infamous Ubon Candle Festival was building up momentum) I tuktuked back to the guesthouse and settled down for the night with a Dhamma book conveniently left by a previous postulant on his/her way to the wat; I think the same person had also drawn the likeness of the Buddha on the wooden wall beside me; I felt a connection with the process building up already.