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Mark: So John..
Mark: You are working on a dissertation for a PhD. That is for an American university?
John: Yeah, that is right. It is a university in San Francisco, California
Mark: And what is the area?
John: I am studying..It is philosophy but with an emphasis on Buddhist studies, you know, and Buddhist philosophy.
Mark: In any particular country?
John: Well, yeah, I am mainly interested in Thailand even though I live in Japan, you know. I like Thailand’s version of Buddhism better.
Mark: Is that theravada?
John: Yeah. That is right.
Mark: Ok. So are you studying any particular temple or any particular aspect of Buddhism?
John: Yeah. I am doing research on a couple of temples there in Thailand. One is called Suen Mok, which is pretty famous. It has got a very good program for ten day meditation retreats and they are geared for teaching foreigners meditation; meditation techniques.
Mark: What is the other temple?
John: The other one is north of Bangkok about three hours bus ride and it is called Tam Krabok.
John: And it is… Well it does different things but one thing it does is it helps addicts recover, you know. It has probably cured about one hundred thousand addicts; mostly heroin or opium addicts, you know, and so I am really interested in how meditation can replace an addiction. You know what I mean?
Mark: Wow! So they are like teaching people to meditate and overcome the problems that caused them to become addicted to drugs?
John: Right. Exactly.
Mark: Wow! Isn’t that a wonderful thing. A hundred thousand.
Mark: Wow! That is really amazing. You have been to the temple?
John: Yeah and interviewed several of the head monks and some of the other people there and it is just a really really, to me, an effective way of applying Buddhism, you know?
John: To eliminate our addictions and work toward something more significant
Mark: Right excellent. That is really…That is great. Like. To use something like that to…That is really good.
John: A real practical form of Buddhism. As I understand it to try to help people live better lives and things like that and this seems to be a real, you know, obvious way to do it.
Mark: Drug addiction is a big problem in a lot of different countries.
Mark: And if they are finding something they can do about, it that is really great.
John: Yeah I agree totally there. And it was a big problem in Thailand. You know until 1959 opium was legal in Thailand.
John: And suddenly they made it illegal and all these people who would take it as a normal part of their life suddenly were illegal addicts.
John: And so this place has really done something that I think is really important.
suddenly they made it illegal
Mark: What is the name of the temple again?
John: Tam Krabok. It means cave of the “prabok”. It is kind of like “telling it like it is” or something like that. Originally it was just a group of monks and they lived in caves
John: And then they started making a big temple out of it.
Mark: The caves of truth.
John: Yeah. That would be a good way to translate it. (laughs)
Truth is the Foundation of All Human Virtues