How does ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ solve bald mountains: Part 2

After the villagers in Nan joined the afforestation project and sustainable alternative livelihood development, their struggling life, which was the main issue of deforestation and poverty, finally changed to a survived life. Forest conservation is possible more than ever. Here’s the second chapter of sufficient life.

Continue reading How does ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ solve bald mountains: Part 2

The Museum without exit gates

There are two places that remind me to walk out in the open air.

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The first place is ‘Nanjing Genocide Museum’ I kept my hands in panty sweater, walking along a Chinese tourist group into the place on the hard cold day. Then, I realized that not just a temperature’s drop makes people feel cold but the sadness itself can make us shiver.

I felt sorrow by standing among the pieces of darkness history that mankind ever knew.This kind of cold I do not need a sweater or a blanket. I just needed a gate to escape from darkness to breathe easily in the open air.

The second place is the Chakma village in the Dhalai district of Tripura, India. They are Buddhist who evacuated from “Chittagong massacre incident” in Bangladesh. They settle here now.

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I reached Andrachara village on a bright day. At first, I put a joyful smile on my face because I had a special meeting with immigrants. Just stepping into the village reminded me of the same feeling as stepping into the Nanjing Genocide Museum. People live here with suffering and pain from darkness memories.

At Nanjing, we perceived stories from the historical part but for Andrachara village we knew stories from real people’s testimonies. They are all alive but tormented.

If Nanjing is a museum of objects. Here, Andrachara village, it will be a museum of life.

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The Museum without exit gates.

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It was a day that I was astounded from sadness. Listening to those depressing stories of the Chakma throughout the day was no different from walking in the Nanjing Genocide Museum without a single pause. I did want to leave these stories for a moment and find an exit gate but I wasn’t able to do so. Because the museum of Chakma has no exit gate for anyone.

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Nanjing Genocide Museum leads us into the stories that had happened and ended at a certain point in the world history. No matter how sad you are coping with you will find the end result of its story. There is an exit gate widely open for you.

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But the museum of life, Chakma village, is far more different. We walk into these stories from the beginning but find no exit or concluded ending from these painful stories. These people are still living in nightmare on the Chittagong Mountain.

Even when you are reading this note, most people of Chakma are still being harassed by countless invasions of hatred.
Producer’s Diaries  

A journey from Suphachai Thongsak Producer of Tipitaka

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Ahoy! Documania goes to La Rochelle, France

Thailand’s top documentary production companies make their debut in La Rochelle at SSD 2017

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The first day of Documania at the Sunny side of the Doc 2017 in La Rochelle, France, seems to be a pretty good day. It’s a world markets place that dedicated to documentary and factual content. People with a real desire of making more docs are packed in the same place.

Our booth of the documentary group “Thailand DOCS Group” is receiving nice attentions from media buyers, distributors, and Production Company. There are lot of appointments and talks throughout the day. Continue reading Ahoy! Documania goes to La Rochelle, France

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มีสถานที่ 2 แห่งที่ทำให้ผมนึกถึงการเดินออกไปในที่โล่งแจ้ง

สถานที่แรกนั้น คือพิพิธภัณฑ์ฆ่าล้างเผ่าพันธุ์แห่งนานกิง ผมเอามือล้วงกระเป๋าเสื้อกันหนาวเดินตามกลุ่มชาวจีนเข้าไปในสถานที่แห่งนั้นในวันที่อากาศหนาวเหน็บอย่างยิ่ง ก่อนที่ผมจะพบว่า ไม่ได้มีเพียงอุณหภูมิที่ต่ำลงเท่านั้นที่ทำให้คนเรารู้สึกหนาวเหน็บ แต่ความเศร้าก็ทำให้เรารู้สึกหนาวเหน็บได้เช่นกัน เพราะผมรู้สึกเช่นนั้น เมื่อยืนอยู่ท่ามกลางชิ้นส่วนทางประวัติศาสตร์ที่มืดมิดและต่ำช้าที่สุดครั้งหนึ่งของโลก

Continue reading พิพิธภัณฑ์ที่ปราศจากประตูทางออก

How does ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ solve bald mountains: Part 1

If we thought about ‘Nan’, the northern province of Thailand, people will rewind their faded memory about the scenery of endless bald mountains. This area was the highest and fastest deforestation area in Thailand. People blamed those hill tribes as the destroyer of the forest.

King Bhumipol’s Philosophy’ and ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’  think difference. His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej considered that those hill tribe cut the forest because they were lacking opportunity and being poor. We had to understand them first before helping them.

Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, the Founder of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, addressed that hill tribe people were struggling in enormous pain, poverty and ignorance for centuries. No one don’t want to be bad, just lacking life’s opportunities. That was the beginning of a difference perspective which is diverse from the bureaucracy’s approach.

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The hills in the area were denuded because of the destructive slash-and-burn technique of clearing land and excessive logging. Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra expressed her intention to reforest, upgrade the living standard of local people, provide them with more educational opportunities and public health services, and promote agricultural development in a systematic manner.

Royal Initiative Discovery Foundation and The Mae Fah Luang Foundation Under Royal Patronage were cooperated with the local by adopting ‘King Bhumipol’s Philosophy’ and ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ to deploy the afforestation project and sustainable alternative livelihood development. No one thought it would be successful because we have been fixing the poverty dilemma for decades.

As we’ve seen clearly from the past, we were far from archiving the main goal of afforestation projects which involved hundreds of agencies, circling around the same problem but never found a single outcome.

Why didn’t it work? Were there any alternative ways to solve the problem?

Royal Initiative Discovery Foundation embraced ‘King Bhumipol’s Philosophy’ and ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ to help the villagers stand firm for themselves by helping them survive in a sustainable life. At the same time, the forest has grown incredibly. Let’s see how they did.

It started in a very fragile and highly damaged area. The afforestation projects didn’t fix just one single village. The plan was designed to improve the whole basin area “The Great Basin of Nan” which is one of the most important watershed forest of Thailand, covering more than 68,000 acres, and Nan river provides water for almost 40% of Chao Phraya River.

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The plan has been developed in a humble approach from a village to the next village without forcing villagers to change their way of life. The plan didn’t raid them out of the forest either. In contrary, the plan provided more options for them to seek more available chances to achieve the sustainability lifestyle which was a primary concern of ‘King Bhumipol’s Philosophy’ and ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’

The focused problem of Nan was ‘Lua’, the hill tribe people in the north. They were poor, lacked knowledges and destroyed the forest as their habitual way of life. They burned the forest to clear the area for plantation. The more they’ve done, the more they’ve been facing the poverty. Those people lost trust in themselves. His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra saw this thorough clearly. Those people needed to be freed from the struggle in the void of hopeless.

“How could we help them stand on their own feet?” This is a first task of Royal Initiative Discovery Foundation had to fix it first. Most of the areas lacked of water for consumption and agriculture. Was it because of the absence of irrigation system? No. In some area there were the irrigation systems build by the central government. However, after the foundation team and villagers surveyed the area together. 90% of Check dams were destroyed and unusable for almost 30 years.

 

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Never mind, they started it all over again by fixing and building these check dams for local agriculture. So, they developed water systems, ponds, water pipes, dams and water tanks. Hiring constructor wasn’t allow, so the villagers had to do these by themselves with materials and resources support from the foundation.

Finally, the significant change has occurred. Because the villagers used to spend all money to change thing around but since then they had to do things by themselves. The member of the villager must be involved in this process more than 70% if they wanted to proceed. According to the plan, their harmony was act as a key of success.

Then, the project send some materials to repair check dams and the villagers did the ground works. If they request large machines, the team of engineers and machines that they requested will be send along.

Doing things by their own hands, the villagers began to feel ownership toward what they had invested. This was the creation of participation and shared responsibility for the community. If these check dams were destroyed again in near future, the villagers will jointly repair by themselves without waiting any support from the authority.

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Now, after the check dams were fully repaired. The water system in the villages runs back to normal and the villagers have more opportunities to begin rice terrace farming. They established various funding programs too, such as livestock fund, career fund and provide helps for each member in the community. Furthermore, they are earning more money from rice farming.

When the water is abundant, many farmers can plant corn seed in the lowland. Because the price is better than planting on the hillside from 800 baht per acre to 1,500 baht. They don’t have to return to their old habit again. The change occurred in slowly but steady pace.

That was how they solved urgent problem of surviving to gain more money but use less space for agriculture. Why we need more when everything is sufficed

Let’s see how ‘King Bhumipol’s Philosophy’ and ‘Mae Fah Luang Approach’ restored the forest back from the catastrophe in the next episode.

 

Producer’s Diaries

From the journey of Chanin Chamachote The producer of The Working Monarch 

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Zazen: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

Five o’clock in the Monastery of Silence. This sanctuary does not allow any layperson to access.

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A Large sign hanging over the front door of the meditation hall describes the rules that monks must practice with. The aim of Zazen is just sitting, that is, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and even thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.

And the last rule states “Whoever does not obey the rules is the one who hinders the practice of others, will get dismissed and cannot be returned to the temple.” 

The new member of monks must be adjusted to these strictness, at all cost, to proceed to the right realization.

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Each day, the monks must practice Zazen meditation for almost 5 hours to reach the Satori, a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening. The sitting posture is similar to the shape of Pyramid. The head seem like a mountain top. The crossed legs act as a firm foundation and the mouth is close with a tongue touching jaw.

The eyelids are half-lowered, the eyes being neither fully open nor shut so that the practitioner is neither distracted by, nor turning away from, external stimuli. In many practices, the practitioner breathes from the hara (the center of gravity in the belly).

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When a monk feels tired and drowsy, at the moment, he will receive a warning sign from the “warning stick” or “awakening stick, a flat wooden stick or slat used during periods of meditation to remedy sleepiness or lapses of concentration which is called Keisaku

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This Keisaku stick is not considered a punishment, but a compassionate means to reinvigorate and awaken the meditator who may be tired from many sessions of zazen, or under stress, the “monkey mind” (overwhelmed with thoughts) and does allow practitioner to change a meditation posture. Even it shows a symbolic meaning about the simply way of Upāsaka and Upāsikā life.

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If someone has asked “How does the sitting zazen can lead us to attain the true Dharma?”

The answer is “Don’t know”

Those who record the experience of attaining Dharma are not the ones who attain Dharma.

It may be as true as the Zen master said

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Of course, the people who say aren’t the people who know.

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Producer’s Diaries

From the journey of Bun Kosalwat from the Documentary Tipitaka : The Living Messages

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ศาสตร์พระราชา ตำราแม่ฟ้าหลวง แก้ภูเขาหัวโล้นได้อย่างไร ตอนที่ 2

จากที่เคยยากจนข้นแค้นในอดีต ข้าวก็ไม่พอกิน เป็นหนี้สินล้นพ้นตัว พอเข้าโครงการปลูกป่าสร้างคน บนวิถีพอเพียง ที่มูลนิธิปิดทองหลังพระ มูลนิธิแม่ฟ้าหลวงและจังหวัดน่าน นำศาสตร์พระราชาและตำราแม่ฟ้าหลวงมาบูรณาการ ชาวบ้านเริ่มมีรายได้พอใช้หนี้ มีข้าวพอกินทั้งปี ชีวิตเริ่มอยู่รอด โครงการจะค่อยๆแนะนำพวกเขาเข้าสู่ขั้นที่ 2 นั่นคืออยู่อย่างพอเพียง เริ่มส่งเสริมปลูกป่าเศรษฐกิจ และป่าใช้สอย

Continue reading ศาสตร์พระราชา ตำราแม่ฟ้าหลวง แก้ภูเขาหัวโล้นได้อย่างไร ตอนที่ 2

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ถ้าพูดถึงจังหวัดน่าน ภาพจำของผู้คน คือภูเขาหัวโล้นสุดลูกหูลูกตา ถือเป็นพื้นที่ที่มีอัตราการตัดไม้ทำลายป่าสูงและเร็วที่สุดในประเทศไทย และชาวเขาคือผู้ทำลายป่า

แต่ศาสตร์พระราชาและตำราแม่ฟ้าหลวง กลับมองอีกแบบ พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวภูมิพลอดุลยเดชทรงมองว่า การที่พวกเขาตัดไม่ทำลายป่า ก็เพราะพวกเขายากจนและขาดโอกาส ต้องช่วยเหลือเขาด้วยความเข้าใจ เข้าถึง แล้วจึงพัฒนา ขณะที่สมเด็จพระศรีนครินทราบรมราชชนนี ทรงมองว่า เพราะความเจ็บ ความจน ความไม่รู้ ทำให้พวกเขาอยู่ในวังวันของความยากจน ไม่มีใครอยากเป็นคนไม่ดี แต่พวกเขาขาดโอกาสในการทำความดีต่างหาก นี่คือจุดเริ่มต้นของการมองที่แตกต่างจากระบบราชการในอดีต

Continue reading ศาสตร์พระราชา ตำราแม่ฟ้าหลวง แก้ภูเขาหัวโล้นได้อย่างไร ตอนที่ 1

ซาเซน : บางครั้งฉันนั่งและคิด บางทีฉันก็นั่งเฉย ๆ

ห้าโมงเย็นภายในอารามเงียบสงัด สถานที่ศักดิ์สิทธิ์นี้ไม่อนุญาตให้ฆราวาสเข้าได้

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ป้ายขนาดใหญ่แขวนเหนือบานประตูหน้าหอฝึกสมาธิ เขียนบอกกฎเกณฑ์ที่พระจำต้องปฏิบัติ ไม่ว่าในเป็นเรื่องการนั่งซาเซน การปิดวาจา ไปจนถึงการถอดรองเท้า กฎข้อสุดท้ายเขียนไว้ว่า ‘ผู้ใดไม่ปฏิบัติตามกฎถือเป็นผู้ที่ขัดขวางการฝึกฝนของผู้อื่นจะถูกไล่ออกจากสำนักและไม่สามารถกลับเข้ามาในวัดได้อีก’ ความเคร่งครัดทำให้พระใหม่จำนวนไม่น้อยต้องปรับตัว เพื่อดำเนินไปสู่การตระหนักรู้อย่างถูกทาง

Continue reading ซาเซน : บางครั้งฉันนั่งและคิด บางทีฉันก็นั่งเฉย ๆ

The Man of Gandhara

I looked up at the white marble plate engraved the name “PESHAWAR MUSEUM” which is attached above the entrance. This building was built since 1905 to collect historical pieces of a man who has been known as a powerful influencer of thought more than 2,500 years.

I would like to call this man.

The Man of Gandhara

 

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Peshawar Museum is known as one of the most important museum. Not just only in Pakistan but this place is also the world recognition that collect the completest collections of Gandhara ‘s Buddhist arts in the world, especially, the engraved stone tablets telling the Buddha’s biography from the Birth to the Nirvana.

In those the ancient time, Gandhara region covered some area of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was one of the Silk Road pathways that connected the eastern and western world together with trades, wars, and religions. The Gandhara civilization was influenced by the Greek, Roman, Persian and Indian.

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When Buddhism arrived this region, this cultural mixture was the inspiration for Gandhara’s artists to create the Buddha icon statues as a human form for the first time in the world history. Before then, the Buddha icons were only made in symbolic representations such as the lotus representing the Birth, the horse and Buddha’s footprint representing the Renunciation, the throne and Bodhi tree representing enlightenment, the crouching deer before Dharmachakra representing the sermon, and the stupa representing the Nirvana.

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The first creation of Buddha statue in a human form influenced by Greek gods has been a meaningful heritage that the Gandhara civilization gave to the Buddhism.

I walked into the first hall of Peshawar Museum and saw stone statues lined along the hall. Buddha and Bodhisattava statues with the same height as human reminded me of the Greek-Roman angels. In fact, they are the Man of Gandhara or the first figure of the Buddha.

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The next display exhibits the engraved stone tablets that considered as the very first tablet collection telling the story of Buddha’s life from the Birth to the Nirvana and also the cremation. We can see the variety of faces, bodies, and characters that differed in each state of life; strength, rapture, torment, and the highest point of human being, the enlightenment.

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After spending several hours in the museum admiring the life of the Man of Gandhara, I leave with joy. Today Peshawar is the capital city of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa province between Afghanistan and Pakistan but in the ancient time it was the capital city of Gandhara ruled by Kushana dynasty between the first to the fifth century.

Peshawar means “the City of Men”.

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The journey of Suddan Wisudthiluck in the documentary

Tipitaka : The Living Messages

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