Considering meditation

An international meditation forum will discuss the parallels between Buddhist and Christian approaches for the prevention of and recovery from addiction.

Fr Laurence Freeman, director of the World Community of Christian Meditation, is hosting the forum, called "Sajja: The Vow of Recovery: Christian and Buddhist Perspectives". It will take place at Thamkrabok Monastery on Jan 26 from 8am to 5pm.

Located in Saraburi province's Phra Phutthabat, the monastery is famous for offering herbal detoxification services to drug addicted people from around the world. The forum will examine how those in recovery can be assisted to a full and flourishing life. The Buddhist and Christian perspectives can help clarify what this means in a holistic and spiritual way.

Christian and Buddhist monks, Fr Laurence and Abbot Phra Ajarn Boonsong, clinicians, psychologists and meditators from both traditions will explore these questions. Fr Laurence will also touch on the topic "The Grace of Addiction" and the abbot will discuss "The Importance Of Taking A Sajja".

Admission to the forum is free of charge and lunch will be provided but reservation is required for catering purposes. For more information, email meditation@wccm.org or visit www.wccm.org.

The forum also includes these four workshops:

How Smooth is the Road to Recovery? Treatment in the British Health Service by Dr Vanessa Crawford, a consultant addiction psychiatrist.

A Sustainable New Life: Second Stage Recovery by Julien Gryp, a meditation teacher from Belgium and also a co-director of New Life Foundation located in Chiang Rai.

Dead Drunk by freelance writer Paul Garrigan who received help from the monks at the temple in 2006 and that allowed him to break free from a 20-year alcohol addiction. He writes about this experience in his book Dead Drunk.

Preventative Education and Support Networks by Mike Sarson, founder of the charity East-West Detox and Sarah Sowinksa, its project manager.

The talks, dialogue, workshops and discussions on the day, with common meditation practice, will offer insights and inspiration on how to apply wisdom to this field in both personal and professional spheres.