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Notes on Sajja : As Practiced at Thamkrabok Monastery

“Sajja is like a medicine for the mind.”

(Phra Ajahn Boonsong - 3rd Abbot of Thamkrabok Monastery)

“The magic spell of a Sajja is that it works through keeping it.”

(Phra Hans - 23 June 2009)

“Sajja is the true way of spiritual life:

To speak truely,

To act truely,

To believe truely,

And to see truly.”

(Luang Por Charoen - 2nd Abbot of Thamkrabok Monastery)

SAJJA IS REFUGE

Sajja is a refuge - like an umbrella - like a blanket.

SAJJA IS TRUTH

Sajja is an expression of Truth.

SAJJA AS A SACRED VOW

Sajja is a declaration, a commitment.

EFFECT OF SAJJA

By practicing Sajja there will be an effect.  Not only on the  subject/object of the Sajja but your direction in life will be  affected.  Slowly, slowly things will build up.

CHOICE OF SAJJA 

The importance of choosing the right Sajja, of pondering why it is needed.  An addict can chose a specific Sajja or accept one as decided/offered  by an Ajahn.  If an individual chooses their own Sajja it is “real” to  them and can be practised with great conviction.

Phra (monk) Hans view was that individuals should be responsible for their own Sajjas, to put structure into their personal practice:

  • Establish a set of Sajjas to support the Soul.
  • Not too many Sajjas.
  • Sajjas should be of varying lengths.

When issues arise, would this/that Sajja help or support e.g. “I don’t love anybody more than my own life”.

STRUCTURE OF SAJJA

Subject  e.g. “Nobody can do it for me, I must do it for myself”.

How long per day (and when) e.g. 4-hours every day from 8am until noon.

Duration / Time limit e.g. for 2-years. 

Luang Por Charoen (2nd Abbot) could see everything with a capital “E”. He would dispense custom Sajjas for individuals. Maybe he would give you a personal Sajja “I will not masturbate for 3-months”! 

The “Drugs Sajja” is like a security blanket, the basic Sajja. This is just the start; maybe the 2nd Sajja should be “I believe that I can depend on Sajja”.

The drugs and alcohol Sajjas are the foundation stone for all the other Sajjas.

THE DRUG SAJJA

The most important part of the treatment of drug addicts at Thamkrabok is  the taking of the Sajja (sacred vow) using the natural Elements as the witnesses.

The drug Sajja is:

“I will not smoke consume or inject, I will not encourage others to smoke, consume, or inject, I will not possess or encourage others to possess, I will not buy or sell any kind of addictive drugs including opiates,  cocaine, cannabis, gatom leaves, or methamphetamines for the rest of my  life.” 

After the Sajja ceremony, the monk will explain the rules and conditions of  how to live together by following the Sajja teachings in the centre.

WAYS OF WORKING WITH SAJJA

Once an addict is clean and sober, dreams, memories and unwanted thoughts  may start to surface, so specific Sajjas may be beneficial for future support. Sajjas for rehabilitation, for the guidance of life.

Some Sajjas are very demanding, such as “Honour your Mother and Father”.   For many individuals this means honouring the wounds and challenges.

Sajjas to help the addict to step out of victim mode and set up healthy boundaries e.g.

“Not to be dependent on someone else”.

“I don’t love anybody more than myself”.

“I don’t let others make me suffer”.

“I won’t worry about problems that have not yet happened”.

“I don’t let problems of the past influence the present”

“I won’t let anybody dominate me”.

“I don’t depend on anybody else”.

“I respect other religions”.

“I will not get angry for one month”.

“I will not judge others”.

“I will not look at the mistakes of others”. 

BREAKING SAJJA

Guilt of breaking a Sajja can be overwhelming so it is best to repair it as  soon as possible.  Better to have a repaired Sajja than no Sajja at all.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BIG and LITTLE SAJJA

BIG Sajja like ‘drugs’ you take and as such because you’re not breaking it, you can forget it.

SMALL Sajja are to be practised and contemplated every single day.

SAJJA has even been known to be witnessed by telephone!

Sajja practice is a unique approach to the difficulties of being a recovering addict, to the challenges of life, to the difficulties of being human. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF KAHTAH 

At the time of taking the first personal Sajja, the addict is given a  piece of paper on which is written a unique mantra, called a Kahtah, known only to them.

After 7-days the paper is swallowed by the recovering addict.  Now the addict really does embody his Sajja and Kahtah!

The Kahtah can be used in moments of temptation and when cravings arise.

The Kahtah can be repeated as often as you like. It can be used as an object of meditation (as is the practice of TKBM monks and nuns) or it can be used as a blessing blown over food.

The Kahtah can be said as you are walking or while you are waiting for a bus.

Please note that this page and the linked pages below are a ‘work in progress’ so please check back here from time-to-time for updates.

[Mindful Recovery Home] [Foundations of Buddhist Recovery] [The Truth of Addiction] [Harm Reduction and Relapse Prevention] [Meditation and Mindful Recover] [Sila Forgiveness Meditation] [Healing the Past] [Loving Kindness - Metta] [Commitment and Ethics] [Notes on Sajja : As Practiced at Thamkrabok Monastery] [A Sajja Vow] [One Day at a Time - Sajja Vow] [The  purpose of Buddhist moral precepts] [The Healing Power of the Precepts] [The Five Mindfulness Trainings] [A Discipline of Sobriety] [A Simple Guide to Life] [Being Human Mindfully] [The Precepts in Recovery] [The Rahula Rules] [Forgiveness Meditation Practice] [The Practice of Metta] [The Blessings of Recovery]