Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

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Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:50 pm

I am looking for opportunities of studying Buddhism in a real Buddhist community, I am a spoilt Norwegian so I want to keep
the comforts of modern living, but at the same time be a place were food and accommodation is cheap as if I do this, I will
mainly be living on my own savings. Low-crime and a well functioning society with decent people are important factors.

I only speak English & Norwegian, So if I go somewhere where everyone only speaks Tibetan I won´t understand much.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:55 pm

The Boudha area around Kathmandu is reasonable. The people are nice. A lot of shops and restaurants cater to foreign tourists, so you get cleanliness and high standards for food. It is cheap, too, by western standards. Rent is dirt cheap.

The Buddhist scene is thriving. You get a lot of eminent teachers visiting. Gonpas all over the place. Rangjung Yeshe. International Buddhist Academy. The Boudhanath Stupa. Shechen.

There are a lot of lost souls who live there, which makes for interesting friendships...

As for Tibetans and Nepalis, they're generally quite polite and accommodating. Nepal is very different from India in that respect.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:59 pm

Kathmandu incidentally does not function -that- well (electricity is seldom available 24/7), but that isn't an issue for most locals, nor foreigners. A lot of places run generators if they're upscale enough.

It isn't a developed city, but it is cheap!
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:05 pm

Thanks! Do you know how Nepal compare to India? pro/cons?
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:23 am

Nepal is safer, cleaner, friendlier and more traditional than India.

North India especially underwent a lot of trauma given the constant wars, famines and invasions. Kathmandu in particular has remained relatively isolated. They have the old traditional Hindu culture that was largely lost in India. They don't have plastic images of Shiva, but ones of stone and wood, as they would have had a 1000 years ago all around India. The old architecture is well preserved, too. On top of that, women have greater freedom and status in Nepal. They are free to go outside unsupervised, wear whatever they like and hang out with friends, or have a boyfriend. In India you don't see that outside of metropolitan areas.

As far as cleanliness, Kathmandu trumps most of north India except maybe the Punjab (Sikh culture is quite tidy and doesn't tolerate filth, unlike elsewhere in India where all manner of faeces and rubbish are casually left in the street to rot). Kathmandu has a lot less garbage and excrement on the streets (the river is polluted unfortunately). However, around Boudha the merchants and gonpas keep the place in good order because they depend on tourists and pilgrims. They have people cleaning the main streets and stupa area daily. Also the surrounding area where Nepalis live is generally clean. They have garbage disposal services.

Most of my Buddhist friends can live happily in Kathmandu, but not India. India is continually problem after problem. I feel constantly uneasy in most of north India (Himachal Pradesh like Dharamsala and Ladakh excluded) to be honest. The angry people, poverty, filth, unreliable services, dishonest merchants, swindlers, crooked rickshaw drivers, incompetent police and general lack of decorum amongst locals (defecating in the street for instance) never lends itself to feelings of ease. You cross the land border into Nepal, though, and it all magically disappears. It is still a third world country, but with a lot less of the problems you see in India!

As far as studying Buddhism goes, Kathmandu costs more than, say, Manjushri Institute in Darjeeling or in Dharmasala, but the lifestyle is easier and Kathmandu caters to tourists, so as far as food and coffee goes you're covered.

Also the weather in Kathmandu is better. Dharamsala gets wet and quite cold in the winter. Darjeeling is so wet your books grow mouldy. Kathmandu has a monsoon season, but otherwise it is dry and warm most of the year.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby shaunc » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:49 am

Thailand, may be worth looking at & a lot of other countries around S.E. Asia.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:21 pm

Ok, India is off the list - I was looking at India mainly cause of the Tibetan community & Dalai Lama. But it
sound to rough for my liking. So it´s either Nepal or an Asian country like Thailand.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:26 pm

By the way, any experience with Pokhara in Nepal? they say it´s really beatiful and less
polluted than Kathmandu, from google I´v seen some tourist complaining about the air
quality in Khatmandu, which seems is much better in Pokhara.

But I guess - it does not have a thriving Buddhist communty and English speaking people
like in Kathmandu?
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:33 pm

English speaking Buddhism is all carried out in Kathmandu.

Boudha isn't so bad. It isn't in the main area of Kathmandu. Taking a taxi during peak hours to and from Thammel can be bad for your respiratory health, but walking around the Boudha area there are minimal cars and the air quality ain't too bad.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:31 pm

But rather than just saying "it's inexpensive" how about some real costs? I looked online at places that were supposedly NPR 400/night (US$4 using today's conversion at xe.com) but they are being advertised for $20-$40/night. Quite a jump.

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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby philji » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:46 pm

I dont think you should write India off. There are places where there are thriving Buddhist communities. I have spent a couple of months in Bir...about 2 hours from Dharamsala and there is both the Deer Park Institute and the new Guna Institute both of which accomodate westerners and are very nice places to stay....visiting teachers, many courses, cheap accomodation and lovely area for walks....Bodh Gaya at certain times of the year is wonderful, not so clean i agree but if you can see past that then there is so much there....A few places such as the Root Institute run regular courses there.....Finally, although Mcleod Ganj isnt my favourite place any more there are still opportunities to study with authentic teachers.....as many westerners do....and once more some amazing scenery...
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby tidathep » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:11 pm

Excited Photon wrote:I am looking for opportunities of studying Buddhism in a real Buddhist community, I am a spoilt Norwegian so I want to keep
the comforts of modern living, but at the same time be a place were food and accommodation is cheap as if I do this, I will
mainly be living on my own savings. Low-crime and a well functioning society with decent people are important factors.

I only speak English & Norwegian, So if I go somewhere where everyone only speaks Tibetan I won´t understand much.

-------------
Dear "Excited Photon",

I know a very peaceful/clean place that you can practice meditation with really nice monks who speak English very well. But you must observe 8 Precepts 100% everyday....you don't need to worry about food....free clean/yummy Thai foods/desserts everymorning (only 1 meal per day....tea time later)...you may have your own kuti or share a big kuti with other Thai upasakas(free of charge but you may donate money to the temple as meritorious deeds just like most upasakas/upasikas who are there to practice meditation.)....But you must clean your kuti/wash your clothes by hands/clean the bathroom that you use).

Image
new foreign monks at Wat Pa Baan Taat

Image
Image
The place I talk about is Wat Pa Baan Taat (Wat LuangTa Bua), Udon-Thani, Thailand....you may find more information @ Luangtabua.com

You should bring your own screen-tent and pillow/flashlight...millions of mosquitoes there!!..always hot in Thailand!

I wrote this from my own experiences....I/husband were so happy/peaceful there.
tidathep :namaste:
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:28 pm

kirtu wrote:But rather than just saying "it's inexpensive" how about some real costs? I looked online at places that were supposedly NPR 400/night (US$4 using today's conversion at xe.com) but they are being advertised for $20-$40/night. Quite a jump.

Kirt


Most guesthouses in Kathmandu don't operate websites or internet reservations. You just show up and ask around. In Boudha there are dozens of places to crash.

I paid about $6/night for a two-bed private room at Pema Guesthouse. You can get cheaper places, too. The prices are always negotiable if it is low season.

You could rent a place for a whole month for around $100. There are no fixed prices. A lot of landlords are already getting a good price out of you at $100/month.

Breakfast at one of the local cafes (not Shechen or Garden) will be at most a few dollars depending on what you order. Dinner was usually about US$3~4.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:53 pm

Indrajala wrote:
kirtu wrote:But rather than just saying "it's inexpensive" how about some real costs? I looked online at places that were supposedly NPR 400/night (US$4 using today's conversion at xe.com) but they are being advertised for $20-$40/night. Quite a jump.

Kirt


I paid about $6/night for a two-bed private room at Pema Guesthouse. You can get cheaper places, too. The prices are always negotiable if it is low season.


What is high season?

You could rent a place for a whole month for around $100. There are no fixed prices. A lot of landlords are already getting a good price out of you at $100/month.


Will this have a western bathroom and bath?

Thanks!

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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:12 pm

kirtu wrote:What is high season?


It depends. You can expect $4~6/night in the cheap places around Boudha. If you wanted to stay for awhile, I could put you in touch with people who know landlords/ladies, which would work out much cheaper than guesthouses. A monthly rent is even more negotiable than an daily rate.

Will this have a western bathroom and bath?


Some of the cheap places have shared bathrooms, but this isn't normally a problem in my experience as you often have it to yourself if the place is quiet. They also keep things clean around Boudha. You can of course have an in-suite bathroom in a lot of places. You just need to shop around.

Basically I'd say just show up and shop around for somewhere you like. If you wanted to stay for awhile, I know people who could get you straight into cozy arrangements for cheap.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:23 pm

To rent an somewhat modern equipped apartment would be best - so I could get Internet and have a little spare space since
I might be living there for several years if I enjoy the lifestyle. I´d pay a little extra for a comfy place.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:25 am

Is Nepal generally much more friendlier and safe than Thailand? I am not talking about the Buddhist population but the general population.
I read that in Nepal even single women can safely walk outside after dark (that is not even recommended in big cities in Norway) so it must
be really safe.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:46 am

In Kathmandu most people are inside before 8pm. At sunset at Boudha people gather around the stupa before heading back home.

I'm more afraid of the stray dogs.
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Excited Photon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:05 pm

Indrajala wrote:In Kathmandu most people are inside before 8pm. At sunset at Boudha people gather around the stupa before heading back home.

I'm more afraid of the stray dogs.


Do you live there yourself? enjoying it, and your western friends are they happy there?
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Re: Cheap country to live in and study Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:32 pm

Excited Photon wrote:Do you live there yourself? enjoying it, and your western friends are they happy there?


I stayed there for awhile. I think Boudha is great. Very warm and spiritual place.

My friends generally like the place. It is a refuge for lost souls. A lot of western Buddhists who for whatever reason escaped their home countries to bum around in Nepal for years... sometimes many years (like nine plus years).
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