Heart & Soul – Buddhist Detox

Wat Thamkrabok - The Buddhist temple treating drug addiction.
Wat Thamkrabok – The Buddhist temple treating drug addiction.

This is an excellent radio documentary from the BBC World Service about the unique herbal detox offered at Wat Thamkrabok monastery in Thailand.

It is interesting to note that the current Abbot, Phra Atikarn Vichien Gitiwanno, says the herbal medicines are only 20% of the treatment offered. I don’t entirely agree with this percentage, in line with the founding Abbot Luang Por Chamroon Parnchand whom I met in 1998, and I would put the contribution of the herbal treatment at just 5% of the efficacy of the entire programme.

But everything changes, and that’s just my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, the herbal treatments are very important to the overall process offered at the monastery. The herbal detox is very real and, for certain drugs, it is very rapid. But in reality, the major focus is on ‘Sajja’ – which is not simply a vow to stop using all intoxicating substances but it is a commitment and surrender to ‘truth’ and to healing our hearts and minds. The fact is that you cannot undertake the detox treatment until you have taken the ‘Sajja’. The herbal detox without the commitment to ‘Sajja’ would be a waste of time and just setting up the individual for relapse and failure; and possibly worse.

Whenever I’m at Wat Thamkrabok – that’s usually at least once every year – I take the opportunity to refresh my ‘Sajja’, take the detox medicine a few times, drink the herbal tea while enjoying the hot herbal steam baths and sit with the monks & nuns chanting every night. I like to think of Wat Thamkrabok as the most exclusive free health club in the world, perfect for mind, body and spirit.

You can listen to the BBC World Service radio programme by clicking here –

Heart & Soul – Buddhist Detox

If you would like more information about Wat Thamkrabok or the ‘Sajja’ approach to healing the heart-mind in recovery then please visit the Thamkrabok Assistance & Recovery Advice pages on this website.

If you would like to listen to some talks about ‘Sajja’ then feel free to browse some of the podcasts here – Hungry Ghost Podcasts