The way of the vow: Sajja
The way of the vow: Sajja
© Phra Hans Piyathammo Ulrich Kämpfer
The Pali word “sacca” [usually spelt sajja and pronounced sat-cha] means a solemn declaration about the active fulfilment of a truth.
According to Luangpor Charoen, (Abbot of Thamkrabok Monastery), the physical detox is only 5% of the Thamkrabok treatment. You must do the remaining 95% of the work in your mind and through your action.
If you want to enter the drug-detox area and start with the purification of your body, you will have to go through the ceremony of SAJJA. The Sajja is a very essential element here in Thamkrabok. It might be the most serious and the most important thing you have done so far in your life.
The Sajja looks like a vow. But it is far more that just a promise “to be a good guy” or “a good girl” from now on, having nothing to do any more with consuming or promoting alcohol or other drugs.
Sajja is a sacred act that, if you believe in it, will connect you with your will power and with something “beyond”. Something that is far more existential than the fight against the drugs! It connects you with a teaching. This teaching is not given in the form of intellectual lectures. But it will be there for you in any moment you really want it strongly enough and when you are ready for it.
So, what you will get here depends entirely on yourself. Nobody says that it will be easy. You will get tested!
But by trying to keep the Sajja, your will power and endurance will be challenged and will gradually build up. And during the process of working on your will, Sajja can become in a mysterious way your ‘leader’, possibly leading you to yet unknown aims of innermost longings.
The Sajja is a very powerful tool if you decide to use it. It is like a car that will lead you to your ultimate goal. And that is all you need. The rest, once you are on your way, will be a combination of belief, trust, will power, endurance, patience and initiative.
If you don’t use Sajja, it will be like a car in your garage, leading you nowhere. If you break your Sajja, you might have to bare quite unpleasant consequences in your life. It is not harmless to live with a broken Sajja.
So think well, before you decide to take Sajja!
The ceremony is simple: You light 3 incense sticks, put them into the bowl, then you fold your hands and repeat the formula the high monk speaks. If you can’t repeat it perfectly, it doesn’t matter. After this you bow 3 times, and that’s it. The rest is up to you.
If you want, you can get a little paper with a ‘sacred word’ after the first phase of your treatment. It is called ‘Gathaa’ (or ‘Kahtah’). Its syllables have no intellectual meaning, their function is purely energetic. You may learn them by heart, then eat the paper after 7 days. You can use it as a ‘snow-plough’ to keep your ‘road’ clean. Repeat it constantly when you meditate or when you need endurance or strength in moments of craving and temptation. Repeat it in moments of danger. You can also bless your food saying it silently. If you use this very powerful tool well, it will grow and become an invaluably effective help in your life.
The Sajja is there for everybody. It is not limited to any specific religion. You may give the vow to anything that is sacred and holy for you. Luangpor Charoen has called Sajja “the whisper of God”. Seriously developing your will power through the Sajja and the Gathaa can, after some time of hard practice, lead you to the insight of what you really have to do in life.
Presentation of the Wat Thamkrabok Sajja
This vow is recited in Thai and is a condition of acceptance for treatment at Wat Thamkrabok.
“I cordially render my worship – physically, verbally and spiritually – towards Our Lord Buddha,
His Teachings and towards all His Disciples.
May the Teachings of Our Lord Buddha bring these sacred vows towards the true Nirvana.
I hereby solemnly promise to commit my vows to Our Lord Buddha and pledge, for the rest of my life, commencing from today, that;
I will never again allow myself to become addicted,
I will not enter the trade or be in the possession of dangerous drugs,
I will never again use or add any addictive substance or solvents – namely;
Opium, heroin, morphine, cocaine, crack-cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogenic drugs (such as LSD – lysergernic acid), amphetamines (such as “Speed” or “Ecstasy”)
– to any non-toxic substances, solvents, food or drinks.
I will not urge other people to use addictive drugs.
I call upon the earth, the sky, and the air to be my witnesses.
May Our Lord Buddha, all of those present and all those who can hear our vows be my witness.
May the Teachings of Our Lord Buddha grant the merits gained to the Beings in the universe, living or dead, and to the father, the mother, the benefactors, the patrons and “Chao kam nai wane”.
Please help me to acquire the four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the four Perceptions of Buddhism, the four Orders of Merit of Buddhism, and to attempt the demanding route towards Nirvana”
Note: This translation is different from the Sajja offered at Hungry Ghost Retreats which can be read here : www.5th-precept.org/html/sajja_vow.html
Related Page: Reasons NOT to go to Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: Reasons to go to Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: Detoxification at Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: General Information about Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: Sajja: A Practice for Transformation (Online talk and meditation with Q&A)
>>> Alternative view of Sajja – Truth of Addiction & Commitment to Recovery
Related Page: Directions to Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: Suggested Packing List for Wat Thamkrabok
Related Page: Thamkrabok in Videos
Related Page: After Detox – New Life Foundation
Related Page: Wat Thamkrabok Tudong
The official Monastery website is at: Wat-Thamkrabok.org