Exploring Spirituality and Koh Phangan Life with Phra Olarn

12 Feb 2021

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Phra Olarn Thanawutto’s 13 years of struggling and uncomfortable life as a business owner in Switzerland had himself suffered from the disordered and hectic world. Thus, moving back to live on Koh Phangan and spending his time on learning and practicing

Buddhism had matured his thinking towards the ways of living pertaining to Buddhism.

With his strong intention to help people who are struggling with their own minds; he became a monk and accomplished his wish.

Nowadays, Phra Olarn, who was born in the year 1971 on Koh Phangan, resides at Wat Samai Kongkha. Phra Olarn, who is fluent in German, English and Thai; welcomes everyone and every religion to experience the most effective practice of coming back to yourself.

Phra Olarn spreads and shares his knowledge with those who wish to learn, understand more about life and to grow.

He teaches people how to think and to live a not-too-complicated life with more happiness and quality. His easy-to-understand conversation relates to life management and how to develop one's mind to mindfulness practice. He also helps show an environment of a slow peaceful life, a simple slow life.

In these times many people carry their life on their shoulders and most of us will have experienced this at some point, here you will learn how to recharge your energy.

Phra Olarn says; ‘People confuse the future and the past but when you live a slow life it is the here and now. It’s crazy how people can go ten years back and twenty years in front.

You need time and need to be shown the way, someone to open the gate for you, to give you a map’.

Years ago people would be one to one with each other but now it is more like one to five, there is lots of stress on the mind. There is too much noise, we are too busy thinking.

“Before, the farmer was happy, they would work in the field but now there is too much information which is dirt for the mind so this is why it is important to clean the mind”.

Phra Olarn speaks of our bodies consuming high, consuming a lot, but the mind consumes low, we need good food for the mind.

‘Today people have many expectations, they have an iphone 7 but they want an iphone 10! But why?! We make more worries for ourselves when we do not understand, I like to wake up a few little people and then they can take this peace to others, I just want to change one person’.

Phra Olarn teaches about the way of life, about Buddhism, wisdom and mindfulness. Meditation keeps a clear and peaceful mind, mindfulness, awareness and wisdom. Wisdom is understanding permanence and suffering, that everything comes and goes.

‘The things we cannot control, we try to control and then after this comes depression as we try to do the things we don’t understand’.

Phra Olarn believes we have to clean our minds, we get so much information from outside that we need to go inside, to come back to ourselves and clean. If we keep hold of one worry this can grow to ten worries just like spreading fire, we give air to the fire.

‘People get headaches as they hold too much energy, we are like a factory but we need to know how to operate this factory. It’s the same like if you don't clean the house, when you understand the system then you can make balance’.

What is the nature of the meditation you teach here?

It is Walking Meditation so as you cannot forget the body. We are controlled too much and I want people to enjoy this, not to think of it as meditation but to just do.

The peacefulness will come automatically, we transgress away and it comes. This is suitable for everybody, everywhere, you can walk on the street and do it. This is more for real life, you can do meditation during the day or night and not run away from reality and it can be powerful when we understand it.

Suffering comes from the body and mind so we can see what happens when we get wisdom and become more free.

Sickness comes when we forget about the soul, people these days have no education of a better life. When everybody is aware then the world will get peace.

Where are the smiles and harmony life? We forget and are like robots, people try to be big with big egos.

How do we do walking meditation?
It is simple, normal walking, to come back to be with your body. You use special breathing to become relaxed and come back, it is for everybody and is very easy.

Part of learning is to get the experience, everybody has to live and experience, I say to my children that they are allowed to make mistakes. Life is not easy when you don’t learn.

Just enjoy, just to be here, we worry for so long about dying but then we die very quick.

In the eyes of Phra Olarn everyone is a beginner and advanced, the course can be for anyone no matter which religion they are. Everyone is welcome.

‘When a master thinks they are a master, he is not a master’.

Loyfa Natural Resort, a natural ‘retreat’ resort located on the west of Koh Phangan in the Sri Thanu area, believes that the perfect harmony of body and mind is the key to personal balance and happiness. Fortunately, over the past many years, Loyfa continues to be granted opportunities to collaborate with Phra Olarn.

Loyfa Natural Resort, corresponding with Phra Olarn, also trusts in good energy and follows Buddha’s footsteps by giving simple teachings on the ‘philosophy of life’ while focusing on personal health and healthy eating.

‘Loyfa’, meaning floating up to the sky, with the name linked to spirituality, has been, through generations, operating for almost 30 years. Loyfa Natural Resort is a place to stay like home. It is a truly simple and peaceful beach resort with many touches of traditional Thai and local spirit to give their guests island energy, enjoyment and relaxation.

Moreover, Loyfa Natural Resort offers you the opportunity to incorporate meditation and yoga;

Yoga at Jaran's
Jaran's yoga-wellness-eatery is a yoga center in the heart of Koh Phangan 7 minutes away from the resort. Jaran's believes the good life begins with a balance of the mind, body and spirit. ‘Jaran’ is a traditional Thai word meaning to travel or to wander, or the in-depth meaning is ‘path’. Jaran's can be your path in a balanced nourished life.

Loyfa Natural Resort in collaboration with Jaran's exceptionally weaves together Phra Olarn's walking meditation and 'pranayama' or breath of life yoga.  

What is the advantage of having yoga and meditation together?

The body and spirit are the main things, when you develop you develop three things; to think, talk and do and the mind gives function to all of these.

You have to go deeper to develop, to have interests above business, it gives the quality of life and this will support you.

The roots of yoga include meditation, traditional yoga teaches you how to breathe, be peaceful and have mindful actions.

As part of the retreat program they will take you around the island but go deeper than the ‘usual’ trails. People can experience what happens on a traditional farm, plant banana trees, see the process of coconuts used for cooking. In certain seasons of fruit you can go and pick the fruit and cook with it.

When visiting Koh Phangan it is important to make a connection with the culture, to be introduced to things that the community do, it is not just about the parties here. You can connect with the simplicity of life here in what Phra Olarn calls ‘the island of the spirit’.

Why is it important for people to see ‘island life’?
This is a spiritual island, the people here lead a different way of life, it is a simple life which creates good energy here.

Koh Phangan is an island of tourism yet many people come and don’t see the ‘real’ Koh Phangan, they just see the tourist places which can be very busy.

It is necessary for people to see and experience the truth of the island. To see real island life that they have never seen before.


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