Chiang Mai City
Meditation retreats and fasting are labor-intensive routes to spiritual enlightenment. For those who can't imagine devoting an entire vacation to the quest for inner wisdom, a short and halcyon experience awaits at Thailand's Dhamma Park Gallery and Heritage Gardens. Set in a peaceful orchard some 40 km south of Chiang Mai near the agricultural hamlet of Pasang, this little cultural oasis was created by English sculptor Venetia Walkey and husband Inson Wongsam, an acclaimed Thai sculptor who works in metal and wood.
The 1.5-hectare former banana plantatiosn is divided into two distinct sections. The Gallery, a stark white building encircled by a frangipani-fringed canal, houses Walkey's main work The Twelve Links and some of her signature small bronzes of monks. A devout Buddhist, Walkey has molded the concept of the 12 dependent origins of suffering into innovative, artistic forms. The exhibition's highlight is an enormous floor-to-ceiling corkscrew structure called The Fountain of Ignorance (with a working waterspout). Cross the arched Bridge to the Noble Eightfold Path for Right Living and you enter Inson's more verdant domain: trees, orchids, rustic wooden Thai-style cottages and a gallery filled with his distinctive, fluid pieces. He carves enormous decorative wall panels, doors and banisters, along with smaller items.
Available for workshops, retreats, social events or any function that meets the owners' criteria of "nourishing body, mind and speech," Dhamma Park is an inspiring venue, if only for a picnic. Call the owners at (66-53) 521-609 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org".
Copyright © 2002 Jennifer Gampell