Dhamma Kancana is one of several vipassana meditation centers in Thailand. Located in the province of Kanchanaburi at a distance of 3 hrs drive from Kanchanaburi town and about 5 hrs from departure point in Bangkok. The Center is located near the place of Sangklaburi in a sort of jungle area. That means trees, nature and hills which makes it a bit colder place than many other parts of Thailand. Especially during winter periods and possibly too during monsoon. For meditation this is way better than a hot meditation hall that quickly becomes a transpiration hall as in other centers around the world.
Dhamma Kancana has space for around 30 male students and over 65 female students. The rooms are overall good. Spacious with bathroom, a bed, fan, table, most rooms hot water and a metal frame with cushions on which to meditate. Going to do Vipassana isn’t booking on Agoda. You don’t come for luxury or adventure. Neither for any other purpose than learning the technique for self therapy through mind and matter.
The compound exists of a male and female section. Both have rooms for the students, a walking area and a dining hall with dish washing sinks attached to it. The meditation hall on which the teachers residence is connected. Below the teachers residence is a mini hall where students get an info video to see before the start and at the end of a course.
Water purifying machines give the possibility to refill your water bottles with both hot or cold water. Bottles are provided for those who didn’t bring one. In case of cold weather they provide blankets to wrap yourself during meditation so that you won’t feel cold and hats are provided too. They even have laundry service for a very reasonable price and you can request for necessities to buy outside. What exactly falls under necessities isn’t totally clear but probably things like shampoo, toothpaste etc. that can be ordered and bought for you. Students who have physical difficulties with sitting on a floor can request a chair to sit on during meditation. There isn’t anything to complain at Dhamma Kancana.
Teachers and Servers
We don’t know about the rules or strategy regarding teachers and servers at any vipassana center in the world. When the rules are strict separation of females and males during courses. Where you stay at different sections of the compound and of the meditation hall. And when you aren’t even supposed to look at the other sex direction.
It is somewhat strange or unclear that there can be just one male teacher for both the student groups or two female teachers for both student groups. Of which some can be really pretty and relatively young. It might be distracting to some students. It would be advicable to always have a male and a female teacher at any course around the world. As you get twice called to the teacher in 10 days for a question/answer round. This besides the personal questions that students may have at fixed times.
We don’t like to compare apples with oranges but should mention some differences under the many centers around the world. Although the technique of vipassana is tought the same everywhere. There are differences in facilities and managers/servers. Regarding facilities it is more clean and developed at Dhamma Kancana than at Dhamma Khamboja for example. In Khamboja you sleep in what looks like a huge cow shed with 3 mtr high walls without ceilings to separate the rooms, with cold showers, while in Kancana you have hot showers and nice rooms. In Khamboja there are 36 fans (if the big ego manager turns them on) blowing hot air like hair dryers while Kancana has a sprinkler like system to cool the air. With way less fans needed for that.
In some centers is a wooden floor that makes some noise when walking and therefore distracting for meditators while other centers have a tile floor. Servers/managers are in some centers fixed persons for most courses and walk around with big ego’s acting like being the boss and look for individuals to pick out instead of being a good server/help to all of the students.
Another example regarding that is that a manager at Khamboja orders you what you should or can’t do in your free time after the course. Strange that he tells you not to write about vipassana while a manager at another center encourages you to write about vipassana. Some centers show the video ‘doing time, doing vipassana’, at other centers not. Cushions to sit on are not in all centers of equal square size. Those big or small differences are not to be found on the Dhamma app or websites. As mentioned, you’re there for other purposes but it still can be helpful for students when the condions are as good as could be, which isn’t the case everywhere.
The food is vegetarian and differs per country, depending on the availability and taste of that particular country. Anyhow, the food is always good and has enough variety. Even people with diabetes can attend a course and will be taken care of regarding the food.
Dhamma Kancana is absolutely reccommendable as a vipassana center when you look at the organization, transportation, facility and management/servers.