A strange cure applied for drugs addicts at a Buddhist temple north of Bangkok

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A patient described his cure: “As soon as you arrive you must take a vow, called the ‘Sajja’. Sajja in Thai means making a commitment to yourself. You recite vows told to you by the Sajja monk. You say them out loud in front of the founders, the monk and the temple – committing to get clean.(…) After you’ve taken the Sajja, you are then taken to the detox yard where the living quarters are. The minimum stay for people who have come abroad is seven days. You are completely cut off from contact with the outside world until the week has passed.(…) The vomiting is intense. The mixture the monk gives you tastes horrible — it’s pretty rank. It looks shocking and its very sort of pepper hot. I wouldn’t have clue what’s in it but you just knock it back and then start drinking as much water as you can, more is better. It just upsets your stomach and you’ll vomit — a lot.” The strange technique has good results. “The drug treatment here is a physical detoxification,” a monk explained. “(But) the physical detoxification is five per cent — 95 per cent is the mental withdrawal from the dark prison, the dark ghetto of drug consuming.” As many as 100,000 addicts have been treated at Thamkrabok temple since it opened its doors to those in need more than 50 years ago. And, once again, it’s free. Rehabilitation in the US can cost as much as $30,000.

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