Death Awareness Cafe – around the corner from The Yard

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Unless you pay really close attention, it is easy to walk along the street without noticing the entrance or any of the signs. However, once you realise this unique Death Awareness Cafe, which is featured in CNN and Lonely Planet, is “hidden” between the Ari station and The Yard, you might be interested in stepping in and having a look.  

“I´ve heard about this death cafe already back in US but I had no idea, it is right here!” said my Yard´s hostel roommate Vitorka Židkova, after she had discovered the place.

“Such a great idea, so different …and you know, the guy who works there is super helpful, speaks really good English and all of it is free of charge.”

So, yes, she was very excited and her excitement made me to want to see this place as well. And so I did.

It is literally around the corner and only 450 meters from The Yard – so, a few minutes later I was already at the dark entrance. I had walked past the entrance several times but never noticed it.

Die before you die

What´s the purpose of your life?
Are you happy with what you are doing?
What do you want to do but still have not done?
These are only few of many questions this place throws into the air.

Bangkok’s Kid Mai (“Think New”) Death Cafe is a Buddhist exhibition which makes people think about their mortality: birth, ageing, suffering and death.  And not only does it make them think but invites guests to experience bits and pieces of this life-cycle.

How does it feel to be an unborn baby or to get older and losing sight? How it feels to be  imprisoned in your life and thoughts? And last, how does it feel to imagine you are dead and to lay in the closed coffin?

The entrance and exit of the Death Awareness Cafe

Can´t take nothing with you

“Should I leave my purse here or take with me?” was my question before stepping into the coffin.
“You can´t take anything with you when you die,” smiled Beer Thanakorn who is working in a Death Awareness Cafe on the weekends.
“Yes, sure, makes sense!” I muttered quietly and smiled back to him, being bit embarrassed by my question. Why? Well, because even next to the coffin there is a big sign: “Eventually, You can´t take Nothing”.

 

Yard´s hostel guests who all enjoyed the experience and recommend to use an opportunity to come here to have a look

Cafe with a Nirvana in it

When asking Beer, who was explaining everything and assisting me with every step, what he likes best about this job, his reply is instant:

“One of my main motivation is the hope that after this experience many people go back home, living more fully, taking a better care of themselves and their families.”

“One of my main motivation is the hope that after this experience many people go back home, living more fully, taking a better care of themselves and their families.” 

He assures that for him it is not only a job for extra income but he does it because in this way he can help people to be more aware about death.

But what about the cafe?
Yes, all is there: black chairs, black tables, candles, thematic menu. What I mean by thematic menu is “Lastday espresso”, “Awaking soda” and many other warm or icy refreshments.
Also, a Nirvana with a small paradise-like-garden corner from where you can find some really nice places to sit and enjoy this world inside of a world.

Beer Thanakorn works in this cafe on the weekends and is good in explaining and assisting with all the details about this exhibition

Why?

This cafe with such a unique “exhibition” is created by Veeranut Rojanaprapa as his PhD thesis in philosophy and religion at Saint John’s University in Bangkok where he is an assistant professor.

The topic of his thesis is “how to decrease greed, how to decrease the corruption index, and how to increase the transparency index in Thailand” by utilizing Buddhism in a country with a 90% Buddhist population.

No matter your personal belief, when being in Thailand and in The Yard, it sure is worth having this few minute walk. The least you´ll get is an artistic exhibition experience.  However, the potential of momentary enlightenment after understanding your mortality can help you live your current life being so much more alive.

Death Awareness Cafe

Text and photos:
Kristi Märk
The Yard´s Worldpacker volunteer

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