Som Amnakawarak: Five things you should know about TM

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

For Buddhists, a life of meditation is an art form. But what does it take to be an adept at meditation?

While meditation itself is simple and ancient, meditation students need more than just an ear to the ground — there are many people out there who have dedicated years of their lives to perfecting their meditation and can offer guidance on what techniques work best in the modern world.

Som Amnakawattanawarak

During a live broadcast in Bangkok, CNN spoke to Som Amnakawattanawarak, an artist known for developing a range of meditation techniques during a 35-year-long career as a Buddhist monk.

I’ve got 30 years of experience. During those 30 years, I’ve been able to experience more meditation, to be more precise, than the master, at least since I did my 60-day retreat … my intention is to go to a further retreat. – Som Amnakawarak

Som Amnakawarak

A screen shot from the live broadcast. Credit: Sommakaut Sirichamit /

Her inspirational eyes: If you want a powerful smile, Som Amnakawarak has them. Credit: Sommakaut Sirichamit /

This “multi-level approach” is the essence of Yogi Ayachayapiwattanap, or Shengrookmon, as Som Amnakawarak prefers to be called. The founder of the Thailand Yoga and Meditation Center was able to speak about her experience in meditation from a veteran perspective — something those hoping to follow her lead will surely find valuable.

A screen shot from the live broadcast. Credit: Sommakaut Sirichamit /

Som Amnakawarak’s practice is centered on a type of mediation called Transcendental Meditation (TM). However, Shengrookmon offers an even deeper mediation: Takastha, a more traditional form of Zen meditation. In typical Takastha, each of the eight parts of the practice is created by a unique “personal Buddha.” You can access this practice on her website.

Her ability to meditate can also be attributed to her diverse experience. She speaks of growing up in Singapore, where she says there is a shortage of Buddhist communities, and enjoying her time playing drums in a rock band before embarking on her religious studies. As a student, Som Amnakawarak did a 60-day retreat as a Buddhist monk.

I once had the privilege of accompanying Som Amnakawarak to attend an evening meditation class. Although the room was originally designated for Buddhist monks, Shengrookmon’s style was very inclusive — well-meaning and casual. The mindfulness classes we took were inspirational and attentive to the surrounding environment. I truly enjoyed myself. – Shengrookmon

To learn more about Takstha meditation, check out our special section on Shengrookmon’s Takastha meditation, below.

Leave a Comment