Trends Ep 9 Mark Van Ogtrop Beacon Sky Hospitality – Ordained as a Buddhist monk in North Thailand

Trends Ep 9 Mark Van Ogtrop Beacon Sky Hospitality – Ordained as a Buddhist monk in North Thailand

In the world of high-end hospitality and corporate success, where the relentless pursuit of profits often takes centre stage, there are few narratives as captivating as that of Mark van Ogtrop. Mark, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beacon Sky Hospitality, and a seasoned General Manager of opulent hotels, has a tale of personal transformation that transcends the glitz and glamour of the luxury hotel industry.

In this special episode of Trends our host David Barrett had the privilege of delving into Mark’s extraordinary journey, one that led him from the fast-paced world of hotels to the serene sanctum of Thai Buddhist monastic life.

Amidst the tumultuous challenges posed by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, Mark saw an opportunity amidst the chaos. With the hospitality industry temporarily stilled, he embarked on a spiritual odyssey that would profoundly reshape his outlook on life. Mark made the audacious decision to enter a Thai temple, immersing himself in a unique English-language program tailored for expats and global wanderers eager to explore Buddhism and pursue ordination as a monk.

Mark shared with us the foundational tenets of this monastic existence, principles that have left an indelible mark on his worldview. “It’s about shedding the need for desires,” he articulated, his voice resonating with a profound sense of wisdom. “A life devoid of greed or attachment to material possessions.” It was evident that Mark had wholeheartedly embraced this principle, his own life being a testament to the transformation it brought about.

The teachings he described are firmly rooted in the threefold training of Buddhism: virtue, mind, and wisdom. Following this training, he explained, leads to the abandonment of lust, hatred, and delusion.

Mark went on to elucidate the 227 Monastic Precepts, governing the daily existence of fully ordained monks. These precepts span a wide spectrum, encompassing right speech and right action, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The Patimokkha, as it’s known, stands as the fundamental code of monastic discipline, serving as a guiding light for Mark and his fellow monks on their journey towards spiritual enlightenment.

The journey of becoming a monk unfolds in two distinct phases. In the initial phase, Mark detailed, participants undergo a rigorous period of observing the precepts within the monastery, cultivating mindfulness, and nurturing virtuous behaviour. This stage requires not only external preparations, such as strict adherence to the precepts and mastering monastic decorum but also internal preparation, with mindfulness being at its core.

The second phase, post-ordination, demands that new monks scrupulously uphold the monastic precepts and integrate them into their daily lives. Mark underscored that this dedication bestows immense merit upon one’s family and friends, a testament to the profound values of gratitude and interconnectedness deeply ingrained within Thai Buddhism.

Perhaps the most captivating facet of Mark’s transformation was his newfound serenity and tranquility. He revealed how the practice had made him a non-confrontational individual, skilled at diffusing anger by merely counting to three and avoiding the pitfalls of negative emotions. His ability to radiate positivity and embrace emotions, he believed, had not only transformed his personal life but also magnetized new business opportunities.

Mark’s unwavering commitment to this spiritual journey was palpable in his words. His odyssey had not only moulded him into a more peaceful and mindful individual but had also left an indelible mark on his approach to business and life.

As our conversation drew to a close, Mark bestowed upon us a final thought: “The positive mindset of Thai Buddhism has had an immeasurable impact on my business endeavours, and I genuinely believe that opportunities are drawn to the radiant energy of positivity.”

In a world marked by ceaseless motion and boundless ambition, Mark van Ogtrop’s remarkable story serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative potency of inner peace and the extraordinary places that the quest for wisdom can lead us. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Mark for sharing his deeply personal odyssey, a narrative we hope will inspire us all.

We wish to thank The Montien Hotel Surawong Bangkok for hosting the majestic Montienthip room for filming this episode.