Wat Tham Champa Kantasilawat, Mukdahan, Thailand is one of those places rarely encountered in following the history of Forest Buddhism in Northeast Thailand. Here is a cave complex where Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Mun, Luangta maha boowa, who at the time was just plain old maha boowa bhikku meditated. There might be conflicting stories as far as the history of the place, but there is no doubt that this was and still is a place, like so many here in the mountains to meditate. The remains of the sala under the overhang are still elegant in their simplicity….
Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category
First posted thisd a few years ago. I’m reposting as the anniversary of Ajahn Mun’s death is coming up on 11 November. There is no way I could attempt to explain the impact of Ajahn Mun and the Bhikkhus of his lineage have had on me over the past, more than 30 years. From Ajahn Sumadho and the Bhikkhu Sangha in England, Bhante Gunaratana and Rahula in West Virginia and for nearly 20 years in Thailand.
You can download to read his few writing HERE His Biography HERE as well as “Patipada Venerable Ācariya Mun’s Path of Practice” “In this book, Ajaan Mahā Boowa describes in detail the lifestyle and training practices of Ajaan Mun and his disciples. It is a way of life rooted in the Buddhist ideal of the wandering monk who, having renounced the world and gone forth from the household, dresses in robes made from discarded cloth, depends on alms for a living and takes the forest as his dwelling place. The emphasis is on an austere meditative lifestyle that is directed toward uprooting every aspect of greed, hatred, and delusion from the heart.”
It is important that Venerable Paññāvaḍḍho’s biography is being
written and published due to the efforts of Tan Ajaan Dick who
has been close to this most venerable and reclusive monk. Ajaan
Paññāvaḍḍho spent most of his monastic life at Wat Pa Baan Taad,
a remote forest monastery in Udon Thani, North-East Thailand.
He trained and practiced under the guidance and support of one of
Thailand’s most respected bhikkhus, Tan Ajaan Mahā Boowa—now
generally best known in Thailand as “Luang Dtaa Mahā Boowa.”…..
, and this is a Buddhist teaching not being offered as a reflection in Thailand today. The great majority of Thai people identify themselves as “Buddhist” and as such one might think they study and try to practice the teaching of the Buddha. Sadly that seems not to be the case. The King of Thailand, Rama IX died recently after 70 years on the throne, the only King most Thais have ever known. In my opinion the teachings of the King such as moderation and self sufficiency and others are wise and useful lessons and practices for people. These teachings of the king will be alive as long as people choose to keep them alive, but an attachment to anything or anybody impermanent is sure to lead to suffering.
Before I share some of the teaching on attachment that I have found useful here are a couple things I have learned in my attempts to practice Buddhism.
The three characteristics of existence; Anicca,Dukkha, Anatta. Now,for me impermanence and suffering are easy peasy. I see it every moment of every day. But, not self there’s the bugger a lot of work to do here. And the Brahma Vihara; Love or Loving-kindness (metta) Compassion (karuna)Sympathetic Joy (mudita)Equanimity (upekkha). The first 3 over time I have managed to incorporate into my practice in some ways at some levels, but the last is the toughy. And for me the lack of equanimity is tied to attachments…
Enough from me, and there are many more examples from the Buddha’s teaching but I leave those reflections for the Buddhist leaders of Thailand to offer the people
People ask why I use a picture of a monk at an ATM machine in some of my posts about Buddhism in Thailand. Some people tell me that it is alright for monks to have money in Thailand. And many have told me it is not polite to post it.
It seems that there is a lot of confusion about Buddhism, superstition and the monastic code in Thailand. I have always found a number of references useful “The Buddhist Monk’s Discipline Some Points Explained for Laypeople by Bhikkhu Khantipalo” and in particular the discussion about money.”For Laypeople: A lay-person should never offer money directly to a bhikkhu… even if it is placed inside an envelope or together with other requisites. They should either deposit the money with the monastery steward, put it in a donation-box….
Food, Clothing, Shelter, Mdicine are the 4, only 4 requisites that Buddhist Monks are allowed. As stated in Buddhanet, “Sundries; As circumstances changed, the Buddha allowed monks to make use of other small requisites, such as needles, a razor, etc. In modern times, such things might include a pen, a watch, a torch, etc. All of these were to be plain and simple, costly or luxurious items being expressly forbidden.”
There is only 1 Vinaya and that has not changed, and Buddhist Monks are allowed the 4 requisites. Not money. Not cars. Not Airplanes. Not Amulets.
Over the years I have heard many excuses and reasons about wealthy monks and monks having money, both in Thailand and America. Luckily Bhikkhu Ariyesako explains things clearly in “The Bhikkhus’ Rules,A Guide for Laypeople
There are many other important rules covering how bhikkhus deal with wealth and money. (It is also the tenth of the Ten Precepts for a novice (saama.nera) or dasasii
Toilets on the path” by Ajahn Chah, Introduction by Ajahn Jayasaro
Ajahn Jayasaro has devoted many years to documenting the life of Luang Por Chah. The YouTube biography gives people a real view of a human being, who experienced life in rural Northeast Thailand, and gave his teaching in a down to earth, easy to understand way… Are you too bust seeking Nirvana to clean your toilet?
The following talk was originally given in the Lao language and translated into Central Thai for Luang Por Chah’s biography ‘Upalamani’. It’s a very powerful talk and why I was particularly keen to include this in the Thai biography and a certain amount of it in the new English version is that nothing quite like it exists in English translation……
It Is believed that the Khmer worshiped here when their dynasty ruled here and it was left until 1958 when Luang Poo Khao Analayo (1888-1983), a student of Ajaan Mun, came to meditate and live here until his death in 1983 .This a large Wat with many areas to wander through. It is certainly worth a couple hours to view the grounds, chedi and museum. It is easily accessible from either Udon or Nong Bua Lam Phu just off Road 210. There is a large statue and sign that marks the side road to gain access to the Wat and it’s location marked in this post and the Nong Bua Lam Phu map.
I found these words some years ago and thought it a good time to put into Isaan Live. It’s about a year since I first posted this Ajahn Chah story and being back in the States see this reflection on “Progress” pertinent.
“So much in life is called progress, but in the end seems only to be movement. “I (Ajahn Chah left Khon Kaen Friday Morning and it is now Sunday afternoon. I have seen flooding and drought in the same day, I have seen suffering and joy. The loss of crop and the harvesting of crop. I have seen disco and morning Puja. I have seen people caught up in face and people who know the reality and samsara of face.
Modern times rammed itself down the throats of many in Isaan. Every river that feeds the Mekong River dammed save one.