Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

Forest Buddhism, Ajahn Thate, A Formula for Sleeping or not Sleeping

I met a few western monks who were students of Ajahn Thate while in England in the 80s and read a bit that was available in English. When I got to Thailand in 1995 I visited Wat Hin Mak Paeng, where he lay in state before his funeral. Thousands of folks were there, maqny to pay their respects and many who stayed on day to day feeding and looking after the visitors. This was a time before cell phones and digital cameras, a time much different to the period of morning and Luang Ta Maha Boowa’s funeral. He wrote his autobiography “The Autobiography of a Forest Monk” which is easy to find as a PDF. It is much more accurate and to the point than many of th Biographies of monks that are written by their followers who tend to embellish and leave out the warts and low points. Ajahn Thate was one of the earliest and most senior of those who joined Ajahn Mun as a Dhammayut monk in the Forest Tradition….

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Buddhadasa, Krishnamurti, No Buddhism, No Religion

If you set out to meditate, it will not be meditation. If you set out to be good, goodness will never flower. If you cultivate humility, it ceases to be. Meditation is the breeze that comes in when you leave the window open; but if you deliberately keep it open, deliberately invite it to come, it will never appear.
— The Only Revolution, p. 37
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Forest Buddhism,Wat Tham Champa Kantasilawat, Mukdahan, Thailand

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….

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Ajahn Mun Phuridatta Thera, มั่น ภูริทตฺโต, January 20, 1870 to November 11, 1949

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.”

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Buddhism, Uncommon Wisdom, life and teachings of Ajaan Pannavaddho, Preface

imageIt 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.”…..

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Buddhists recognize four different kinds of clinging or attachment

king, 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

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The Vinaya, The 227 Rules for a Bhikkhu and Buddhism in Thailand

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….
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Buddhism, A Buddhist Monk is Allowed 4 Requisites

luangtaFood, 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.

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Buddhism, Bhikkhus, and Wealth

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.[102] (It is also the tenth of the Ten Precepts for a novice (saama.nera) or dasasiila matanun [see End Note 4].) These came to be set down because donations coming from a lay devotee’s faith in Dhamma might, on mis-occasion, lead to the corrupting of the bhikkhu-life. Although these rules might seem relatively straightforward, there are various interpretations and ways of actual practice. And the practice often does not coincide with the theory. Yet it certainly remains a very important aspect of Vinaya, guarding against forgetfulness of the real way to happiness:

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Toilets on the Path, Ajahn Chah, Buddhism

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……

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