Thai Forest Tradition
Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo
Upāsikā Day, Jun. 14, 2014
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
3 sessions, 42 excerpts, 2:34:03 total duration

Stories and readings about the origins and characteristics of the Thai Forest tradion.

External website
Sessions:    1    2    3
Session 1 – Ajahn Pasanno – Jun. 14, 2014 Download audio (51:24)
[Thai Forest Tradition]

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1. [0:00] Devotional practice and the context and history of the Thai Forest Tradition. [Devotional practice] [Culture/Thailand] [Types of monks] // [Vinaya]


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2. [4:56] The current popularity of the Thai Forest Tradition can be attributed to Ajahn Mun. [Ajahn Mun] [Teaching Dhamma] // [Tudong] [Ajahn Chah] [Spiritual search] [Culture/Thailand]


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3. [8:04] Structure the June 2014 Upasika Day: The Thai Forest Tradition.

Reference: Winter Retreat 2014 DVD: Our Roots in the Thai Forest Tradition [Abhayagiri]


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4. [11:04] “What shaped the Thai Forest Tradition and gave it its flavor?” [Culture/Thailand] // [Simplicity] [Vinaya] [History/Early Buddhism] [Ajahn Mun] [Attachment to rites and rituals]


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5. [13:57] “Was there much contact between Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka at the time of Ajahn Mun?” [History/Thai Buddhism] [History/Sri Lankan Buddhism] [History/Other Theravāda traditions] [Ajahn Mun] // [Language] [Dhamma books]


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6. [16:15] “Could you review the transmission of the ordination between Sri Lanka and Thailand?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [History/Thai Buddhism] [History/Sri Lankan Buddhism] [Ordination] // [Leadership] [History/Other Theravāda traditions] [Commerce/economics] [History/Mahāyāna Buddhism]


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7. [20:53] “Could you say a few words about the structure of the Thai Saṅgha and where the Thai Forest Tradition fits in?” [History/Thai Buddhism] [Types of monks] // [Ajahn Mun] [Ajahn Kinaree] [Ajahn Tongrat] [Ajahn Chah]

Story: Ajahn Chah asks Ajahn Mun, "Shall I reordain in the Dhammayut Order to live with you?" He responds, "Mahānikāya needs good monks also." [Ordination] [Thai sects]


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8. [23:22] “So then technically Abhayagiri belongs to the Mahānikāya?” [Abhayagiri] [Thai sects] // [History/Western Buddhist monasticism]


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9. [24:03] Story: Ajahn Mun becomes enlightened and goes back to teach his teacher. [Ajahn Mun] [Ajahn Sao] [Liberation]

Story: Ajahn Mun's relics [Relics] [Ajahn Mahā Boowa] [Abhayagiri]


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10. [25:48] Reading: "The Ballad of Liberation from the Khandas," from A Heart Released by Ajahn Mun, p. 37 // [Ajahn Mun] [Culture/Thailand]

Quote: “The Dhamma stays as the Dhamma, the khandas stay as khandas. That's all.” [Dhamma] [Aggregates]


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11. [34:54] “What language was 'The Ballad of the Liberation from the Khandas' written in?” [Dhamma books] [Ajahn Mun] [Language] // [Thai]


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12. [36:05] “Was Ajahn Mun well respected by the Buddhist establishment or was he more of a renegade?” [Ajahn Mun] [History/Thai Buddhism] // [Thai sects] [Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo]

Story: Ajahn Mun leaves the day after he is appointed abbot. [Abbot] [Seclusion]


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13. [39:19] “Ajahn Mun spent a lot of time teaching the devas. Can you share any thoughts on this relevant to Western culture?” [Ajahn Mun] [Teaching Dhamma] [Deva] [Doubt] [Culture/West] // [Faith] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Nature of the cosmos]

Reference: Venerable Ācariya Mun Bhūridatta Thera: A Spiritual Biography by Ajahn Mahā Boowa


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14. [41:34] “I can't imagine not having meditation as part of this practice. How does Buddhism exist without it?” [Meditation] [History] // [Ceremony/ritual] [Generosity] [Faith] [Devotional practice]


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15. [43:18] “A list of ten misconceptions about Buddhim in Tricycle magazine included 'All Buddhists meditate.' It said that historically this wasn't true. Is this accurate?” [Meditation] [History] [Culture/West] // [Monastic life] [Lay life] [Devotional practice] [History/Thai Buddhism]


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16. [46:35] Comment about Asian and Western Buddhist perspectives regarding meditation and other aspects of practice encountered at Abhayagiri Monastery. [Cultural context] [Culture/West] [Meditation] [Devotional practice] [Ajahn Chah] [Abhayagiri]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Learning]


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17. [48:35] “One of the great gifts I've received over the last few years spending more time with the Bhikkhu Saṅgha is a sense of devotion, how it opens the heart. Is there a Pāli word or teaching around that principle?” [Devotional practice] [Saṅgha] [Gratitude] [Pāli] // [Faculties] [Faith] [Energy]


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18. [50:14] Story: Ajahn Mahā Boowa bows to a newly-discovered photograph of Ajahn Mun. [Ajahn Mun] [Ajahn Mahā Boowa] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Devotional practice] [Bowing]


Session 2 – Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo – Jun. 14, 2014 Download audio (51:22)
[Thai Forest Tradition]

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1. [0:00] Reading: "Visions of a Sāmaṇa" from Samaṇa by Ajahn Mahā Boowa, p. 11. Read by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Ajahn Mahā Boowa] // [Monastic life/Motivation] [Ajahn Mun]


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2. [13:34] “So both Ajahn Mahā Boowa and Ajahn Chah were students of Ajahn Mun? Did they have similar experiences?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Mun] [Ajahn Mahā Boowa] [Ajahn Chah] [Teaching Dhamma] // [Thai sects] [History/Thai Buddhism]


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3. [18:02] “Are there modern monasteries associated with Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Mun, and Ajahn Mahā Boowa?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Sao] [Ajahn Mun] [Ajahn Mahā Boowa] [Monasteries] // [History/Thai Buddhism] [Ajahn Chah]


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4. [20:16] “Does the current interest in meditation in Thailand extend to the villages around forest monasteries as well as urban areas?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Culture/Thailand] [Meditation] // [Ajahn Pasanno] [Wat Pah Pong] [Wat Pah Nanachat] [Lunar observance days] [Festival days]


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5. [23:29] “So the whole country [Thailand] meditates?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Culture/Thailand] [Meditation]


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6. [23:54] Ajahn Pasanno describes Upasika Kee Nanayon's life and teachings. [Upasikā Kee Nanayon] [Women in Buddhism] // [Ajahn Wanchai] [Ajahn Ñāṇiko] [Community] [Virtue] [Simplicity]

Quote: “An inward-staying unentangled knowing, all outward-going knowing cast aside.” — Upasikā Kee Nanayon [Knowing itself]


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7. [28:21] Reading: "Discernment versus self-deception" from An Unentangled Knowing by Upasikā Kee Nanayon, p. 102. Read by Ajahn Pasanno. [Discernment] [Delusion]


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8. [39:32] Quote: “There's only two things you have to do in practice: know and let go.” — Ajahn Chah. Quoted by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Chah] [Mindfulness] [Knowing itself] [Relinquishment]


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9. [40:21] “Regarding thought fabrications, in daily life we have to focus on our work. How can we intergrate the principles of anatta and dukkha into daily life?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Volitional formations] [Everyday life] [Work] [Not-self] [Suffering] // [Right Livelihood] [Restlessness and worry] [Energy] [Impermanence] [Self-identity view] [Relinquishment]


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10. [44:49] “In the reading, Upasikā Kee Nanayon says the mind takes the fabrications itself as the object. Is that similar to Ajahn Sumedho's 'It's like this?'” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Upasikā Kee Nanayon] [Volitional formations] [Ajahn Sumedho] [Knowing itself]


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11. [45:18] “As the mind takes fabrications as its object, does the mind expand?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Upasikā Kee Nanayon] [Volitional formations] [Heart/mind] [Mindfulness of mind] // [Relinquishment]


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12. [46:50] Comments by Ajahn Pasanno about being aware of awareness itself. [Upasikā Kee Nanayon] [Knowing itself] // [Tranquility] [Becoming] [Cessation] [Fear] [Relinquishment]


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13. [49:22] Comment: I'm reminded of the encouragement to come back to the body as a basis. [Mindfulness of body]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Mun] [Knowing itself]


Session 3 – Ajahn Pasanno – Jun. 14, 2014 Download audio (58:48)
[Thai Forest Tradition]

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1. [0:25] Biography and role of Ajahn Liem. [Ajahn Liem] // [Wat Pah Pong] [Ajahn Chah] [Abbot] [Ajahn Sumedho] [Leadership]

Quote: “He's in the middle of all of this duty and projection. Whatever comes his way, he doesn't pick up any of it. It's quite delightful to be around him.” [Proliferation]


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2. [8:05] Reading: Santi – Peace Beyond Delusion by Ajahn Liem, p. 17. Read by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Ajahn Liem]


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3. [22:02] Being able to recognize the difference between the mind itself and the moods or objects of the mind. [Knowing itself] [Mindfulness of dhammas] [Mindfulness of mind] // [Heart/mind]


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4. [23:25] “When Ajahn Liem says, 'Practice is just for practice,' what arises for me is that any time I put a meaning on practice, there has to be an ego state that arises around that meaning....It's like letting go even o fthe idea of practicing in order to become enlightened.” [Ajahn Liem] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Self-identity view] [Becoming] [Liberation] [Relinquishment]

Quote: “Practicing for Nibbāna is just another kind of desire.” — Ajahn Chah [Ajahn Chah] [Nibbāna] [Desire]


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5. [24:49] “In an earlier reading, Ajahn Mun mentioned the primal mind. Is that what you're discussing here?” [Ajahn Mun] [Nature of mind] // [Knowing itself] [Ajahn Chah]

Reading: Questions and answers regarding the primal mind from Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, p. 478.


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6. [28:09] Comment: I appreciate Ajahn Liem saying, 'I didn't make much of it.' It's a contradiction between being very active and not being active at the same time. [Ajahn Liem] [Middle Path]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Relinquishment] [Meditation] [Concentration] [Proliferation] [Nature of mind] [Faith]


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7. [30:30] “Was Ajahn Liem's focus mindfulness of breathing but he was also aware of the moods of the mind passing through and sometimes getting kicked around by the hindrances?” [Ajahn Liem] [Mindfulness of breathing] [Mindfulness of mind] [Hindrances] // [Teaching Dhamma] [Patience]


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8. [33:39] Story: Ajahn Toon tries to disrobe repeatedly, but Ajahn Chah won't let him. [Ajahn Chah] [Ajahn Toon] [Disrobing] // [Patience] [Three Refuges] [Ajahn Tongrat] [Posture/Walking] [Gratitude] [Respect]


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9. [39:55] Reading: Excerpt from "The Training the Heart," Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah, p. 509. // [Ajahn Sumedho] [Translation]


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10. [49:18] “You mentioned how Ajahn Chah cultivated the brahmavihara of metta and Ajahn Liem cultivated the brahmavihara of equilibrium. Could you talk about this?” [Ajahn Chah] [Goodwill] [Divine Abidings] [Ajahn Liem] // [Personality] [Judaism]

Quote: “Lots of lovingkindness is really tiring. I'm putting more attention on equanimity.” — Ajahn Liem [Equanimity]


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11. [54:36] “How is there clinging to personality?” [Clinging] [Personality] [Self-identity view] // [Suffering] [Great disciples]

Sutta: The Buddha to Ānanda: "When did Anuruddha ever take an interest in Saṅgha issues?" – AN 4.243: Schism [Saṅgha decision making]