Thai Forest Tradition

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    • #14730

      I have a question for you which I expect an honest answer.

      I’ve been following the Thai Forest tradition for a long time. I believed the famous monks like Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Maha Boowa are all fully enlightened monks.

      But now when I listen to Ven Waharaka Thero, I began to realize something different. The Thai forest tradition is like this. They heavily emphasize body contemplation. Like 32 parts. One of the famous currently living Ajahn, Ajahn Dtun, he said we need to contemplate the body to understand the body in order to realize there is nothing in this body to get attached to. So once starting contemplating the body, one realizes that body is not something to get attached to and gradually remove the attachment to it. He says (this is the exact thai Forest Tradition, all the masters said this same thing) , when this attachment to the body lessens to a degree, you become Sotapanna. And when this attachment lessens more and that is Sakrudagami. And once the whole attachment to the body completely gone, this person becomes Anagami. And the Anagami has no physical(sensual) desires and no attachment to the body at all.

      The mind of an Anagami, now attached to the mind. And once this attachment to the mind is completely eradicated, then the person becomes an Arahant. So this is the Thai Forest tradition and how they reach Nibbana, their version I mean. Ajahn Dtun said, doing Asubha , 32 parts, is the only way to Nibbana.

      But now I have developed some doubts about this practice. I’m sure you are aware of the Thai Forest tradition. Please tell me what do you think about their practice? Is this Anarya practice or Arya practice? I’ve been a great supporter of Thai forest tradition until I hear Dhamma from Ven Waharaka. I’ve never gained such happiness listening to any Dhamma from any Thai Monks than listening to Ven Waharaka. Ven Waharaka’s dhamma is easy to understand and it makes sense to me.

      But since I followed the Thai Tradition, I feel, honestly feel bit scared to completely stop following that Tradition. Especially, none of the Thai Masters have explained Anicca, Dukkha , Anatta the way Ven Waharaka explained. They all explain Anicca as “uncertain, not sure”. I’m not sure you’ve read Ven Ajahn Mun’s biography. It has some extraordinary stories which are mind bubbling.

      So I honestly need your opinion on this. Please help me to clear my doubts.

      I would be hugely grateful if you can clear my mind.

    • #14733

      Welcome to the forum, drs8!

      “..when this attachment to the body lessens to a degree, you become Sotapanna. And when this attachment lessens more and that is Sakrudagami. And once the whole attachment to the body completely gone, this person becomes Anagami.”
      Of course this is wrong.

      Even to attain the Sotapanna stage, one needs to remove not only sakkaya ditthi, but also, vicikicca and silabbata paramasa; see, “Sakkāya Ditthi is Personality (Me) View?“.

      Furthermore, contemplation of the 32 body parts only helps partially in removing sakkaya ditthi. Sakkaya or “sath” + “kaya” means one takes not only one’s body to be “good” but also one’s actions in accumulating things in this world to be “good” and “beneficial”. Kaya can mean body and actions.

      We can also see this clearly in the Satipatthana sutta. Kāyānupassanā is only one of four anupassana, and contemplation of the 32 body parts is only part of Kāyānupassanā; see “Maha Satipatthana Sutta“.

      One becomes a Sotapanna by comprehending the fruitlessness of doing “apayagami immoral things” to gain sense pleasures. Then one has reduced kamaccanda, vyapada, and moha to kama raga, patigha, and avijja levels.

      One becomes a Sakadagami by attenuating kama raga (specifically removing vatthu kama) and patigha. Then one becomes an Anagami by removing all kama raga and patigha. In both stages, avijja is also reduced.

      Finally, one becomes an Arahant by removing the higher five samyojana of rupa raga , arupa raga, mana, uddacca, and avijja; see, “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process“.

      So, it is easy to see that one cannot even become a Sotapanna by just doing the contemplation the 32 body parts.

      I am not familiar with the Thai Forest tradition or Ven Ajahn Mun’s biography. Are you certain that this is all they do (contemplation the 32 body parts)?

      • #14743

        Lal, Drs8, all,

        “Furthermore, contemplation of the 32 body parts only helps partially in removing sakkaya ditthi. Sakkaya or “sath” + “kaya” means one takes not only one’s body to be “good” but also one’s actions in accumulating things in this world to be “good” and “beneficial”. Kaya can mean body and actions.”
        Question 1:does Pure Dhamma agrees that “32 body parts and corpse bhavana” can be a part of Tilakhanna bhavana or not ?

        “One becomes a Sotapanna by comprehending the fruitlessness of doing “apayagami immoral things” to gain sense pleasures.”
        Question 2:there’s a lot of people refusing to do immoral things to gain sense pleasures, but i suppose such isn’t enough to make them Sotapannas or on the way to become it…?

        Yet perhaps more important than the above is that since i started applying Pure Dhamma method through formal sessions + Anicca sanna & Satipatanna all day long, i already got neat results related to demeanor/behaviour which i think it’s fundamental in this path.
        And such favorable results are related to a notion that you Drs8 mentioned in your post,that is, “letting go”. Concretely Tilakhanna’s contemplation leads to amazing results in terms of “letting go” – which is a source of peace of mind and even of mental power.

        I’m a great “fan” of corpse/death contemplation, when contemplating it one starts feeling light,(yes yes one shouldn’t cling to such feelings…) both physically and mentally. I was going to say that it’s effective for body-disidentifying but in fact it’s more than that , it’s effective for body-psyche disidentifying too…


        • #14746

          Question 1: Yes.

          Question 2: “there’s a lot of people refusing to do immoral things to gain sense pleasures, does that make them Sotapannas or on the way to become it?”

          This is tricky. Of course most people would not like to do such immoral things.
          However, if one has not not attained Sotapanna stage, one MAY make a “bad decision” IF the temptation is HIGH.

          We all have heard about “good citizens” being charged for rape and murder especially. Even if they thought they had “things under control”, they apparently did not.

          These decisions are not CONSCIOUS under such stressful conditions. Split-second decisions are based on one’s gati. So, unless one had truly removed “apayagami gati“, such things are possible to happen.

          It is always a struggle in the mind between picking between a sense pleasure and (possible) bad consequences. The perceived value of sense pleasures decrease and the fear of bad consequences increase as one starts comprehending Tilakkhana. At some point a definite boundary is placed where one’s mind will NOT make a bad decision, no matter how tempting the sense pleasure is.

      • #14910

        Above Lal wrote: “One becomes a Sakadagami by attenuating kama raga (specifically removing vatthu kama) and patigha.”

        What’s “vatthu kama”?

        Thank you!

        • #14911

          Inflib asked, “What is vatthu kama?”.

          It means cravings to own material things that provide sense pleasures. “Vatthu” means basically “one’s property”.

          For example, going to an art gallery and looking at famous paintings is not enough. One with vatthu kama for paintings would like to own such paintings.

          When one gets to the Sakadagami stage, one would lose vatthu kama, but one still likes to enjoy sense pleasures. So, one may not desire to own paintings in the above case, but one still likes to look at them and enjoy them. That desire or craving is also lost when one gets to the Anagami stage.

          You can apply it to anything that provide sense pleasure.

          • #14915

            Hi @Lal, @Inflib, all,

            On vatthu kama,etc… this subject can be understood only under the vast scope of the Rebirth concept, linked to one’s actual body or not.
            Liking – even if it’s about (formal) beauty meaning art,etc – creates kammic bounds which in turn delays Nibanna.

            However there’s a difference between to like and to crave for.

    • #14736

      This is a talk given by Ajahn Dtuns (Translated by Ajahn Te)

      How essential is body contemplation? Didn’t the
      Venerable Ajahn Chah teach ‘letting go’?

      It is essential to investigate the body to see the mind clearly.
      Sometimes people take Luang Por Chah’s teachings from the end of
      the path and forget about the instructions for the beginning. If one
      has not passed beyond all attachment to the body, it is impossible to
      clearly investigate the mind. The investigation of
      (the four foundations of mindfulness: the body,
      feelings, mind and
      ) is the path of practice for
      Before that, they can be investigated, but only superficially.
      Sometimes you hear people say, ‘
      are in the mind, not in
      the body, so it is the mind that should be contemplated.’ But it
      is only by passing beyond attachment to the body that the other
      (the five physical and mental components of personality:

      body, feeling, memory, thinking and consciousness) become clear.
      Without investigating the body as elements, as
      , as thirty-
      two parts, one will not be able to realize
      . Even those with
      , such as Luang Por Tate and Luang Ta Mahā Boowa,
      had to go through the body to realize the path.
      It is important to note that in the higher ordination ceremony to
      become a Buddhist monk, the preceptor must instruct the candidate
      for ordination on the five principal objects of meditation: hair, body
      hair, nails, teeth and skin. To not give this instruction invalidates
      the whole ordination. And why? Because the Lord Buddha knew
      that by not instructing a candidate on such an essential topic would
      be the cause for those persons Holy-Life to be unfruitful, or more
      precisely, they will not realize the noble paths to awakening, their
      fruitions, nor Nibbāna

    • #14737

      Another part

      When I have recommended body contemplation to
      others, some answered: “That is only one valid way
      of practice, but other ways are equally good. To say
      that only one way will lead to path attainment is
      narrow-minded. Luang por Chah taught to practice
      more openly and broadly than that, using reflections
      such as ‘Don’t attach’ or ‘It’s not sure.’” How would
      you answer this, Ajahn?
      If I did not feel the people were open and receptive to being
      taught, I would not say much at all. It is easier to remove a
      mountain than to change people’s attachment to their views. In
      twenty or thirty years you can gradually blow up a huge mountain,
      but people’s views can remain steadfastly fixed for a lifetime,
      many lifetimes. Those who say body contemplation is a narrow
      path, are themselves trapped in narrow thinking. In truth, body
      contemplation is very broad and leads to great freedom due to
      true insight.
      From my experience and from seeing the results of others
      in their practice, to realize Dhamma, to attain at least
      is impossible without thoroughly and deeply uprooting the
      identification with the body. Even the likes of Luang Pu Tate and
      Luang Ta Mahā Boowa, monks with enormous
      and refined
      awareness throughout the day, had to go back and contemplate
      the body before they realized the Dhamma. It is not enough
      to do it just a few times either. The great Forest teachers had
      to contemplate over and over. They would then get results in
      accordance with their
      and effort. It is not enough simply
      to be aware of postures of the body. You must train yourself to
      be an expert at seeing the body as
      (not beautiful). When
      one who has mastered this sees other people, especially someone
      of the opposite sex, the
      perception is immediately
      brought up to counter any
      that appear. The body must be repeatedly broken up into parts or deeply seen as impermanent
      for real insight to arise. It is possible to realize the first stage of
      the path through contemplating the death of one’s own body.
      When mastered, body contemplation is amazing and wonderful
      in all sorts of ways – not narrow at all. Wherever Luang Pu Mun
      went, he would rely on body contemplation to keep his heart light
      and at ease
      There are many monks with a lot of
      who claim that
      their mind is continually light and bright, that
      do not
      arise at all or only in subtle ways and that Dhamma is clear to
      them. They claim that they see everything arising and passing
      away and that they do not attach to any of it – so they do not see
      any need to investigate the body. However, this is just
      being stuck in
      , being attached to a self-image of being
      enlightened, of being someone who understands Dhamma. But
      they are still stuck in
      without anything preventing
      them from falling into lower realms in the future.
      very tricky, very clever. If you look at the practice of truly
      enlightened people, you will see that they all followed the path of
      body contemplation.
      Luang Por Chah himself practiced this way. He taught
      practice – especially investigation of hair, body hair, nails, teeth
      and skin or seeing the body as a rotten corpse – but he would teach
      this more in private to specific individuals. Publicly he tended not
      to emphasize it as much as some of the other Forest teachers. I
      think this was because he saw that the majority of people were not
      ready for it. They still needed to work with general mindfulness
      as a base for developing
      , so he taught general ‘letting go’.
      It is not correct to say that Luang Por Chah did not teach body

      If the mind is not concentrated, body contemplation will only
      be superficial. However, it is still necessary to become acquainted
      with it from the beginning. Then gradually
      (images and perceptions of the
      asubha, anicca, dukkha, anattā
      nature of the body)
      will arise.

    • #14739
      y not

      hello drs8!


      What comes to my mind is: have these masters stated specifically that they have attained one or other of the 4 stages of Nibbana?

      I ask this because if they have,and declared it because they honestly believe that they have, then,at the worst, they are only postponing their stay in samsara by not grasping the true Dhamma. If they are lying,and know that they are lying, then the consequences will me much much worse for them than they can ever be for adherents of the Tradition who accept it.

      y not

    • #14787

      Hi drs8,

      You said that you feel a bit scared to completely stop following the Thai tradition.

      I don’t think you should feel “scared” per say. From the bit i know about the Thai monks it is not a doctrine where you will be admonished or reprimanded for any reason. However that does not mean that you should stop following it either.

      Most of the monks around where I live are from or influenced by that tradition and I too went to those monasteries before being exposed to this Dhamma. I feel that what is explained in is a much more complete path to nibbana as opposed to others. So i don’t follow the breath meditation etc. that is taught there. However I still frequent those monasteries as they too helped me get to this point, in some way or the other.

      I do attend sermons and talks at those temples, and the more I listen the more I feel that what is explained here in puredhamma is the way forward.

      We should also remember that in the end, those monks too are monks ordained as Sangha in the Buddha Sasana and hence we should pay respects to them and attend to their needs as lay followers. As to whether they are ariya or anariya is something that we can never know for sure.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #14789

      Hi Akvan

      Thanks for this. The only reason I felt bit worried because I’ve met some great Thai teachers which I still very highly respect. But as you experienced, I feel that their path is not the path Buddha explained. I still fully support them by provide all the necessary requisites.

      But for Dhamma, I feel I dont want to follow that path. Most of those monks haven’t read the Tripitaka and some of them even told, the Tripitaka may not have been written by Arahants back in the days and so it could be wrong.

      None of them have really given any true meaning of Tripitaka like we understand now. Even one of the great Thai Ajahns , Luang tha Maha Boowa, said he doesnt believe the Dhammachakka sutta directly leads to Nibbana (I mean even to Sotapanna). So I believed all those. So when my faith started to shake, I felt scared. Thats why I felt bit scared to follow them.

      And one of the greatest Thai Ajahns , Ajahn Chah , explained the Anicca as “Not sure, uncertain”. But knowing what I know now, I can’t agree with that as there are many certain things in the world. Ex, if someone hits me, I will surely feel pain. So I argued with myself thinking “How come all those great monks can be wrong? How about a great monk like Luang Pu Mun can be wrong??” .

      This is the main reason why I had to ask this question in this forum.

      Appreciate your input.

      • #14916

        Hi drs8, hi all,

        “And one of the greatest Thai Ajahns , Ajahn Chah , explained the Anicca as “Not sure, uncertain”. But knowing what I know now, I can’t agree with that as there are many certain things in the world”

        “Not sure, uncertain” it’s to sum up alot but it might not be wrong in and of itself.
        Anyways one shouldn’t have any problem with things being “uncertain”. As much as one doesn’t mix up concepts and experiences.

        AS FOR “there are many certain things in the world”…are you sure ? This world being EXISTENCE, that is, phenomenon how can you say such ? The only sure thing is the highest degree of Nibanna but is such Nibanna existence ?

        P.S.- by “world” i suppose you’re referring to the 31 realms…

        • #14918

          Hi Embodied,

          We are living in this world and have to use the accepted terms. Even the Buddha used the accepted terms. His disciples had names, towns had names and such and such. So in the same way there are many certain things in this world. Ex- Sun will surely rise tomorrow morning. If someone cut my skin, I will surely bleed. So all these things are certain and there are many. So how can someone describes Anicca as Uncertain. That doesn’t make sense to me. Cos, if something is Anicca, it must cause Dukka. But not all the uncertain things cause any Dukka. So it doesnt match the whole Anicca, Dukka and Anatta. So how is this Uncertain means Anicca.

          Buddha taught these 3 characteristics as “Pubbe ananussuthesu Dhammesu”, means “Dhamma that never heard before”. I’m most certain people back then already knew how many uncertain things are there is their lives. Even a normal person knows that life is uncertain. It doesnt mean, its Anicca.

          This world actually exists. If the world doesn’t exist, then there is no Buddha , Dhamma , Sangha exist as well. If someone pour hot water to your body, you feel pain and your skin burns. Is this also a phenomena? I very much doubt it.

          • #14919


            “Ex-Sun will surely rise tomorrow morning” if you die today tomorrow the Sun will not rise …”for you”. But why would you die today ?! Or me ?! Or anyone else ?! Well it can happen…

            aren’t our actual bodies an excellent example of Anicca ? Yet independently of you dying or not, perhaps that you’re right when you say that the Sun will be rising tomorrow but can we be 100% sure that the Sun will be rising in let’s say one week? Can we be 100% sure that the bridge that we crossed some days ago will stay in place next time ?

            Now on a different frequency : “One isn’t able to maintain things to one’s own satisfaction in the long run”. In the long run we can apply it both to the life of our actual body but also to all eventual rebirths. And why is this? This is because our satisfaction is rooted in: CC – craving & clinging. Which is by the way “excellent” to make us understand the true nature of Anicca…and of anatta too…

            ” If someone pour hot water to your body, you feel pain and your skin burns. Is this also a phenomena?” Indeed it is sangha fellow. Anything that arises, lasts (more or less) and vanishes (sooner or later…) it’s a phenomenon…

            Btw did i say that the world doesn’t exist ? I don’t think so.
            Relative reality that’s what the world is about…

            with Metta

    • #14934
      Tobias G

      All these great teachers seem not to realise the true meanings of anicca, dukkha, anatta. For that reason they cannot grasp the message of the Buddha and they make things complicated.

      (By the way I remember that Lal said, an Arahant hardly smiles/laughs. But these monks do smile on many photos.)

    • #14935
      y not

      The fact becomes more significant if they smile or laugh FOR photos(that is, if they pose), as distinct for them being ‘caught’smiling or laughing on photos.

      y not

    • #14947

      In the Buddhas time there was period where there was a schism between the monks where different theories put forward by the different groups of monks on why their group was better than the others. One of the disciples (I think it was Visakha) came and asked the Buddha which group she should offer arms to and whose advice to take as she was in a contrary. The Buddha explained that she could offer arms etc. to all those monks. He also told that she should listen to what they say and if she doesn’t believe in anything simply to put it aside.

      In another instance, a man told the Buddha that he offers dhana and takes advice only from a certain group of monks (those who live in forests etc.). The Buddha told the man that he, being a lay person, has no right to judge someone in robes and to come to conclusions which monk is more righteous / pious etc.

      I can’t remember the exact suttas but thought they were relevant to this discussion.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #14948

        Hi Akvan

        I fully agree with you. But saying that, Buddha said, “if someone teaching wrong dhamma, you must correct it, but should not do any personal criticism”. I think this is applicable to lay people as well.

        If someone teaches dhamma, which is not in line with the Buddha’s teaching (whether the person who teaches a layperson or a monk), then anyone can find the truth and rectify that. And they should. We can follow any monk as a teacher, but the supreme teacher above all is the Buddha. My intention here was to verify such dhamma taught by Thai Ajahns are correct or not. More I learn about the actual meaning of the Sutta, I tend to disagree with many Thai Ajahns teachings. This is one of the famous Thai Ajahns four noble truth explanation.

        The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering.
        The result of the mind sent outside is suffering.
        The mind seeing the mind is the path.
        The result of the mind seeing the mind is the cessation of suffering

        I have no intention of any personal criticism. But a true intention to find true teachings of the Buddha. if @Lal or anyone has any explanation to do on this, much appreciated.

    • #14949

      1. Those statements sound like those intriguing Zen verses. Basically no one really understands them, but they sound deep and important!
      For example, “The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering”. What does that mean? “Mind sent outside” of what?

      1. Buddha Dhamma is simple at the core. Our sufferings arise because we engage in dasa akusala. We just need to get rid of them gradually, BUT that involves learning Dhamma. The most important one of the dasa akusala is micca ditthi, and that is removed in two stages: (i) getting rid of 10 types of micca ditthi, and (ii) comprehending Tilakkhana, in that order.

      When one takes care of micca ditthi, that will greatly help reducing the tendency to do those types of akusala done by the body and speech.

      1. Buddha Dhamma, however, can go to very deep levels; see, for example, “Abhidhamma” and “Nāma & Rūpa to Nāmarūpa

      Furthermore, unlike Zen or those statements above, such deep Dhamma CAN BE understood if one’s mind is relatively free of dasa akusala (especially micca ditthi).

      4.Regarding the issue of following teachers who may not be teaching the true version of Dhamma (of course inadvertently): It is best to attend to them as before as time permits, and may be even discuss some of these issues and see what they think about “other (possibly better) explanations”. I have tried to do that to some extent, but don’t do that anymore. I just leave it for anyone interested to visit the website and take whatever things they find useful.

      The bottom line is that one should focus on making progress on the Path (we have only a limited time in this life to make use of, before we get too old). One should take whatever useful information one can get from anyone or anywhere. However, it could be waste of time to try to listen to “everyone”. Somethings you can definitely rule out and not worry about any more. Otherwise, one will be stuck at the same place. If one path seems to accelerate the progress (yes, one should be able to see that one is making progress), one should spend more time on that. And that could be different for different people.

    • #15202

      Hi drs8

      I myself am familiar with the Thai Forest tradition and read Ajahn Mun’s biography, albeit several years ago. I share your feelings inasmuch that I feel that many of the Thai forest ajahns are fully enlightened (or at least highly attained Ariyas) and many of their teachings resonated with me in the past, but I don’t completely agree with (or understand) some their explanations of Dhamma. One of the issues for me was that many of the Dhutanga monks seemed larger than life as there are many anecdotes about their fantastic exploits through the harsh jungles, abhinna powers and ascetic lifestyles that an ordinary person will probably never experience personally, let alone live up to. I felt that things like jhanas, forest austerities, abhinna powers, etc. were over-emphasized while there were not enough clear explanations about Dhamma. It wasn’t until I came across the monks Ajahn Buddhadasa, Acariya Thoon Khippapanyo and finally PureDhamma that I felt that I had some real clarity. It was Acariya Thoon in particular that really struck a chord with me. In his books he would repeatedly emphasize the need for WISDOM and correct understanding as opposed to attaining deep states of meditative absorption and repeatedly asks where in the Tipitaka it says that “[such and such an individual attained such and such jhana and then became a stream enterer, or an anagami]” or what have you. It doesn’t. He would go on to say that in almost all of the suttas it describes individuals attaining Path Knowledge upon listening to a discourse or being given some kind of lesson, and not all Ariyas were great meditation masters. I think the confusion set in because Ajahn Mun and many of his disciples were very accomplished meditators and practiced the forest austerities to a high degree, so that made it seem like those things were essential to making progress when, in reality, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with UNDERSTANDING Dhamma.

      That being said, I don’t think you should throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. If there are teachings from the Thai ajahns that still make sense to you then you shouldn’t throw them out completely just because you don’t agree with every single thing they say. On the other hand, if you feel that you’ve really outgrown them then I think it’s okay to move on.

      Something to bear in mind when reading Dhamma books of Thai ajahns; most of these books aren’t actually written by the monks themselves, but are English translations of sermons that the monks originally spoke in Thai. It’s important to take what’s said with a grain of salt and take into consideration things like cultural context, the audience being spoken to, speaking meaning versus a literal English translation and so on. In the case of Luang Por Chah describing Anicca as “not sure” his meaning probably wasn’t that if someone hits you then pain isn’t a sure thing, but more likely that he meant “not sure” as something like “not reliable”, “not dependable”, or “not sustainable”, which is much closer to the real meaning of Anicca. He most likely wanted people to understand that it’s not a sure thing that things will stay the same forever. That’s the part that’s “not sure”.

      For anyone who is interested, the explanation that drs8 provided of the Four Noble Truths is a quote from the book “Gifts He Left Behind”, a collection of short quotes, discussions and anecdotes of the monk Luang Pu Dune. This is what I think he meant by each statement:

      1. “The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering”

      He is probably describing Tanha, i.e. the mind going “outside” and chasing after things, desiring or craving for them.

      1. “The result of the mind sent outside is the origination of suffering.”

      Basically the same as the first statement. People suffer as they are agitated by their cravings for things in the world, run into obstacles in an attempt to acquire these things, create bad kamma if they do immoral things to get what they desire or are disappointed if they get what they want but it doesn’t meet their expectations or last as long as they’d like it to.

      1. “The mind seeing the mind is the path.”

      He is probably referring to the mind dismantling cravings by contemplating and observing how such cravings arise due to cause and effect,(i.e. how a certain craving is the CAUSE for future suffering) thus unraveling the kilesas and slowly freeing oneself from dukkha.

      1. “The result of the mind seeing the mind is cessation of suffering.”

      Same as the previous statement. As an individual’s understanding of the cause and effect relationship between craving and suffering grows, the idea of craving things will become more nonsensical or absurd. The mind will lose interest in it and as a result one will be free of the suffering that naturally follows such cravings.

      • #15203

        That last part was meant to be 1-4, not

      • #15207

        Thanks Vince, This makes more sense. One of the biggest concept among many Thai Ajahns is you can meditate by yourself and once the mind has samadhi then you will understand Dhamma. I cant think of any other misleading concept than this. And I know many people who believe this. I know many monks who believe the same theory and practice as hard as they can alone to realize dhamma. Some goes as far as many weeks of fasting and some goes even without a sleep for many days to realize dhamma. Its kind of sad. And even among all the teachers, I couldn’t find anyone who could explain the true meaning of the Suttas like we see on Pure Dhamma. Specially once I realized the true meaning of Anicca, Dukka and Anatta now I cant turn my head towards the Thai Tradition. So now, I only take good things that I can apply to my life from them and for Dhamma, I just park them.

        Thanks again for your great input.

    • #18177

      Hi drs8,

      I found a sutta that may be relevant to this discussion on how to deal with theros or teachers one followed prior to being exposed to the true Buddha dhamma.

      In the Udumbarika Sutta the Buddha explains the dhamma to an ascetic from a different tradition and after the said ascetic accepts the Buddha’s teachings, the Buddha says the following;

      “Nigrodha, you might think: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks like this because he wants pupils.’ But you should not see it like this. Let your teacher remain your teacher.

      You might think: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks like this because he wants us to give up our recitation.’ But you should not see it like this. Let your recitation remain as it is.

      You might think: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks like this because he wants us to give up our livelihood.’ But you should not see it like this. Let your livelihood remain as it is.

      You might think: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks like this because he wants us to start doing things that are unskilful and considered unskilful in our tradition.’ But you should not see it like this. Let those things that are unskilful and considered unskilful in your tradition remain as they are.

      You might think: ‘The ascetic Gotama speaks like this because he wants us to stop doing things that are skilful and considered skilful in our tradition.’ But you should not see it like this. Let those things that are skilful and considered skilful in your tradition remain as they are.”

    • #28941

      But the Lord Buddha said that only 2 people can know what degree of enlightenment a person has accomplished: the person himself or a Buddha…
      And I never saw anyone from the Thai Forest Tradition (or other Theravada tradition, say what degree of enlightenment has reached…). Did you saw it?
      (Except for the Ven. Waharaka Abayarathanalankara Thero)
      Am i wrong???

    • #36516
    • #36523

      @DSR8, Sorry to hear you lost faith with Thai Forest Tradition. My experience with them is very different.

      When I read this thread I realized you all have grasped only the surface of their teachings. Otherwise you would not have this discussion here isn’t it?
      Someone here mention Arahath are not smiling ? I wonder what planet they are living to have that kind of strange view. They are human beings too.

      As you all know, method and techniques of Thai Forest Tradition has been tested and proven over and over and they all got the same results from Ajahn Mun to present day Ajahns like Ajahn Dtun. Although method is simple and straightforward not easy to follow through. Some one has to have consistent effort until the end. Of course someone have to have some kind of spiritual parami to meet with them and understand what they teach, and put it in to practice without any doubts.

      Remember the the story of Lord Buddha, just after awakening on the way he met one Brahmin. When Brahmin asked Lord Buddha who was his teacher. Buddha replied that he awoken by him self and He is the Buddha ( Can’t remember the exact text but it goes along these lines ). Then the Brahmin shook his head and left. So he lost the golden opportunity. In the past these things happened just like present day not much difference.

      Yes, Lord Buddha taught many methods to many individuals. Almost all got results. He had the capacity to do so. Hence we got all his teachings. Why Thai Ajahn says all those teaching not working these days. Answer is pretty simple. Why didn’t we born at Buddha’s time and meet with him ? Got the teachings and got the the job done? Because our spiritual parami was not sufficient at that time. So we are here now talking about the past glory. And try to match that. This is the point they emphasize heavily on body, death, asuba contemplations to lessen our attachments to the body first. Because we are really screwed up with this as a result of our huge amount of Kilesa. This is the best method suitable for present day.

      Someone here mentioned that Thai masters have not read tipitaka? Well, in Buddha’s time numerous monks and nuns attained arahathship without seen any Thripitaka?Or single pitaka ? Don’t they ?
      They studied their body and mind that worked for them in the past then why that shouldn’t work at present as Thai Ajahn says. In Ajahn Dutn’s case, he knew how to practice up to certain level even without a teacher because of his past lives practises.

      In my opinion, by reading whole lot you don’t get anywhere because you know all the teachings but don’t know which one suit to your temperament and then don’t know how to apply it

      There was a Sri Lankan who compiled a book. Because Thai Ajahn’s don’t talk about suttas. He investigated this and found out their teachings are closely connected to Buddha’s scriptures. You can read by yourself.

      You can get it here…

      You have to understand the differences between intelligence and the wisdom. Yes people are very intelligent these days but we have no WISDOM compared to our old counterparts. Old days they had very simple minds so easy to work on these natural states of mind. Usually I heard Thai Ajans pointing out these days intelligence is intelligence of Kilesa. This WISDOM is not, understanding the literal meaning of Anichcha Dukka Anatta as you discussed here. The real WIDOM is really seen and experience through your MIND. What they say is, without a real practice you can’t possibly experience it. Just like a simple Sri Lankan village folk talking about how snow falling and the experience in mount Himalayas?? Can you imagine how that thing compare to the realiy?

      The problem with us these days we get mixed up with magga and phala. Simple way to say this, imagine we have to walk from Colombo to Kandy. Instead of walking to Kelaniya Bridge, First we sit down and start talking about Kadugannawa and Kandy without giving any interest to Kelaniya bridge and peliyagoda which is our immediate towns. In the end path become too difficult, confused and giving up.

      As for the attainment of Thai Ajahns, yes as for my knowledge two of them declare in the public. They even gave real details on how they travel on this path.

      If you are interested check these out.

      1. Ajahn Mahaboowa
      Magga, Phala, and Nibbana

      Autobiography of Ajahn Dtun

      As for the rest of the Ajahns, if you can tap in to Thai Forest monks inside circle not hard to get information. I heard In Ajahn Dtun’s case recently Luangpor Tui requested him to write his Biography to include in a museum of great Thai Ajahns who lived there since the time of Ajahn Mun. Luangpor Tui was given this responsibility by the current Sangharaja in Thailand. In cases, any of you happen to be in Thailand, worth going there and have a look. It is call Wat Amaro near chonburi and there are about more than 30 great monks with their photos and biographies.

      Not sure you notice this, there are many claimed to be Arahants here in Sri Lanka including Ven. Waharaka and Ven. Samanthabadra. But among them and their disciples they disparage each other even some chased away from Nikaya or Sangha. Contrary to this Thai Forest monks they recognize each other’s achievements and whole Thai Sangha unanimously have their high regards for these monks. Don’t you think this is strange here in Sri Lanka.

      As for the support for Thai Sangha, don’t worry they only need simple requisites such as food, lodging, clothing, medicine. They are pretty much look after by Thai communities in Thailand and around the world. Since I see how respectful and generous Thais are we can’t even match them. Point is you support them or not doesn’t impact them but only you.

      Remember that story of King Pasenadi, He asked Buddha where he should give his gifts? Buddha said “you can give where your faith is” Then he asked Buddha where can he get more merits for his gifts then Buddha said ” That is a different question to get higher merits you have to give to Brahmins who are pure.” So you get what you asked for. Decision is yours. Don’t worry too much of giving but put more efforts to correct your views first.

      Someone here also mentions Thai Ajans say when you get JANA that is it you know by your self. Sorry I never heard this, in fact they never give that important to JANA either. They say if you have them use them. If not make your mind peaceful as much you can then investigate. They really emphasize on Sathi, Pannya then Samadhi and contemplation. Even I heard they say the real vipassana is things seen as they are through your mind when Swabawa dhamma manifest.

      Check these out..

      Is Samadhi same as JHANA practice

      About kanika and upachara Samadhi

      Differences between mundane understanding and realisation

      Differences between Magga and Phala

      Lastly don’t forget Buddha’s advice on how to know who is teaching you the real path. Read the Kalama Sutta. When you practice that teaching or method, if you know for your self your attachments lessen and if you know your self greed, anger, delusion getting reduce then follow that path. If this work for you and when you look back you will see you were on the path of Sila Samadhi Pannya.

      Good luck DSR8, hope I didn’t confuse you more.

    • #36524

      Is Dhamma one or many? It is one. In other words, the world is a particular way and it is only that way. Therefore, either someone will have a correct understanding of Dhamma or they won’t. In the event that they have the correct understanding, they will be on the noble path and eventually attain Nibbana. If they don’t have an accurate understanding of Dhamma, it will not be possible for them to attain Nibbana (you can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand what the problem is).

      As such, I can’t help but feel that discussions about specific traditions, lineages and teachers often miss this critical point. So as pedantic as this may sound, if a tradition or teacher claims their tradition or teachings can lead to Nibbana, strictly speaking, they are wrong – only an accurate understanding of Dhamma does that.

      This isn’t to suggest that there will be no traditions with practitioners who are ariyas, rather, if they are, it’s because they’ve comprehended Dhamma.

    • #36544

      @Dawson, I agreed with you. There is one path to achieve realisation. Buddha taught the way to achieve Nibbana. Which is eight fold path. In short Sila, Samadhi, Panya. As far as I understand he thought one path. One Nibbana.

      But these days there are so many interpretations for Nibbana and the path among different teachers and their students. So is the doubt and confusion.

      Either they will get it right or they will get it really wrong. Nothing in between.

      Unfortunately these traditions are later additions.

    • #36545

      NN99: Does your teacher translate anicca as impermanence?

    • #36546

      Lal, He just use “Anichcha”. How ever English speakers translate as “changing nature of things” or “impermanent nature of all things’

    • #36547

      “impermanent nature of all things’”

      That says all. Please don’t post any more videos. I will remove them.

    • #36549

      Suwapath wewa NN99,

      Before coming across this website and Ven. Waharaka Thero teachings, I studied, learned and practiced the Thai Forest tradition for about 2-3 years. I can’t say I put 100% effort into it, but I did put some effort and did give it a good go.

      You mentioned about some of us losing faith in the Thai Forest, as well you give a little talk about wisdom and intelligence. I can’t speak for others, but I stop practicing the Thai Forest tradition not because I lost faith in the tradition, but after learning from this website and through my own understanding/knowing/seeing I noticed that there are many inconsistencies with in regards to the teachings of the dhamma by the “popularly” taught Theravada Buddhism out there which includes the Thai Forest Tradition. In my opinion/view, if one really “have the “wisdom”, they would be able to see/discern these inconsistencies in the teachings. Although it’s possible that I could be bias or deluded, but when I contemplate/reflect/discern on the dhamma that’s taught by Ven. Waharaka Thero and his followers / disciples (including the website here). The core / most important teachings of the dhamma, I’m not able to find any major flaws or inconsistencies that would hide or lead one astray from the path to Nibbana, while I can’t say that with the teachings that’s being disseminated in the “popularly” taught Theravada Buddhism out there.

      NN99 you mentioned that “English speakers” translate Anichcha as “changing nature of things” or “impermanent nature of all things’, I’m pretty sure most of your teachers as well. Okay, I’m sure you and many others should at least know this line. “yadaniccam tam dukkham, yam dukkham tadanattā”. We’ll just use yadaniccam tam dukkham part. I’m not sure if you would agree with me on this, but I will use the translation of “What is anicca leads dukkha (suffering)”.

      So if we use the translation that I mentioned for the line “Yadaniccam tam dukkham” and your mention of “English speakers” translation of Anicca as “changing nature of things” or “impermanent nature of all things’. Then we should get something like this in English.
      “The changing nature of things or impermanent nature of all things (Anicca) leads suffering (dukkha).

      #1. Let me ask you, the changing nature of things or impermanent nature of all things, does that “always” lead to suffering? I look forward to your answer on this question.

      In regards to your mention about some Ajahn’s attaining Arahanthood in the or “your” Thai Forest tradition. There are some major red flags that I want to point out. To start off, although I can’t confirm some of these things being mentioned, after all it’s being said by others, but I still want to bring some them up.

      This was mentioned in a forum, I can’t verify the accuracy of this statement.

      “Ajahn Jayasaro (who appears to be no slouch) expressed the common view in a video that Maha was a arahant or, more specifically, was the go-to monk to confirm claims to arahantship.” #2. If this is true, can you see where the issue with this is?

      #3. This is something that I confirmed, was that Ajahn Mahaboowa was involved with politics. I’m not exactly sure what time frame/period he was involved with politics, but from my own understanding/knowing/seeing of the dhamma, no Arahants, heck not even anagami’s or even possibly sakagami’s would even get involved with politics. I believe for those whom had attained Magga phala would understand this, especially those at the higher levels.

      I can’t confirm the accuracy of these statements as this is from Ajahn Maha Bua Wikipedia page. But it mentions about Ajahn Maha Bua basic teachings on citta.

      Wiki page

      “Bua observes the essential enduring truth of the sentient being as constituted of the indestructible reality of the citta (heart/mind), which is characterized by the attribute of Awareness or Knowingness. This citta, which is intrinsically bright, clear, and aware, gets superficially tangled up in samsara but ultimately cannot be destroyed by any samsaric phenomenon. Although Bua is often at pains to emphasise the need for meditation upon the non-Self (anatta), he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (anicca, dukkha, anatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence. The citta is bright, radiant, and deathless, and is its own independent reality.”

      Okay . . . So I could be mistaken about this or I could be reading all this incorrectly, but is it just me or does that sentence say that Citta’s are caught up in the vortex of conditioned but at the same time is it’s own independent reality? #4. Maybe I’m not reading this or understanding this correctly, but if citta’s are in the vortex of conditioned, how can they be it’s own independent reality? From what I understood about the dhamma, only Nibbana is the independent reality since there’s no citta, rupa, or cetasika’s, while those 3 things belong to this world. . .

      From the same line . . .

      “he also points out that the citta, while getting caught up in the vortex of conditioned phenomena, is not subject to destruction as are those things which are impermanent, suffering, and non-Self (anicca, dukkha, anatta). The citta is ultimately not beholden to these laws of conditioned existence.”

      WHAT?!?! Did I read this or understood this correctly? That citta’s “are not subject to destruction which are anicca, dukkha, anatta and the citta is not beholden to these laws” ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
      #5. NN99 did I get this right? Do you agree or disagree with that citta’s are not beholden to the laws of anicca, dukkha, anatta?

      #6. I can’t confirm the subtitles in this youtube video but from 1:30 – 3:33 of the video . .

      Any issues with what is being said here?

      “This WISDOM is not, understanding the literal meaning of Anichcha Dukka Anatta as you discussed here. The real WIDOM is really seen and experience through your MIND. What they say is, without a real practice you can’t possibly experience it.”

      #7. NN99, what do you think is the reason why a Buddha comes into this world? Can one that’s not a Buddha and not taught by someone that knows what is “real” in this world, know what is real? So . . . you’re saying that one does not need to understand the literal meanings of “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta” but the real wisdom is to really see and experience through our minds. So what is that we need to see and experience through our minds to gain this “real wisdom” that your mentioning? As well, what is this “real wisdom”?

    • #36552

      @Lal, Wow!! Such strong views and opinions !!! Is that Lord Buddha’s way?
      Well, I am not going to waste my time here.


      • #36554

        Imagine if someone were to propose that 2+2=4.3. In support of their argument, they say “the professors who say that 2+2=4.3 graduated from Ivy League schools, have taught for decades, have done peer reviewed research and are published authors”.

        Then in response, someone systematically goes through the maths problem, giving evidence that the value of 2 is in fact 2 and that therefore, the answer could only possibly be 4. Would the appropriate response be to take issue with their ‘strong views’? No. Sadly though, that’s what many Buddhist seem to do.

        Getting onto and progressing along the path involves the opposite of cognitive dissonance; someone makes a claim that challenges your understanding. You then investigate the premises of their claim to see if it has any validity. If it does, you adjust your understanding accordingly. If their claim doesn’t have any merit to it, you’ll understand precisely why that’s case by having identified the contradictions and inconsistencies.

        The suttas share countless examples in which The Buddha corrected people’s wrong views in this fashion. All of this is to say that I hope you don’t perceive this as an attack but rather, an opportunity. We’re all trying to achieve the same thing here.

    • #36553

      NN99: Lord Buddha’s way is to get rid of wrong views. Not to spread wrong views and wrong interpretations.

      I just realized that you may not have even read my posts on why anicca does not mean impermanence.
      – If you like you can read them here:
      Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta

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