Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby Zom » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:48 pm

My background is rather variegated, comprising six years in Thai and Burmese urban pariyatti monasteries, six years in monasteries affiliated with the late Khrubar Phrommajak, two years in an Ajahn Chah wat, one year in a Dhammayut forest wat, two years in vipassana meditation centres, and nine years living alone. Though I don’t identify with any particular sub-tradition, the monks whom I have most to do with nowadays are Thais belonging to Khrubar Phrommajak’s Lamphun branch of the Chiang Mai tradition of Khrubar Sriwichai.


How cool :namaste:

Would you recommend a young western monk (newly ordained) to follow such a variegated path, or do you think it would be better for him to find a certain tradition/monastery and try to stick with it for as long as he can (if he can)?
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby Clarence » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:13 pm

Yes, very cool. I think Zom asks a very good question. Hope you will answer it.

Where is Kruba Phrommajak's main site located nowadays? Hard to find any info on google.

Thanks again. Very interesting.
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:50 am

There is Ven Yuttadhammo of the Parideha Forest Monastery, near Winnipeg, Canada. He is a disciple of Ajahn Sirimangalo who teaches in the Mahasi tradition.
http://canada.sirimangalo.org/parideha/
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby Forest gitta lane » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:04 pm

I do not know if Ajahn Martin Piyadhammo teach, but I appreciate his Dhamma talks. http://forestdhammatalks.org/
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby appicchato » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:32 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Doubt, loss of faith in the Dhamma, despair about their capacity for progress, sexual desire, boredom, depression, culture shock, homesickness, ill health, pārājika offences, long-concealed saṅghādisesa offences, aversion to Thai people or food or climate, contempt for their fellow monks, family problems, etc., etc. Besides these there are an extra two reasons that seem to be peculiar to those living in the west. One is an uncomfortable feeling of alienation from the surrounding culture; there are moments when it just seems so absurd to be walking around a modern western city in an ancient Indian ascetic’s garb. The other is that it’s a great deal easier for a monk to get burned out than it is when he’s living in Asia.

I recall reading that in the Thai sangha as a whole, the proportion of the monk population at any given time who will remain in the robes for more than a decade is about 7%, while those who will be monks for life amount to less than 1.5%. So statistically it would appear that disrobing is really just what comes naturally. The oddballs who don't disrobe are the ones whose behaviour needs explaining.


An apt depiction (if asked)...(from one of the oddballs...(who does believe he wouldn't be able to cut it in the West))...viva Southeast Asia... :thumbsup:
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:48 pm

appicchato wrote:
An apt depiction (if asked)...(from one of the oddballs...(who does believe he wouldn't be able to cut it in the West))...viva Southeast Asia... :thumbsup:



What exactly makes it harder in the West, Bhante?



:anjali:
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby kmath » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:39 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
You imply Ajahn Brahm perhaps. But who else "were formerly in the Ajahn Chah camp but then moved onto other pastures" ?


It wasn't Ajahn Brahm whom I had in mind but rather those monastics whose withdrawal from the Ajahn Chah scene was their own choice. For example, the American Ajahn Sumano, formerly of Chithurst but now living alone in Chiangmai, the Aussie Bill Platypus, who began at Wat Pa Nanachat but then disrobed and switched to the Dhammayuttika Nikaya, and then all the western breakaway nuns (I don’t remember any of their names) who started out with Ajahn Sumedho.

Any thoughts on why there are so few western disciples setting themselves up as teachers,


I think that in part it’s due to the type of people who get drawn to the forest tradition. The preponderance of them are pretty introverted. But mostly it’s due to the fact that few of these monks regard themselves as qualified to teach. I mean in the forest tradition in general the idea is that teaching is the preserve of spiritual virtuosos —monks with high attainments— and until you become such yourself it’s best to keep your mouth shut and not take on responsibilities that are likely to distract you from this aim.

In the Ajahn Chah tradition it’s different because there the monks don’t really have a choice in the matter, but are pushed more or less willy-nilly into teaching positions.

or why so many have disrobed for that matter?


Doubt, loss of faith in the Dhamma, despair about their capacity for progress, sexual desire, boredom, depression, culture shock, homesickness, ill health, pārājika offences, long-concealed saṅghādisesa offences, aversion to Thai people or food or climate, contempt for their fellow monks, family problems, etc., etc. Besides these there are an extra two reasons that seem to be peculiar to those living in the west. One is an uncomfortable feeling of alienation from the surrounding culture; there are moments when it just seems so absurd to be walking around a modern western city in an ancient Indian ascetic’s garb. The other is that it’s a great deal easier for a monk to get burned out than it is when he’s living in Asia.

I recall reading that in the Thai sangha as a whole, the proportion of the monk population at any given time who will remain in the robes for more than a decade is about 7%, while those who will be monks for life amount to less than 1.5%. So statistically it would appear that disrobing is really just what comes naturally. The oddballs who don't disrobe are the ones whose behaviour needs explaining. :)

Yes, as far as I know Ajahn Dick Silaratano is the abbot there.


Thanks for the news.


:goodpost:

Thank you Sir!
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby JeffR » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:54 pm

Dhammanando wrote:.....

The Buddhadāsa disciples have all disrobed, with the exception of the veteran German monk Tan Khemadassī (who was only rather loosely associated with Ajahn Buddhadāsa). He lives as a hermit on an island in Trat Province and doesn’t teach. Of those who’ve disrobed I think only the ex-Santikaro Bhikkhu now teaches.
......


The ex-Bhikkhu Santikaro still goes by the name Santikaro and teaches. He has established Liberation Park in West central Wisconsin and has a website: http://liberationpark.org/

He comes to Minneapolis one or two weekends a year to do a Friday evening talk and a Saturday teaching workshop. I believe he also goes to Chicago on occasion to teach.

As for the question of why bhikkus disrobe, Santikaro has married since disrobing and speculation is that points to the answer of "why".

Peace,
Jeff
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby Hickersonia » Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:39 pm

JeffR wrote:As for the question of why bhikkus disrobe, Santikaro has married since disrobing and speculation is that points to the answer of "why".

I think we spend a lot of time worrying about the reasons why one might disrobe when those reasons may not really be any of our business. I don't mind the idea of a monk (or nun) disrobing -- at least there isn't a defeat offense involved then, and maybe men such as Santikaro can contribute just as much (or more) in lay life.

And I'm not really sure that the reasons why one monk or another might disrobe is really to the point of this thread anyway...

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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby appicchato » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:31 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:
appicchato wrote:
An apt depiction (if asked)...(from one of the oddballs...(who does believe he wouldn't be able to cut it in the West))...viva Southeast Asia...



What exactly makes it harder in the West, Bhante?


Don't know if I would word it that way,...in Thailand, Buddhism overtly permeates the air, everywhere...being a monk requires a very real, and (continuous) conscious responsibility of all that entails...not to say that doesn't exist in the Occident...just a general (personal) feeling I guess, of being on familiar ground, where one is known, and accepted by all...
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby JeffR » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:18 am

Hickersonia wrote:
JeffR wrote:As for the question of why bhikkus disrobe, Santikaro has married since disrobing and speculation is that points to the answer of "why".

I think we spend a lot of time worrying about the reasons why one might disrobe when those reasons may not really be any of our business. I don't mind the idea of a monk (or nun) disrobing -- at least there isn't a defeat offense involved then, and maybe men such as Santikaro can contribute just as much (or more) in lay life.

And I'm not really sure that the reasons why one monk or another might disrobe is really to the point of this thread anyway...

:anjali:

Well said. Santikaro's teachings are just as good, robe or no robe. He still practices well, just no longer binds to the Vinaya. I recommend him as a teacher.
-Jeff :anjali:
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby kmath » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:15 am

Hickersonia wrote:rying about the reasons why one might disrobe when those reasons may not really be any of our business.


True but there are a number of folks on this forum thinking about ordaining. For them the reasons monks and nuns disrobe is useful information. For me, I'm just plain curious. I'm interested enough in Dhamma that I like hearing about other's experiences.

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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:28 pm

Ajahn Khemasanto of Wat Dhammasala.
Does anyone know him personally?
http://www.dhammasala.org/
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:59 am

An article from last year on Ajahn Khemasanto
http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index ... _temp.html
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:26 am

Phra Ofer Adi in Israel ( disciple of Ajahn Tong Sirmangalo)
http://www.healersworldwide.com/article ... anabidhan/
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Postby BodhiJay » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:27 am

kmath wrote:
Hickersonia wrote:rying about the reasons why one might disrobe when those reasons may not really be any of our business.


True but there are a number of folks on this forum thinking about ordaining. For them the reasons monks and nuns disrobe is useful information. For me, I'm just plain curious. I'm interested enough in Dhamma that I like hearing about other's experiences.

:anjali:


I was a monk for 2 years ( ages 21-23) I ordained as a novice with the intent of just trying it out for one month but the life of a Samana fit me very well so I stayed on. I ordained at a Lao Wat which was founded by 2 monks who where ordained in Thai Forest Tradition but the other monks where all from village wats in Laos. While the Focus was on the ceremony and culture the Wat has plenty of forest to seek refuge in. I stayed there for most of my time but was asked to go to a small Wat in Illinois for my 2nd Vassa as a novice. I was fortunate enough to spend a few months at the Wat Thai Boston for a few months before I disrobed. Being that it was 3 years ago I am sure I have forgotten some of the reasons why I disrobed(which was the hardest decision of my life to this day). A lot of things that fueled aversion in me where the reverse culture shock I experienced with the monks using money and have the trappings I was trying to get away from (Money,external entertainment,etc.) I used Facebook and the Internet as a means to learn and share the Dhamma which was mostly good aside from the time it took away from the true practice( for a young monk unfamiliar with a healthy balance). I was asked questions in private by a woman which I avoided for a very long time. I didn't hold any of the monks as my teacher aside from watching the Senior Monks example which was that of a true Bhikkhu, so I never really asked any questions or went to anyone for guidance as I didn't really know what to ask or if I get an answer other than being told I'm trying to hard(with regards to trying to maintain my Sila). During my Vassa in Illinois in a small house I dealt with being homesick which eventually lapsed and I was able to throw myself into studying the Vinaya(The BMC's) I noticed bad Habits starting to creep in which I was able to remain mindful of and stem some of them. I returned to Mass and Took full ordination and nearly fainted being told to participate in the Lao tradition I forget and don't care to know the name of stepping on the laity's belongings while the put MONEY in my yam. I made a vow and stuck to it that even though I was told I had to take the money that I would just put it in the donation box when the coast was clear. Time went on and I was invited to stay at the Thai temple which I happily accepted although the abbot and vice abbot didn't want me to on the Condition that I would come back and go to do a ceremony at one of the monks aunts house in Nevada. I stayed at the Thai Wat and learned a lot from the monks there before going to Nevada. In Nevada we stayed in a small house with the monks aunt and Uncle and his female cousin, where we stayed in a room with a huge bed, I managed to sleep on the floor. During this time the same woman started to message me and caught me when my guard was down sparking my curiosity.At the same time my dad was going in for major rotator cuff surgery. I returned to Mass with my head on fire. I was noticing my mind wasn't to the standard I set for a Samana so I bit the Bullet and Disrobed before I would do any more damage to my own mind and more importantly to the robes I wore.
:soap:
Please forgive me if anything I have said so far is out of line in any way especially towards the Dhamma

With that soap Opera out in the open(sorry for the dirty laundry) I am intending to stay with train, and help out and ultimately Ordain at Tan Ajaan Dick's Wat. I am in the slow process of renouncing everything(which I didn't do before) along with cutting all my technology out(as per my temperament to over indulge as I have before), I had a decent Conversation with Tan Ajaan Geoff and he gave me some very good insight for this time along with familiarizing myself with the BMC's again along with the recitation of the Patimokkha(one of my favorite forms of meditation ;) ) and really making sure I commit myself to Tan Ajaan and the Teaching
When I set out to practice, I had only one book — the Patimokkha — in my shoulder bag. Now I was going for the full path and the full results.-Luang Ta Maha Boowa NanaSampanno
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