Meditation Influence Diagram

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Meditation Influence Diagram

Post by Travis » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:30 pm

Purpose: An illustration of the dissemination of ideas among prominent figures in the Theravada tradition, with special emphasis on the study of meditation.

Translation: I made a diagram because I am interested in the different different ways that meditation is taught and practiced, and this is one way to account for one aspect of how it got here (in the eyes of one a westerner/english speaker). I found it helpful and thougt it might be a useful reference for others. If anyone would like to make corrections, additions, or suggestions, please do so, just post the relevant info and link any source material and I will upload an improved version. This is a first draft and I will be improving it on my own now that a good chunk of work has been completed. The diagram is by no means meant to be all-inclusive and is out of necessity limited to those teachers who have written or been translated into english, and perhaps their teachers.

Any and all input is welcomed and appreciated.

With metta,

Edit: Added revised version.
Revised Version
(19.62 KiB) Downloaded 331 times
Make sure Word Wrap is off ;)
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Last edited by Travis on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:50 pm

Thanks Travis that looks very interesting!
No suggestions or corrections so far but no doubt, others may chip in.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:15 pm

Hi Travis,

Looks like a real labour of love!

I think Ajahn Sucitto should be in the bottom left hand box (heirs to Ajahn Chah) - mainly in light of his recent "how-to" manual "Meditation: A Way of Awakening".

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by marc108 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:40 pm

that is SO COOL! :jumping:

I dont believe Bhante Sujato ever met Ajahn Chah but I could be wrong, I believe he was a student of Ajahn Brahm.
Ajahn Sucitto could go under Ajahn Chah.
Richard Shankman could go under Joseph Goldstein.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by manas » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:53 pm

This is great work, Travis.

One suggestion would be to sacrifice some of the compactness for the sake of a clearer delineation of time. For example, I understand the need for Ajahn Chah to be 'under' J Kornfield due to issues of fitting everything together, and I noted the upward pointing arrow. But if it were possible to have a teacher always 'above' the student, that would make things clearer still, but would probably require a much wider page and so might be impracticable. If that's the case than I would humbly request slightly 'bolder' arrows for the benefit of more 'visually-challenged' folks such as myself :geek:

I really like this alot, though. sādhu!

manas :anjali:

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Travis » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:16 am

Thanks for all the positive feedback!
manas, I agree, reformatting would help to make things more clear. I would also like to have the teachers above the students whenever possible, so that definitely could happen if I do a version 2.0. I would also like to make room for a finer break down of the grouped boxes, like with Ajahn Chah's "line."

It looks like Ajahn Sucitto was a student of Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Sujato was first a student of Ajahn Maha Chatchai and then Ajahn Brahm. I haven't seen much about Shankman's background, but he should be in there, thanks for suggesting him, marc108.

Sam Vega, yes it has been a total labor of love. I 've been having a blast searching and reading, and also blessed with lots of interesting little tangents and side roads to explore along the way.

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Goofaholix » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:47 am

The way it's laid out makes it look like the Thai Forest tradition is subordinated to the various Burmese traditions, you probably want to have it arranged top down in terms of date with various streams converging later on like a family tree.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:50 am

Great work! Thanks. :)
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Reductor » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:18 am

Impressive work, and very interesting. The suggestions above are also very helpful.

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by DNS » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:22 am

And if you really want to get ambitious with the project, you could make a transmission line that goes back to the Buddha. I think there are some Zen schools that do that; of course with some large gaps over some centuries, to keep the tree a reasonable size. For example, it could go:

Buddha --> Ananda -> Moggaliputta Tissa -> Mahinda, Sanghamitta --> Maharakkhita -> Buddhaghosa -> etc.

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Viscid » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:27 am

Dude, this is awesome! Great work.

Expanding this would be great (perhaps a collaborative effort?) I'd particularily like to see the Thai Forest tradition's history past Ajahn Sao.

The Nyanavira/Nanamoli area is confusing!
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by danieLion » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:21 am

Very cool, indeed.

I know you're still drafting, but have you thought of any way to (1) delineate chronology, and (2) more straightforwardly specify independent/broken versus overlapping/linking lines?


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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Mr Man » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:52 am

Hi Travis
Are Ajahn Bramavamso (Ajahn Brahmavamso) and Ajahn Brahm not the same person?

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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:55 am

The problem with the Ajahn Chah area is that not all who were ordained by him were actually his direct students.
Take Ajahn Amaro for example, he spent about two weeks with Ajahn Chah, he spent most of his time while in Thailand at WPN, and then was with Ajahn Sumedho, so could more accurately be described as Ajahn Sumedho's Disciple, and if you have listend to his talks he quotes him allot more than anyone else.
or Ajahn Sumedho, who hadn't been ordained by Ajahn Chah, (same for Ajahn Brahm) but these are his disciples. also Ajahn Brahm is Ajahn Bramavamso and in the list twice. it may be easier to put people in order of rains in that list?

Mae Chee Kaew isnt there, I think she was a disciple of Ajahn Mun.
also you miss Ajahn Vajiro.

is there not a family tree software you could use?
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He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: Meditation/Lineage Diagram

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:22 am

You need to add Dipa Ma directly below Munidra-ji and Kornfeild probably would not be considered a student of Munidra-ji. Kornfield. See:" onclick=";return false;
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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