The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

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The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

Post by Asoka » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:17 am

Hello everyone!

I'm new to this forum, not new to Theravada in any way. I have lurked here for some time and figured I would finally make an account. Looking forward to getting to know you all better!

I have a question regarding the Buddho meditation taught by Ajahn Thate here: ... uddho.html.

Is Ajahn Thate teaching a form of mantra-like meditation? I'm trying to figure out specifically how he taught it. Is it mental repetition of "Buddho" in your head, holding your concentration at the chest? When I read it, I took it as mantra meditation as opposed to the anapanasati form of Buddho Luang Por Chah taught. In other words, this is purely repetition and not following the breath.

The reason I say this is because of this paragraph:
To have the defilements gradually disappear with the method I've just explained is better than trying to arrange things, entering the four levels of absorption, abandoning directed thought, evaluation, rapture and pleasure, leaving just one-pointedness and equanimity; or trying to arrange the first stage of the path to nibbana by abandoning self-identity views, uncertainty, and attachment to precepts & practices; or by looking at your various defilements, telling yourself, "With that defilement, I was able to contemplate in such-and-such a way, so I've gone beyond that defilement. I have so-and-so many defilements left. If I can contemplate in such-and-such a way, my defilements will be finished" — but you don't realize that the state of mind that wants to see and know and attain these things is a defilement fixed firmly in the mind. When you finish your contemplation, the mind is back in its original state and hasn't gained anything at all. On top of that, if someone comes along and says something that goes against the way you see things, you start disagreeing violently, like a burning fire into which someone pours kerosene.
If anyone could provide some insight I would be extremely grateful. Thanks in advance.

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Re: The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

Post by Mkoll » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:29 am

Hi Asoka and welcome to the forum!

I've read in a few places that the mantra is used as an initial object to calm and concentrate the mind. So its purpose is instrumental but important. Here's one quote I found.
Ajahn Dune wrote:"When you start practicing meditation, you can begin with any method at all, because they all lead to the same results. The reason there are so many methods is because people have different tendencies. This is why there have to be different images to focus on or words to repeat — such as "buddho" or "arahang" — as means of giving the mind a point around which to gather and settle down as the first step. When the mind has gathered and is still, the meditation word will fall away on its own, and that's where every method falls into the same track, with the same flavor. In other words, it has discernment as its surpassing state, and release as its essence."
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

Post by Asoka » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:36 am

Thanks for your reply.

That was what I figured. I was just more specifically asking if Ajahn Thate is teaching something different than mindfulness of in and out breathing. More like the Theravada version of mantra meditation? I know Ajahn Chah teaches breath meditation with the word Buddho, but this form seemed to be a bit different.

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Re: The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

Post by bodom » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:48 am

There's many ways to work with the mantra Buddho. See the thread below in which I've posted just about every reference to Buddho found on the internet:


To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: The Buddho Meditation of Ajahn Thate

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:09 am

Perhaps it's peripheral, but the ancient commentaries discuss breath counting (see the Visuddhimagga, for example) as an aid to mindfulness of breathing. I don't think they mention the Buddho idea, but that often seems to be used in much the same way (as an aid to mindfulness).

From the link in the original post, the Buddho repetition is being used to develop insight in much the same way as one would use the breath, or some other object. Seeing that the object is one thing and the knowing is another is an early part of the traditional insight process:
If you go to a teacher experienced in meditating on buddho, he'll have you repeat buddho, buddho, buddho, and have you keep the mind firmly in that meditation word until you're fully skilled at it. Then he'll have you contemplate buddho and what it is that's saying buddho. Once you see that they are two separate things, focus on what's saying buddho. As for the word buddho, it will disappear, leaving only what it is that was saying buddho. You then focus on what it is that was saying buddho as your object.

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