Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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marc108
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by marc108 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:52 pm

Ajahn Sujato. While he did train at some of the Ajahn Chah related monasteries, I dont believe he ever met Ajahn Chah, and I would consider him very much an 'independent'.
"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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Dhammanando
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:03 pm

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.

Clarence
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by Clarence » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:09 pm

Venerable,

If I may ask, but what is your tradition? Do you consider yourself a forest tradition monk or do you have a different background?

Thanks,

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Dhammanando
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:51 am

If I may ask, but what is your tradition?
Theravada, but without being allied with any particular one of the Theravadin sub-traditions.

Do you consider yourself a forest tradition monk or do you have a different background?
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.

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cooran
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by cooran » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:00 am

Maybe have a look at : http://forestsangha.org/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

With metta
Chris
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Zom
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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)?

Clarence
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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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pilgrim
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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/

Forest gitta lane
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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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appicchato
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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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PsychedelicSunSet
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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:
Metta

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kmath
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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!
:anjali:

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JeffR
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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
Therein what are 'six (types of) disrespect'? One dwells without respect, without deference for the Teacher; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Teaching; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Order; one dwells without respect, without deference for the precepts; one dwells without respect, without deference for heedfulness; one dwells without respect, without deference for hospitality. These are six (types of) disrespect.
:Vibh 945

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Hickersonia
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Re: Western Teachers of the Thai Forest Tradition

Post by 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...

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

Post by 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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