THAILAND – FOREST MONKS TRADITION
Phra Ajahn Maha Boowa Nanasampanno (1913 – )
Lineage: Ajahn Mun [Kammatthana]
Biography: Venerable Ajahn Maha Boowa was born in Udorn-thani, North-east Thailand in 1913. He became a monk in the customary way at a local monastery and went on to study the Pali language and texts. At this time he also started to meditate but had not yet found a suitable Teacher. Then he caught sight of the Ven. Ajahn Mun and immediately felt that this was someone really special, someone who obviously had achieved something from his Dhamma practice.
After finishing his Grade Three Pali studies he therefore left the study monastery and followed Ven. Ajahn Mun into the forests of N.E. Thailand. When he caught up with Ven. Ajahn Mun, he was told to put his academic knowledge to one side and concentrate on meditation. And that was what he did. He often went into solitary retreat in the mountains and jungle but always returned for help and advice from Ven. Ajahn Mun. He stayed with Ven. Ajahn Mun for seven years, right until the Ven. Ajahn’s passing away.
The vigor and uncompromising determination of his Dhamma practice attracted other monks dedicated to meditation and this eventually resulted in the founding of Wat Pa Bahn Tahd, in some forest near the village where he was born. This enabled his mother to come and live as a nun at the monastery. Maha boowa is currently the abbot of wat pa bahn tahd. he travelled to london and gave lectures there. He founded the help thai nation project, a charitable effort dedicated to helping the thai economic rescue effort. He was visited and supported by the King and Queen of Thailand.
Source: [From the Introduction to To the Last Breath.]
Comment: Ven. Ajahn Maha Boowa is well known for the fluency and skill of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic approach. They obviously reflect his own attitude and the way he personally practiced Dhamma. This is best exemplified in the Dhamma talks he gives to those who go to meditate at Wat Pa Bahn Tahd. Such talks usually take place in the cool of the evening, with lamps lit and the only sound being the insects and cicadas in the surrounding jungle. He often begins the Dhamma talk with a few moments of stillness — this is the most preparation he needs — and then quietly begins the Dhamma exposition. As the theme naturally develops, the pace quickens and those listening increasingly feel its strength and depth.
The formal Dhamma talk might last from thirty-five to sixty minutes. Then, after a more general talk, the listeners would all go back to their solitary huts in the jungle to continue the practice, to try to find the Dhamma they had been listening about — inside themselves.
Source: [From the Introduction to To the Last Breath.]
Particular Teachings: Kammatthana
Kammatthana literally means “basis of work” or “place of work”. It describes the contemplation of certain meditation themes used by a meditating monk so the forces of defilement (kilesa), craving (tanha), and ignorance (avijja) may be uprooted from the mind. Although kammatthana can be found in many meditation-related subjects, the term is most often used to identify the forest tradition (the Kammatthana tradition) lineage founded by Ajahn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera and his student Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera.
Main Temple: Wat Pah Bahn Tahd
c/o Songserm Service
89 Phosi Road. Udon Thani 41000 Thailand
Web site: main: www.luangta.org
Centres: Wat Pa Bahn Tahd
Teachers: Ajahn Pannavaddho, Vice-abbot (English; age 65). Probably the most senior western monk in Thailand.
Pannavaddho was one of the first bhikkhus to live and practise in the Hampstead Vihara with Kapilavaddho Bhikkhu in the 1960’s. Wrote the “Wisdom of Samadhi “
All books listed here are available online as downloads. Useful web site are: www.accesstoinsight.org
Many of Maha Boowa’s books are printed by W.A.V.E. publications, a free Dhamma book publishing service.
Books printed by WAVE are:
Things as They Are *
Autobiorgraphy of Ajahn Mun
Straight from The Heart
Wisdom Develops Samadhi
Mode Of Practice Of Acharn Mun
*those listed with an asterisk are out of stock as of 20/12/98.
Those wishing to get a free copy of the Dhamma book OR Contribute towards the next Dhamma titles or reprint those titles which are out of stock may write to:
Wisdom Audio Visual Exchange (W.A.V.E.)
Publisher of Dhamma books for free distribution.
Contact: Mr Lim Tay Poh
No 2, Jalan Chan Ah Tong
Off Jalan Tun Sambathan
50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: (603) 2749509, Fax: (603) 7833198
Web site: http://www.budaedu.org/en/book/
The Dhamma Teaching of Acariya Maha Boowa in London translated from the Thai by Bhikkhu Paññavaddho (1980; 324k/108pp.)
A wide-ranging collection of formal Dhamma talks and informal question-and-answer sessions, directed to a group of lay followers in London. Here you will find this memorable exchange, among many others: A questioner asked, “I would like to ask if people can practice meditation in a city like this [London]?” Maha Boowa replied, “Only the dead cannot practice meditation.”
Straight from the Heart: 13 Talks on the Practice of Meditation, by Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno, translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1996; 466k/155pp.) This collection of talks was originally given for the benefit of a lay disciple who had come to Ajahn Maha Boowa’s monastery to receive guidance as she faced her approaching death from bone marrow cancer. These talks offer important lessons about how to learn from pain, illness, and death, by seeing through to their ultimate nature.
Things as They Are: A Collection of Talks on the Training of the Mind, by Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno, translated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (1996; 391k/130pp.)
These extemporaneous talks were delivered to the monks living at Ajahn Maha Boowa’s monastery. There is much valuable Dhamma teaching here for all meditators, monastic and lay alike. In these talks Ajahn Maha Boowa often recounts conversations with his teacher, Ajahn Mun, that reveal the power and depth of Ajahn Mun’s teachings and of the teachings of the forest tradition in general.
To the Last Breath: Dhamma Talks on Living and Dying, by Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno & Upasika Kee Nanayon, edited by Bhikkhu Ariyesako (1992; 421k/140pp.)
This book is really two books in one. The first part contains a collection of talks by Ajahn Maha Boowa (many of which were previously published in the book Amata Dhamma). Most of these talks were given for the benefit of an ill lay disciple of Ajahn Maha Boowa, Mrs. Pow-panga Vathanakul, and thus touch on many aspects of Dhamma practice concerning life, illness, and death. The second part of the book is a collection of Dhamma talks by Upasika Kee Nanayon, an extraordinary woman who was renowned for the depth of her meditation practice and her unwavering commitment to the Dhamma. These talks have been published previously as Directions for Insight and Directing to Self-penetration; the last four of them have recently been retranslated and published in the anthology, An Unentangled Knowing. The present book stands as a powerful reminder of the universality of the Dhamma, a reminder that the door to liberation awaits all those who would put forth the effort, without regard to race, age, or gender.
The following are available from Wat Pa Bahn Tahd:
The complete List of Books
Book Title available Info Online
1 1980 The Dhamma Teaching of Acariya Maha Boowa in London
2 1980 Forest Dhamma; A selection of talks on Buddhist practice
3 1980 Amata Dhamma (6 talks on Dhamma)
4 1980 The Venerable Phra Acharn Mun Bhuridatta Thera (Meditation Master) disc.
5 1987 Straight from the heart (13 talks on the practice of meditation)
6 1988 Things as they are; a collection of talks on the training of the mind (13 talks)
7 1994 Kammatthana (The basis of practice) disc.
8 1997 Patipada or the mode of practice of Venerable Acharn Mun
9 1999 A life of inner Quality (A comprehensive guide to Buddhist practice) (10 talks)
10 2004 The Biography of the Venerable Phra Acharn Mun
Books may be ordered from the following address:The Editors, Wat Pa Barn Tard, Barn Tard, Ampher Meuang, Udorn Thani, 41000 Thailand.