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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ajahn Mun, the Beginings, Dhammayut Dhutanga Kammatthana Buddhism in Thailand

 Kammatthana Dhutanga Buddhism, Once again you can find your own definitions of theses words. To me  as far as the Bhikkhu Sangha is concerned it means the tradition of strict adherence to the Vinaya, observing the Dhutanga practices.
In the early 1900s in Thailand the newly formed Dhammayut NIkaiya (sect) seems to have decided that Enlightment was no longer possible in this day and age and set up a "reform tradition" more or less under the direction of Central Administrative monks and Thai Government Officers. Passing tests and Buddhist style social climbing were introduced. In my mind I see this as state sponsored "shallowness in evryday life and more importantly in Buddhism. The real birth the 1st Refuge of Thailand. "appearance is more important than substance.
Instead of me bloviating I suggest you read "Forest Recollections" by Kamala Tiyavanich (sorry you gotta buy this one), "Venerable Acariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera" by Maha Boowa . Go to ForestDhamma  to get this and many other books that tell stories, offer information and provide guidance on Buddhism, The other source of everything you need to know can be found at Forest Sangha Pubs for books and talks by Ajahn Chah and his students.
Now let's get back to some simple facts and places right in Ubon Ratchatani town that can be visited to this day.
The The Khammathana Dhutanga tradition never really died out it was just not acknowledged by the Central Thai Government. Dhammayut only, Ajahn Sao was ordained in another Nikaiya as did Mun in 1893 at Wat Liap monastery in Ubon. Mun was a student of Ajahn Sao and went on Tudong with him from the beginning. In 1899 Mun reordained in the Thammayut order and went off on his own to meditate.
The early 1900s to the teens saw the Central Thai authorities cracking down on the  Kammatthana Dhutanga monks that now existed in their Dhamma yut order. It seems their perception of Buddhism was monks  while passing tests and working their way up the administrative ladder being served by the people.
By about 1916 and after Ajahn Mun had quite a reputation as a teacher in Isaan (see the book Mae Chee  Kaew, at the forestdhamma website. As far as I can determine he remained in the Phu Pan region of Northeast Thailand until 1927 when he returned to Ubon and after the Pansaa of 1928 Left Isaan not to return to Isaan until 1940
1927 and into 1928 in Ubon Mun was in Ubon teaching monks and laypeople in Wat Suthat, Wat Liap, and Wat Burapha.
Here in the album are picture of the 3 Wats today. I will be posting more info on those 3 soon