Thai Forest Tradition

Definition - What does Thai Forest Tradition mean?

The Thai Forest Tradition is a branch of Theravada Buddhism that follows the Buddha's original monastic rules of discipline. Also known as the Forest Monk Tradition and the Kammatthana Forest Tradition of Thailand, the Thai Forest Tradition emphasizes insight from meditation rather than studying the Pali Canon, or foundational scriptures of Theravada, as the means of realizing enlightenment or reaching a state of nirvana.

The monks of the Thai Forest Tradition live a simple, disciplined austere life and renounce most earthly possessions and temptations.

Yogapedia explains Thai Forest Tradition

The modern incarnation of the Thai Forest Tradition began around the turn of the 20th century, spurred by the teachings of Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Thera and his mentor, Ajahn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera. Ajahn Mun taught that rituals were not important, but rather, one's state of mind. He believed that jhana, a deep meditative state of absorption, was essential and that nirvana was achievable.

Thai Forest Tradition monks remain celibate, don't handle money and rely on the lay community for food and clothing. In turn, the monks provide the lay community with spiritual inspiration and teachings. The monks also may wander the countryside seeking quiet places of retreat or on pilgrimage.

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