The Thai Forest Tradition

Not unlike Christianity, there are many schools of Buddhism. In this post we'll take a look at the Thai Forest Tradition, which is of special interest to meditators.

As you already know, Buddhism originated in India over 2500 years ago. It's important to point out that the majority of Buddhist monasteries round Thailand are located in towns and villages. These monasteries generally emphasize chanting, religious ceremonies and studies of Buddhist scriptures.

The Thai Forest Tradition on the other hand, has cut themselves off from urban life to seek out the solitude of the forests and mountains. Building monasteries in isolated locations, is an effective way to remove distractions such as noise and streams of visitors.

Here, the emphasis is on meditation practice. The monks follow a strict monastic code and are also encouraged to practice mindfulness throughout the day, for example while working and eating.

The Thai Forest Tradition has become very popular with Westerners because of its hands on approach. One of the most influential Thai masters was called Ajahn Chah.

Thai Forest Tradition In The West

Chithurst Buddhist Monastery was the first Thai forest monastery outside of Thailand. Chithurst was established in 1979, in the south of England. In addition to the main buildings, the monastery also features a forest with scattered wooden cabins for solitary meditation practice.

Since then, quite a number of forest monasteries have sprung up around the world. Here is a link to the official Thai Forest Tradition website.

It's possible to visit the monasteries for the day or to stay on as a guest. I've lived in three Thai forest monasteries and found the meditation practice most fruitful.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend staying at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery which is located just outside of London, UK. There you can practice meditation under the guidance of Ajahn Sumedho who is the head monk of the Thai Forest Tradition in the West.

A Word Of Caution About Forest Meditation

I would like to draw your attention to one disadvantage of only meditating in quiet surroundings. Namely, the inability to handle distractions such as man-made noise. Many forest monks struggle to meditate in urban settings.

To become a versatile meditator you need to practice walking, sitting, standing and lying down meditation. Moreover, meditate alone, do self-retreats, practice at meditation centers and monasteries, do group retreats and meditate in the four body postures in both peaceful and noisy surroundings.

Personally, I enjoy practicing casual walking meditation in bustling city streets and shopping malls, which easily can be combined with sitting meditation on park benches. The above formula will make your attention steadfast.

Best of luck!

Related:   Goenka Meditation   Meditate In Japan   Mahasi Retreats

axel g > Meditation > The Thai Forest Tradition

All Rights Reserved ©2008-2016

Design by OS Templates