134408Visit to a Thai temple
- Dec 21, 2013
I was recently in Bangkok on business. I have a colleague / friend who is an active Buddhist. I said to him, “I have had many opportunities to learn about the Sri Lankan approach to Buddhism and I have also learned about the Burmese approach. I would like to learn more about the Thai approach to Buddhism. I have some free time before I fly out later this week. Can we arrange a breakfast dana at a temple?” He agreed immediately.
We visited a temple just outside of Bangkok. The monks were from the Thai Forest Tradition. Most Thai Forest Tradition monks, such as Ajahn Brahm, only practice samatha meditation and do not put a focus on Abhidhamma. The temple that I visited was different. This particular branch of the Thai Forest Tradition, under Venerable Pramote Pamojjo, focuses on awareness of the present moment in daily life as a vipassana practice and incorporates the Abhidhamma. Apparently, this approach is gaining popularity among young professional Thais.
Luangpor Pramote was not present during the dana, but I had a wonderful discussion with a senior monk and one of his students, Jess; a Canadian from Toronto (just as I am) who translates the teacher’s work into English. You can download a copy of a recent book “The Buddhist Way to Peace of Mind” with fantastic graphics and clear explanation from the following site:
I picked up a couple of additional books containing Jess’ translations of Luangpor Pramote’s dhamma talks and I plan to use them as airplane reading. Each approach to practice has its strengths and its weakness; I am attracted to the idea that this approach is focused on application to daily life rather than in a retreat setting. Of course, getting attached to any practice or the wrong view that there is a self that practices is an obstruction.
Jess and I had a very interesting discussion about how the nature of the Thai language had influenced the approach to practice in Thailand. Recently, I have been reading a book from Pali Text Society, “A Philological Approach to Buddhism”, by K R Norman which stresses the importance of language; a fascinating topic that I will probably touch upon in another post someday.
Rob M :-)
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