Buddhist Teachings

  • The Basics
  • Thai Forest Traditions

    – Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasilo Mahathera
    – Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto
    – Phra Ajaan Dune Atulo
    – Phra Ajaan Thate Desaransi
    – Phra Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
    – Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno
    – Phra Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    – Phra Ajaan Boonpeng Kappago
    – Phra Ajaan Paññavaddho
    – Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)

    – Upasika Kee Nanayon (K. Khao-suan-luang)

  • From the Pali Canon
  • Miscellaneous Titles

The Fundamentals

  • Buddhism in a Nutshell, by Narada Mahathera
  • What is Buddhism? The Buddhist Society of Western Australia
  • Buddhism: A Method of Mind Training, by Leonard Bullen
    A very basic rookie’s summary of the 4 Noble Truths.
  • Acknowledging the Dhamma, A Research Study Guide Prepared by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Thankfully for us, the Buddha left clear guidelines by which we can judge the validity of any interpretation of Dhamma or Vinaya. These 8 principles, often called the “Constitution of Buddhism,” show us that any mentor requirement to lastly be evaluated by the results that originate from putting it into practice.
  • The 4 Noble Truths
    An introduction to the 4 Noble Realities, the fundamental structure on which all the Buddha’s teachings are established.
  • Haven: an Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    This brief book provides an excellent intro to one of the most standard principles of Buddhism: the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha, collectively referred to as the Triple Gem or Triple Sanctuary. The material is divided into 3 parts: (I) a preliminary essay on the meaning of refuge and the act of choosing sanctuary; (II) a series of readings drawn from the earliest Buddhist texts highlighting the important qualities of the Triple Gem; and (III) a set of essays explaining elements of the Triple Gem that normally provoke concerns in those who are new to the Buddha’s mentors.

Thai Forest Traditions

Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasilo Mahathera (1861-1941)
Ajaan Sao and his student Ajaan Mun developed the Kammatthana custom. A real forest-dweller, Ajaan Sao left no composed records of his teachings. Fortunately for us, another of his trainees– Phra Ajaan Phut Thaniyo– taped Ajaan Sao’s Mentor: A Reminiscence of Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasilo, which offers us a look of Ajaan Sao’s terse however efficient coach design.

Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto (1870-1949)
Ajaan Mun was born in 1870 in Baan Kham Bong, a farming town in Ubon Ratchathani province, northeastern Thailand. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1893, he invested the rest of his life strolling through Thailand, Burma, and Laos, house for the most part in the forest, participated in the practice of meditation. He brought in an enormous following of students and, together with his instructor, Phra Ajaan Sao Kantasilo Mahathera (1861-1941), developed the forest meditation tradition (the Kammatthana custom) that consequently expanded throughout Thailand and to various nations abroad. He died in 1949 at Wat Suddhavasa, Sakon Nakhorn province. [Changed from the Introduction to A Heart Launched.] For more about Ajaan Mun and the history of the Kammatthana custom, see the essay “The Customizeds of the Noble Ones,” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

A newly modified bio of Ajaan Mun, composed by Ajaan Maha Boowa, is used from Wat Pah Baan Taad.

  • The Ballad of Freedom from the Khandhas, by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera
    This poem, made up at some time in the 1930’s, is amongst the few known written coaches left to us by Ajaan Mun.
  • The Ever-present Truth: Mentors of Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera, by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera
    8 brief pieces drawn from Ajaan Mun’s preachings provided throughout the last 2 years of his life. These fragments were at first added to the book A Heart Launched as part of a celebratory volume distributed at Phra Ajaan Mun’s cremation in 1950. The options consisted of here make up all of the passages dealing directly with the practice of virtue and meditation.
  • A Heart Launched: The Mentors of Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera, by Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera
    Seventeen excerpts from Dhamma teachings supplied by Ajaan Mun in 1944-45.

    Phra Ajaan Dune Atulo (1888-1983)
    Ajaan Dune Atulo was born upon October 4, 1888 in Praasaat Town in Muang District, Surin province. At the age of 22 he ordained in the provincial capital. Six years later on, disappointed with his life as an oblivious town monk, he delegated research study in Ubon Ratchathani, where he befriended Ajaan Singh Khanityagamo and reordained in the Dhammayut sect. Quickly afterwards, he and Ajaan Singh fulfilled Ajaan Mun, who had actually simply gone back to the Northeast after many years of wandering. Impressed with Ajaan Mun’s mentors and with his deportment, both monks deserted their studies and used up the roaming meditation life under his support. They were for that reason his very first 2 disciples. After wandering for 19 years through the forests and mountains of Thailand and Cambodia, Ajaan Dune received an order from his ecclesiastical superiors to head a combined research study and practice abbey in Surin. It was thus that he took control of the abbotship of Wat Burapha, in the middle of the town, in 1934. There he remained till his death in 1983.

  • Presents He Left: The Dhamma Custom of Ajaan Dune Atulo (Phra Rajavuddhacariya), put together by Phra Bodhinandamuni
    A collection of brief anecdotes and quotes from Ajaan Dune, as remembered by amongst his long-time monastic buddies. Ajaan Dune’s straightforward words are abundant with stealthily fundamental insights that reflect a substantial grasp of Dhamma. His distinct discussion of the 4 worthy realities, which echoes through these pages, is breathtakingly clear: “The mind sent exterior is the origination of suffering; the outcome of the mind sent outside is suffering; the mind seeing the mind is the path; and the result of the mind seeing the mind is the cessation of suffering.”

Phra Ajaan Thate Desaransi (1902-1994)
Ajaan Thate was one of the most incredibly respected Buddhist monks of the Theravada school in Thailand and was around the world acknowledged as a master of meditation. In addition to his large following in Thailand, Ajaan Thate has in fact trained lots of western disciples.

  • Buddho, by Ajaan Thate
    An easy and helpful guide to using the meditation expression, buddho, which is made use of to settle the mind to the point at which discernment can start to emerge.
  • Steps Along the Course, by Ajaan Thate
    A brief handbook on the practice of meditation, with pointers and tips for new and skilled meditators. Of particular interest is Ajaan Thate’s discussion of how finest to respond when visions and indications take place throughout the course of meditation practice.

    Phra Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo (1902-1984)
    Ajaan Lee was one of the primary instructors in the Thai forest ascetic custom of meditation founded at the millenium by his instructor, Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta. His life was brief but eventful. Known for his ability as a teacher and his proficiency of supranatural powers, he was the really first to bring the ascetic tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in main Thailand.

  • Keeping the Breath in Mind and Lessons in Samadhi, by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo
    A total handbook for breath meditators, filled with comprehensive helpful guidelines for the advancement of concentration and insight.

Phra Ajaan Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno (1913- )
Venerable Ajaan Maha Boowa was born in Udorn-thani, North-east Thailand in 1913. He became a monk in the popular method at a regional monastery and went on to study the Pali language and texts. At this time he also started to practice meditation nevertheless had not yet found an appropriate Trainer. Then he found the Ven. Ajaan Mun and quickly felt that this was somebody truly special, someone who certainly had accomplished something from his Dhamma practice.After finishing
his Grade 3 Pali studies he for that reason left the study abbey and followed Ven. Ajaan Mun into the forests of N.E. Thailand. When he overtook Ven. Ajaan Mun, he was told to put his academic understanding to one side and concentrate on meditation. Which was what he did. He often went into singular retreat in the mountains and jungle however always returned for aid and suggestions from Ven. Ajaan Mun. He stuck with Ven. Ajaan Mun for 7 years, best till the Ven. Ajaan’s diing.

The vitality and uncompromising decision of his Dhamma practice attracted other monks committed to meditation and this ultimately resulted in the starting 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 abbey.

Ven. Ajaan Maha Boowa is well known for the fluency and capability of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic method. They plainly show his own state of mind and the way he personally practiced Dhamma. This is best exhibited in the Dhamma talks he gives to those who go to practice meditation at Wat Pa Bahn Tahd. Such talks generally occur in the cool of the evening, with lights lit and the only noise being the insects and cicadas in the surrounding jungle. He often begins the Dhamma talk with a few minutes of stillness– this is one of the most preparation he needs– and then quietly begins the Dhamma exposition. As the style naturally develops, the speed accelerates and those listening progressively feel its strength and depth.

The formal Dhamma talk may last from thirty-five to sixty minutes. Then, after a more general talk, the listeners would all go back to their singular huts in the jungle to continue the practice, to look for the Dhamma they had actually been listening about– inside themselves. [From the Intro to To the Dying breath.] A Great Deal Of Ajaan Maha Boowa’s books are offered totally free of charge, in both print and electronic kind, from Wat Pah Baan Taad, his forest abbey in Thailand.

  • Things as They Are: A Collection of Talks on the Training of the Mind, by Maha Boowa Ñanasampanno
    These extemporaneous talks were provided to the monks living at Ajaan Maha Boowa’s abbey. There is much essential Dhamma teaching here for all meditators, monastic and regular alike. In these talks Ajaan Maha Boowa frequently states conversations with his trainer, Ajaan Mun, that expose the power and depth of Ajaan Mun’s teachings and of the teachings of the forest customized in fundamental.
  • Venerable Acariya Mun Bhuridatta Thera – A Spiritual Bio, PDF Book, 3.97 MB
  • Arahattamagga-Arahattaphala: The Course to Arahantship, PDF Book, 3.43 MB
  • Wisdom Develops Samadhi, PDF Book, 2.06 MB

Phra Ajaan Suwat Suvaco (1919-2002)
Born on August 29, 1919, Ajaan Suwat ordained at the age of 20 and wound up being a trainee of Ajaan Funn Acaro two or three years in the future. He also studied briefly with Ajaan Mun. Following Ajaan Funn’s death in 1977, Ajaan Suwat stayed on at the monastery to monitor his instructor’s royal funeral service and the structure of a monolith and museum in Ajaan Funn’s honor. In the 1980’s Ajaan Suwat worried the United States, where he established 4 abbeys: one near Seattle, Washington; 2 near Los Angeles; and one in the hills of San Diego County (Metta Forest Abbey). He went back to Thailand in 1996, and passed away in Buriram on April 5, 2002 after a long health issue.

  • Blatantly Clear in the Heart, by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    A brief talk on the development of virtue, concentration, and discernment. Keep practicing till these qualities become clear in your own heart!
  • To Comprehend Suffering, by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    Meditation isn’t about “getting” things; it has to do with launching. We can’t release the darkness and deception in our minds; it needs to be dispersed by light– the light of clear-seeing discernment that we cultivate through meditation.
  • Disenchantment, by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    A talk offered at the start of a meditation session, in which Ajaan Suwat describes how to strenghten mindfulness and develop the disenchantment needed for discernment to emerge. A remarkable introduction to the factor to consider of the 32 parts of the body.
  • A Fistful of Sand, by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    These Dhamma talks and question-and-answer sessions were tape-recorded throughout a two-week meditation retreat he taught at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts in 1990. This event marked an unusual possibility for a senior Thai ajaan to speak directly to Westerners in their house environment. With a deactivating ease and clearness, Ajaan Suwat here brightens a variety of important points of Dhamma that will help the reader develop the proper mindset towards the practice of meditation.
  • The Technique of a Tranquil Mind, by Ajaan Suwat Suvaco
    Seeing guarantee as a skilled strategy assists the meditator settle the mind down into concentration. Nevertheless its usages also encompass sophisticated phases of meditation, by helping one disengage from all participation with the aggregates, as a result bringing the meditator to the limitation of Awakening. In this extraordinary talk Ajaan Suwat weaves together coaches for starting and advanced meditators, alike.

    Phra Ajaan Boonpeng Kappago

  • The Development of Tranquility and Insight Knowledge through Meditation (Samatha Kammatthana and Vipassana Kammatthana), by Phra Ajaan Boonpeng Kappago

    Phra Ajaan Paññavaddho (1925-2004)
    Olden Ajaan Paññavaddho was for 41 years the senior-most Western bhikkhu following Ajaan Mun’s course of practice. Ajaan Panya, as he was called, was a male of intellectual luster who, through his own efforts in meditation, had the ability to develop a strong spiritual structure in his heart. While revealing a generous devotion to the job of supplying Ajaan Mun’s Dhamma to his great deals of disciples, his calm and purposeful existence touched the lives of a great deal of individuals. He ended up being a leader of the Western Sangha whose management impacted numerous monks and laypeople to practice Ajaan Mun’s mentors; and whose translations and analyses of Ajaan Maha Boowa’s mentors introduced generations of Buddhists to the Thai forest custom-made.

  • Ajaan Paññavaddho’s bio, Dhamma talks and image album.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff; 1949- )
Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American Buddhist monk of the Thai forest kammathana tradition. After finishing from Oberlin College in 1971 with a degree in European Intellectual History, he traveled to Thailand, where he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko, himself a trainee of the late Ajaan Lee. He ordained in 1976 and lived at Wat Dhammasathit, where he remained following his instructor’s death in 1986. In 1991 he travelled to the hills of San Diego County, U.S.A., where he assisted Ajaan Suwat Suwaco establish Wat Mettavanaram (“Metta Forest Abbey”). He was made abbot of the monastery in 1993. His long list of publications includes translations from Thai of Ajaan Lee’s meditation manuals; Handful of Leaves, a four-volume anthology of sutta translations; The Buddhist Monastic Code, a two-volume recommendation handbook for monks; Wings to Awakening; and (as co-author) the college-level book Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction.

  • A Guided Meditation, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Standard directions in the practice of breath meditation.
  • Life Isn’t Just Suffering, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Did the Buddha focus on suffering due to the fact that he was a pessimist? Did he really mention that life is suffering? Or was he a realist with something a lot more useful to state?
  • The Significance of the Buddha’s Awakening, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Although the Buddha’s Awakening took place long previously in ancient India, the reality of his Awakening is quite alive today and has profound implications for how we approach Buddhist practice. In this essay the author explores both the What and the How of the Buddha’s Awakening: what he awakened to and how he did it.
  • Nibbana, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    This short essay sketches using fire imagery in early Buddhism to explain Nibbana, the goal of Buddhist practice.
  • The Weight of Mountains, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    Why do we keep producing suffering for ourselves? How do we bring it to an end? The secret is to learn some far better feeding regimens for the mind.
  • Jhana Not by the Numbers, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    The author remembers how Ajaan Fuang taught meditation to his trainees: he would provide just enough instructions to remain on-track, nevertheless would seldom “accredit” them as having actually accomplished this or that level of jhana, thus encouraging them to establish self-reliance and resourcefulness in their meditation. In the words of Ajaan Fuang: “If I need to describe whatever, you’ll get used to having things handed to you on a plate. And after that what will you do when issues show up in your meditation and you do not have any experience in figuring things out by yourself?”

    Upasika Kee Nanayon (K. Khao-suan-luang) (1901-1979)
    Upasika Kee Nanayon, who wrote under the penname, K. Khao-suan-luang, was among the primary female teachers of Dhamma in modern-day Thailand. Born in 1901, she started a practice center for girls in 1945 on a hill in the province of Rajburi, to the west of Bangkok, where she lived up until her death in 1979. Understood for the simpleness of her way of living, and for the direct, uncompromising design of her mentor, she had a way with words evident not just in her talks, which drew in listeners from all over Thailand, but also in her poetry, which was extensively launched.

  • Stop, Look, and Release, by Upasika Kee Nanayon, equated from the Thai by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    A talk covering a variety of topics, all concerning the requirement for being watchful in keeping an eye on the mind. Remarkable quote: “People who are wise and critical select criticism to applaud. Foolish individuals choose appreciation to criticism.”

From the Pali Canon

  • Anuradha Sutta (SN XXII.86)– To Anuradha [Thanissaro Bhikkhu, trans.] Ven. Anuradha discovers himself consuming over questions about the fate of an arahant after death. The Buddha pulls him out of his confused thinking, and suggests that the only thing genuinely worth pondering is suffering and its cessation.
  • Kaccayanagotta Sutta (SN XII.15)– To Kaccayana Got ta (on Right View) S ii 16; CDB i 544 [Thanissaro] The Buddha goes over to Ven. Kaccayana Got ta how dependent co-arising uses in the advancement of ideal view.

Miscellaneous Titles

  • A Chanting Guide: Pali Passages with English Translations, by The Dhammayut Order in the United States of America
    The complete text, in both Pali and English, of the chants used by laypeople and monastics alike at Buddhist monasteries of the Thai forest tradition (Dhammayut sect). This extensive collection consists of: a guide to pronunciation; the day-to-day (morning and evening) devotional chants; reflections; blessings; verses and discourses from the Pali canon (generally screamed on special events); the fundamental Pali options for requesting for precepts, real blessings, and forgiveness from the Sangha, and those that accompany the offering of presents to the Sangha; and even more.

    Printed copies are in some cases readily available. You can call Buddhist Temple of America and inquire about getting a copy. Audio files of particular chants can be found in the Audio Files section.

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