Sunday, December 28, 2014

American monk lives in Thai cave (video)

Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterlynext-life
The caves of S.E. Asia are amazing and conducive to meditation (Laka-mankong/flickr).
(DrSeripiput Srimuang) A Chicago-born former law student and businessman became a thudong (dhutanga, "sane asceticism") forest dwelling Buddhist monk: Over 30 years he traveled from the US to UK to India and has been in Thailand for 20 years pursuing his spiritual quest.

Just as Brian Eno sings of "Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)," one may take that not as a struggle for territory but as a quest for enlightenment. Americans once rushed into idyllic Asian jungles for war, but some found peace. Many of us return to those Forest Tradition settings to develop Buddhist meditation and live a rugged, rural life of "sane asceticism." This is quite possible even today in north and south Thailand.

An American monk abroad in Asia
(Next-Life) Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu was born in Chicago in July, 1940, attended university, served in the U.S. Navy, was a government employee, and owned several businesses (real estate, appraisal, insurance, and construction).

He married, divorced, and went forth from the lay life on a spiritual quest at 29. In the U.S. he lived in yoga ashrams, spiritual communities, and Buddhist centers. After a three-year retreat he left the U.S., ordained as a novice then became a fully ordained monk (bhikkhu) 20 years ago.
Ajahn Sumano (
In Thailand Ajahn Sumano has lived in international forest monasteries in the northeast and south of Thailand, on mountain tops, in the most remote Hill Tribe regions, on islands, and in quiet bat caves. He has spent several rains retreats in Malaysia, Burma, and Sri Lanka. and most chain bookstores stock his publications.  In Thailand a half dozen booklets of his are freely available for the asking. They are translations of talks given by highly respected monks which have been published through the generosity of his supporters.
Ajahn Sumano has been establishing the Double-Eyed Cave Retreat Sanctuary since 1995. More
  • Messages from cave dwelling American monk “Since I arrived in the forests of Northeast Thailand in the 1980s, dozens of Western monks have come and gone [to meditate and practice]. A few are still here waiting for ‘the fat lady to sing.’ But most returned to the West with their Dharma treasure. Usually when they left, they left with the ‘heart’ of the forest...”
Back in Judy's Jungle (Brian Eno)
[U.S. in Vietnam?] These are your orders/ Seems like it's do it or die/ So please read them closely/ When you've read them be sure that you eat them up/ They're specially flavored/ With Burgundy, Tizer, and Rye/ Twelve sheets of foolscap: don't ask me why./ We hit the jungle/ Just as it starts to monsoon:/ Our maps showed no rainfall/ All the boys were depressed by this circumstance/ "Trust in the weather" said less agricultural men/ Who gives birth to more farmhands, don't ask me why./ Fifteen was chosen because he was dumb,/ Seven because he was blind:/ I got the job because I was so mean,/ While somehow appearing so kind./ Drifting about through the cauliflower trees/ With a cauliflower ear for the birds,/ The squadron assembled what senses they had/ And this is the sound that they heard.../Back at headquarters,/ Khaki decisions are made/ File under "Futile":/ That should give you its main point of reference/ It's all so confusing, what with pythons and then deadly flies/ But to them, it's a picnic/ Don't ask me why...

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