Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Forest Hermits of Thailand (video)

Crystal Quintero, Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Facundo Soares Gache
"Thudong: Forest Monks and Hermits [and now Nuns] of Thailand," edited/produced by FSG

The Buddha in rare walking pose (WQ)
This is the Theravada ideal keeping alive the Buddhism that originated in India, where the historical Buddha first taught, and Central Asia (in Indo-Scythia/Gandhara, modern Afghanistan/and the other Stans), where the Buddha was born and returned to benefit his clan and territory, the Shakyas (Sakyas, Sakas).

Much of his extended family went on to become enlightened nomadic wanderers (shramans) following his example.

It is known as the Thai Buddhist "Forest Tradition," which some argue is not actually an officially sanctioned monastic tradition. But because it enjoys royal patronage and was founded by a king, it is accepted as one. Ten percent of the monastics in Thailand are in this sect, whereas 90% remain within the Maha Nikaya.

The young king wanted to temporarily ordain, as is Thai tradition, in an uncorrupted Sangha rooted in the Buddha's teachings, the Dharma. The Buddha set down 13 "Sane Ascetic Practices" or dhutangas, to counter the tendency of hermits going to extremes. In Thai this is translated as thudong.

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