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The Dark Side of Ajahn Mun’s Biography

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Ajahn Mun

Venerable Ācariya Mun Būridatta Thera is one of the most revered forest masters of the 20th century. He is the root guru of both the Dhammayut and Ajahn Chah monasteries. He popularized the monastic practice of living under an umbrella in the forest and his relentless energy is fascinating and inspiring.  Although I criticize this book and state that this book is far away from attainments and right view, I still find the “way of life” inspiring.  It is also not proven 100% that these are really the words of Ajahn Mun.

One day I tried to read the biographical book on this great forest master which some regard as the Thai Forest Bible, written by Venerable Ācariya Mahã Boowa Ñãṇasampanno, the heir and leader of the Dhammayut sect who passed away not so long ago. He was a direct disciple of Ajahn Mun and publicly claimed to be fully enlightened. Below is a quote from Ajahn Mun which prevented me from finishing the book. If you know anything about Buddhism, brace yourself:

On the nights subsequent to Ãcariya Mun’s attainment of vimutti, a
number of Buddhas, accompanied by their Arahant disciples, came to
congratulate him on his vimuttidhamma. One night, a certain Buddha,
accompanied by tens of thousands of Arahant disciples, came to visit;
the next night, he was visited by another Buddha who was accompanied
by hundreds of thousands of Arahant disciples. Each night a different
Buddha came to express his appreciation, accompanied by a different
number of Arahant disciples. Ãcariya Mun stated that the number of
accompanying Arahant disciples varied according to each Buddha’s
relative accumulation of merit – a factor that differed from one Buddha
to the next.

This quote is complete fantasy and it is impossible according to real Theravāda Buddhism. Ask anyone outside the Thai Forest Tradition. I have explained this already in the article here:   “Does The Buddha Live In Nibbāna?” https://subhuti.withmetta.net/2017/09/10/buddha-live-nibbana/ .  It should be noted Buddhas that still live in Nirvana is a popular Mahayana and Vadjrayana (Tibetan) belief.  It is also very popular in New Age Religions.

In either case.  While one should know that this section of the book is complete rubbish.  The other parts of the book leading up to this quote are very inspiring.  The monastic way of life in some of the monasteries which continue with this legacy are inspiring too.  So there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Links Below:
1. Does the Buddha Live in Nibbāna? https://subhuti.withmetta.net/2017/09/10/buddha-live-nibbana/
2. OBE4U.com article on biblical dreams of prophets http://obe4u.com/god-christianity-bible/
3. Ajahn Martin says, “Yes, you can talk to Buddhas” http://www.forestdhammatalks.org/en/ajahn_martin/questions_and_answers.php
4. General discussions about the “citta.” https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/mind-in-the-thai-forest-tradition/4464
5. Link to quoted text p.172 Venerable Ãcariya Mun Bhýridatta Thera: A Spiritual Biography by Ãcariya Mahã Boowa Ñãõasampanno.  http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/english/pdf/Acariya_Mun__A_Spiritual_Biography.pdf

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About Bhikkhu Subhuti

Bhikkhu Subhuti is an American Buddhist Monk with roots in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar Forest Traditions. He currently resides in Myanmar but his heart sometimes floats back to Kauai, HI where he spent six months in 2015.
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