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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

10 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Ajahn Mun’s Biography

  1. Bhante, What were the Ajahn Chah’s, Liem’s, Dtun’s opinion on that?
    Which ajahn in the Thai tradition have traditional Theravada view on that matter?

  2. can it be Buddha from another universe? (not Buddha Gautama or Buddha from the past). I think i’ve read that many Buddha is still live in many universes (not sure if it’s from therevada or mahayana sources)

  3. It does not seem that the quote is referencing any Buddha who has already passed; it may be suggesting the existence of Buddhas in other worlds.

    1. It is said in the commentary that only one Buddha can exist in any world system at any one time. That would also include the time the dhamma is alive after he dies too. I can provide the Pali if you wish. You are mentioning Mahayana view.

  4. Just keep practicing , you don’t need to care what ajahn mun saw or didn’t saw , just put the end of your own defilement. The buddha didn’t even reveal everything he knows. Never judge .Keep practicing

    1. The idea of “The Buddha didn’t reveal everything” is wrong. He revealed everything necessary for Nibbana. He said that there is nothing outside of the 5 khandas . And at final cessation, all 5 khandas cease without arising again without remainder.
      The problem is your teachers speak of a special “citta” as 6 khanda which is never mentioned in the texts. This “special citta” is mentioned by the Thai Forest monks.and nowhere else. The way you speak allows for anyone to attribute anything to The Buddha as a teaching The Buddha didn’t reveal. It is ridiculous. You need to practice Buddhism according to all of the Pali texts in a systematical way. Please read the Pa-Auk books which align one to one with the Buddhist Texts in which top scholars have personally experienced first hand and agree that it matches the texts.
      Lastly, I criticize the content of the book and not Ajahn Mun based on a remote theory that words have been put into his mouth.

    2. You are saying we shouldn’t care about what a very influential theravadan monk with hundreds of thousands of followers said? What do you recommend then just shut down your logic and follow your fantasies? It is very kind And brave of bhikkhu subhuti to call out this outrageous claims to prevent people from having wrong views.

      1. There are 1.8 Billion followers of the teachings of Mohammed. (The Islam religion). He taught based on his experience that was “dictated to him by God Himself.” We need to follow the Buddhist Teachings and not things outside of it. Before you reply again, I wish you to see a monk who is well learned in the Buddhist Texts and faithful to the rules. In Thailand they have government exams up to 9 levels. Any monk who is at level 5 or 6 would agree with what I say. What more could be said about level 9? Please visit or call the monks at Wat Khao Sanamchai in Hua Hin. That monastery has many learned monks who are also faithful to the rules laid down by the Buddha. Show him this article or translate it for him. Fantasy can be an experience if you are not wise enough. We should not rely on the mere numbers of followers to judge something as “correct”. I wish you to ask a learned monk and report back.

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