OUR LINEAGE OF TEACHERS FROM THE LATE 19TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT DAY
Luang Puu Sao Kantasīla Mahā Thera (1861 – 1941)
Luang Puu (LP) Sao together with LP Mun was one of the founders of the tradition of Forest Meditation monks of Thailand.
The revival of the Thai Forest Tradition in the late nineteenth century was an attempt to return to the lifestyle and training of the Buddha’s time. The founders’ intention was to realize in their own hearts and minds the inner peace and wisdom of the Dhamma. They abandoned busy village monasteries for the peace and quiet of nature. The Vinaya was followed strictly, emphasizing the importance of every detail. Monks lived without money, accepting whatever was offered, and patiently enduring when nothing was. Ascetic practices (the thirteen dhutaṅgas) recommended by the Buddha were instituted as part of the lifestyle. These included eating only one meal a day from one’s alms bowl, wearing rag robes, and living in the forest, in cemeteries, or in simple shelters. READ MORE>>
Phra Ajaan Mun Bhūridatta Mahā Thera (1870 – 1949)
Luang Puu Mun Bhūridatta Thera was born in 1870 in Baan Kham Bong, a farming village in Ubon Ratchathani province, northeastern Thailand. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1893, he spent the remainder of his life wandering through Thailand, Burma, and Laos, dwelling for the most part in the forest, engaged in the practice of meditation. He attracted an enormous following of students and, together with his teacher, LP Sao Kantasīlo, was responsible for the establishing of the forest ascetic tradition that has now spread throughout Thailand and to several countries abroad. He passed away in 1949 at Wat Paa Suddhāvāsa, Sakon Nakhorn province. READ MORE>>
Than Phor Lee Dhammadharo (1907 – 1961)
Than Phor Lee was one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest ascetic tradition of meditation founded at the turn of the twentieth century by LP Sao Kantasilo and LP Mun Bhūridatta. His life was short but eventful. Known for his skill as a teacher and his mastery of supranatural powers, he was the ﬁrst to bring the ascetic tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in central Thailand.
He presents the life of meditation as one of adventure — where truth is a quality of heart, rather than of ideas, and the development of the mind is a matter of life and death. READ MORE>>
Than Phor Fuang Jotiko (1915 – 1986)
Than Phor Fuang Jotiko, was born in 1915 to a small farming family in the province of Chanthaburi, near the Cambodian border of southeastern Thailand. Orphaned at the age of eleven, he was raised in a series of monasteries and received ordination as a monk when he turned twenty. As he began to study the monastic discipline, though, he realized that the monks of his monastery were not really serious about practicing the Buddha’s teachings, and he longed to ﬁnd a teacher who would give him a training more in line with what he had read. His chance came during his second year as a monk, when Than Phor Lee Dhammadharo, a member of the forest ascetic tradition founded by LP Mun Bhūridatto, came to set up a meditation monastery in an old cemetery just outside of Chanthaburi. READ MORE>>
Luang Puu Jiak Cundo (1916 – 2004)
LP Jiak was a disciple of the late forest meditation master LP Mun (Bhūridatta Mahā Thera 1870–1949). He was one of a small group of monks in the wandering dhutaṅga tradition following LP Mun, like a “calf following its mother.” Wherever the cow goes, its calf will move towards it without any fear or hesitation. Likewise, whatever LP Jiak had in mind, he would bring it out to discuss freely and boldly with LP Mun. He reckoned that “the one who practises seriously and intensely will achieve Dhamma.”
LP Jiak was ordained on 11 July 1937 at Wat Chanthanaraam, Chanthaburi Province. Than Phor Lee Dhammadharo was his Ordination Teacher. His monk’s name was Cundo. He was 21 years, 1 month, and 5 days old at the time of ordination. He was the ﬁrst monk who had Than Phor Lee as the Ordination Teacher. After the ordination at Wat Chanthanaraam, he went to live at Wat Saai-ngaam for three years, studying with Phra Ajaan Kongmaa. READ MORE>>
Phra Ajaan Thānissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff ) (Present Day)
Phra Ajaan Ṭhānissaro is Phra Ajaan Keng’s primary teacher. He was born on 28 December 1949, and grew up in rural New York and Virginia, in the United States of America. Than Phor Fuang took him as a student on one condition: That he make a vow that he would be willing to die in Thailand if he didn’t succeed in his meditation. Phra Ajaan Ṭhānissaro took the vow. He was ordained on 7 November 1976 at Wat Asokaram, with Phra Rajavaraguṇa (Samrong Guṇavuḍḍho) as his Preceptor, and Phra Khru Suvaṇṇadhammajoti (Ajaan Thong Candasiri) as his Announcing Teacher.
In recognition of his extensive work in translating (from both Pali & Thai languages), compiling, and teaching the Dhamma to a global following, Phra Ajaan received an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD – Buddhist Studies) by the Mahamakut Buddhist University, Thailand, in 2005. In the same year, the King of Thailand also gave him the ecclesiastical title of Chao Khun, with the name Phra Bhāvanāvidhānaparijā. READ MORE>>
Chao Khun Vinayadhamma Vidhes (Phra Ajahn Keng, Khemako) (Present Day)
Phra Ajaan Keng Khemako Bhikhhu (lay name: Ong Kah Keng) was ordained on 29 July 2530 (1987), at Wat Asokaram, Samut Prakaan Province, Thailand. Phrakhru Sunthorn Dhammarangsee (Abbot of Wat Phayaprap, Phra Padaeng), was his Preceptor, Phrakhru Suvanna Dhammajoti (late Abbot of Wat Asokaram) was his Kammavācācariya, and Phrakhru Nanda Dhammakhun (Deputy Abbot of Wat Asokaram), his Anusāsanācariya.
Immediately after his ordination, he headed to Wat Dhammasathit, Rayong, Thailand to begin his monastic training under Phra Ajaan Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. Phra Ajaan Keng began studying under the tutelage of Luang Puu Jiak in 1988.
Phra Ajaan Keng was appointed a Thananukrom (Assistant) to Somdet Phra Wanarat of Wat Bovornnives, with the title of Phrakhru Phalad Samphiphathanasudhajaan Yanakosol Vimonseelajaan Mahakhanatikan Nayok Bidoethammarakkhit, on 17 September 2556 (2013), at Wat Bovornnives Vihara.
Later that year, on 5 December, Phra Ajaan Keng received the ecclesiastical title of “Chao Khun” from the King of Thailand and was given the name, “Vinayadhamma Vidhes.” This was in further recognition of his deep devotion to the practice of the Buddhist path, his leadership of both ordained and lay members of the Buddhist community, expressed in his mentorship and support to his fellow monks and his propagation of Buddhism to the lay community as a whole. READ MORE>>