By Acariya Maha Boowa Nanasampanno
The EARLY YEARS, the center YEARS, A middle published, 497 PAGES
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Extra info for A Spiritual Biography of Acariya Mun Bhūridatta Thera
They spent most of the year living together, both during and after the annual rainy season retreat. In the middle years, they normally spent these retreats in separate locations but close enough to each other to make visiting easy. Very seldom, then, did they spend a retreat together, for each had an increasingly large following of disciples, making it difficult to find enough space to accommodate them all at one location. Living separately eliminated the burden of having to arrange living quarters for so many monks.
Living and practicing in the relatively uncultivated, undomesticated rural backwater that comprised most of Thailand at the turn of the 20th century, a dhutanga monk like Ācariya Mun found himself wandering through a centuries-old setting little changed from the time of the Buddha 2,500 years ago. It is helpful to understand the temporal and cultural background to Ācariya Mun’s wandering lifestyle. Thailand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a loose confederation of principalities that were largely inaccessible to the central authority because most of the land was densely forested and paved roads were almost nonexistent.
This ideal of the wandering forest monk intent on the Buddha’s traditional spiritual quest is epitomized by the dhutanga kammaṭṭhāna way of life. Like dhutanga, kammaṭṭhāna is a term designating a specific orientation shared by Buddhist monks who are dedicated to maintaining an austere meditative lifestyle. Kammaṭṭhāna (lit. “basis of work”) denotes an approach to meditation practice that is directed toward uprooting every aspect of greed, hatred, and delusion from the heart and thus demolishing all bridges linking the mind to the cycle of repeated birth and death.