There are many Thai rishis (ฤๅษี) , hermit sages, who allude to bodhisatta vows.
I have met one called Ruesi Kesa-Kaew (ปู่ฤาษีเกศแก้ว), who is a friend of Luangpor Piak (a disciple of Ajahn Chah) and who does so. This is a video of the asram where he resides most of time:
I received a reply about this very question from Ajahn Achalo, himself. Very thankful for the time he took to write this response.
It’s curious… for although there are high level Bodhisattva practitioners in Thailand, they are rarely referred to as such. It is actually my Arahant teacher who tells me which ones are Bodhisattva practitioners when I ask him. Tahn Ajahn Anan can simply see these things with the abilities of his purified mind. That monk who you mention - Luang Por Klien is about 100 years old now and in quite poor health, not really teaching or receiving guests unfortunately. Perhaps this discretion is out of deference to the general paradigm of Theravada as many people understand it… to aspire to Arahantship as swiftly as possible?
As far as I can tell, there are not actually Bodhisattva or Mahayana lineages practicing here in the Theravada form
anyway (Although there are some Vietnamese Mahayana monasteries I believe) Rather there are a few great monks
who practice within our form. Many of the truly great ones have passed away recently sadly, and it is rare that their
students are as gifted as them. Luang Por Uttama, Luang Por Soopha come to mind as great monks who were clearly Bodhisattvas. Both actually walked to India and back as younger monks! They passed away in their ninetees I believe. The ‘Bodhisattva monks’ often clearly have psychic powers and use them to help people overcome their challenges by giving advice in all realms of life - in a more obvious and public way. Arahants with psychic powers will tend to share these abilities only with closer students, and have more of a focus upon teaching the basics of Buddhism. A wisdom approach.
Yes, surprised that wasn’t posted sooner. Had a great convesation with Hasapanno Bhikkhu over email about this one.
There is a famous monk named Kruba Boonchum who is a bodhisatta in the Kruba Siwichai lineage. I have heard from sources I trust that he has also recieved a prediction from a teaching Buddha. He did a tudong to the Himalayas when he was 18 and does some sanskrit/tibetan chanting as well as pali. He does retreats for many years at a time. He has a cave in Lampang Thailand, Burma, and Bhutan. He accurately predicted that the boys that got trapped in the cave in Thailand would be ok which made him famous. He is very well respected among the sangha in Thailand.
The monk that Ajahn Achalo mentions, LP Soopha, actually passed away at 118. No one knows who his teacher was but he taught him yoga to rearrange the subtle elements in his body so as to extend his life.
Interesting to read this topic.
Out of curiosity, do you know what they mean by Bodhisattva when referring to themselves?
It is my understanding that the word has many different meanings according to different traditions:
in orthodox Theravada it means anyone who made a vow to become a Buddha that was validated in the presence of an actual Buddha (ex. Gotama, Kassapa etc…). These people by definition are not enlightened (prob not even stream enterers) as they will only become enlightened when they become Buddhas.
in some tibetan/chinese and other Mahayana schools Bodhisattvas are actual enlightened beings who somehow have the ability not to enter parinibbana at death but decide to come back to help other beings (this does not find grounds in the EBTs).
in some traditions Bodhisattva is just a general word to mean a good monk who shows particular compassion towards other beings, like a Saint, but has no real implications regarding his/her enlightenment status, as opposed to Arahants who are fully enlightened and will not take birth again and therefore are seen as “selfish” by the general population who wants to be helped through healings, protection etc…
Do you know which of these suits the monks above?
You mentioned Kruba Boonchum receiving a prediction from a teaching Buddha, do you know which? Are we talking authentic Buddhas (such as Gotama, Kassapa etc…) or the tibetan lamas/tulkus/nirmanakaya kind?
In a past life, Kruba SiVichai studied under a previous Buddha (Shakyamuni is our current one, and there have been an infinite number before him), and that Buddha gave him the prediction of his eventual Buddhahood.