Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Rebirth


Sorry I don’t understand this sentence. Who does ‘they’ refer to? Does it refer to the forest monks themselves, or is it the Bangkok monks who rejected any attempt to reconcile the forest monks teachings with the suttas?


Perhaps Bhikkhu @Sujato is referring to comments such as this one by Ajahn Maha Boowa at the conclusion of “Kammatthana, the path of practice”:

This Dhamma has been discussed partly in accordance with theory, Pariyatti, and partly in accodance with the views of Forest Dhamma. Some are probably correct, and some incorrect. This is because it has been discussed out of the understanding of Forest Dhamma that has been experienced from practice. The writer asks forgiveness from all readers, and is alway ready to listen to any logical criticism.


If one understands what Buddha taught to a good extent, he would know, firsthand experience is the only way to understand the Dhamma.
In the Brahmajālasuttaṃ, and several other suutas, to explain views such as sassatavāda etc. Buddha declared, the people who had attained deep samādhi, due to their firsthand experience, but without full understanding, got hold of the wrong view due to their own experience of knowing the previous births.
So, with whatever academic or otherwise presentation one always would submit only 'maññanā and not experiential truth.
Until one experiences tilakkhaṇa under samādhi he would not understand birth/rebirth and saṃsāra.


Sorry I was unclear!

Thanks, that’s exactly what I was thinking of, too lazy to look it up!


Thank you for your answer. In this case I am a bit puzzled about the ‘raison d’être’ of his authoritarism (which is described at any rate in a number of books I’ve read). I mean, if he could not be sure that his teachings were correct, what was the basis for the authority with which he was running the monastery (in such a way that people feared him as the Tiger) and imparted these teachings?


I presume it was the renunciation, morality, samadhi, wisdom and the leadership qualities, seniority and personality that he displayed.


If you believe that the Buddha had true wisdom and if the Ajahn’s views are not those of the Buddha, then I can’t see how the Ajahn can be said to have wisdom. And seniority seems to have value only in an organisation based on the views of the Buddha, not a universal value (for example in a corporation seniority in itself hardly has any value).


Well I’m trying to say it’s not all about views. They were monks with little unwholesome qualities and probably many wholesome qualities. Any monk who is a renunciate and sticks to the vinaya is widely respected and loved. Their number of years as a monk matters in terms of experience and quality as a renunciate monk.

It not ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to wisdom - anyone who has practiced the path knows that right view develops with time. If all you had was your confidence in the triple gem you would still be considered a follower of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.


I’m not an expert on this, and have not been involved with that tradition. Also, the text has been translated from Thai and may have lost some nuance. The extract I quoted is on P138 of "Kammatthana, the path of practice”.

However, my impression is that that Ajahn Maha Boowa is saying that his use of terminology is not always traditional (see the entries for terms such as citta in the Glossary of the above book, for example), and also that he is relying on practice over theory.


PS: We recently re-edited the English translation of Kammatthana. You can find the updated edition here:



Thank you. That’s a much better version, which is actually searchable! The extract I quoted is on page 178 of that version.