American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:08 am

Finally, an all-american theravadan forest tradition can now be found in the US.

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Most Venerable Vimalaramsi Mahathera is the founder
of the American Buddhist Forest Tradition.

There is a monks and nuns monastery:
Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:34 pm

The first ?

Abhayagiri was established in 1995.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:04 pm

And I heard that Vilamaramsi says he can cure aids, so beware.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Mr. G » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:07 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:And I heard that Vilamaramsi says he can cure aids, so beware.


Where / When did he say this?
Even if my body should be burnt to death
In the fires of hell,
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:27 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:The first ?

Abhayagiri was established in 1995.


My understanding may be wrong, of course. I briefly visited Dhamma Sukkha a couple of times last year. I understood them to be establishing a truly American Forest Tradition, as opposed to extending another tradition to America.

"Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, the first monastery in the United States to be established by followers of Ajahn Chah, was founded in 1996 in the mountainous forests north of Ukiah, California." (from their web site, bold face is my addition).

So there may be room for lots of discussion of what's first and of what tradition, but that is what I understood as one of the main distinctions between Dhamma Sukkha and other Theravadan centers.

Other distinctions are probably best read on their respective web sites.

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Moggalana » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:06 pm

mr. gordo wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:And I heard that Vilamaramsi says he can cure aids, so beware.


Where / When did he say this?


That was mentioned in this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 48&start=0
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Mr. G » Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:49 pm

Moggalana wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:And I heard that Vilamaramsi says he can cure aids, so beware.


Where / When did he say this?


That was mentioned in this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 48&start=0


I'll check it out, thx!
Even if my body should be burnt to death
In the fires of hell,
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:59 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:And I heard that Vilamaramsi says he can cure aids, so beware.


Hi Modus.Ponens,

I can remember that Dhamma-Talk. Bhante Vimalaramsi tells a story about a woman who was about to die from cancer.
By chance she became his student and followed his advice. Then her cancer went away. But he never said, that he can cure cancer.

He only states, that acting in a certain holesome way can lead to a lot of holesome power.
It's a talk on the Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta (MN135). THe title of the video posted at youtube is
"Karma and How to Cure Cancer - w/Bhante Vimalaramsi " which, I think, is misleading, because it was
only one case that happend and never happend again and he only reports of it as an example of how
strong Kamma can grow from ones actions in this very lifetime.

Here's the snippet of that talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgBx91_8JUs

Be well,
;) Mirco
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:09 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:The first ? Abhayagiri was established in 1995.


Hi Sanghamitta,

as Hoo said, it's not an foreign Theravadan lineage.

American born Most Venerable Vimalaramsi Mahathera is the teacher who follows wisdom, Suttas and Vinaya.

Bets Regards,
:) Mirco
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:46 pm

mirco wrote:I can remember that Dhamma-Talk. Bhante Vimalaramsi tells a story about a woman who was about to die from cancer.By chance she became his student and followed his advice. Then her cancer went away. But he never said, that he can cure cancer... THe title of the video posted at youtube is"Karma and How to Cure Cancer - w/Bhante Vimalaramsi "


Wrong talk. In the talk entitled How to Handle Pain w/ Bhante Vimalaramsi, posted in the following thread, at the 1:25 mark he says.."Im not real wild about getting AIDS even though I know how to get rid of them."

Have a listen.

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 48&start=0

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:17 pm

bodom wrote:
mirco wrote:I can remember that Dhamma-Talk. Bhante Vimalaramsi tells a story about a woman who was about to die from cancer.By chance she became his student and followed his advice. Then her cancer went away. But he never said, that he can cure cancer.

Wrong talk. In the talk entitled How to Handle Pain w/ Bhante Vimalaramsi, posted in the following thread, at the 1:25 mark he says.."Im not real wild about getting AIDS even though I know how to get rid of them." Have a listen. http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 48&start=0
:anjali:


Hi bodom,

ask the Venerable Vimalaramsi himself, how he exactly meant that:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammasukha or bhante4u@yahoo.com

All the best,
:) Mirco
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:03 pm

Thats ok, im not all that interested in what he meant by the statement as I don't follow his teachings. Maybe you can ask him since you seem to be a follower of his.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:49 am

mirco wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:
American born / teacher who follows wisdom, Suttas and Vinaya.

as are most of the forest monks mentioned here

it's not an foreign Theravadan lineage.

unless he just ordained himself he brought it from somewhere, as have the above mentioned monks.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby mirco » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:43 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
mirco wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:American born / teacher who follows wisdom, Suttas and Vinaya.
as are most of the forest monks mentioned here
it's not an foreign Theravadan lineage.

unless he just ordained himself he brought it from somewhere, as have the above mentioned monks.


He ordained somewhere, thats true. But he didn't bring any of the cultural influence of that countries (Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka) had had been to.

He does not refer to any other teacher but the Buddha.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:00 am

mirco wrote:
He does not refer to any other teacher but the Buddha.
If he refers to himself as a bhikkhu, there needs to be a legitimate ordination lineage to which he belongs and of which he is a member in good standing. And this should be information that is easily known.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:52 am

Bhavana Society's monastery in W. Virginia was established in 1982. I think that would make it one of the earliest, if not the earliest Theravadin forest monastery. Ven Vimalaramsi's bio says he ordained in Thailand. One funny thing there is that it says "I stayed at the Theravadan temple in Malaysia, and still have over 1000 Malaysian students in varying degrees of deep meditation. I returned to the United States in 1998 and have taught all across the country." Many people here remember the Ven, but they are certainly not in any degree of meditation. :thinking:
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:23 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
mirco wrote:
He does not refer to any other teacher but the Buddha.
If he refers to himself as a bhikkhu, there needs to be a legitimate ordination lineage to which he belongs and of which he is a member in good standing. And this should be information that is easily known.


http://www.dhammasukha.org/About/teacher_credentials.htm This url, credentials info, comes from their web site. I'm certainly not qualified to evaluate someone's credentials but it was easy to find, for those who believe they are qualified. For what it's worth, I've never seen the venerable addressed as anything but Bhante or Venerable, with the occaisional reference to Mahathera in print materials. So any claim to authenticity or lack thereof would be just the words of others for me. My tendency, whether the author is famous or not, is to run their teaching across the Suttas as the indication of authenticity.

Please remember that I only met those folks twice last year for brief periods, so my opinions are just that, uniformed opinions. For informaton, I've found it easy to get to their website and I suggest that others would find it easy, too. JMHO, but citing the source helps me avoid gossip.

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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:03 pm

Hoo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
mirco wrote:
He does not refer to any other teacher but the Buddha.
If he refers to himself as a bhikkhu, there needs to be a legitimate ordination lineage to which he belongs and of which he is a member in good standing. And this should be information that is easily known.


http://www.dhammasukha.org/About/teacher_credentials.htm This url, credentials info, comes from their web site. I'm certainly not qualified to evaluate someone's credentials but it was easy to find, for those who believe they are qualified. For what it's worth, I've never seen the venerable addressed as anything but Bhante or Venerable, with the occaisional reference to Mahathera in print materials. So any claim to authenticity or lack thereof would be just the words of others for me. My tendency, whether the author is famous or not, is to run their teaching across the Suttas as the indication of authenticity.

Please remember that I only met those folks twice last year for brief periods, so my opinions are just that, uniformed opinions. For informaton, I've found it easy to get to their website and I suggest that others would find it easy, too. JMHO, but citing the source helps me avoid gossip.

Hoo
Read through the "credentials" again and tell us where he was ordained (Thailand), at what Wat, and by whom. The "credentials" tell us very little and certainly do not answer my questions, and 4 days with the Dalai Lama? Big deal. There are a lot names thrown around, but little actual substance related to those names.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby pilgrim » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:51 pm

I actually met the Ven more than a decade ago when he was in Malaysia. He initially had another name, which I forget, before adopting the present name. He was a popular teacher for the student groups. I have no doubt over his ordination status but the website's 4-part description of his bio seems rather over the top. But it was written by his student nun, who for some reason wears purple robes.
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Re: American Buddhist Forest Tradition

Postby Hoo » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:52 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Read through the "credentials" again and tell us where he was ordained (Thailand), at what Wat, and by whom. The "credentials" tell us very little and certainly do not answer my questions, and 4 days with the Dalai Lama? Big deal. There are a lot names thrown around, but little actual substance related to those names.


Hi Tilt, I'm glad you were able to get it from the source, whatever your view of it. I don't study their method, so I don't see a reason for me reading through their materials again. I'm not the authority to question. If you still have differences or questions, seems like they can only be answered if you pursue them. I'd be happy to share my experience of being there, though it was really brief and probably of limited value. :zzz:

Re this thread, I decided to go to a published source for the discussed information rather than relying on opinions of others. I noted my inability to judge credentials and suggested that the url was a stop that could be made for those pursuing credentials info. I'm not invested in whether those credentials satisfy others or not, nor even if they satisfy me.

Like was said in another post, if you or other folks still have questions, they might be served best by taking it to the source - go to the website and ask questions in whatever venue they have for that. It beats discussing shadows and ghosts, which one is right and the most substantial. :)

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