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Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta

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Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Thera (Thai: มั่น ภูริทตฺโต), 1870-1949, was a Thai Buddhist monk who is credited, along with his mentor, Phra Ajahn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera, with establishing the Thai Forest Tradition (the Kammatthana tradition) that subsequently spread throughout Thailand and to several countries abroad.

Ajahn Mun was born on Thursday, January 20, 1870, in a farming village named Baan Kham Bong, Khong Jiam, on the western bank of the Mekong River, in present day Si Mueang Mai District, Ubon Ratchathani Province of northeastern Thailand (Isan). Khong Jiam is located in a triangle of land where the Mun River flows into the Mekong River, as the Mekong turns east and flows into Laos. He was born into the Lao-speaking family of Kanhaew with Nai Kamduang as his father and Nang Jan as his mother. He was the eldest of nine children: eight boys and one girl.

Mun was first ordained as a novice monk at age 16, in the local village monastery of Khambong. As a youth, he studied Buddhist teachings, history and folk legends in Khom, Khmer and Tham scripts from fragile palm leaf texts stored in the monastery library. He remained a novice for two years, until 1888, when it was necessary for him to leave the monastery, at his father's request.

Ajaan Mun's mode of practice was solitary and strict. He followed the Vinaya (monastic discipline) faithfully, and also observed many of what are known as the 13 classic dhutanga (ascetic) practices, such as living off alms, wearing robes made of cast-off rags, dwelling in the forest and eating only one meal a day. Searching out secluded places in the wilds of Thailand and Laos, he avoided the responsibilities of settled monastic life and spent long hours of the day and night in meditation. In spite of his reclusive nature, he attracted a large following of students willing to endure the hardships of forest life in order to study with him.

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