At Downtown Meditation Community we practice in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Specifically, the Thai Forest style begun by Ajaan Mun in the early 20th Century. We are very grateful for the monks who’ve laid down this path and dedicated their lives to the dhamma. Here is a look at our lineage.
Ajaan Mun Ajaan Mun was born in 1870 in Baan Kham Bong, a farming village in Ubon Ratchathani province, northeastern Thailand. Ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1893, he spent the remainder of his life wandering through Thailand, Burma, and Laos, dwelling for the most part in the forest, engaged in the practice of meditation. He attracted an enormous following of students and, together with his teacher, established the forest meditation tradition that subsequently spread throughout Thailand and to several countries abroad.
Ajaan Lee was one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest tradition of meditation founded at the turn of the century by his teacher, Ajaan Mun. His life was short but eventful. Known for his skill as a teacher, he was the first to bring the Thai Forest tradition out of the forests of the Mekhong basin and into the mainstream of Thai society in central Thailand.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American Buddhist monk of the Thai forest tradition. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1971, he traveled to Thailand, where he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang, himself a student of the late Ajaan Lee. He ordained in 1976 and lived at Wat Dhammasathit, where he remained following his teacher’s death in 1986. In 1991 he traveled to the hills of San Diego County, USA, where he helped Ajaan Suwat establish Wat Mettavanaram (“Metta Forest Monastery”). He was made abbot of the monastery in 1993. His long list of publications includes translations from Thai of Ajaan Lee’s meditation manuals; Handful of Leaves, a five-volume anthology of sutta translations; The Buddhist Monastic Code, a two-volume reference handbook for monks; Wings to Awakening, The Paradox of Becoming, Right Mindfulness, and Skill in Questions.