Phra Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera
Co-Founder of the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism
Phra Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera
Phra Ajahn ("Venerable Teacher") Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera ("Great Elder"), 1870-1949, was a Thai bhikkhu (Buddhist Monk) of Lao descent who is credited with co-founding the extremely influential reformist Thai Forest Tradition along with his mentor Phra Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo Mahathera. Feeling that the customary Buddhist practices in Thailand at the time had little to offer, he joined the reformist Dhammayut order taking Ajahn Sao (a student of Prince Monkut who was a Dhammayut monk for twenty-seven years before ascending to the Thai throne as Rama IV) as his preceptor. His influence on Buddhism in Thailad and beyond is difficult to quantify yet even more difficult to overstate.
Major events in Ajahn Mun's life and beyond: 
- 1870 — Born Mun Kaenkaew the son of rice farmers in Baan Kham Bong, a farming village in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Isan.
- 1892 — Ordained as a monk at Wat (monastery) Liap at the age of 22 as Bhurridatta Bhikkhu.
- 1893 (estimated) — Experiences a dream nimatta (sign) convincing him that Buddhist enlightenment is still possible. This had a profound influence on the rest of his life causing his meditation practice to become very disciplined and determined.
- 1894-1927 — Spends the major part of his life wandering through Thailand, Burma, and Laos engaging in solitary practice and teaching both monks and laypeople. During this time he attracts a significant following.
- 1928 — He and his followers are ordered by authorities to settle down in Thai monasteries to help propagate official religious reforms. He and some of his students relocate to northern Thailand but continue their forest practice.
- 1929-1940 — Stays at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiengmai for a very short time, but almost immediately leaves the wat and his followers to devote himself almost exclusively to seculded forest practice. His followers believe he attained Buddhist Enlightenment during this time. The whole time Ajahn Mun ignores official invitations to settle in a monastery.
- 1940 — Phra Chao Khun Dhammacetiya of Wat Bodhi Somphorn visits Ajahn Mun in the woods and finally convinces him to take up residence in a monastery.
- 1942 — Attends the funeral of his former mentor Ajahn Sao.
- 1949 — Passed away at Wat Suddhavasa, Sakon Nakhon Province.
- 1950s — The Thai Forest Tradition gains wide acceptance in Bankok.
- 1970s — The Thai Forest Tradition gains wide acceptance on a national level in Thailand and begins to spread to other countries, including Western countries, where it eventually has a profound effect on the study of psychology. Ajahn Chah is perhaps his most well-known disciple in Western countries.
Ajahn Mun was an extremely solitary, publicity-avoding individual living in remote areas of Thailand with primitive technology. As a result, few transcriptions and no recordings of his teaching are available. Considering this, the propagation of his profound influence on Buddhism, and indirect influence on modern psychology, has been nothing short of miraculous.
Read some of Ajahn Mun's few transcribed teachings at Access to Insight.
Once we see through inconstancy, the mind-source stops creating issues. All that remains is the primal mind, true and unchanging. Knowing the mind-source brings release from all worry and error. If you go out to the mind-ends, you're immediately wrong.
— Phra Ajaan Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera, The Ballad of Liberation from the Khandhas