The Five Traditional Meditation Objects in the Thai Forest Tradition

Ajahn Piak

Returning to Chithurst after an interval of 40 years, Luang Por Piak, one of Luang Por Chah’s most revered and well known disciples, recalls an encounter with a ghost during his previous visit, and remarks on how much Chithurst has developed into a forest monastery conducive to states of concentration and tranquillity. He stresses that this concentration must be used as a tool for attaining insight, and details the five traditional objects of meditation traditionally given to new monastics: hair of the head, hair of the body, teeth, nails and skin.

Thai audio:

Translation by Ajahn Moshe:

The Transition from Sense Reality to Heart Reality

Ajahn Sucitto

The normal ways of the world are to be excited and interested in sensual experiences external to oneself, being drawn to pleasant ones and repelled by those that are unpleasant. This can create a lot of stress, and a constant searching for “What’s next?”. By orienting oneself by a commitment to moral precepts, and a determination to remain present with all that arises, the heart can learn to trust in awareness and find a strength which can allow a lasting happiness to emerge.

Balancing the Internal and External, A Whole Life Path to Peace

Ajahn Sucitto

It is very important to balance the traditional Buddhist practice of silent formal meditation, with the more external factors of the practice, namely Right Speech and a healthy engagement with one’s fellow practitioners. Assisting with this are vitakka and vicara, directing the mind on to an object and examining the result, as a way to be deeply informed and directly know that one is on a path towards liberation.

Dhamma Practice Shapes the Citta into a More Fulfilling State

Ajahn Sucitto

The emphasis on virtue, beyond keeping rules, customs and procedures, is to bring about harmony. It enables us to establish a fluent relationship that isn’t domineering nor indifferent, clearing of heart from destructive tendencies. It’s the tonality of careful attention in what we do. Not seeking results, but just bringing forth harmony, beauty, purity in our daily lives.

Development without Becoming

Ajahn Sucitto

Our general mode follows a track called becoming. It’s a track that keeps moving, flavoured with craving that never arrives at satisfaction. The Buddha presented a more natural way – step-by-step, chart the course, with friendliness and purity of intention. Mindfulness of body and contemplative thought (vitaka-vicara) support a wider, wholistic mode.

The Flow to Liberation: Feeding the Citta

Ajahn Sucitto

The flow to liberation isn’t a flash in the pan miracle, but a gradual, step-by-step process. Begin with the 4 establishments of mindfulness. When held carefully, steadily, with patience, the enlightenment factors develop. It can’t be done out of will power. Rather, nourishment for the process are restraint, mindfulness and careful attention. (Sutta reference AN 10:61)