The Methods of Samatha-Vipassana Practice in Contemporary Thai Buddhism

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  • 現代タイ仏教における止観の実践法
  • ゲンダイ タイ ブッキョウ ニ オケル シカン ノ ジッセンホウ

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Today the number of Samatha-vipassana practice centers is widely increasing in the countries of Theravada Buddhism. Among them, in Thailand, there are 1,151 centers teaching different meditation methods across the country (survey in June, 2010). My previous study has revealed the development of samatha-vipassand practice in the Theravada scriptures, dating from the early Pali Canon (Nikaya) to the later Commentaries (Atthakatha). Now, through the result of my study, the present paper is intended to examine the methods of samatha-vipassana practice mainly in contemporary Thai Buddhism: Scriptures of which period that those methods are based upon? How is samatha-vipassana really being practiced? For this reason, as the examples of the methods of samatha-vipassana practice in Thai Buddhism, I have picked up and examined three practice methods including their point of view on samatha-vipassana which are now being taught in Thailand: 1) Wat Mahadhatu School, 2) School of temples in the northeast of Thailand, and 3. Wat Paknam School. As a result, we have come to the following conclusions. 1. The method of Wat Mahadhatu School teaches satipatthana based on Mahasatipatthana-suttanta and Satipatthana-sutta in the Nikaya. However, according to the interpretation of the later commentaries, it is obvious that this method is practiced by the ascetics called "vipassanayanika" who practice vipassana through khanikasamadhi without the attainment of upacarasamadhi or appandsamadhi. Moreover, it must be noted that this school values satipatthana by calling it as "vipassana meditation," which one will never find this kind of interpretation in the Theravada school, but in Abhidharmakosabhasya of the Sarvastivada school. 2. In the school of the temples in the northeast Thailand, vipassana is the observing "aniccam dukkham anatta"-the truth of things-after getting a tranquil mind through samatha as anapanasati. This school considers that the practice of vipassana must come after samatha. In a word, it comes out that the ascetics named "samathayanika" practices this meditation method. They practice vipassana after the attainment of samatha between the level of appandsamadhi and jhana. 3. Wat Paknam School emphasizes both of samatha and vipassana. For that, AN.2.3 Bala-vagga 10 was raised and preached. First, it is assumed that samatha must be practiced to achive a still mind, especially jhana or aruppa. Afterward, all samyojana and kilesa will be eliminated by the practice of vipassana. As a result, it becomes apparent that the method of this school is practiced by the ascetics named "samathayanika," and it is an original method found in the early Pali Canon which both jhana and panna will be practiced.



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