Phra Ajahn Mun Bhūridatta is considered to be one of the most important monk of the Thammayut Nikai. He was strongly influenced by the Saṅgha reform. In the time prior to the reformations of the Saṅgha there were very few monks practicing meditation; the intellectual study of the Pāli Canon was emphasized instead.
As a representative of the Thammayut, Ajahn Mun played a significant role in bringing the Thammayut and theMahanikai closer together. Though important political interests also were involved in this process; the reformations in the early twentieth century offered the Royal family the opportunity to subdue any forms of regional particularism that were present in the North of Thailand.
After having repeatedly practiced for longer periods of time with Ajahn Sao, Ajahn Mun realized the importance of the practice of meditation. Based on his practical experience of meditation he recognized the benefits theoretical knowledge of the vinaya could bring to his practice. Thus, over time Ajahn Mun would emphasize a strict interpretation of the winaai (Pāli: ‘vinaya’). Because of this, the style of his teachings represented a strict discipline and being orthodox in many ways. Later, Ajahn Mun’s style of teachings have lead to a form of orthopraxy that, prior to the reformations, were unknown in Thailand.
Due to his influential position in the North of Thailand, the Royal family considered Ajahn Mun as a key figure who could, indirectly, help the Royal family assure their political interests in the North. Partially because of the Royal support Ajahn Mun received, his popularity increased significantly, both among monks and laity. The doctrine he taught lead to an increase of awareness of the slacking practice of the Mahanikai monks in regard to their lack of understanding and implementation of vinaya rules to their practice. Next, as a symbolic ritual cleansing process, many already ordained members of the saṅgha wished to receive re-ordination in accordance with the teachings of Ajahn Mun.
From that time onwards, in the 1920s and 1930s, the tradition of Ajahn Mun, also refered to as Tudong Kammathan, became increasingly popular and its presence remains important in the Thai National saṅgha still today.
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