A Culture of Self-reliance
August 14, 2009

When you practice the Dhamma, you’re you taking on a new culture. And it’s not Asian culture, it’s what the Buddha called the customs of the noble ones. Because even in Asia, when people are practicing, if they are really serious about the practice, they have to go against a lot of the customs that they grew up with. We tend to think of the Forest Tradition as embedded in Thai culture, and to some extent it is, but it’s good to remember that when Ajaan Mun was starting out he was often attacked, criticized for not following Thai customs. He didn’t live the way most Thai monks lived. He didn’t eat or dress the way most Thai monks ate or dressed. When people would criticize him to his face, he’d say, “I’m not interested in Thai customs or Lao customs or the customs of any country, because those are the customs of people with defilements. They’re not the customs that lead to awakening.” He wanted to find the customs of the noble ones and live by those customs so that he could become a noble one as well.