Since the time of the Buddha, more than two thousand five hundred years ago, monks have retreated into the depths of the forests, mountains and caves, seeking physical isolation to aid them in the development of meditation and realization of Dhamma, the truth of the Buddha's Teaching.Whether in solitude or in small groups, such monks live a life of simplicity, austerity and determined effort and have included some of the greatest meditation masters since the Buddha himself.The descriptions of his journeys to Singapore, Indonesia and Australia are mainly for his Thai readers but even so they give a new reflection on 'developed countries'.Lay disciples have sometimes written biographies of deceased meditation masters not knowing all the influential events in their teachers' lives. During his early years of practice he had enjoyed a privileged intimacy with these great teachers. Ajahn Thate assumes a familiarity with the Thai forest tradition and its ways of practice, so the following brief explanation of the lifestyle and its purpose may be helpful.The programme there, however, would more usually be dedicated to scholastic study than strict observance of the monk's rules or meditation.The revival of the forest tradition in Thailand during the last century was a grassroots movement to return to the lifestyle and training that was practiced in the time of the Buddha.Venerable Ajahn Thate passed away in 1994 aged ninety-two.In his Autobiography, the author also takes the opportunity to record his gratitude to all those people — whether monks or lay — who had helped him over those years.
The reader is asked to remember that this work was written by a Thai for a Thai audience, with no thought of its being translated into English.
Translators Due to this memoir's uniqueness and importance, I have aimed for an accurate translation even at the cost of losing some of the original's spirit and inspiration.