Two Meditation Traditions from Contemporary Thailand : A Summary Overview

Catherine Newell




This article explores two meditation practices from contemporary Thailand: the vijja dhammakaya which is associated particularly with Wat Paknam and Wat (Phra) Dhammakaya, and the samatha-vipassanna attributed to former Supreme Patriarch, Suk Kai Thuean (1733-1822) of Wat Ratchasittharam, Thonburi. Both these practices are remarkable in that they contain elements which conflict with what is generally considered to be mainstream Theravada meditation. This article explores the emergence and history of the two practices, their current spread and a summary description of their salient features, considering common elements and possible areas of overlap. The article concludes by suggesting directions for further research, arguing that scholarly enquiry into meditation traditions needs to move beyond text-based assessments and can only be enriched by knowledge of context and lineage.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 4/2011, Page 81-110)


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