The Buddha in the Jungle

Tiyavanich Kamala

  • $25.00s paperback (9780295983721) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2003
  • Subject Listing: Literature / Fiction; Asian Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 404 pp., 46 illus.
  • Territorial rights: Not Available in Southeast Asia
  • Published with: Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai
  • Contents

In The Buddha in the Jungle, real-life stories about 19th and early 20th century Buddhist monks in Thailand are ingeniously intermingled with experiences recorded by their Western contemporaries. Stories tell of giant snakes, bandits, boatmen, midwives, and guardian spirits and collectively portray a Buddhist culture in all its imaginative and geographical concreteness. By juxtaposing these eyewitness accounts, Kamala Tiyavanich presents a new and vivid picture of Buddhism as it was lived and of the natural environments in which the Buddha's teachings were practiced.
Kamala Tiyavanich is a Thai Buddhist and the author of Forest Recollections: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

"Reading The Buddha in the Jungle is a wondrous journey to an exotic land, full of magic chants, wise grandmothers, ghosts, elephants, snakes, and compassionate Buddhist monks. This is a book of history, anthropology, and Buddhist teachings, and it is delightfully easy and fun to read."
-Wes Nisker, co-editor of Inquiring Mind

"This is one of the most remarkable, honest, and rich accounts of how Theravada Buddhism actually flourished in Thailand. It gives us a new picture of the true breadth and fullness of the tradition in every part of life."
-Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

"This is a wonderful work of scholarship and storytelling. By introducing nearly every tale with comments by one or more western writers, Kamala helps English-reading students of Thailand and Buddhism understand the translated material."
-John Badgley, Cornell University

"An absorbing and totally different yet highly readable survey of a little-known period of relitious and social history."
-Russell Webb , editor of Buddhist Studies Review, London

"A very interesting and engaging account of living Buddhism in the last centuries and a valuable contribution to the increasing knowledge of the many and varied forms of Buddhist practice."
-Venerable Tiradhammo, abbot of Dhammapala Monastery, Switzerland

"Throws an intersting light upon Dharma as it was practiced in Siam, certainly a light that differs in many respects from the state-imposed Buddhism of Bangkok."
-Laurence Khantipalo, cofounder of the Bodhi Citta Buddhist Centre, Australia

List of Maps and Illustrations
Thai names and Romanization

1. The Palelai Buddha
2. A Stork in a Snare
3. A Muslim, His Goats, and a Bodhi Tree
4. Matsi, the Bodhisat's Wife
5. Midnight Visitors
6. When in Doubt, Do What Dogs Do
7. Dogs, Cats, and Birds
8. Paddle Your Own Canoe
9. A Dog Can Be a Bodhisat
10. Venerable Grandfather Edd
11. Two Legs Monastery
12. Idol or Guide?
13. Venerable Father Dark Eyes
14. Big Buddha, Tough Hunter
15. The Boatman and the Bandit Monk
16. Tending Water Buffaloes
17. Scarecrows and Baby-Sitters
18. Abbots and Bandits
19. Bandits and the Practice of Gratitude
20. An Elephant on a Rampage
21. How to Tame Elephants
22. A Bodhisat Elephant
23. Teaching Precepts to an Elephant
24. Lord Buddha and King Cobra
25. A Teak Wallah Meets Snakes
26. Snakes, Guns, and Guardian Spirits
27. Temple Boy and Spitting Cobra
28. Kill Insects, Clean Latrines
29. The Forest Cemetery at Wat Saket
30. Corpses and Carrion Eaters
31. The Oldest Midwife
32. Dhamma from Grandmothers
33. Tigers and Crocodiles
34. White-Robed Renunciants
35. Tap Tao Cave
36. Falling Mindfully
37. Meeting the Tiger in Silence
38. Sisterhood of the Yellow Robe
39. Jesus and the Future Buddha
40. The Compassionate Arahant
41. Ajan Inkhong, Master Painter
42. Medicine Monks
43. Backward or Enlightened?
44. The Green Buddha of the Grotto

Illustration credits

"A delightful read..This is an important and lovely book which is easy and fun to read but carries some important messages. More than any conventional work of history or anthropology, this book conveys a very tangible sense of what the landscape was like, how life was lived, and how the monkhood fit together with nature and with society."
-Bangkok Post

"This wonderful book, produced with care and beautiful simplicity, deals with the variety of Theravada Buddhism practiced in Thailand. But its appeal is broader. It serves as a useful counterweight to what might be called the Kitsilano school of Buddhism."
-The Vancouver Sun

"A heart-warming narrative..The Buddha in the Jungle captures the most authentic expression of the Thai Theravada Buddhism in which wisdom, inner repose and freedom of being takes central place for the monks."

"These stories of monks in Thailand during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries give a remarkable picture if the lives of monks and the practice of Buddhism in earlier times..[A] fascinating book."
-Multicultural Review