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Living on the Rim: Ecology and Forest Monks in Northeast Thailand Author(s): J.L.

Taylor Reviewed work(s): Source: Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol. 6, No. 1 (FEBRUARY 1991), pp. 106-125 Published by: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Stable URL: . Accessed: 24/01/2012 23:15
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Livingon the Rim: Ecology and Forest Monks in NortheastThailand

With rapidly the in s disappearing primary forests Thailand Laosome reclusive have been speaking provinces, forestmonks and moral, environmentally practical, teaching villagers friendly the strategies survival. for Historically, extension "Thaiof isation"andan urbanized vision progress development, and led , of tothe unbridled hostile, ofthese "patternless" clearing potentially on rim that monks have places.Itis here, the ofsocialorder, ascetic and settled peaceful in with coexistence longwandered eventually nature. Awareoftheconsequences deforestationthewider to of the and own and monastery its community totheir tradition, forest monastic inmates havebecomein recent a vitalmeansof years This the frontier forests. paperlooks firstly protecting remaining at thecosmologica!, social,andpoliticalimplications forest of and a the and environment; secondly, case-study monks, state, the addressed these constructed monk problems, ofhowoneforest Buddhist around orthodox teachings. seizes so Foras the beasts, also [in forest] by leopard hislurking the strenuous his will theBuddha's son, withinsight by gifted, . fruit seize thehighest to [saintship]. . . returning theforest 1975,pp. 157-58) (Buddhagosa

Introduction of the Thailand elimination primary of In thefarprovinces northeast andcultural settlement with traditional forests practices patterns coupled has Thisscenario of haslongreached point noreturn the (Uhlig1987).1 of been connectedwiththe development the nationaleconomy

Villagers. implying criticisms urban of (Haas 1964. origin. defined territoriality. both and (ibid.agglomerated human were settlements a meansof taming bringing frontier and the under centralized control as noted 1981.thefrontier. inclassical Southeast Asianstates Koninck McTaggart and 1987. The Forestand ForestMonks Thenation's forests seenas hostile centralized are to control. forest as term forest for connotationsthe of monks. symbolizing "danger power" p. (Girling pp. 37). 33) anda likely (urban) p. 16)..p.2 Beingon therimof social order. thedetrimentthenation's fuss the to of forests 1989. of where the acclaimed saint (1870-1949)andhispupils AjaanManPhuurithatto wandered eventually and settled. andinimical national to and In remote.butdisorder implies potentiality creativity anddevelopment. they arethe "antithesisthe of socialandritual order civilization" of (O'Connor threat the to meuangdominated 1980. In the or 348). power. 221). possibilities. (De p. inthe (paa). andhas beenused in recent Buddhist functioning cults outside establishment the 1989.Thesesettlements. "extensification" of cultivation meant expansion landunder increasing agricultural output with minimum for state.3 word is sometimes and The with linked paa a similar wordofKhmer "wild"or "illegal" theuan. 94). disorder that or as "spoilspattern".n. this facilitated easieraccessinto isolated hard-to-reach and previously Thesewere forests situated the at terminus civilization forests. themeuang envisage "development" . like and establishment. while forthe hegemonicstate. 138. of andeconomic political. In thewordsof MaryDouglas (1966). security well-being. is theordered patterned society a also "unlimited" for whole. 46-49). polity (Keyes 1989. effect. disordered. Thepolitical of formation involved direct the of process state linking thecountrysidethe to centre cultural.p.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 107 of and sincetheFifth (expansion cashcropping) polity Reign(1868Fornewsettlers loggers frontier limitless and the held 1910).dispersed. (Hirsch p.p. (Jackson monksduring earlydecades of the the 164) .as withwandering twentieth century. carried "untamed" "uncivilized".

(1985. addition its people. cosmologica! (ibid.d. or of village.) observed his travels Laos in 1939. 14). may Strangers outsiders be familiaritythe circumscriptive in latent of sources power as potentially dangerous generally perceived and theunknown a Nietzschean sense) in contra(in individuality which Mulder as to distinctiontheir "insiders"..andthat "'go totheforest' or a The is domain literal to sense. (ibid. the sanctified purified) between various hermits. (and moving with to associated consideration thenegativity Another important be with "familiar" the man domesticated to forests the is needfor (Tuan twentieth the fields". In addition.As in in Brodrick (n. forest the and tribal of wild animals. in to thisbasic binaryconception an attempt createan enduring this disorder. out orderliness ofthesurrounding Extending to temporal of kin. opposite complementary reinforce beliefs hassaid. (Malamoud andindividualistic for dispersed the wandering agglomerated pupillages centres. werethespiritual ancient Vedas. link an deforestation and development provides important between n. as contraband such and articles. kinsfolk "cleared and 1988). the civilization "losessomeofitsluster" oftheforest. receivedwithfearand hostility. Richard Davis (1974)remarked the on negative attributes associated in with forests thenorth.thepeople demons thewoodsandtheguardian of believed there "numberless are wild are avoided". undisciplined in to immoral to means.108 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 in of land "wellcleared" productive human for progress terms their being In real terms. familiar cluster outsidetheculturally we theforest. (Hirsch development" pp. Popular implies p. spirits. and beauty civilization to hamlets the at very in downward Ateachstage this fringe process.d.forests aranyd) (the "gaps"situated sites Thesewere settlement between centres human of 1978). uncivilized people. 46) religious "safety".with During early were around countryside often the monks forest wandering century the seen as intimidating secure. all "beauty in lies as Noris there senseofnatural any beauty the human settlements" p. "forestclearingand accessibilityas agriculture. In the p. 13).. demons. see that . ofthe Theforests fearsome placesandbest genii inforests. layout in settlements to human of"patterned" corresponds a hierarchy which flows downwards the from towns the to villages.. defecate toenter cemetery". 6-7).

in thecase offorest But monks with less clearly a defined than domesticated this brethren. purpose civilization tomake"theearth all that onit[seem] threatening. Merit-powers. p.. beyond external (ibid. more less more and and predictable. in thepopular as Jataka talesandtheparadigmatic modem textualized accounts forest life of monks haveproliferated (which sincethe 1960s). theever-threatening primordial chaotic forest inhabited unseen wildanimals. are able to maintain within thismarginal and disorderly "purity" ambiencedue to thespatialand conceptual demarcation between and profanity. ritual physical boundary their . . and are "strangers" "forests" of the same hostile situated outside purlieu the"known the of potentially category. lust. world". (ritually performs delimiting within "patterned" the of of and totality thevillagein terms itsspatial socialorganization. unpredictable. itsdefilements separation distance untamed In domesticated Buddhism can see that we the sensuality. Tuan the of is and is remarks. andso on). Thereis also an unpredictable source powerin "inarticulate of areas. a person regarded "polluting" emerges form ritual a divide patternless placeswhich (Douglas1966. margins. and morality ensure compassion. wandering It is well-known forest that monks wildanimals ableto coand are existcongenially. for in monks dangerous.That society we haveseenis somehow dangerous. monks and Forest raw.p. (porngkah) forest protection unpredictable the of desiresand places and simultaneously signify taming worldy suchas fears. as Thus.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 109 is of and consisting thevillage. 96-97).which wouldinclude monks. siimaa sanctified clearly this area) function. (kilet. Thesearethe andas suchallprecautions interstices. needtosurround themselves ordered with Worldly beings familiarity. more familiar" which outside is ordered as (1988. in or 98) whichis manifested individuals potency capability) (as this occupying restricted space. This involvesan unambiguous objectified sanctity and from with and mundaneness. pp. 23). tobe incontrol abletomakesenseofcosmic and order. "marginal" must taken villagers protect be to themselves their from likely by dangers. proclivities In Tuan's thinking. with as who from these similarly. strangers and by malignant powers. supportive. confused and the boundaries" lines.

surrounding of time the aforementioned Man spent beauty among "unearthly Ajaan for with mountain a reputation harbouring and theforest" surrounding mountains" consists "bald-headed of (MahaaBua 1982. areas chad)arenormally only less monk As oneforest remarked.p. since 1950sdueto the started appear to mountains" These"bald-headed world market response landand feed for the demand livestock inthe by in forested northeastern settlers parts dryland crops the growing hungry hitherto not had beentouched which Khoraat ofthe (Uhlig1984. 19). 125). potentially of or and of "an auraofmystery hint theexistence thesuperhuman ofa conceived" the (1988. The forest-dwelling forest A few well-known teachers forests. grace beyond goodas ordinarily in Northeast forests the the Region remaining primeval Presently. among small monks moreattuned socialized to are notso evident amongvillage calendrical rituals. primal part dwellings in is the however. area nearKhoraat countryside. 106). than twenty years the ago succinctly the cleared ofthe were only forest monks' forest. (pertaining the cloistered and and community.p. anditssymbolic harmful) powers possess. role remaining protective inthe sermons and tree havebeenencouraging planting. intheir impress upon . Withthepresenceof sanctified still the habitat becomes renouncers" forest (though "worldly inTuan' in less here dotted andthere thestill parts relatively accessible pockets andcremation The ofthecountryside. 95).p. tigers. and monksmay play a vital.sanctifying. only texts informants biographical and that resembling described elderly by in and are ofAjaanMan's early years small disciples thepre. plateau p. forest (paa monastery grounds to the forested incloseproximityvillages. special Being ofthe transcended thewild and untamed musthave spiritually (through their ownmental defilements the"disordered personal conquest) of regions themind"(Douglas 1966. individually collectively. monastery theonlyforest thecleared today forest where the an Presently. These rules particular training of to theintegrality thesangha)arehighly personalized. with these individuals tocoexist able out ordinary.110 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 "marker" more theambience thelocaleandtheir to of seemstorelate rules(winai) and asceticpractices.

the intothedenseforest.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 1 11 the Man's third of the villagers importance conserving environment. inthe andnewsettlers.A survey fifty-eight of forest monasteries the throughout whose to that northeast. except the monastery there few Muchseemsto depend theinterest determinationtheforest on and of teacheras to how muchsurrounding forest can protect he from But encroachment. in isolated In went Nam Som district suchmonks.a little disappear forests gonealongwith elephants. ineffectually being The right to themonks'hutsthemselves.Udornthaanii) Ajaan pupils generation Ajaan discussed Thui(WatDongSii Chomphuu. itself. . are trees. now ailingAjaan Thet up was (Wat Thetsarangsii HinMaakPeng. itsforest not would even Seemingly. havegone denudation illegal ensuing by loggers monasteries locatedin and around are Manyof thenewerforest forest reserve the is (paa sanguan)though term a misgovernment as for forest nomer. ricelandsandupland have the New cash crops(maize and cassava gardens) dominate countryside. In(WatPaa Kham and Noi. Ajaan wandering someeleven invited (Udorn years andwas eventually ago by province) a monto settle establish samnak and (officially unregistered villagers in 2 of the hived astery) a forestkm. Norngkhaai) one suchmonk. the hadthesamnak beenestablished. maintaining yet extent "worldly" of in involvement curtailing destruction native the of forests. watched forest the cleared around sometimes them. Thecaseparticipation belowshowshowa forest teacher to takean active had rolein study and environmental while simultaneously ecosystem management the tradition of (Dhamma maintaining monastic Vinaya) themeditative recluse. thedilemma facing incommunity environmental active and issues. many during settlement (the phase establishment ofpermanent monasteries) intheir forest later who Uves.showed there may wasunequivocal concern increasing and awareness forest monks among for theprimitive considerable variation the in habitat. AjaanIn saidthat when first (alms-round) he wildelephants wouldfollowhimand before entered village the overa decadelater.from small village BaanNaa Kham he went binthabaat on Noi. often. in many cases external havesimply developments followed and ascetic monks theextent is of course. lineages be traced AjaanMan. below)aretwo Norngkhaai. There were forest the monks. Now.

Whilst manyforest primordial in of able logging thevicinity the illegalcommercial patrons to curtail to village arelittle toeffect able wayoflife changes the monastery. comparison. a were in (those thelineofAjaan Man) paradoxically notconsidered the1950sinSriLanka. much monastery hasonly small patch secondary with non-native andeucalypti. managed circumvent timbers the from extractionvaluable of on commercial the restrictionthe forests. monastery Sorngdao of samnak a on consists a grouping three of Nakhorn separate province.norcomprehend complexities involved. nation's protected to to considered Forest monks danger their villagers be thegreatest have influential monasteries habitat. strategy onfor This the years. As the areas where are forest monasteries locatedin mountainous many soil irreversible has causedsevere on deforestation surrounding slopes coverin many The water erosion. dangerous potentially inhabited of interstices thecountry at during residing thefuzzy despite monks forest reform the1960sand 1970sby communist insurgents. present andinfluential from Sorngdao District Office seekassistance the patrons It of forest. an addedproblem. to nation-state. PhuuLek ortheIronMountain) mountain forest reserve (called large The monastic hadto head the some5 km. grass" villagers "commmunist tocontrol. to the (yom upatthaak) prevent denudation thesurrounding which timber make houses were to wasfound somevillagers cutting that business town(representing werethen soldto a dealerin thenearest the houses dismantled and in who interestsBangkok) bought completed to went and timber. threat the during By forest periphery-dwelling monkswereaccused en masse of being communist theestablishment clergy(Yalman 1962).112 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 with now a of the forest. ground loss through nutrient places which such of consists insidious polystachion the grasses. and with are forests associated On a political dimension.from nearest village. they . negative But suchas insurgency. and illicit categories. thiswas by the towards behaviour and becauseoftheir outspoken critical probably too werefunctioning far that and institutions thefact they mainstream . as Pennisetum uselessandhard call (yaa kormmiwnit). ofthis pines replanted in Sakon ThelateAjaanWanUtamo's district.

acutely awareoftheproblems associated with existing the government policy ofpromoting monoculture of which were planting non-native eucalypti in not somelocal planted extensively thenortheast. forest critique thesocialorder. opposition and Dhamma. to wander northeastern With forests. though without resistance articulated through (NGOs) non-governmental organizations anda handful village of leaders. order keepwhatis left the put. someoftheyounger forest teachers secondandthird (the generation of conscious conserving of the pupils Man) havebecomeincreasingly environment.In might subsequently the of Thuialso seemed encouraging replanting native species. is becoming increasingly necessary to stay not in to of around. a number forest . up" inthesenseofmilitant tosociety. ofbeingseenas political activists to thestate'spowerand opposed common boundaries with authority.andthus exemplary expression purity. one'sbackturned. government officials the officer nottobe left andmedia out) (including forestry Channel SevenNetwork material for coverage thearmy's by (seeking its "Green Isaan"orIsaanKhiiew Theteacher. and of monks him. a "treeplanting seen in the day" (usingnativespeciesnow rarely one visits which involved active the northeast) during ofmy participation ofthenearby with presence various the of district village. turn routinized institutions positive is a statement "giving of awayfrom an of rather "taking than up". nation-wide attention monastery the receive. notsimply like do believe Thui. forest One WatDongSii Chomphuu.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 113 In outside traditional norms. of with monks decision the to However. held even monastery. forest the is prey monastery to theresource-hungry Thus. Movingon therimand sharing intheir waysareexpressingradical own communist both a insurgents. not publicity. inthecase ofAjaanManand as hisfirst when onthe outside there always danger was the moving pupils. did want excessive afraid the of AjaanThuiChanthakaro. highly publicized project).Subsistence. Responseto Change: The Case ofAjaan Thui As I often heard from forest it monks.due toexternal circumstances. Thailand. villagers.

meditation in arrived SakonNakhorn 1969topractise from Thuifirst He Sii Chomphuu). after Morerecently.Mahaasaarakhaam. accept to themselves others and thecause of suffering (thuk) comprehend behaviour. . commercial was selective loggers felling by followed close behind total rosewood{maiphayung). as adaptive Mahaanikaai order Wat Baan Naa Khaam. as regarded "saints". villageof the from wassettled migrants more 5 BaanNaa Khaam km.A short later newly village Baan SaengArun deaths weremany There 1 the established km. arenowonly few surrounding Thui walls. notall early rampant period during settlement Baan Naa Khaamwas settled.Udornthaanii province) Khao Anaalayo(Wat after death. Et. widely of present the cameunder pupillage the head.from forest monastery. Yaanasampanno Paa Baan Taat. Kaalasin. and from this malaria.Udornthaanii the his that Around time Thuiestablished monastery. Notlongafter to stay. relating problems ofvaluablehardwoods. Thui Khao's death. more for built monastery the a known WatPaa Naa Khaam). AjaanMahaaBua lineage (Wat province). a sense and Despite fact the tall a there of areaconsists forest reserve.insidethevillage. first Slowly. with cassavagardens uptothe trees monastery right standing term cometoseehim about when often tothe talks longer they villagers it Thuifirst arrived When forest tohabitual clearing. nineteen Ajaan years were teachers Boththese Udornthaanii ThamKlongPhen. by especially and for clearing ricefields cashcrops. saidthat Thui andhabitual. flora fauna.114 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 to unless peoplecan the inthepower persuasion solvethis of problem will individuals cometo theresult their of actions. decided settlers samnak to somesupport theforest (then continuing though villagers. the that in alsofacing extinction. non-adaptive through ignorance had and inlessthan fifteeen the years forest disappeared as a consequence themselves" thepeopleweresimply (khaatuaeng). his andthen. Khorn populated was of hived a time Kaen. had Forest" the inanisolated called "Pink site (Dong and order was a pupilofAjaan in beenordained thestrict Thammayut for Bua Siripunyo (Wat Paa NorngSaeng. province). densely by away and in Roi areas Ubon. is monks the similar the to indigenous ascetic as wellas practising latter. "killing and of for The forest vital thelivelihood well-being thevillagers.

the rains bringing onemonk During three-month retreat of 1988.wouldnotaccepttraditional "transitional" ordination hismonastery. is ordination.whichtodayprovidesmostof theday-to-day had yet The started to patronage. 1987the only monastery received "royal" its consecration khaamasiimaa) {wisung temporary of markers by 40 metres 80 aroundthe consisting eightboundary hall communal (saalaa) where sanctified ofthe the acts can sangha now be performed. "raw" that for the (khon young dip) boys during The retreat.away. Thui'spurpose having siimaawas to permit in the the ofhigher ordinations timeto time. from with visiting a performance fromthe newlyestablishednearbyThammayut town preceptor inSo Phisai district. away. guidelines prospective contrasting theeasier admission ordination village to in monasteries. constrast. were of months there between tothree one This of importance tothe monks. not beenestablished. another smaller Baan Klorng Baan SaengArun. meditators. wandering Thui'smonastery seventeen had monks two and novices marked 1988.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 1 15 in from outside. Thui is knownforhis profound knowledgeof Dhamma {mii andintensely ofbush-craft phuumtham suung) practical understanding former forest Before rains the retreat of (likemany monks). forest monastery attract outside interest since early In the 1980s. Mahaanikaai took important function a local as monastery the for a of "ripening ground" youngboys from number newlyhived In other in forest monks Thui. surrounding villagers. as with theAjaan Man lineage. nearby village. Thui'slinkage with temporary chiiphraam influential figures tofacilitate élite with helps dialogue localbureaucrats. togo toeither or some80 km. one or two other and lay with influential families. in the and but (phansaa) outside the of period retreat.4 are to There chiiphraam distantly occasionalBangkokvisitors. Khem. is nevertheless strict has setdown he and very firm for with ordinands. is a reflection the traditional rite given ofpassage. about 1 km.Although Norngkhaai Beungkaan Thuinowhas a siimaa. (a contrast thenumbers WatBaan Naa Khaamnoted with for above)and onelong-time resident related royalty. candidates ordination for had monastery Previously. .there werefifteen monks novices. at Inthe Thuiwent alms-roundsBaanNaa Khaamand on to early days.

general village comefrom Themonks WatDongSii Chomphuu at many provinces: one from six the and Janthaburii.bridge and resultant or concerns. compared the camefrom In survey twooutofsixmonks only monastery. wouldanylikely One for new thus development. or in disinterestedpolitical ideological theless seemed at worker thesametimealso Department Development Community afford athowThuicould wonderment financially tokeepsuch expressed that but ten the over past years.Kirsch's from and Sakon who with localvillage. twomonks camefrom Ubon. one at two the As Nakhorn. that and so fevers. village in surveillance the1970s was the The areaaround monastery under area"(khet or"pink communist as andclassified a potential stronghold timeit was assumedthatwhenthe trees At sii chomphuu).1 16 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 attention matters on such as road repairs. and in and Mai electrical Chiang (a former engineer third seniority). Thoughnotnecessarily how he consensus. accompanied ononevisit empathy Thui. inmates Thui'sselectivity monastic reflects of diversity well-educated under forest most forest monasteries a punctilious andis common among notedthisfeature a forest at Kirsch(1967. from northeast (onlyone monk one one onefrom from Baan SaengArun). monk from novice Kampuchea. ground national breaking "patterned" of from Ministry the worker Department Development Community me for little Interior. maintenance. 148) earlier teacher. p. insurgents thedebilitating disappeared. in on land a established 1940/41 donated near Phuuthai village monastery of with homogeneity thevillage the in Nakhorn Phanom. expressing of indicative theofficial to themonastery.unlesshe had befriended during insurgency not about henone Thuiwould talk On communists.5 provinces. conceded the in of tract forest situ a large . is normally case. ofthe about the at Wat Dong Sii Chomphuuseemed betterinformed than of deforestation the and environment theconsequences extensive monks. it. hispart. expected. although The concerns.the novices hisforest monastery inmates resident most As the camefrom nearby village. one in with rains retreats from (thesecondin seniority) nineteen England This monks comefrom central the The remaining 1989. saidhe couldnotunderstand Thuihadbeenableto the the remain crisis.

community The pasttwodecadeshavebrought aboutmomentous to changes a now largely deforested. the that placehecouldlight a fire ina small was on This he clearing a rocky outcrop. than the returns to though financial the are which creates for term. the One districts hefirst recounted AjaanMan. obviously great in Thuitalked the and about forests wildlife So PhisaiandPaakhaat when arrived saidthat feared and he bears most. some of thegovernment's On countryside cleared rubber trees wererecently and land.only Thuialso criticizes present the towards commercialization tendency of religion. tigers. modern The world fast is the catching with isolated up hamlet BaanSaengArun.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 117 teacher had transcendent powers merit (baaramii). encountered suddenly tend attack The rather turn run. such Thui seeking lucky only waswary personal of which couldendupbeing soldinthe photographs . and Thui. process during timeof mymanyvisits. experimental planted itis that would ideally be suited the to micro-climate. waswhere built thefirst small hall(saalaa). forest. consequencesof changesto theirlife-style an particularly increased financialburdenon the community. villagers longer problems animpoverished localeconomy. whathe regards theartifice political as and especially machinations urban of movements he is careful not religious although tomention ofthese name. tree like see rubber crops including plantations as more beneficial cassavagardens. thought these forest monks him. Likemany northeastern monks forest any by Thui does notlike goingto thecapital.Thui had forewarned villagersof the the withelectrification. willnot He hesitate turn to sangha away"tourists" numbers religious or artefacts as amulets. forest than and where Thuieventually settled canopy and ground damp theonly so was so dense.whenwalking that the ofhisdisciples through make whistling a sound warn to of Thui would bears hisapproach. the priority. Nevertheless household interviewed colourtelevision a saw as every if "for children". if unlike will to saidthat bears. village oneofthe inthe of This was last district toreceive which inthe was ofinstallation the electricity.or theprovincial townof unlessit is essential. prior permission then only the ofanorthodox ritual. will notpermit He himself be to Norngkhaai unless with in context and photographed.

pp. factup until twentieth century revision Pali and Dhammastudies. time especially annual and of of thecommemoration thespontaneous assembly theBuddha's of arabandisciples (Maakhabuuchaa). perpetuationthetraditional with the visitors which Villagers monastery. meditative inthemodeofhisteacher theThammayut life and of The many lay prominent visitors supporters themonastery in senior status thelocality include and reflect elitist its sevants. from time to also and practitioners. Thui makes an effort cultivate good Kaenin from who with localheadman. on sermon "right including living" with be able children he believesshould better to cometo terms who their than environmental parents.118 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 or. problems for confinement In order maintain cenobitical to the necessary the times Thuiregulates life of primitive ways.Butvillagers see theteacher Theseare at normative Buddhist festivities. which become has redundant Khorm Lao aksorn and tham.thecommemorationthebirth. of Wachirayaan's prince-monk in northeast. public medical the local police chief. (andothers his Although receiving primary only veneration written for He hasgreat material.andthe enlightenment.some teachers. death theBuddha(Wisaakha the retreat khao and day (wan phansaa dayofentering the ofleaving rains a to and wan orkphansaà). métropole as often happens. knowledge Tambiah's[1970. migrated Khorn the relationship and for a theearly1970s. and of buuchaa). so on. a novice. wasalsotaught mystical Thui Khorm still was the taught the and khaathaa6 whenhe was young later but yan (sacredmarkings) and for discardedthistraditional learning reform orthopraxy the in order. willonly destroy generation) matter withtheBrahmanical "pure"fireand will readily printed a religious whohappens leavea text to anyone (particularly reprimand As Thuiwastaught sacred the Khmer one)ina "low"position. 119-21]villagestudy this today (compare with in aksorn tham still was over actively taught twenty-five agowhen years In the reforms the and thenortheast).with reputation beingan articulate skilled to when are festivities villagers permittedcome On Buddhist organizer. periodicals Thui of education. the inharmony the with environment. mayenter forest during . appearin someof themany popular on charismatic monks "magical and arts". a to Thuimaytaketheopportunitydeliver en tothemonastery masse.wealthytraders.

ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 119 I to for restriction and whom spokeseemed sensitive thenecessity this External seclusion meditation.saalaa. the and comments "buffer" destructive climacteric he on what sees as thenowwidespread phase in of forest and confronting monasteries thedecline thenumber active forest monks reformed and teaching discipline meditation. simple the The timber monks' huts. community keeps strict but much this of which comesfrom funds. seemingly monastery money the town becomes one in There distributed. has firmly controlled inside monastery.purchased primary and saalaa. onesecluded each dispersed his a thirty-year with Royal lease the (through élite supporters) negotiated in native trees to (arranged the by teacher the Forestry Departmentplant hectares contiguous of "forest reserve" see village. turn. above)onthirty-four In the that cleared the stipulation by villagers. especially newbuildings. the Thuialso kuti theforest. thesmallmae chii(female storage of kutiand kitchen) theonly are section(consisting three separate in buildings themonastery. thevillage. and Sometimes are upsetby Thui's villagers . Thui a control over school. rice-bank. Inthe decade. Despite for deal offinancial he support.andthey villagers direct to accepthis sometimes reproaches especiallyin regard the environment morality.from perimeter thenearest a "forest monastery" of and with hamlet being was challenged thenatural growth thevillage he a additional land. for the neededtheir said that monks to and are with laity kept a basicminimum villagers not is interaction the which consists a cluster of of to the allowed enter sangkhaawaat usually in from other.Thuifelt needed forested theneedfor productive Thuioften between monastery thevillage. growth asceticsor "nuns") shed. The villagers on this provide dailysupport binthabaat (though is sometimes withadditional nutrition inadequate provided urban by andundertake In occasional chores. fact normative previously the of be atleast1 km. can be no doubting highregard the holdfor Thui. wayoranother. élite in interest orthodox the that hasreceived great fact he a religion. the remaining generation as few first of past pupils Man Thuihas becomethefocusof intense becometoo old to teach. Thuiwillemploy supporters) whenever to around forest the rather use than villagers possible do work mechanizationoutside or contractors hasalsohelped village and the by a landforthevillage'sfirst building largepond.

their resources Thuisaidthat needtoreflect on world modernization. circumstances "habit" nisai. of a condition personalhardship. villages Conclusion and discussedWat Dong Sii Chomphuu its I have at some length with in of teacher thecontext interaction and forest monk indefatigable . perhaps to kind he oncea villager wanted eata certain radical. because leaves the but out ofleaf a tree on down. ago.120 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 or du the criticisms heis calleda "fierce person" khon . smoke the of want catch squirrel to they villagers fire itout. peoplewere In on the insistence imitating availablein theforest. and are exceptional.a word usesoften this by of to this. the to seekassistance buyincreasingly costly monastery a inside hollow a tree. the He givesa number examples illustrate Nowadays people dead and cometo theforest wood to burn their do nothaveenough If to charcoal. somevillagers to is seasonalwork nowmoredifficult obtain. Indeed. setting to thesurrounding In another.He likens with ittoa hand-to-mouth existence no thought theconsequences. for time that havelittle orresidual they natural but had alsopoor. today. ina wider BaanSaenArun not confronting problems on of are sensethey reflective massive impinging Thai-Lao changes overthepasttwodecades. forest supports out are with The the supports village. people so concerned ekeing a living the funds supporting monastery.often bush. of motivated certain in perpetuating in or he context. example saysthat the were ofreach. atleast Inthe they abundant past. and they meuang in for and it can these howthey maintain things whether is useful them income outside and havea regular Noneofthevillagers thelongrun. inside forest. inrespect Thuifeels thevillagers byandlargeshort-sighted that are ofplanning the for future improve quality their to the of lives. he simply thetree cut maintains and that that Thuiremarked most peoplethink thevillage if but the the forest monastery monastery. is in Middle Eastbut on depend work the The fraudulent than lesslucrative someyears andwith many agents. anything. to nowthis alsoharder obtain.but teacher him saidthis not did worry provided (the canatleast learn they villagers) from their mistakes.

its monastic tradition. largeshadytrees oil or calledHuu tapped a ear".. purlieus dangerous neither dimension should seenas separate be However. 29 Recent shows seriousness the data the of problem. percent 448).. vitalmeansof protecting remaining the In forests. their peripheral with laity. anuntamed potentially and dimension. patrons someofthe meansto ensure and of and perpetuation maintenance theforest.andtheforest socialdimension situated the at monastery. as and social With entities. years only percent forest cover remained and n. Official figures given the by RoyalForestry Department a grossly give over-inflatedpercent. inalienable anda coterie influential of are rights).. remains be seenhow effective willbe. patterned andinterstices.17 percent (Uhlig1984). covered forest 1973. 2).yetnineyears in later remained by only9. (Tamarindus indica)among InThailand 53-57 percent national of forest cover existed still generally in 1961(BoonchanaandThongchai inHirsch 1983 n. Atthe rate 3 there will (around percent annum) present ofdeforestation per be little forest coverleft theendof thecentury n.d.large Chaang "elephant deciduousleafytree. TonKung(Dipterocarpus tuberculatus). In (Hirsch by Nakhorn Raatchasiimaa 27. dependent Notes 1 Presently the in northeastis hard find it to which are many large yaangtrees fortheir (Dipterocarpaceae).Tabaek (Lagerstroemia or Makhaam flosreginae) others. enduring of ecosystem the anawareness the and importancesustainable of cultural forest monks AjaanThuihaveinrecent like times becomea practices.p.88 percentof thetotalarea was (Khoraat). Seventeen later 25 in while 1986around 15-16 existed.d.d.Uhlig1984. cosmological but total interdependent phenomena. It to this protect . construction monastery the the discourse of wallscircumthe officialsanctification themonastery of (with scribing forest. The Thai Government recently acknowledgedthisproblemafter land in in 1988caused devastating slidesandflooding thesouth November thedeath around peopleanditpushed billthrough of 400 a Parliament to national forests.1987).p.Hirsch Lohmann (Hirsch 1989.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 121 to and between localvillage the the response development ecology .

p. 317] for paa (see McFarland from allotment which imply of may anything anovergrown range meanings) forest. school. the with outside is a has retreats phansaawhich monk undergone the or of Thenumber rains usualmodeofreckoning seniority.122 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 2 3 4 5 as not interest thegovernment.there peri-urban forest monasteries.p. 521] andHaas [1964.a slaughter Udorn Nongkhaai and road between with newmain around monastery the the running past. settlement. is better tomaintain world. is believed. monks point forest (a with and monasteries this communication. are (1978. 145) saidthat north monasteries informants offorest when elderly his surrounding spoke between was no differentiation of theold citywalls. and for site Chinese. personal with without andmeditating monks. 1987). general since overenvironmental hasbeenslowly issues mounting the1970s. Muslims Christians. and the monasteries traditional Reigns during Third Fourth peri-urban many O'Connor of nowin thecentre themetropolis. may prefix which overa period time of for oncehavebeentheresidence forest monks. or trees forest totheir name. 141)correctly pointed the ambiguity a theword [1944. monk Keyes(1982). todenserain to and and In contemporary relating monks monasteries in a fieldtexts for wat a the work situation term paa didnotnecessarily imply residence in also madebyGeorges Condominas theLao case.Tambiah see On this (1984.Hirsch Lohmann and by Though a sudden awareness publicpressure thegovernment on and (1989) remark. andburial cremation Nonniwet tenyears was anextensive ground ago only surrounded forest. . over has In thecapital itself growth beenimmense thepastfewdecades. in of absorbed theexpansion human became areas on the werelocatedin forested Some dhutangamonasteries as as of outskirts Bangkok recently 20-30 years andarenowconsumed ago Wat there similar are In inthe urban examples. northeastern in Wat from north) Udorn. out occasional over O'Connor (1978.andTaylor (1988. Manstayed hisreturn the on Paa Nonniwet (where Paa Sutthaawaat (whereMan died) in Sakon Nakhorn.p.p.thus.shops. and monasteries remote and the whoobserves eight A chiiphraamis a woman precepts does not sociallinks able she it her shave head. Todaythere by area and a newresidential is a primary house. Paa set pupil. Somevillage town 1987). 1990). meuang sprawl.and Wat Paa Wat Saalawan upbyMan'sright-hand AjaanSing)inKhoraat.

Problems". Institute Southeast of AsianStudies. University "The Statein theVillage: Interpreting RuralDevelopment in Thailand". AsianSurvey Bikkhu. Student's Stanford: Stanford Haas. Lohmann. nos. Discontinuities. ofUrban Singapore: 1989. PhilipandL. 1-24.F. McTaggart.4 (April1989):439-51. Visuddhimagga path purification]. Thailand:Society Politics. Journal the Keyes. Purity Danger.d. and and Douglas.London: Routledge KeganPaul. Buddhist Publication 1975. of ofSydney. andW. Conflict: Political ThaiBuddhism. References A. 1987):341-56.D. M. "Contemporary Thailand". and The Functions Jackson. Somemonks methat magical purely inorigin.normatively told its associations were Thai stanza.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 123 meansPali verses a four or half-line 6 Khaathaa(Pali: Gatha). Girling. Ceylon: Society. J. Academy Religion of . no.. and in Hirsch. Politics Environment of in Hirsch. by Nanamoli. "LandSettlement Processes Southeast in Asia: Historical and Asian Foundations. in "Tolerance Intolerance Ambiguity Northern and of Thai Davis.4 (August M. n. Thai-English Dictionary. and Press.H. and Development Change20 (1989): 35-56. XIII. 1964. Philip. Profile no. R. Brodrick. "Death of Two Buddhist of American XLVIII.C. Press. of Translated [The Buddhagosa. London: and n. 1 (January 1974): Myth Ethnology De Koninck. Vehicle: Cambodia Laos. Department Geography. University "Deforestation Development Thailand". Little Hutchinson.3 and4 (1982): 149-80.Ithaca:Cornell University 1981. andRitual". comp.A. Legitimation.d. P. Buddhism.1966. 15. Mimeographed. Saintsin Thailand".Richard.

Cultsin Northeast and S. A Malamoud. Bangkok: and and R. 1978. Cambridge Cambridge: Cambridge Press. "PhuThaiReligious Syncretism:Case Study ThaiReligion". McFarland.124 SOJOURNVOLUME 6 NUMBER 1 Politics Their and in "Buddhist Revolutionary Origins Thailand". ed. The Mun Phra MahaaBua (MahaBoowa)Yaanasampanno. Cambridge Cambridge: Cambridge 1984.T.J. Venerable Acharn Meditation Master. EcolePratique Hautes Paris: 1978. Etudes. Phuurithatto". Mulder. Review no. In and Virtues. Bhuridatta: by Bangkok: 1982.S.L.A. Sanctity Community.pp. University California The Domestication: Relationship to J. Thai-English Dictionary. and ModernThai Classical Paradigm Arahant: "The Buddhist edited J. University.1987.D. Stanford: Stanford G.dissertation. "Forest Puja (2523 32-37. of . 2nd J. University 1944. A of A. [1980]). University TheBuddhist SaintsoftheForestand theCultofAmulets. Harvard 1967.Niels.Saints Berkeley: by of Press. Funny Publishing. Hierarchy.dissertation. Buddhism theSpirit Studiesin Social Anthropology. Life Editions 1985. Press. "Landscape and Religionin theArthasastraa: Note on des Bhumicchidra"."Urbanism Religion: O'Connor. Wandering Monastic Taylor. Thailand.Everyday in Thailand:An Interpretation. University Studiesin Social Anthropology. DuangKamol. 2 (1988): 121^2. Sorbonne. Visakha of MonksandtheHistory Bangkok".B. Cornell Ph.D. Ph. Temples". "From Nikaaiin theNortheast of the between Establishment theThammayut Region and Ascetic Monks in the Lineage of Phra Aajaan Man 76 Journal theSiamSociety (1988): 64-88. Kirsch. Tambiah.C. International Political Science 10. Translated SiriBuddhasukh. Manifestations". inUrban ThaiBuddhist University.A.1970.Hawley. Press.

Vol.Spontaneous Planned Institute AsianAffairs. University. and SettlementSoutheast in H. "The AsceticBuddhist 1. and Whole TuanYi-Fu. Hamburg: and of From "Ecotypes Systems ThaiAgriculture: RiceCultivation to Modern at DryLand Cropping". currently Sydney. Monksof Ceylon".D. AustralianNational Canberra.pp. 3-6 July1987. 3 Yalman. Macquarie Earth(California). 1990. Sydney.. . University. (1962): 315-28.N. of 1984."Strangers Strangeness".Ethnology no.Taylor is a social anthropologist based at Macguarie University. Tradition". (Spring Asia.L. 58 no. Uhlig.ECOLOGY AND FOREST MONKS IN NORTHEAST THAILAND 125 The Forest Monastic "From to Wandering Domestication: Thai-Lao Ph. ed. 58. Paperpresented theInternational on Conference Thai Studies. 1988).thesis. J. 18-23.