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Ritigala forest monastery monks. Part of the Cultural Triangle, Ritigala is one of the less visited but most legendary ancient sites of Sri Lanka. Forest monks of Southeast Asia, also called ascetic monks or meditation monks because they embraced thudong or ascetic austerities, revived the Theravada Buddhist tradition directly linked to the historical Gautama Buddha. This thudong tradition emphasizes meditation and ascetic practice over scholarly and literary pursuits. It celebrates the forest and wandering monks and hermits as opposed to the coenobitic, urban and institutionalized monks of the centralized national sanghas. The forest monk tradition, originating in India, spread to historical Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Sri Lanka. Its revival, however, was a nineteenth-century reform movement intricately related to its forest setting. The tradition essentially passed out of existence with the destruction of its natural setting. Nevertheless, the thudong tradition represents a rich heritage of eremitism.

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Anouk Garcia
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SRI LANKA as you've never seen before, Hotel Travel Lifestyle
Ritigala forest monastery monks. Part of the Cultural Triangle, Ritigala is one of the less visited but most legendary ancient sites of Sri Lanka. Forest monks of Southeast Asia, also called ascetic monks or meditation monks because they embraced thudong or ascetic austerities, revived the Theravada Buddhist tradition directly linked to the historical Gautama Buddha. This thudong tradition emphasizes meditation and ascetic practice over scholarly and literary pursuits. It celebrates the forest and wandering monks and hermits as opposed to the coenobitic, urban and institutionalized monks of the centralized national sanghas. The forest monk tradition, originating in India, spread to historical Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Sri Lanka. Its revival, however, was a nineteenth-century reform movement intricately related to its forest setting. The tradition essentially passed out of existence with the destruction of its natural setting. Nevertheless, the thudong tradition represents a rich heritage of eremitism.