Ajahn Martin Piyadhammo has lived as a Buddhist forest monk in jungles of Thailand for over 20 years in the Thai Forest Tradition. He stayed at Wat Pa Baan Taad for many years under the guidance of Luangta Maha Bua.
The Starting Point
He was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1957, studied electrical engineering and went to the USA to extend his studies in computer engineering with a Fulbright scholarship. After graduation, he worked in a research lab on image analysis and artificial intelligence in Hamburg. He discovered meditation at the end of 1980s.
In March 1991, he decided to give away all his belongings and went into homelessness. For four years, he lived in various Theravada monasteries in England and in Germany.
First Meeting with Luangta Maha Bua
After reading the book, 'Straight from the Heart' from the famous meditation master, Luangta Maha Bua who was also the abbot of the forest monastery at Baan Taad near Udon Thani, he flew to Thailand and arrived at Baan Taad In 1995. His first meeting with Luangta Maha Bua made him felt like coming home and it was clear to him that he had come to the right place. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in December 1995 in the forest monastery.
Ajahn Martin went on tudong for two to five months each year and meditating 14 hours every day. He spent his periods of solitude at very remote monastery, spending time in caves located far away from the villages and largely undisturbed.
Even before becoming a monk, he already had a strong base of sati and samadhi. His main focus was on body contemplation and especially 'asubha' practice (seeing the loathsomeness of the body) using samadhi once in a while to rest the citta. In the forest tradition, the practice of asubha or seeing the loathsomeness of the body is one of the key practices to overcome sexual craving and greed and hatred.
Being a Dhamma and Meditation Master
In 2004, Ajahn Pa˝˝avaddho, who was responsible for instructing western lay visitors at Wat Pa Baan Taad passed away. The teaching responsibility of lay visitors was shared between Ajahn Dick and Ajahn Martin. After Ajahn Dick left the monastery in 2007, Ajahn Martin carried the sole responsibility of teaching lay visitors the Dhamma and meditation