The Ancient Theravada Meditation System, Boran Kammatthana

Anapanasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub


  • Andrew Skilton King's College, London
  • Phibul Choompolpaisal King's College, London



Theravada, meditation, mindfulness of breathing, borān kammaṭṭhāna, ānāpānasati


In Thailand the pre-reform Theravada meditation system, boran kammatthana, is now practised only by small and isolated groups. To promote detailed comparative study of boran kammatthana, the tradition of it taught at Wat Ratchasittharam, Thonburi, is explored through a translation of a text on anapanasati attributed to Suk Kaitheun, the head of its lineage. This is followed by a detailed discussion and comparison with the description of the same technique in the Visuddhimagga. Some close connections between these two sources are identified and it is speculated that, despite features concerning nimitta, bodily location, terminology etc. that are diagnostically distinctive for boran kammatthana, its method for anapanasati can be seen as a rational development of earlier techniques advocated by Buddhaghosa.

Author Biographies

Andrew Skilton, King's College, London

Theology and Religious Studies Senior Research Fellow

Phibul Choompolpaisal, King's College, London

Research Fellow


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How to Cite

Skilton, A., & Choompolpaisal, P. (2016). The Ancient Theravada Meditation System, Boran Kammatthana: Anapanasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub. Buddhist Studies Review, 32(2), 207–229.