Known as an innovative reinterpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk beliefs , Buddhadasa fostered a reformation in conventional religious perceptions in his home country, Thailand , as well as abroad. Buddhadasa developed a personal view that those who have penetrated the essential nature of religions consider "all religions to be inwardly the same", while those who have the highest understanding of dhamma feel "there is no religion". Buddhadasa renounced civilian life in Typical of young monks during the time, he traveled to the capital, Bangkok , for doctrinal training but found the wats there dirty, crowded, and, most troubling to him, the sangha corrupt, "preoccupied with prestige, position, and comfort with little interest in the highest ideals of Buddhism. In later years, Buddhadasa's teachings attracted many international seekers to his hermitage.
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Although adhering strictly to the conservative Vinaya rules established by the historical Buddha, he claimed that to practice religion seriously one must be both conservative and radical. Hence on his eighty-fourth birthday a volume was published to honor him, with the title of Radical Conservatism: Buddhism in the Contemporary World.
Lancaster, Donald K. Swearer, and others. Traditionalists attacked Buddhadhasa because he regarded Mahayana as being as important as Theravada. He even questioned some remarks made by the most famous Theravada commentator, Buddhagosa.
Besides, he praised authentic teaching in the Bible and the Quran. Those who claim to follow any religious tradition should understand and practice according to the essential teaching. We should all unite against materialism, which is connected directly or indirectly with greed, hatred, delusion. His teaching was not only for personal happiness but for social justice and ecological balance.
He proposed dhammic Socialism as a Buddhist alternative to capitalism and communism. Previously they associated Buddhism with superstition and a nation-state. With his help, they now understand the essential teachings of the Buddha on selflessness, mindfulness, understanding, and compassion. Buddhadasa taught that since Buddha was born in the forest, was enlightened in the forest, and passed away in the forest, we should really respect and preserve the forest. In , he established Suan Mokh, the Garden for Liberation.
Here he sat all day beneath the trees, surrounded by dogs and chickens, birds and bees, contemplating deeply. Donald K. Swearer has called him the Nagarjuna of Theravada. Some of his works have been translated into several languages. After his eightieth birthday, Buddhadasa often said that his mother was the most important person in his life.
Yet he felt that he had not done enough for her. So he wished to form a new religious order for women called Dhamma Mata, one that would avoid the existing controversy in Thailand over the formal ordination of Bhikkhuni nuns. His thinking was that if members of this new order are well trained spiritually and educationally, their positive contribution to humankind would overcome prejudice against their gender.
Seriously ill for the past ten years, Buddhadasa refused Western medical treatment, with its advanced technology. He wanted to die a natural death and to face death meaningfully, as a Buddhist monk should. He told the monk to practice according to the teaching contained in the book. He said he too would practice accordingly—to be mindful all the time. Those were his last words. Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle!
As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available. Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else. Tricycle is a nonprofit that depends on reader support. Help us share Buddhist teachings and practices by donating now. He said his aims in life were three: 1. Those who belong to one religion should respect other religions.
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Although adhering strictly to the conservative Vinaya rules established by the historical Buddha, he claimed that to practice religion seriously one must be both conservative and radical. Hence on his eighty-fourth birthday a volume was published to honor him, with the title of Radical Conservatism: Buddhism in the Contemporary World. Lancaster, Donald K. Swearer, and others.
On the Passing of Buddhadasa
Translated from the Thai by Dhammavidu Bhikkhu. New electronic edition, November Buddha-Dhamma for Students ]. Two talks given in January to students at Thammasat University, Bangkok. First electronic edition, October First electronic edition, Summary of his teachings prepared by Tan Ajahn for a souvenir book on the occasion of his 80 th 'Age Teasing Day' on 27 th May