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Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu ( Thai : พุทธ ทาส ภิกขุ , RTGS : Phutthathat Phikkhu, pronunciation: [pʰúttʰətʰâːt pʰíkkʰùʔ] Real Name: Ngueam Phanit ( เงื่ อม พา นิ ช ); * 27 May 1906 in Phumriang ( พุมเรียง ), Chaiya District , Southern Thailand, † 25 . May 1993 in Chaiya ) was one of the most influential Buddhist Theravada - monks of the 20th century.

Early years

Buddhadasa's original name was Nguam Panid, he was born on May 27, 1906 as the eldest of three children into a small merchant family in Phumriang, a small coastal town in the southern Thai province of Surat Thani . His father's name was Sieng Panid and he was of Chinese descent. His Thai mother's name was Kluan Panid, and both ran a small grocer where Nguam grew up. His mother was a devout Buddhist, she taught him responsibility and the art of thrift. She later became one of the main sponsors of Wat Suan Mokkh . In their youth, Nguam and his brothers held discussions on Buddhist issues in the neighborhood.

In 1926 he was ordained a monk at Wat Mai in Phumriang according to tradition and at the request of his mother. He got the name "Inthapanyo" ( the wise ). After just three days, he began to break away from the traditional conventions: instead of reading the ancient scriptures to laypeople, the young monk tried to combine the Dhamma with everyday events. His way of preaching soon became known all over the country, so that the sermon hall soon could no longer accommodate the many people who came to listen to him.

Within two years he passed the exams for the two basic levels of the Dhamma study ( Thai : Nak Tham Tri and Nak Tham Tho ). On the advice of his uncle Siang from Chumphon , he moved to Bangkok , since only there could he deepen his study of the scriptures. Inthapanyo initially considered Bangkok to be the "land of the awakened", the center of scriptures and gurus. But he quickly became disillusioned with the noise and dirt of the city, the overcrowded temples and the disinterested monks. After just two months, he was so frustrated that he almost resigned from the monastic order. He returned to his home village, where he taught himself the knowledge for the last basic stage of studying the ancient writings from books. After a year his uncle was able to persuade him to start studying the Pali language in Bangkok . This time Inthapanyo was more relaxed, he could retreat to a quiet corner and received private lessons there. Soon he passed the examination for the third elementary level and became a “Phra Maha Parien” (roughly: Pali scholar ), as he had wished.

After another year of advanced studies, which he did only half-heartedly, he failed the exam, which finally convinced him to turn his back on the big city and return to Phumriang.

Establishment of Wat Suan Mokkh

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

In the days of Gautama Buddha , he recommended his disciples to go into the forest and sit under a tree to seek the ultimate truth. This is exactly what Inthapanyo wanted to do. With the help of his brother and some monks he was friends with, he found a temple in the jungle that had been abandoned for 80 years and was called Wat Trapangjik.

He had a small hut built here and moved there in May 1932. He called this temple "Suan Mokkhabalarama" (short: Suan Mokkh ), which means something like "Garden of Liberation". In the same year, just a month later , the military overthrew the king of Thailand in a nonviolent coup and established a constitutional monarchy , which Buddhadasa himself saw as a good omen for his re-establishment.

For the first two years at Suan Mokkh, Inthapanyo had surrendered to a life of complete isolation. Up to the consequence that his brother had to hang his daily meal on a tree at the edge of the forest so that the hermit did not have to meet anyone. He spent his time meditating and studying Tipitaka , always striving to follow the path of the Theravada forest monks . Using the Tipitaka and his own practical experience, he put together step-by-step instructions for serious meditation, which he translated into Thai and called “Follow in the footsteps of the arahants ”. He published it in the journal "Buddhasasana" (Thai: Buddhism ), which his brother Dhammadasa published, under his new name "Buddhadasa" ( servant of the Buddha ). He gave himself this name in a solemn vow in August 1932: “I give this life and this body to the Buddha. I am a servant of the Buddha and the Buddha is my master. Therefore I will from now on bear the name Buddhadasa. "

In his later years, many foreign students came to his temple to hear his sermons and take part in ten-day retreats . He also held many conversations with scholars of the Christian Church and also other religions, in which he always emphasized that all religions are basically the same in their basic statements. Shortly before his death in 1993, he set up the International Dhamma Hermitage Center near his temple to give non-Thai students an opportunity to study the Buddha's teachings and Vipassana meditation.

Buddhadasa died on May 25, 1993 after a series of heart attacks and heartbeats while preparing a speech to be given two days later on his birthday. After the doctors at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok tried unsuccessfully for weeks in protest of his friends and fellow monks to restore his health, they declared his death on July 8, 1993.


Buddhadasa wrote so much that it could fill almost an entire room in the National Library of Thailand. His best-known books that have been translated into German include:


Web links

Commons : Phra Dharmakosacarya (Buddhadasa Bhikkhu)  - collection of images, videos and audio files