Here are some short video clips of Ajahn Buddhadasa, Thailand’s foremost Dharma teacher of the 20th century.
The clips includes interviews with some of us who studied and practised under his guidance.
There is also a silent film of the visit in 1972 of the Dalai Lama, aged 36, who went to pay respect and listen to teachings from the venerated Ajahn, 65, living in the forest since the age of 20.
On that visit, I listened to the Dalai Lama give a talk to us the monks, nuns and lay people in the forest, Wat Suanmoke (Monastery of the Garden of Liberation) near Chai Ya in southern Thailand.
Dalai Lama asked: ““Is the Dalai Lama the robes? No. Is the Dalai Lama the voice? No. Is the Dalai Lama the face? No. Is the Dalai Lama the form? No. Is the Dalai Lama the name? No.” Where is the Dalai Lama? There is no such thing, no such being, as the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is a mental construct, a social agreement.”
The monks bowed at the end of the talk “Sadhu, sadhu.” (well said, well said).
Ajahn Buddhadasa appreciated the Dalai Lama’s talk, He regularly spoke of the emptiness (he preferred the word ‘voidness’) of identity, of grasping a role as something, of any expression of ‘I’ and’my.’
Dalai Lama kindly came to give talks on two of my Bodh Gaya retreats in the 1980s. In one talk, he said: “If your practice does not give benefits within three years, then try Christianity.”
Ajahn Buddhadasa told me:”Anybody who changes their religion does so because they have not understood the essence of their own religion. Flowers, candles, incense and chanting is religion for thumb-sucking kids.”
Until his last breath, he remained a voice for radical reform and the application of a fresh understanding of the Dharma for monks, nuns and laypeople.
He regularly had endure to heavy criticism from the religious hierarchy and political authorities in Thailand for his fearless vision.
Within weeks of his death in 1993, the country issued four stamps in his honour and described him as the greatest monk of the modern era.
Thanks to Paco for the link.