Ajahn Chah

From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Jump to: navigation, search
Phra Bodhiñāṇathera
(Chah Subaddho)
AJiang Cha.jpg
School Theravada, Maha Nikaya
Other names Luang Por Chah (หลวงพ่อชา),
Luang Pu Chah (หลวงปู่ชา),
Ajahn Chah (อาจารย์ชา),
Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera (เจ้าคุณโพธิญาณเถระ)[1]
Dharma names Subhaddo
Personal
Nationality Thai
Born (1918-06-17)17 June 1918
Ubon, Thailand
Died 16 January 1992(1992-01-16) (aged 73)
Ubon, Thailand
Senior posting
Title Phra Bodhiñanathera (1973)[2]
Religious career
Teacher Ven. Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, Ven. Ajahn Thongrat, Ven. Ajahn Kinaree
Students Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Sumedho
Website ajahnchah.org watnongpahpong.org watpahnanachat.org

Chah Subhaddo (Thai: ชา สุภัทโท, alternatively Achaan Chah, occasionally with honorific titles Luang Por and Phra) or in honorific name "Phra Bodhiñāṇathera" (Thai: พระโพธิญาณเถร,[2] Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera;[1] 17 June 1918 – 16 January 1992[3]) was an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma and a founder of two major monasteries in the Thai Forest Tradition.

Respected and loved in his own country as a man of great wisdom, he was also instrumental in establishing Theravada Buddhism in the West. Beginning in 1979 with the founding of Cittaviveka (commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery)[4] in the United Kingdom, the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah has spread throughout Europe, the United States and the British Commonwealth. The dhamma talks of Ajahn Chah have been recorded, transcribed and translated into several languages.

More than one million people, including the Thai royal family, attended Ajahn Chah's funeral in January 1993[5] held a year after his death due to the "hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend".[3] He left behind a legacy of dhamma talks, students, and monasteries.

Early life

Ajahn Chah was born on 17 June 1918 near Ubon Ratchathani in the Isan region of northeast Thailand. His family were subsistence farmers. As is traditional, Ajahn Chah entered the monastery as a novice at the age of nine, where, during a three-year stay, he learned to read and write. He left the monastery to help his family on the farm, but later returned to monastic life on 16 April 1939, seeking ordination as a Theravadan monk (or bhikkhu).[6] According to the book Food for the Heart: The Collected Writings of Ajahn Chah, he chose to leave the settled monastic life in 1946 and became a wandering ascetic after the death of his father.[6] He walked across Thailand, taking teachings at various monasteries. Among his teachers at this time was Ajahn Mun, a renowned meditation master in the Forest Tradition. Ajahn Chah lived in caves and forests while learning from the meditation monks of the Forest Tradition. A website devoted to Ajahn Chah describes this period of his life:

For the next seven years Ajahn Chah practiced in the style of an ascetic monk in the austere Forest Tradition, spending his time in forests, caves and cremation grounds. He wandered through the countryside in quest of quiet and secluded places for developing meditation. He lived in tiger and cobra infested jungles, using reflections on death to penetrate to the true meaning of life.[6]

Thai forest tradition

During the early part of the twentieth century Theravada Buddhism underwent a revival in Thailand under the leadership of outstanding teachers whose intentions were to raise the standards of Buddhist practise throughout the country. One of these teachers was the Venerable Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta. Ajahn Chah continued Ajahn Mun's high standards of practise when he became a teacher.[7]

The monks of this tradition keep very strictly to the original monastic rule laid down by the Buddha known as the vinaya. The early major schisms in the Buddhist sangha were largely due to disagreements over how strictly the training rules should be applied. Some opted for a degree of flexibility (some would argue liberality) whereas others took a conservative view believing that the rules should be kept just as the Buddha had framed them. The Theravada tradition is the heir to the latter view. An example of the strictness of the discipline might be the rule regarding eating: they uphold the rule to only eat between dawn and noon. In the Thai Forest Tradition monks and nuns go further and observe the 'one eaters practice', whereby they only eat one meal during the morning. This special practice is one of the thirteen dhutanga, optional ascetic practices permitted by the Buddha that are used on an occasional or regular basis to deepen meditation practice and promote contentment with little. They might, for example, as well as eating only one meal a day, sleep outside under a tree, or dwell in secluded forests or graveyards.

Monasteries founded

File:Ordination by Ajahn Chah.jpg
Ajahn Chah welcoming as a novice a New Zealander, later to become Ajahn Munindo, abbot of a monastery in the north of England

After years of wandering, Ajahn Chah decided to plant roots in an uninhabited grove near his birthplace. In 1954, Wat Nong Pah Pong monastery was established, where Ajahn Chah could teach his simple, practice-based form of meditation. He attracted a wide variety of disciples, which included in 1966, the first Westerner, Venerable Ajahn Sumedho.[6] Wat Nong Pah Pong [8] includes over 250 branches throughout Thailand, as well as over 15 associated monasteries and ten lay practice centers around the world.[6]

In 1975, Wat Pah Nanachat (International Forest Monastery) was founded with Ajahn Sumedho as the abbot. Wat Pah Nanachat was the first monastery in Thailand specifically geared towards training English-speaking Westerners in the monastic Vinaya, as well as the first run by a Westerner.

In 1977, Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho were invited to visit the United Kingdom by the English Sangha Trust who wanted to form a residential sangha.[9] 1979 saw the founding of Cittaviveka (commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery due to its location in the small hamlet of Chithurst) with Ajahn Sumedho as its head. Several of Ajahn Chah's Western students have since established monasteries throughout the world.

Later life

By the early 1980s, Ajahn Chah's health was in decline due to diabetes. He was taken to Bangkok for surgery to relieve paralysis caused by the diabetes, but it was to little effect. Ajahn Chah used his ill health as a teaching point, emphasizing that it was "a living example of the impermanence of all things...(and) reminded people to endeavor to find a true refuge within themselves, since he would not be able to teach for very much longer".[6] Ajahn Chah would remain bedridden and ultimately unable to speak for ten years, until his death on January 16, 1992, at the age of 73.[10]

Notable Western students

Bibliography

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Breiter, Paul (2004). Venerable Father. Paraview Special Editions. p. xi. ISBN 1-931044-81-3. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "แจ้งความสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์", 24 ธันวาคม 2516. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา. ฉบับพิเศษ เล่มที่ 90 ตอนที่ 177, หน้า 8
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Ajahn Chah Passes Away". Forest Sangha Newsletter. April 1992. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  4. Website of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
  5. "The State Funeral of Luang Por Chah". Ajahn Sucitto. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Biography of Ajahn Chah". Wat Nong Pah Pong. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  7. Wat Nong Pah Pong. "A Collection of Dhammatalks by Ajahn Chah". Everything Is Teaching Us. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  8. "Website of Wat Nong Pah Pong". Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  9. "Ajahn Sumedho (1934-)". BuddhaNet. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  10. "Ajahn Chah: biography". Forest Sangha. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 


External links

Teachings


Historical people list

Historical people

Main subcategories of People are: Historical people - Living people - All people - People categories ... (Is a bio not here, or minimal?)

Masao Abe Robert Baker Aitken Ron Allen (playwright) B. R. Ambedkar Ananda
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero Angulimala Aniruddha Mahathera Anuruddha Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera
Aryadeva Asai Ryōi Assaji Atiśa Nisthananda Bajracharya
Benimadhab Barua Joko Beck Sanjaya Belatthiputta Charles Henry Allan Bennett Hubert Benoit (psychotherapist)
John Blofeld Bodhidharma Edward Espe Brown Polwatte Buddhadatta Thera Buddhaghosa
Acharya Buddharakkhita Marie Byles Ajahn Chah Rerukane Chandawimala Thero Channa
Chokgyur Lingpa Edward Conze L. S. Cousins Brian Cutillo 1st Dalai Lama
2nd Dalai Lama 3rd Dalai Lama 4th Dalai Lama 5th Dalai Lama 6th Dalai Lama
7th Dalai Lama 8th Dalai Lama 9th Dalai Lama 10th Dalai Lama 11th Dalai Lama
12th Dalai Lama 13th Dalai Lama Bidia Dandaron Alexandra David-Néel Marian Derby
Devadatta U Dhammaloka K. Sri Dhammananda Dharmaditya Dharmacharya Dharmakirti
Dharmapala of Nalanda Anagarika Dharmapala Dharmottara Dignāga Dōgen
Dongchu Dongshan Liangjie Khakyab Dorje, 15th Karmapa Lama Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, 3rd Karmapa Lama
Heinrich Dumoulin Düsum Khyenpa, 1st Karmapa Lama Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Walter Evans-Wentz Family of Gautama Buddha
Frederick Franck Gampopa Gelek Rimpoche Gö Lotsawa Zhönnu-pel Gorampa
Maha Pajapati Mahapajapati Mahapajapati Gotami Rita Gross Gurulugomi
Phagmo Drupa Dorje Gyalpo Tsangpa Gyare Gendun Gyatso Palzangpo Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso Dolpopa
Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen Gyeongbong Han Yong-un Thich Nhat Hanh Walisinghe Harischandra
Eugen Herrigel Ernő Hetényi Marie Musaeus Higgins Raicho Hiratsuka Shin'ichi Hisamatsu
Hsuan Hua Huiyuan (Buddhist) Christmas Humphreys K. N. Jayatilleke 2nd Jebtsundamba Khutughtu
9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu Jeongang Kadawedduwe Jinavamsa Mahathera Ken Jones (Buddhist) David Kalupahana
Dainin Katagiri Katyayana (Buddhist) Bob Kaufman Kaundinya Jack Kerouac
Bogd Khan Khema Ayya Khema Dilgo Khentse Dilgo Khyentse
King Suppabuddha Jamgon Kongtrul Kukkuripa Kumar Kashyap Mahasthavir Kunkhyen Pema Karpo
Drukpa Kunley Trevor Leggett Arthur Lillie Karma Lingpa Robert Linssen
Longchenpa John Daido Loori Albert Low Luipa Taizan Maezumi
Mahakasyapa Mahākāśyapa Mahamoggallana Mahasi Sayadaw Jyotipala Mahathera
Nagasena Mahathera S. Mahinda Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekera Marpa Lotsawa Peter Matthiessen
Maudgalyayana Maya (mother of Buddha) Maya (mother of the Buddha) Gustav Meyrink Edward Salim Michael
Milarepa Mingun Sayadaw Sōkō Morinaga Hiroshi Motoyama Mun Bhuridatta
Myokyo-ni Nagarjuna Nagasena Soen Nakagawa Bhikkhu Nanamoli
Matara Sri Nanarama Mahathera Nanavira Thera Nanda Naropa Nichiren
Kitaro Nishida Gudō Wafu Nishijima Nyanaponika Nyanaponika Thera Nyanatiloka
Thothori Nyantsen Ōbaku Toni Packer Padmasambhava Sakya Pandita
Paramanuchitchinorot Pema Lingpa Prajñāvarman Punna Rāhula
Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera Walpola Rahula Paul Reps Caroline Rhys Davids Sonam Rinchen (Buddhist geshe)
Hammalawa Saddhatissa Kazi Dawa Samdup Chatral Sangye Dorje Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo Sariputta
Sayadaw U Tejaniya Seongcheol Seungsahn Shantideva Shavaripa
Sheng-yen Zenkei Shibayama Takamaro Shigaraki Silabhadra Sīlācāra
Shin Maha Silavamsa Śrāvaka Subhashitaratnanidhi Subhuti Suddhodana
Śuddhodana D. T. Suzuki Shunryū Suzuki Taklung Thangpa Tashi Pal The ten principal disciples
Tiantong Rujing Tilopa Chögyam Trungpa Tsangnyön Heruka Yeshe Tsogyal
Upali Uppalavanna Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo Xuanzang Yasa
Yashodhara Yasodharā Linji Yixuan Zanabazar Śāriputra

This article uses material from Ajahn Chah on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo