After a few years of study in Bangkok, which convinced him "purity is not to be found in the big city," he was inspired to live close with nature in order to investigate the Buddha-Dhamma. At that time, it was the only forest Dhamma Center and one of the few places dedicated to vipassana meditation in Southern Thailand. Word of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, his work, and Suan Mokkh spread over the years so that they are easily described as "one of the most influential events of Buddhist history in Siam. Ajahn Buddhadasa worked painstakingly to establish and explain the correct and essential principles of what he called "pristine Buddhism," that is, the original realization of the Lord Buddha before it was buried under commentaries, ritualism, clerical politics, and the like.
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Religious life[ edit ] Cremation of Buddhadasa in 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.
He held talks with leading scholars and clergy of various faiths. His aim in these discussions was to probe the similarities at the heart of each of the major world religions. Before his death in , he established an International Dhamma Hermitage Center across the highway from his own retreat to aid in the teaching of Buddhism and other yogic practices to international students.
His ability to explain complex philosophical and religious ideas in his native Southern Thai attracted many people to his wooded retreat. However, his personal practice was very much grounded in advanced research and interpretation of early Pali texts on the one hand and on his radical private experimentation on the other. Rejection of rebirth[ edit ] Buddhadasa rejected the traditional rebirth and karma doctrine, since he thought it to be incompatible with sunyata , and not conducive to the extinction of dukkha.
Therefore, states Buddhadasa, "the whole question of rebirth has nothing to do with Buddhism Its goal is nibbana, which Buddhadasa describes as a state "beyond all suffering that also transcends ordinary conceptions of happiness.
It is by relinquishing the notion of "I" and "mine" that selfish clinging is abandoned, and Nirvana or true emptiness will be reached.
Although they may say there is Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, Islam, or whatever, they will also say that all religions are inwardly the same. There is no Buddhism; there is no Christianity; there is no Islam. Thus, the phrase "No religion! Swearer has compared Buddhadasa to the early Indian philosopher Nagarjuna ,  and the 5th-century south Indian scholar Buddhaghosa who has "overshadowed the development of Theravada Buddhist thought" in southeast Asia.
The following are some of his well-known books in English translation.
Ein Engagierter Buddhist
He then taught whatever he could say truly quenches dukkha dissatisfaction, distress, suffering. His goal was to produce a complete set of references for present and future research and practice. His approach was always scientific, straight-forward, and practical. His books, both written and transcribed from talks, fill many shelves at the National Library and influence all serious Thai Buddhists in Siam. Doctoral dissertations are still being written about him and his legacy. His books can be found in bookstores around the country and are favorites as gifts at cremations. Progressive elements in Thai society, especially the young, were inspired by his teaching and selfless example.