January 31, 2011

The passing of Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa

This weekend word arrived of the passing of one of Thailand's most prominent monks, the Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa (or Bua) Ñanasampanno, also known as Luangta Boowa. Widely recognized as an arahant, or fully realized master, Maha Boowa was one of the last surviving students of the Venerable Acariya Mun Bhuridatta, who is credited with establishing the Thai Forest tradition, which has since spread across the globe. The Ven. Maha Boowa was known for his work helping the poor of Thailand through his temple Wat Pa Ban Tat.

A Thai-language site with remembrances of the late master is here. A selection of his books is here. And you can find a selection of Ven. Acariya Maha Boowa's talks on Acccess to Insight, including this one where he discusses his teacher, the Ven. Acariya Mun:

Of the famous meditation masters of our present era, Ven. Acariya Mun is the one I admire and respect the most. In my opinion, he is the most outstanding teacher of our day and age. Living and studying with him, I never saw him act in any way at odds with the Dhamma and Vinaya. His behavior was in such harmony with the Dhamma and Vinaya that it was never a cause for doubt among those who studied with him. From my experience in living with him, I'd say that he was right in line with the path of those who practice rightly, straightly, methodically, and nobly. He never strayed from this path at all.

When he would tell us about the beginning stages of his practice, he'd talk about how he had tried to develop mindfulness. He liked to live alone. If others were living with him, they would get in the way of his meditation. If he could get away on his own, he'd find that mindfulness and discernment were coupled with his efforts at all times. He would stay with his efforts both day and night. It was as if his hand was never free from its work. Mindfulness converged with his mind so that they were never willing to leave their endeavors.

He had resolved never to return to this world of continual death and rebirth. No matter what, he would have to gain release from suffering and stress in this lifetime and never ask to be reborn again. Even being born into this present lifetime had him disgusted enough, but when he also saw the birth, aging, illness, and death of human beings and living beings in general, day and night, together with the blatant sufferings caused by the oppression and cruelties of the strong over the weak, it made him feel even greater dismay, which is why he asked not to be reborn ever again. The way he asked not to be reborn was to take the effort of the practice as the witness within his heart. Wherever he lived, he asked to live with the effort of the practice. He didn't want anything else that would delay his release from suffering. This is what he would tell us when the opportunity arose.

Read the rest here.

Image: markgeorge.net

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