The sun is a great source of energy. It leads the solar system as well as supporting all of the celestial bodies. The sun’s rays benefit all. The sunlight provided is of inherently good value to the creatures of the earth.
From the genesis to the demise of earth’s creatures, the sun ceaselessly takes responsibility for sustaining life on earth. The sun moves on its path through the endless reaches of outer space, providing its sustenance while under nobody’s control.
No matter how much time may pass, all of us earthly denizens exist in happiness beneath the sun’s light. It is a life force which the sun bestows without our asking until we take for granted its immense worth.
If we only imagine that the setting sun will not rise again as it always does, then we will comprehend its vast value.
The sun offers its kindness to the world, its light enabling human beings to see. The sun brings warmth and safety. Yet all these things only have benefits for our external selves.
But this world has a person who has devoted his life like the sun; sending brightness to minds; making it possible for all people to know the truth about life; enabling people to conduct their lives in the correct manner, to be free from suffering, to attain peace, and to help the world achieve true peace.
This person resembling the sun of the mind, he is The Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo), a faithful disciple of the Lord Buddha who has devoted his life to fulfil his duties, dedicating his life for almost 40 years creating benefits for people all around the world.
He started with a small group that had almost nothing. He had to overcome enormous obstacles and demonstrated great forbearance in the face of many people who did not understand him. He did not act to receive praise or any other form of restitution.
He continued to show great diligence and confidence in his efforts to establish brightness in human minds, changing the blindness of ignorance into the happiness that arises with purity, brightness, and a thorough understanding. He led people and those around them to goodness, in accordance with the teachings of the Lord Buddha, by not doing evil, by only doing good, and purifying the mind.
He emphasises that when the people of the world act in accordance with these principles, true world peace will arise. For almost four decades, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has helped his fellow human beings with continual compassion. He has helped no matter whether this involved physical or mental problems, without considering anyone’s nationality, religion, ethnicity or social status.
He has devoted himself physically and mentally to build an assembly for making merit with the heart of a virtuous friend. He has successfully invited numerous disciples and those with faith to work together for peace.
It is as Luang Phaw Dhammajayo often says: the success achieved is not only his, but comprises of all those who provide their collective physical and mental strength to cause goodness to arise.
The most important thing is that he has introduced everyone to the inner sun. He has offered his extraordinary knowledge: the principles of meditation for achieving the inner body of enlightenment. This knowledge allows us to lead our lives in happiness and to be of value in this world.
These principles start with making the mind still at the centre of the body, until the mind attains its original pure state. Furthermore, he has been an industrious teacher and devoted himself to help many others through the various projects he has developed, working to bring happiness to both the body and mind.
The performance of his duties makes him like a shining sun that acts with sincere love and good intentions in order to produce happiness and peace for the world.
On this, the auspicious occasion of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo receiving the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from the All Indian Gandhian Worker Society in 2005, the Universal Peace Award from the World Bouddhist Sangha Youth in 2006, and the Atish Dipankar Peace Gold Award from the Bangladesh Buddha Kristi Prachar Sangha in 2007, I, the representative of the publication committee, along with Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s disciples from around the world, have requested for permission from him to publish his biography and an account of some of his work for peace. This will be an example of his worthy conduct for his disciples and virtuous friends around the world.
It is a gift for all people who are ready to join together to safeguard the world, so it is free from war and killing, until it is possible to have lasting peace. It also provides moral support for all people worldwide. This book also reassures you that there is a disciple of the Lord Buddha who is prepared to walk with you until the world has finally attained beautiful purity and when all people have achieved inner peace.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo who kindly gave permission for us to pursue this effort. I would also like to thank those who contributed to this book, including those who funded the publication costs. I wish that you will always be with the power of the Triple Gem, that you will have happiness, material and spiritual prosperity, that you will attain the inner sun, that you will have your own peace, and that your peace will rapidly spread to become world peace
Mr. Anant Asavabhokhin
Stock Exchange of Thailand’s Best CEO of the Year, 2004
Businessweek Magazine’s Star of Asia, 2003
Lay Chairman of the Dhammakaya Cetiya Construction Project
On behalf of the Publication Committee and
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s Disciples Worldwide
3 March 2007
“All people are from one family.We breathe the same air,
Drink water under a single sky,
Behold the same sun, moon, and stars.
We will live together in this world from our birth
Until the last second of our lives.”
The Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo)
made these statements with his heart replete with goodwill for the people of the world.
No matter what their nationalities, languages, religions, or ethnicities,
he has great diligence in leading the people of the world
to discover true inner happiness by meditation.
When the human mind is full of happiness and compassion,
world peace will truly arise.
Throughout many years he has conducted his life in pursuit of
these good intentions. Every word that he has taught, every virtuous action
he has performed to present a good example, these inspire
his students to follow his good intentions in order to reach the day we all await.
Biography The Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo)
Born to Restore Harmony
Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Luang Phaw Dhammajayo) was born Chaiboon Suthipol on Saturday, the 22nd of April 1944, the first night of the waxing moon in the 6th month of the Lunar Calendar at 6 p.m.. He grew up in a small house located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River a sub-district of Ban Paeng, in the district of Promburi, within the Province of Singhburi. His father, Janyong Suthipol, worked as an engineer at the Industrial Factory Department for the Ministry of Industry, and his mother was Juree Suthipol.
This led to the recollection of a dream his mother once had that took place at Phichit Province, where they lived before moving to Singburi. While pregnant, she dreamt of a holy Buddha image of Pichit, called ‘Luang Phaw Petch’ that the people revered. He presented to her a beautiful child and said, “This boy is a very special child. Please take very good care of him. He will be a refuge for the people in the future.” Later, she dreamt that she received a very beautiful Buddha image, and she cleaned and polished it until it was even shinier. While polishing the statue, it became a bright glow that radiated across the whole city, making it bright with boundless radiance.
Her dreams brought happiness to everyone in the family, especially her husband Janyong, who had the intention of supporting his first child to attain maximum progress and prosperity, so that he could be a role model to everyone.
The day Chaiyaboon was born, an auspicious event occurred. All of his relatives, who were angry and had never visited each other for a long time, were restored to family harmony by the birth of their first nephew.
The birth of baby boy was an auspicious event for harmony, like rain falling on dry and cracked ground, restoring it back to a smooth surface.
A Childhood Life Moving forward like
the Current of Water
Since his father was a government employee who had to regularly relocate to different provinces, Chaiyaboon was raised by his mother and cousins. Because he had to move on a regular basis, his father, concerned about the boy’s education and future, registered his son in the first grade of Talapatsuksa School, a boarding school at Sao-Shingsha in Bangkok.
This was a good fortune for this young student. The owner of the boarding school that he was attending, who was of royal blood, had no children of his own. He loved they boy very much and asked the boy’s father if he could adopt him to be his heir. Since Chaiyaboon was the only and beloved son of the family, his father declined the offer. However, the owner still loved him and would always bring him to the Sra Pratum Palace. This allowed him the opportunity to learn the customs of royalty from that time forward. It also gave him the chance to join the school owner in making merit with monks regularly. This was the start of the boy’s interest in Dhamma.
In 1950, his father received an order to relocate to Phetchaburi. Chaiyaboon had to be separated from the school owner since he was transferring to Aroonpradit School for the fourth grade. After living with his father for a little over a year, he moved to Sarasit Pithayalai School where a famous school stood in Banpong District, Rajchaburi Province. His father allowed him to stay with a kind-hearted and generous teacher, Samarn Sang-Aroon, until he completed the ninth grade.
When he was thirteen, Chaiyaboon passed the competitive entrance examination to enroll in the tenth grade at Suankularb Wittayalai School in Bangkok. He was one of one hundred fifty students who passed the test from a pool of five hundred candidates. Since he was on his own most of the time, he learned how to economize and save. Therefore, this experience trained him to be vigorous, confident and responsible in this he differed from other boys who grew up in wealthy families.
His childhood experiences prepared him for his important future tasks, and after long hard work he finally reached his dream.
His Big Childhood Dreams
Chaiboon’s Utmost Dedication to Attaining Knowledge of the World and the Start of Attaining Knowledge of Buddhism.
Young Chaiboon was eager when it came to acquiring knowledge, and was happy spending his free time gaining more knowledge at bookstands or at the markets where a variety of books could be found. He liked to spend time in and around Khlong Lod and Sanam Luang, unlike other teenagers his age who only wanted to have fun all day long. He could always be found wearing a t-shirt with his favourite shorts, reading books from various bookstands. If he found books on Dhamma, he would find himself reading them over and over again. The more he read, the more he refined his thoughts so that he could better understand the suffering of the world. Even biographies of important people were read repeatedly, so that he was able to accurately memorize all their names and contributions. These prompted questions in his mind: Why were we born? What is the goal of life? These questions were too advanced for someone his age. He wrote down his thoughts in a journal at the age of thirteen:
“If I were to pursue secular interests, I would want to attain the highest objective. If I were to pursue religious interests, I would like to reach the utmost Dhamma and disseminate Buddhism to the whole world.”
Who could have imagined that a young man’s dream was going to come true? Because, in the present day, this person has become a revered Abbot who has brought radiance from the sun of peace through meditation, and shone it across the world to peace-lovers everywhere.
The Search for the Answers of Life
While he was attending Suankularb Wittayalai School, he had a chance to listen to Dhamma lectures, from many scholars, and that inspired him and his friends to establish a Buddhist Youth Society. Wherever there were Dhamma lectures, as far away as Lan Asoke at Mahathat Temple or other places, he always attended.
As he became a teenager, his appetite to learn more Dhamma increased. Whenever he had free time, he would always steal away to tranquil places to contemplate the questions that lingered in his mind. Why were we born? Where do we go after we die? Do merit and demerit exist? He read and studied Buddhist texts that said: Knowing only the Dhamma of the Lord Buddha is not enough. It is like having only one eye. One will be only an expert in the area of Dhamma knowledge, but whatever benefits may be gained by that is never known because it is never put into practise. Then, more questions will remain.
He regularly gazed at the vast sky as if he was trying to find the answers to the questions that resided deep in his mind. He differed from other people of his age who were only interested in having fun, thoughts of the future and wealth, having a life partner, or other distractions. But in the determined eyes of young boy, behind those dark glasses, he was resolute and continued his pursuit of finding answers. He continuously researched various books, and sought after the knowledge of many well known scholars.
Sparks of Answers
Then one day, he came across a book titled, “Dhammakaya.” This book was written in the format of a sermon by The Great Master Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) or Luang Pu Wat Paknam. There was one particular quote: “If one wants to follow in the right path of Buddhism, one has to practise until one gains complete comprehension and understanding.”
The word “Dhammakaya” appealed to him. The Great Master said,
“Dhammakaya is the Buddha.” He even referenced a Pali term from the Tripitika: “Dhammakayo- (ahamฺ itipi,” (Pali) to confirm that the Buddha is the Dhammakaya. At the end of this book, it showed a confirmation that Wat Paknam was able to teach until attaining complete comprehension and understanding.” This statement delighted him because he knew he had found the right path.
Later, he read an article in “Vipassana Bantuengsarn” that spoke about the advances in meditation of Khun Mae Acariya Chandra, an expert in the Dhammakaya Meditation. She was a nun who was a disciple of Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro), Luang Pu Wat Paknam. This propelled Chaiboon to want to learn meditation at the temple. From that point on, he planned to go to Wat Paknam to study the Dhammakaya Meditation.
The Search for a Teacher
In 1963, at the age of nineteen, he was preparing to take the entrance examination for university-level studies. The young man made a decision to go to Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen to meet Khun Mae Acariya Chandra to study the Dhammakaya Meditation. When he arrived at the temple, he asked different people, “Does anyone know Khun Mae Acariya Chandra?” but no one knew. They told him: “There is no Khun Mae Acariya Chandra. There is only a Teacher Chandra.” This made him think that these were two different persons. Since he couldn’t find her, he concentrated his efforts on the entrance exam. He passed the exam and was accepted at Kasetsart University.
In the first semester, he was very focused in his studies. Later, at the end of the first semester, his thoughts of meeting Khun Mae Acariya Chandra resurfaced. So, he decided to go back to Wat Paknam again in October 1963, but was still unsuccessful in locating her. Later, someone suggested that, if he wanted to learn how to meditate seriously, he should learn from a senior monk who would be glad to teach the Dhammakaya Meditation Technique. After practising meditation for a period of time, he discovered, from a fellow meditator of the same age, that Khun Mae Acariya Chandra was Teacher Chandra. So, he was taken to meet Teacher Chandra. Finally, they both had the opportunity to meet one another.
Discovering a Teacher who showed Him
the Way to Peace
When he first met Khun Yay (Khun Mae Acariya Chandra), she was fifty-three years old. She looked like an ordinary nun, who was very thin, but whose eyes were brilliant and bright; a sign of someone with extreme knowledge. She was firm, strong, powerful, and brimming with kindness. Although she was not educated or literate, she could provide clear profound answers to deep Dhamma questions. Her profound answers brightened people’s minds, made them stop and think and removed them from the strong influences of the ways of the world.
On their first meeting, the young man believed that he had found the teacher who he had been searching for, for such a long time. Therefore, he requested, with confidence in her, to be her student. Later, Khun Yay said to him, “You are the one whose birth Luang Phaw Wat Paknam asked me to request during the World War period.” This statement was unclear to him, but the words that Khun Yay said were accurate since he was born during World War II.
From that point on, Chaiboon felt confident that he had chosen the right teacher because the knowledge he received from Khun Yay enabled him to address and settle everything he once questioned. This also inspired him to spread the peace found in Buddhism, to the whole world. This helped make the big dream that he had, when he was a child, come to fruition.
Any doubts or questions that the young man had in his mind, he would ask Khun Yay and she would be able to answer everything, above and beyond his expectations, which raised his spirits even higher. This encouraged him to spread Buddhist teachings and bring peace and harmony to the whole world.
Understanding Life’s Goal
On the first day of meditation practice with Khun Yay, the first question the new student asked was: “Khun Yay, does heaven and hell exist?” Khun Yay simply answered, “Yes, they both exist. Heaven and hell are real. I’ve been there when I went to help my father. My father went to hell because he drank alcohol daily and would get drunk. I requested the help of the Dhammakaya to help bring my father into heaven. Would you like to go there? I will teach you and we can go there together.”
It was a clear and direct answer that was completely different from any answers he had heard before. This indicated the confidence she had in her experience, and what she knew and saw on her own. This is because Khun Yay had meditated in the Meditation Workshop with other nuns and monks when the Great Master, Luang Pu Wat Paknam, was still alive. These monks and nuns were selected by Luang Pu Wat Paknam because they had remarkable concentration in meditation. At that time, Khun Yay meditated with determination for six hours during the day and six hours at night. She had such superb results from her meditation experiences that Luang Pu Wat Paknam extolled her among other meditators with: “Daughter Chandra is the best. She is second to none.”
After meditating with Khun Yay for only a short amount of time, young student Chaiboon discovered the answers to the questions he had sought for so long: “Why were we born, and what is the true goal of life?” The results from meditation provided the answers that, “we were born to pursue perfections, and Nibbana is the highest goal of everyone’s life.”
Perseverance in Meditation Practice
until True Peace is Obtained
In order to fully grasp and understand the answers, he had to seriously dedicate his life to the study of Dhamma. His daily life revolved completely around meditation. Everyday at 6 a.m., he would make his daily trek from Kasetsart University to Wat Paknam, which required him to take three different buses. Whether he sat or stood in the bus, he would always close his eyes and meditate until he reached Wat Paknam at around 8 a.m. He would then go straight to see Khun Yay in order to continue the next lesson on meditation practice, until 8 p.m. He returned to Kasetsart University at around 10 p.m.
Even during the early hours of the morning, at 3 a.m. when most of his friends slept, Chaiboon would wake up to meditate because of favourable silence, and his body had just enough rest. He would meditate in an area where none of his friends would see him. But, sometimes his friends would wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. When they saw him covered under a blanket, they would be startled. As they knew that he was meditating, they did not make fun of him or tell anyone. Once his friends became more familiar with this, he started inviting the ones he was closest to, to go meditate with Khun Yay at the Wat Paknam. Later, as his group of friends grew larger, his friends who were seniors and juniors followed him to the temple.
When it came to studying at the university, an educated graduate tends to believe that well rounded study needs to combine both worldly knowledge and Dhamma knowledge. Worldly knowledge is necessary to help one earn a living, and Dhamma knowledge is to instruct the mind to be virtuous and to ease any doubt about the secrets of life such as, “Where do we go after we die? Do heaven and hell exist? How do we prove it?” This profound knowledge was not taught at any university, but it was derived from the Lord Buddha’s wisdom. This caused Chaiyaboon to lean towards the study of Dhamma more than studies in the classroom. Even on the day he had an examination in the morning, he would take the bus to go to meditate in the afternoon. He did this regularly until he graduated.
With a determined attitude towards meditation, along with his respect for the teachings of his teacher, young Chaiboon excelled in his progression when it came to meditation. This pleased Khun Yay greatly. Even people, who practised meditation with Khun Yay before, acknowledged his proficiency. Hence, Khun Yay was comfortable in allowing him to lead the meditation for patrons and supporters.
Once he meditated deeply and attained inner peace, his confidence in the knowledge found in Buddhism continued to increase. He saw that the fruits of meditation could release human beings from their suffering, and had indisputably answered the many unresolved questions he had in his mind.
Moving Towards the Saffron Robe
Later, young Chaiboon came to a clear realisation that the knowledge of the world could not truly keep humankind from suffering, or be able to attain true happiness; only the wisdom derived from meditation could help. He then decided to ask Khun Yay for permission to become ordained as a monk. Khun Yay not only refused his request for the ordination, but also urged him to finish his degree first. She reasoned that, “You have to be knowledgeable in the world, and be a scholar in Dhamma, too, so that you will be beneficial to Buddhism once you have ordained. You can’t be dependent only on Buddhism.” He respectfully followed her recommendation.
Through his recollection of Khun Yay’s benevolence for the kindness she bestowed with the teachings of Dhamma, along with an act to demonstrate his gratitude, on Khun Yay’s birthday in 1968, Chaiboon wanted to present a gift to her by making a vow of truthfulness and to remain celibate for the remainder of his life. This was considered the most precious gift because, for the person who wishes to advance consistently in his meditation, it is essential to have the highest degree of purity, pertaining to chastity, and remove all the burdens of the life of a householder. Khun Yay was very pleased and happy with his great determination. She felt that she hadn’t wasted her efforts in devoting herself to teaching and mentoring him.
In the April of 1969, Chaiboon graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, with a major in Agricultural Economics. After receiving his degree, he immediately informed his father of his desire to ordain for life in the Buddhist monkhood.
It took a considerable amount of time before his father accepted and rejoiced in his son’s desire to ordain, since he kept his promise of completing his college education before becoming ordained. His mother also rejoiced in his ordination with great joy and elation the moment he asked for her permission to ordain, so that he could extend the livelihood of Buddhism.
27 August 1969, a full moon day on the ninth month of the lunar calendar, was an auspicious day as Mr. Chaiboon Suthipol donned the saffron robe and became a monk, as he had wished, at the chapel of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. The Most Venerable Phrathepwarawaetee (currently, Somdejphramaharatchamangkalajahn, Abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Thailand), was his preceptor, Venerable Phrakrupipatdhammakanee was his senior examining monk (Kamavacacariya) at the ordination, and Venerable Phravicheankawee was his junior examining monk (Anusavanacariya). He received the monastic title “Dhammajayo”, which means “The victor through Dhamma”.
Later on, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo reflected his thoughts on ordination that:
“Ordaining as a Buddhist monk is not an easy task, just simply donning a saffron robe is not enough. One must train oneself to take 227 precepts as well as the daily routine of a monk’s life, in accordance with monastic disciplines. If one wishes to attain full fruition from the merit accrued from ordaining one must be able to be a refuge for Buddhism, not just taking refuge in Buddhism”.
Such solid principles are not so easily come by, one must study and train for oneself to realize the significance of the Lord Buddha’s teachings. Based on the aforementioned quotation, if one truly grasps the concept of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s words one will have the willpower to dedicate one’s life to Buddhism. His sole purpose in becoming a monk was to spread teaching of Lord Buddha all over the world. His ordination was a great example that allowed many followers to come and ordain as he did and this tradition still continues to the present day.
Transforming the Paddy Field into a Sacred Land
In his new life as a monk, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo was very disciplined in the monastic codes of conduct and studied very hard in the Lord Buddha’s Teachings. During all of this, he also gave sermons to laypeople at ‘Ban Dhammaprasit’ (Meditation Centre in Wat Paknam) instead of Khun Yay on a regular basis. Until ‘Ban Dhammaprasit’ became so overcrowded that people had to sit in the street to be able to listen to his sermons, it was now time for the community to relocate to a bigger area. It was up to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s team which consisted of special young men and women who had a comprehensive knowledge of the world and the perseverance to complete any tasks given.
On Magha Puja Day the 23rd February 1970 (2513 B.E.) was the ground breaking day in the construction of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The construction budget was only 3,200 baht along with 80 acres of land which was donated by Khun Ying Prayad Phaetayapongsa-Visudhadhibodi. The team helped each other to build the temple giving all their effort, working hard to their utmost capability, willing to devote their life for the benefit of Buddhism. They even economized their daily expenses by consuming simple food, only what was necessary for energy and not for pleasure. Nevertheless, their hearts were still fulfilled with encouragement that they would achieve the goal despite not being able to see any solutions at that time. One of the main problems throughout the construction was raising the necessary funds.
In reference to the construction of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo stated, “With all the necessities that have been donated to the temple, laypeople have paid homage to the Triple Gems and then made a resolution prayer powered by the merit of having made these donations, therefore we must make full use of all necessities that have been given”. For this reason, all the construction of Wat Phra Dhammakaya has been done to withstand the test of time.
Its simplicity in design was to ensure low-cost maintenance and yet is still able to keep its refined elegance. These buildings are symbols of Buddhism for people to come and pay homage to. The chapel is an example of this simple economical elegance as well as being one of the most used buildings at Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
For instance, the concrete that was used in the construction of the chapel was not any ordinary concrete. The best sand had to be selected from the sand dunes on the coastline and transported up the Chao Phraya River via barges. The concrete itself also had to be of the best quality. Once the mix was available, it then had to undergo rigorous testing to ensure long-lasting quality and only when the specialist team had given its approval would the construction continue. Even with the outer wall of the chapel, the gravel that was used had to be selected by hand. It had to be the whitest and purest and similar in size to a grain of rice. At that time, the supporters and locals were so impressed with the attention to detail that they chipped in and helped select the gravel with their own hands.
Spreading Peace with the Great Faith of
Wat Phra Dhammakaya rapidly grew, along with the hearts and minds of its supporters which had grown in great numbers throughout the years. So much that the original 80 acres were not large enough to accommodate the community and therefore its size was increased to 1000 acres for the purpose of serving as a World Meditation Centre.
The very first meditation hall, accommodating only 500 people (named ‘Catummaharajika’), was filled to its capacity in only 5 years. The number of people who attended the sermon grew at a very fast pace similar to ‘Ban Dhammaprasit’. People ended up sitting outside on the grass lawn in order to be able to participate in any religious ceremony led by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo. Even when it rained, people would sit outside to listen to him, obviously this could not go on for too long and it was decided that a new meditation hall would need to be built. Therefore, the 12,000 capacity thatch roofed Meditation Hall was built, but in only a short period of time, the same thing happened, over-filling with people. Then, it was decided that the community would need a much larger staging area for meditation and ceremonies. Therefore, the ‘Dhammakaya Assembly Hall’, with the help of all of its supporters, was built within an area of 500,000 square meters and able to host 300,000 people. Even to this day, the building is still being expanded further. However, it has been utilized as the main staging area for all religious ceremonies since 1996.
Having seen the number of supporters regularly increase, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo decided to build the next phase, which consisted of the ‘Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya’, (The Golden Pagoda) and The Grand Meditation Stadium both designed to last for a thousand years and have an area of 1,000,000 square meters in order to serve 1,000,000 monks and laypeople from around the world who will regularly come to practise meditation in the future.
The day 1,000,000 people from over the world come to meditate at Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya will be the day that the people of the world will stop, think and ask themselves why so many people have gathered in one place to meditate. The images that they see will embody themselves into their hearts and they will strive to find the answer for themselves.
Beside the Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya structure, in order to pay our highest gratitude to the Great Teacher, the Memorial Hall of Phramongkolthepmuni and the Memorial Hall of Khun Yay Acariya Maharattana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong are used as a gathering place for meditation and for all people to come and pay homage. Around the same time, Khun Yay Acariya Maharattana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong’s dining hall was built in order to allow supporters to offer food to the community of monks.
Currently, Wat Phra Dhammakaya is a centre for Buddhists all over Thailand and it is also one of the main staging areas for major Buddhist ceremonies worldwide. Success was possible because of the great devotion and dedication of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo and his team. For this reason, he was bestowed a High Royal Order of the monastic ‘Raj level’ by His Majesty the King of Thailand to be recognised as a leading monk in meditation with the title “Phrarajbhavanavisudh”, on 5th December 1996 (2539 B.E.).
The Utmost Gratitude towards the Teacher
Every success and achievement of the Wat Phra Dhammakaya, whether it was the completion of the temple site, creating a religious community, or the dissemination of Buddhism for the purpose of instilling peace in the minds of humankind, was possible because there was a significant and important figure behind it all. This was Khun Yay, the teacher who provided Luang Phaw Dhammajayo with the wisdom and illumination in Dhamma, and the support and encouragement to perform meritorious deeds until her very last breath.
Khun Yay’s tremendous significance is immeasurable. Therefore, it was only fitting that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo extolled her magnificence with this title: “Our Great Teacher Khun Yay Maharattana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong, the Founder of Wat Phra Dhammakaya”.
Khun Yay departed from this world on Sunday the 10th of September 2000. With the utmost gratitude and respect that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo had for Khun Yay, he requested all the monks, novice monks, and upasaka and upasika of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, along with all devotees of Khun Yay worldwide, to join in body and mind in the most perfect and majestic crystal lighting ceremony and cremation held on 3rd February 2002. This was a gesture intended to demonstrate his immense gratitude and to declare Khun Yay’s significance for the whole world to appreciate. The crystal lighting ceremony was the biggest and grandest event ever held at Wat Phra Dhammakaya with an estimated 500,000 participants. It was also the first time that over 100,000 monks and senior monks, from over 30,000 temples throughout Thailand, had ever congregated together, when they attended the cremation ceremony for Khun Yay. As a way to demonstrate their kindness, monks from many other countries travelled across many miles in order to participate in the ceremony. The congregation of this great a number of monks had never happened before in the history of Thailand.
That day is considered the most wonderful of days. It was the day that all the devotees of Khun Yay demonstrated their enormous gratitude to her, and also had the opportunity to witness the presence of over 100,000 monks. It was an auspicious occasion to have the opportunity to make offerings to a monastic order of over 100,000 monks. It was also a unique and special occasion to have had the chance to contribute to all the merits and receive blessings from over 100,000 monks, which is considered to be an auspicious sound.
Even though Khun Yay is no longer with us today, Phrarajbhavanavisudh or Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, continues to devote and dedicate all his time and effort into his ever increasing amount of work, and to preserve and carry on the wisdom of Dhammakaya meditation that Khun Yay received from Luang Pu Wat Paknam, and transferred to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, in order to create an inner happiness that can develop to a lasting peace on earth. Everything that has been done, and everything that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo proceeded forward with, derived from one primary goal: Peace on Earth.
Peace Projects of Phrarajbhavanavisudh
It can not happen through one person.
We can not accomplish it alone.
It comes from the thoughts of all beings.
Excluding no one…”
These are the words that show the intention in the mind of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo. He wishes everyone in this world will find true happiness in life. For this reason, he dedicated his entire life to creating a representative staff that could perform the duty of Kalyanamitta, each as a “good friend” to the people of the world. He began with a small group of people who shared the same goal until now, there are several hundred thousands of people who also know the value of meditation and share the same goal of World Peace by starting from peace from within.
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo realises that human beings are the most valuable natural resource and one of the most important factors for guiding society in the future. He focuses on developing human beings by utilising the knowledge of Buddhism to develop one’s mind to uplift everyone and to do good deeds. By starting to teach everyone to avoid the bad deeds, that cause conflict, taking advantage of others, and harming each other. By avoiding bad deeds, we can find a way to bring peace to the world.
Another way is to teach everyone to do all kinds of good deeds to expand the fruits of goodness in everyone around us. Because if one performs good deeds more often, the person will get used to it until it becomes a good habit in their minds. Therefore, as long as human beings keep doing good deeds, then we can ensure a world peace that will endure forever.
The last way is to teach everyone to know how to purify their minds by practising meditation which is most important because meditation is the method of training one to control their mind to be aware of greed, anger and delusion. Greed, anger and delusion will force humans to do bad deeds. Besides this, meditation can give us the willpower to do more and more good deeds.
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo initiates various activities by using three principles: encouraging human beings to avoid bad deeds; promoting them to do good deeds; and purifying their minds by meditation. These are the universal principles which can bring love and a better understanding to human beings. Starting from the family unit, the smallest unit in society, we can promote everlasting peace on earth. All of these activities are aimed at reaching the goal of world peace. We therefore need to publicise Dhamma to people directly and work hand in hand with different Buddhist and other spiritual organisations both in Thailand and around the world.
Training Programme and Dhamma Teaching to the Public
Since the beginning of building Wat Phra Dhammakaya, the duty in building the temple was heavy, but one that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo gave as being the most important: training and teaching Dhamma. He has initiated many virtue training programs together with building the temple without tiring, such as;
Dhamma Teaching on Sunday
Every Sunday, those who come to visit Wat Phra Dhammakaya will be impressed from seeing people in white with joyful minds. The image of everyone, from all walks of life regardless of sex, age, career and some of them travelling from different places, with different cultures, and speaking different languages but all meditating together happily. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo always teaches meditation himself. These are the images that are always visible at Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
Currently, every Sunday, about 10,000 people come to meditate at the temple. Usually the first Sunday of every month there are about 30,000 people. On Buddhist auspicious days, such as Magha Puja Day, Vesak Day or Kathina Ceremony, a special ceremony takes place in the afternoon session. Usually over 200,000 people come to attend the meditation practice.
The temple is prepared to serve breakfast and lunch for everyone, also serving pre-packaged food, offering refreshments in the evening for people who are from the outskirts of Bangkok, with no fee. This is to support people of any status in their meditation practice. All expenses are donated by those who can support them. Morning activity will be a meditation session. The afternoon session will be Dhamma teaching for people as a guideline for living their lives.
Weekend Meditation Retreat
Weekend Meditation Retreat at Wat Phra Dhammakaya is on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at no cost. This is for people of all ages, male and female, children and adults, who love to meditate and want to train to increase their virtue. This is a simple life style, observing the guidlines of the retreat and to be able to meditate continuously. Each year, there are about 100,000 people who attend this program. They find happiness within and at the same time are able to train themselves. This effectively helps them reduce or quit all their bad temptations. This is the way to bring goodness to themselves, their families and society.
Meditation Retreat Programmes
These programmes are designed for those who would like to temporarily get away from the hectic world and spend more time on continuous meditation. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, through his compassion, designed 7 day meditation retreat programmes, held in peaceful locations, close to nature. Participants must observe the 8 Precepts and meditate during the 7 day retreat period.
Many participants experience inner peace and invite their friends and relatives to join the retreat programmes hoping they will experience the same peace and happiness.
Meditation Retreat Programmes for Foreigners
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s vision is not to bring happiness to only Thai people, but also to the world at large. He always mentions that people of this world should have an equal opportunity to attain happiness regardless of their race, religion, language, nationality or culture. In February 2006, he initiated a meditation retreat programme entitled, “The Middle Way” to which foreigners can apply online through “www.meditationthai.org”. Only a year after this programme started, the programme has provided meditation instruction to more than 300 people from 32 countries.
At the conclusion of the programme, participants have a better understanding of the benefits of meditation. They experience inner happiness as never before, and resolve to keep practising mediation regularly after the programme has ended. Many of them believe in his goal and share Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s vision and become a part of his team to bring about world peace through meditation.
Training Programme for Public and Private Sectors
If all working people, no matter who they may be or whatever they represent: whether part of the government sector, state enterprises or corporate and public sectors, recognise the benefits of practising meditation, and are able to maintain their elevated state of mind, society and countries will develop more efficiently and effectively.
At present, many government sectors and public organisations have encouraged their personnel to participate in morality development programmes and meditation retreats, for example, the “Training Programmes for Virtuous Teachers” for those teachers who have a key impact on creating world peace. When teachers have a clear understanding of meditation and its benefits, they can pass on this knowledge to their students. Hence we are on an accelerated path to creating world peace.
Youths and the Future of World Peace
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo pays special attention to resolving youths’ problems since they are the future of the world. World peace is definitely out of reach if our next generation has a tendency to create problems for themselves.
He is aware of our youths’ significant role in world peace and has initiated several projects to bring Dhamma to youths of all ages, from elementary grades to college level students around the country. The objective is to introduce the right way of living to youths according to Buddhist philosophy. These projects include:
Dhammadayada Training Programme
The Dhammadayada Training Programme was first organised in 1972. The training was initiated by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo with the objective of promoting ethics and morality among youths, in addition to their academic education. Education alone cannot adequately cultivate ethics and morality in a person.
A wise person who is highly educated may use knowledge and skills in the wrong way. For example, the use of advanced physics in the production of nuclear bombs during World War II has inflicted a permanent wound in mankind.
Hence the cultivation of a consciousness of goodness in students is extremely crucial, so that the wise person will combine both education and morality, and in turn, bring the benefits of both, thereby using knowledge in a creative and beneficial manner, which is another path to world peace.
The Dhammadayada Training Programme emphasises both practical and theoretical training. The training uses Buddhist principles as a template for developing ethics and morality. It is believed that Buddhist principles are one of the best principles that can be used to achieve the full development of youths. After training, the trainee will have a firm understanding of ethics and morality and be capable of efficiently incorporating these principles into their daily lives.
The training period coincides with the summer break at universities. The training is open to male college students who search for a self-improvement programme. During training each trainee stays in a tent, learns Dhamma, strictly observes 8 Precepts, and meditates intensively for a period of one month. This particular training period is to prepare each trainee for his coming ordination physically, verbally, and mentally.
Trainees who pass the months training will qualify for the mass ordination, which lasts for another month. This last month of Dhammadayada training programme focuses on establishing the understanding of Buddhism both theoretically and practically. The Dhammadayada Monks do not ordain according to tradition, but rather ordain to self-train themselves to achieve perfect sila (morality), samadhi (meditation), and panna (wisdom). After finishing the training, Dhammadayada Monks disrobe, again becoming laypeople, but who are equipped with goodness of living and ready to bring progress to their country.
Since 1972, the Dhammadayada training programme has offered training to high school and college students every year. The original programme has branched out into the following subprogrammes:
1. Dhammadayada training and mass ordination programme for high school and college male students during the summer break
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for college students
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for high school students
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for middle school students
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for elementary school students
2. Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for the general public
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for the general public during Buddhist Lent
– Dhammadayada Training and mass ordination programme for paying gratitude to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo. This programme opens for Dhammadayada who once finished summer training and ordination programme.
– Special Dhammadayada training and mass ordination programme (for special events, i.e. to pay gratitude to the King, or as requested by private or governmental sectors.)
3. International Dhammadayada Training Programme
This training was designed for male foreigners of all ages who would like to ordain to be monks or novice monks. The programme is conducted in Chinese and English, and lasts for 1 month.
The trainee will meditate intensively during the programme. They will learn to adapt meditation into their lives, and also their family members, colleagues, and fellow countrymen. This will create a universal peaceful environment.
4. Summer Training Programme for Female Students
Dhammadayada training and mass ordination proves to substantially improve behaviour and the life of many trainees. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo recognises the benefit of this training programme and kindly extended the Dhammadayada training programme to female students for the first time in the summer of 1986. The training lasts for 1-2 months. The training has been organised every and austere practices. There have been around 400 participants each year. This training is separated into 2 age levels:
– Dhammadayada training programme for female college students
– Dhammadayada training programme for female high school students
In conclusion, the initial Dhammadayada training programme has branched out into several other programmes. All programmes have successfully improved the ethics and morality of participants thus providing good citizens for society. Between the years 1996-2006 there were 46,914 participants who had joined at least one of the Dhammadayada training programmes. There was no record keeping during 1972-1995. Nonetheless the total number of participants is believed to exceed 100,000.
Youth Moral Development Project
Children from all age-groups can join programmes which they can enjoy and simultaneously absorb some good moral values inserted in our various activities, such as:
1) Dhammakaya Youth Club which assists in taking care of children aged 3-12 who accompany their parents to the temple by setting up suitable activities for them to enjoy. Children can sit listening to stories with morals, and fables, and at the same time get to know Thai traditions. Manners and discipline can also be learned. The club runs activities on every Sunday.
2) Mobile Project for Dhamma Study which aims to educate middle and high school students in Bangkok, including its suburban areas so they get to learn the Lord Buddha’s words of wisdom. Currently, there are about 20 schools and institutions covered in the project which started in 1997.
3) Youth Creativeness Development Project founded in 1991. “Wat Phra Dhammakaya” opened a seven-day programme to educate and counsel girls and boys, aged 9-11. The purpose of the programme is to enable them to learn standards of being a good person both in their civic and spiritual life. It teaches children to be creative and extroverted, and to work as part of an effective team in their groups.
Volunteers for Buddhist Work Project
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has created many activities to provide opportunities for younger people to come into closer touch with Buddhism at the temple, especially on important religious days. Many times, large numbers of people come to join sacred events and each time, we carry out our mission successfully with the aid of volunteer workers who come to help and serve as facilitators for visitors. It is because of their dedication and sacrifice that we can not do without them. Volunteers are generally students who, encouraged by their parents or teachers, come and help out at the temple on weekends or whenever they are off from school.
Volunteers not only help the temple carry out many successful projects, but also learn ethical concepts through sacrifice, respect, humility and responsibility, when working as a team. They also learn through compassion and hard work to advocate Buddhism. When these volunteers finish their education and start earning a living, many of them still come back and spend their free time by continuing volunteer work at the temple. They also coach future generations of volunteers there. This is why currently there are about 10,000 volunteers from all walks of life. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo creates better younger generations and is still able to maintain the best of former generations of volunteers, with a strong moral base that will last forever.
Dhamma Quiz: Path of Progress Project
Within today’s trends in society, the environment is full of temptations and exposes our young children to negative influences. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is very concerned about that fact, so he supports the project of the Dhamma Quiz. This activity can stimulate the motivation for Dhamma study amongst youngsters. The Quiz programme gives everybody a chance to study Dhamma (Buddha’s Teachings) in detail. It brings the “38 Blessings of Life”, Teaching into light by simplifying them, so that people can readily understand and adapt it to their everyday lives.
Even though each Quiz Competition may last only one day, young participants will still have to spend quite some time studying Dhamma before hand. They in turn absorb Dhamma into their mind without knowing it. This positively affects their train of thought, speech and action accordingly. The students will start to use Dhamma as the proper guideline for their way of life, apart from drugs and bad temptations. Besides, they will also make themselves useful to society and country.
The Dhamma Quiz Programme called ‘Path of Progress’ has been a strong stimulus for our students to become alert in Dhamma studies, which subsequently has effects on the development of their viewpoints and moral behaviour. We find that most young contestants who participate in the quiz will improve at school, and respect their teachers and parents more. They also exhibit more positive attitudes towards people, and are better behaved than groups who never participated in the quiz Programme.
Dr. Nath Pantumanawin, Assistant Professor, and the research team of Kasetsart University, based on the reflection of the research of Dhamma quiz “Path of Progress”, have found that it helps to improve the behaviour of the student in society. The administrator and the organiser of this project agreed that this is the activity that gives the best result from their hard work.
Youths who participate in the Dhamma quiz all feel the positive changes in them. Therefore they prepare to study and want to participate in the quiz continuously. Some of them talk about their impressions;
In my opinion, the Dhamma quiz is the activity that should have a lot of support because it is one way to develop the country indirectly. Before the quiz, participants have to read the book. Usually most people overlook a good book like this one if no one suggests to them to read it. So the Dhamma Quiz Contest is the best way to make people read the basic Dhamma book. It uplifts people’s minds and is an indirect way of developing the country. There will be more good people and only good people can develop the country. The prize is just a bonus; it is not the main point.” (Ms. Chanphen Siriwan, Senior High School)
“I’m very impressed with this contest. The quiz is not so difficult. It is about the virtues that guide our life. The book teaches us what is good; what is not good. Anyone who has taken this quiz will have a cheerful mind and it will make them happy.” (Ms. Kavinna Suwanarat, 11th Grade)
Even though youths are not Buddhists, they will also gain benefit from this “Path of Progress” Dhamma Quiz, as someone said:
The “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest receives royal grace from His Majesty the King of Thailand, who kindly bestows the First Place Honour upon the first place winners in the nation. The Award of Honour for first place in the teacher and professor category is sponsored by the Prime Minister. The Minister of Education also provides certificates. There are growing numbers of international organisations supporting this programme. The participants in the “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest has increased exponentially from hundreds to thousands, and to tens of thousand each year. The number of participants jumped from tens of thousands to 1,355,154 in 1998. Most recently, in 2006, there were 4,732,291 participants from 19,839 educational institutes.
Most schools in Thailand have incorporated the “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Programme into their curriculum. The outcome proves very satisfactory for all sectors especially when they witness an improvement in youth morality and behaviour. The programme provides solutions to many youth problems including drug usage, improper activities as given in the Road to Ruin, crimes, aggression, premature sexual activities, etc.
The “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest was honoured as one of the “Programmes of Peace and Non-Violence of the Century” by UNESCO. The program was also selected to give a presentation and share experiences with representatives from 1,600 Non-Governmental Organisations at the “Future of our Children” conference in September 2000, Geneva University, Switzerland. At the
“Human Security and Dignity: Fulfilling the Promise of the United Nations” conference in New York, USA, the Ethics Quiz Contest was selected to present under the title, “The Psychological Aspect of Peace from Youth through Maturity”.
The presentation impressed representatives from international organisations focusing on youth. They had studied the “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest programme in further detail and used it to improve their moral development programs for the youth in their own countries. This is a testimony that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has the right vision for creating world peace through ethics and moral development in youth, an approach of great interest to the worlds communities.
Additionally, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has a plan to expand the project internationally allowing both Thais and foreigners in Thailand and abroad to participate in the “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest. The International Ethics Quiz Contest will be held for the first time on 4th February. 2007. The “Path of Progress” Ethics Quiz Contest will be conducted in 4 languages: English, Chinese, Lao, and Thai. The International Quiz Contest is a team contest, where each team consists of three family members. The objectives are not only to promote ethics and morals but also love and understanding within participating families. True world peace can only be built upon “warm and happy families”.
Home of Light Project
Home of Light is another project that worked hand in hand with the others to create a peaceful society in Thailand and the world. This project was initiated in 1999, the year Thais commemorated the 72nd birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand. It aimed at convincing both Thai youths and adults to do virtuous deeds as a tribute to His Majesty the King, and to morally develop themselves through a shared effort among families, temples, and schools.
This project played a key role in teaching and guiding youths with the right way of living according to teachings from Lord Buddha. The project’s purpose was to improve their morality; maintain their beautiful culture; and instill their love in the nation, religions, and His Majesty the King. This will permanently unite Thai society.
The project lasted for 2 months from December 1999-January 2000. There were 3,342,053 participants from 16,853 institutes across the nation. The activities included keeping a virtue journal by each participant: students, teachers, and parents. Each member received a diary and “Home of Light” signs for each family. The family activities included chanting, meditating and offering alms as a tribute to His Majesty the King. Participants also joined the ceremony commemorating the birthday anniversary of His Majesty the King; wrote letters to felicitate the King, and also joined special activities organised by their institutes.
The virtue journaling activity within the short two months proved to improve behaviours of student participants. They were more joyful and responsible, had more disciplines, and were able to spend their free time beneficially. They were more willing to lend a helping hand to their parents than before. These good behaviours were also a consequence of their observing good examples modeled by their parents and teachers.
Many families benefited from this project; parents decided to quit drinking, smoking, and gambling, since they were aware that their children were looking up to them as role models. The “Home of Light” was a very successful project. In the future when every region in the world brings family and school to work together to promote virtuous deeds, we will all receive the promise of increasingly good citizens, who are our best resource for creating world peace.
Kalyanamitta Home Project
Kalyanamitta Home Project (Home of Good Friends Project), a first step towards world peace, was created from the vision of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo. It stressed the fact that we need to first create peace and happiness within the family, the smallest unit of society. The project’s purpose was to bring Dhamma to the family. Their understanding of Dhamma will shield them from bad influences and norms which are abundant in current society. It is operated under the motto “wherever you turn, you will see Kalyanamitta”.
The word “Kalyanamitta” means good friends or true friends who wish their friends well, who advise them to do virtuous deeds. The members’ objective is to bring at least 3 family members and friends to chant and meditate daily for at least one hour. The project creates more family time when family members get involved in creative activities promoting love and happiness.
At the beginning of the project, a sign “Kalyanamitta home” was given to each family member. Anyone can participate; they will only have to gather family members to meditate everyday in the prayer room in each house. The prayer room should not only be the place for worship but also a family-uniting place where the whole family can accrue merit. Other activities include offering alms to monks every morning, making merit at nearby temples, and learning Dhamma.
Up to the present time, the project has extended love and happiness to over 100,000 families, both in Thailand and abroad. The numbers of participants are continuously increasing. With the realisation that one cannot be the only good person in society, it becomes necessary to better our environment and our society with Kalyanamitta as well. It is therefore our responsibility to be Kalyanamitta to each other; subsequently our community and society will be immune from harshness.
Meditation Practice to Bless
Their Majesties the King and the Queen
In the various auspicious occasions of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has invited people to join the meditation practice together in giving blessings to the monarchs, such as:
The novice monk ordination ceremony on 8th February 1998 at Wat Phra Dhammakaya for giving a blessing to His Majesty the King related to His 70th Birthday Celebration. There were students, government employees, soldiers, policemen and the general public joining this ordination, altogether totalling 13,842 participants.
On 7-9 August 1998, the Upasikakaew ceremony (laywomen’s retreat) offered a blessing to Her Majesty the Queen and expressing gratitude towards our “Mother”. Over 140,000 women joined this ceremony as participants. It was a great historical moment for Thai women.
On 1-3 January 1999, the Upasokkaew ceremony (laymen’s retreat) offered a blessing to His Majesty the King in the 13 worldwide centres of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. There were one thousand participants joining in this project, composed of both Thai and foreigners.
On January 29-31, 1999, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo organised the Upasokkaew ceremony (laymen’s retreat) to offer a blessing to His Majesty the King related to the celebration of the 72nd anniversary of His birthday. There were almost 200,000 participants both laymen and laywomen. Channel 5 and Channel 11 of Thailand broadcast this programme for 2 hours.
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo once said that apart from the gathering of those who practise good deeds, people who sit and meditate together create a power which comes from everyone’s still and purified mind. This power will eventually affect the whole world because all human actions affect the atmosphere as the axiom: “Picking flowers reverberates to the stars”. He wholeheartedly believes that the more there are people who practise meditation, the more the world will change for the better.
Creating World Peace by abstaining from drugs and bad temptations
Drugs and the path to bad temptations (i.e. gambling) are the shortfall in creating world peace. They undermine both the physical and mental fitness of those enslaved to them. They subsequently destroy peace and happiness within the family, society and the world economy.
When there is no peace in a family because of drugs and the roads to ruin problem, the dream of world peace will unfortunately remain a dream. Hence Luang Phaw Dhammajayo initiated a campaign “No alcohol No tobacco”. The campaign has been successfully carried out since then. The activities included pouring away alcohol and burning cigarettes. The records show that during 2003-2004 the “no alcohol no tobacco” activities were organised over 1,000 times by college students from over 100 universities across the world. From these activities there were many drinkers and smokers who quit drinking and smoking, as well as some alcohol and cigarettes retailers quitting the sale of these products, some liquor manufacturers completely closed down their operations.
One of the very memorable examples was the closing down of a traditional liquor factory and the biggest winery in the northeast in Nakornrachasima and Srakaew province, respectively. During the winery shutdown, over 100,000 bottles of wine (7 million Baht in value) were poured away completely.
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo’s “no alcohol no tobacco” project campaigns against the use of drugs and bad temptations: which are causes of unhappiness within the family, society and country. The campaigns made an owner of the largest prostitution house in Samutsongkram province realise that his business was a source of social problems. The problems started from the family, propagated to society and eventually the country. He decided to close down his business, demolish the facility which brought in many hundred thousands of Baht a month.
Furthermore, the owner of the largest cock-fighting pit in the central region of Thailand agreed to close down his cock-fighting pit which brought in a hefty sum of money. His decision came after learning Dhamma from Luang Phaw Dhammajayo who does not support gambling and the bad consequences towards oneself and society.
Peace among Buddhist Monks
In addition to the direct teaching of the Dhamma to adults and youths, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is supporting the training programme for monks and novices who are virtuous role models in doing good deeds for humankind. There are many activities to support them such as;
Training Buddhist Monks to become
Dhamma Teachers for World Peace
In order for humankind to attain inner peace, it is necessary to have an advisor who can point out the right direction. Buddhist monks play a major role in teaching and guiding the world. Buddhist monks also act as leaders, so that people in the world can follow through until they can attain inner peace within.
For this reason, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has set a policy for Buddhist monks at Wat Phra Dhammakaya to receive training enabling them to have a strong determination, a good observance of the precepts, and good moral values arising from meditation practice, so that they can be amenable monks, and can be beacons of faith for followers and to be capable of teaching the Lord Buddha’s Dhamma so that they can bring true peace to the world.
Besides setting a strict policy for the Buddhist monks to practise themselves, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo also fully promotes the study of Buddhist theory for monks and novices at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, by establishing The School of Buddhist Doctrine. The school officially opened in 1985 allowing monks, novices and interested laypeople to learn both Buddhist doctrine and the Pali language. At present, there have been a total of 5,890 graduates, including monks and interested laypeople. It is considered to be a large teaching centre which yields outstanding performance, and has always been acknowledged by the Thai Buddhist monk hierarchy.
During the course of their education, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo would like students to see the value of their studies of the Lord Buddha’s teachings, and wants them to be proud and love their studies. Moreover, he wants students to study diligently and regularly and encourages the students to know the truth of the Lord Buddha’s teachings, not just to pass the test. Meanwhile, the students should pay attention to meditating regularly because the outcome from meditation will give them a better understanding of the academic study of Buddhism.
Beyond the intention of developing monks to become true monks, including the study of Buddhist theory, conduct, and liberation, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has encouraged the monks’ projects in order to maintain the increasing prosperity of Buddhism.
Pali Studies Graduate Congratulations Ceremony for monks and novices
This ceremony has been taking place every year since 1988. The purpose is to congratulate monks and novices who have graduated from the highest level of Pali studies. The ceremony also supports and encourages monks to study Pali. It is known that achieving the 9th Grade in Pali Studies is an extremely challenging feat. Pali students have to devote themselves to study for many years in learning grammar, memorising the vocabulary and studying for the examinations. At the same time, they are also devoting themselves to studying the Lord Buddha’s teachings. Eventually, they will become quality instructors of Dhamma and will lead people to practise virtuous deeds.
The Systematic Training Programme for
The Systematic Training Programme for Spreading Buddhism is also known as, “The Kalyanamitta Monk Training Programme”, whose main objective is teaching Buddhist principles to laypersons to promote agreement in knowledge and direction, and to give opportunities to monks who complete the training programme to better perform their duties in guiding their own communities throughout the country.
The Systematic Training Programme for Spreading Buddhism began in 1999-2007, with a total of 71 classes completing the Programme. There have been 8,090 monks from 5,833 temples, from across the country that have completed this Programme. There have been 2,385 temples that have dedicated themselves as non-smoking temples.
This Programme not only increases the knowledge of Buddhist doctrine and practice to the participants, but also gives the Buddhist monks who are scattered around the country the opportunity to meet and share their experiences in the teaching and spreading of the Dhamma. This promotes strong relationships amongst each other, beneficial for the cooperation needed in spreading peace throughout the world, by following the Lord Buddha’s peaceful direction until the world really does become a peaceful world.
“True Monk” Buddhist Studies Contest
On April 22nd, 1999 (2542 B.E.) and on April 22nd, 2001 (2544 B.E.), Luang Phaw Dhammajayo introduced a Buddhist Studies Contest, “True Monk” based on a text “True Monk” which comes from the Tipitaka as reference. Over 100,000 monks from all over the country participated in both contests at the Assembly Hall of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Pathumthani Province.
The contest serves to emphasise the aim and ideals of ordination, which is a realisation of Nibbana and the self-discipline of following the principles of maintaining the precepts, pursuing meditation, and obtaining wisdom. Not only that, such self-discipline benefits the practitioners, they can also become role-models for others, an inspiration to follow the monks and novices which in turn can bring harmony to self, family, society, country, and the world.
The two contests are part of the Right View in Buddhism. The laypeople have an opportunity to see a rare and historical image of a congregation of one hundred thousand monks. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has described such gathering of monks by saying:
Scholarship award for monks, novices and students
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo recognises the importance of education under the guidance of the Sangha Order and the office of general education. He has been awarding scholarships for monks, novices, students and their institutions from 1991 to the present day.
In creating world peace, an important virtue in one’s mind is compassion to others. Thus, in times when the country and its people experience natural disasters, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has never remained indifferent. He broadcasts news of such suffering via DMC so that the people of Thailand and the world can help the victims, which reflects the power of unity and compassion in everyone’s conscience.
Donation offering ceremony to help 266 temples of the southern provinces
The interminable unrests in the southern provinces have caused troubles for the monks in the region as they can no longer perform their monastic responsibilities. They lack the four requisites essential for survival. With compassion and care for the monks and Buddhism, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo established the donation offering ceremony for the temples in the 4 southern provinces (and nearby Songkla province) for a total of 266 temples. The event has been taking place monthly since June 2005 (2548 B.E.) and will continue to take place until everything returns to normal.
This project helps ease the suffering in the life of the monks and novices in the southern provinces. It also gives encouragement to them to stand firm in this region and be a field of merit and an inspiration to the Buddhists in the 4 southern provinces to continue living their lives there. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo realises that in times of danger for Buddhism, Buddhists should not remain indifferent and instead search for a peaceful solution following his words, “Treat private matters with equanimity, unite for Buddhist matters”. Now is the time for the monks and the laypeople to unite like the only sun in the sky. With such unity, no danger can undermine Buddhism and it will ensure that Buddhism will continue to shine the light for the people of the world.
When the southern provinces of Thailand were confronted with tsunami, over 10,000 people lost their lives. Luang Phaw Dhammajayo directed the Dhammakaya Foundation to deliver requisites for the victims and serve as co-ordinator between the government and NGOs and as organiser of the commemoration ceremony for the deceased in Phuket on 5th January 2005 (2548 B.E.) and in Pangha on 19th January 2005 (2548 BE.) The ceremonies further served to give encouragement to the victims.
When there is major flooding, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has directed the Dhammakaya Foundation to help with requisites to ease the pain and suffering of the victims, especially in the year 2006 (2549 B.E.) The most severe flooding had caused suffering to many people.
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo had directed the Dhammakaya Foundation and the Rattana Vedh Doctors Club to deliver the essentials and take care of the health of the victims. The foundation has assisted with this effort since the flooding began and continued to do so until the situation improved after many months. Over 5 million items have been delivered to the victims.
Cold Weather Relief
When there is severe cold weather, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has directed the Dhammakaya Foundation to deliver blankets to the people especially in provinces that experience severe weather such as Loei. Many people lack clothing to protect the cold weather and must rely on bonfires. Many lose their lives every year from such severe cold.
Positive Media in the Age of Globalisation
In the age of globalisation, televised media have a significant influence on human minds. Most television networks tend to offer news and entertainment that contain extreme violence and immoral contents. This causes viewers, especially youth, to absorb such violence and immorality and further creates the fire in the world.
For this reason, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has created positive media for people to acquaint them with meditation which will not only make peace but also put out the fire in ones’ mind. It is the first step towards achieving individual peace of mind which leads to peacefulness in the world.
The positive televised media, which has been initiated by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo under the name DMC (Dhammakaya Media Channel), has brought benefits to many diverse audiences.
At the moment DMC broadcasts 24 hours a day in every region of the world. It provides a variety of resourceful and creative programmes which is suitable for viewers of any age. In addition, it is translated into a number of languages such as English, Chinese, Laos, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Cambodian, etc. This truly makes DMC a global channel.
Every Monday to Saturday from 19.30 to 22.00, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo teaches in the programme called Dream in Dream Kindergarten School. It is broadcast live and is the most popular programme with viewers around the world. The programme includes a case study of the Law of Karma. Images and songs are used to illustrate the case study. This not only helps all viewers understand the show more easily but also makes it more enjoyable and interesting.
Not only is DMC popular for residents, it has also expanded to people in schools, dormitories, police stations, hospitals and even prisons. The ideas of individual’s and world peace have widely expanded to every group of people including students, police, doctors, nurses, patients and even prisoners, whose freedom has been taken away, yet discovering internal peace. It is found that prisoners who have listened to Dhamma talk from Dream in Dream Kindergarten School tend to behave more peacefully.
DMC causes viewers around the world to perform meditation which is the easy way to find true happiness in oneself. A lot of Thai and foreign viewers are able to discover their own peace from meditation taught by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo and they also apply the knowledge from DMC into their lives.
An example can be made of the people of the Solomon Island whose ancestors were cannibals and unaware of meditation. After they had known about meditation from DMC, they found a peace which they had never experienced before. It made their lives better and clearly proves that meditation is the way to create the true happiness which can be achieved by every human regardless of nationality, religion or ethnicity.
Production of visual aids and publications
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is aware of the necessity of using visual technology and publications to spread Buddhism; therefore, he has created a project which produces a variety of media such as Dhamma books, monthly journals, tapes, VCD video, slide multi-vision, radio programmes and community television programmes, etc.
Extending True Peace to the World Citizen
With the awareness of the great benefits from meditation, followers of Luang Phaw worldwide both Thai and foreign gathered to practise meditation and asked Luang Phaw Dhammajayo to assign his disciple monks to teach meditation.
With his kindness for Thai people in foreign countries and foreigners to be able to learn Buddhism and practise meditation, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo decided to choose suitable people, monks, upasaka and upasika who had language skills and were well travelled. This allowed the expansion of Buddhism to foreign countries by creating the first Buddhism centre in California in the US in 1992. Now there are 60 centres in 29 countries, over several continents including North America, Europe, Oceania, Asia and South Africa.
North America: There are a total of 13 branches in the North American continent.
Europe: There are a total of 16 branches in 9 countries.
Asia: There are a total of 21 branches in 15 countries.
Oceania: There are a total of 8 branches in 3 countries.
South Africa: There are a total of 2 branches.
Each centre has regular meditation practise and activities including offering sustenance to Buddha on every first Sunday of the month, dedicating merit to the decreased, releasing fish and other creatures, improving standards in the centres, and any other preparations needed for special ceremonies. In addition, people are invited to meditate and practise Dhamma in every ceremony.
Moreover, a number of courses have been opened for foreigners to attend. The activities include preventing temptations, such as pouring away alcohol and burning tobacco. There has also been a meditation course set up for students and the Dhammadayada ordination programme for Thai and foreign people.
The establishment of Meditation centres in foreign countries is to provide an opportunity for people to practise meditation continuously. The benefits are finding true happiness and peace for people around the world.
Views from the Followers:
Last Sunday, January 21, 2007, I had the pleasure of being present at the historic occasion of the opening of the Dunedin Meditation Centre. I feel that the opening of the Centre, and the presence of Buddhist monks and devout Buddhist laypeople will be of great benefit to the Dunedin community, to the South Island of New Zealand, and will help bring about world peace. I want to thank The Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Most Venerable Dhammajayo Bhikkhu) for his wisdom and generosity in founding the Dunedin Meditation Centre.
Dr. Elizabeth Guthrie
Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Otago
Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND
The benefits that I have received from the practice of meditation are enormous. Firstly, it has relieved serious stress problems from which I previously suffered. Secondly, it has helped to solve certain philosophical questions which I have always been troubled by. Thirdly, it has opened up the great chasm of collective unconscious, making previously inaccessible inner experiences available to detached awareness.
Dr. Jeffrey Wilson
Associate Supervisor and Research Consultant
University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Ifirst met the Abbot Dhammajayo in November 2006. In the conversation I saw his beautiful heart for mankind. Once I heard that he would love to see everyone in this world meditate and gain peace inside, I was overwhelmed. In Africa, we have a mix of races. Amazingly, the Abbot includes everyone in his vision of world peace. When he says, “World peace through inner peace,” it is so outstanding and innovative. Meditation is so simple that it doesn’t take me longer than 2 weeks to calm down and become peaceful. Thank you so much my dearest Abbot that you have sent monks to teach meditation in my country. We owe you so much.
Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA
Iwould like to thank Luang Phaw Dhammajayo the most for guiding us on life goal and answering why we were born. Luang Phaw has restored Buddhism and propagated Dhammakaya meditation, aiming at the attainment of true happiness that exists within every single human being. Luang Phaw teaches his students regardless of race, social class, religion, and belief, so that they can learn how to accumulate merit and pursue perfections which lead to the attainment of Dhammakaya.
Sukasem – Maitrijit Supannanon
Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is compassionate. He cares the others, wishing all people to be happy and attain inner peace. He has established DMC channel in which he gives teachings to propagate Buddhism daily. So, people know Dhamma and the practice leading to inner happiness and profound knowledge in Buddhism. Foreigners who watch DMC programs can learn about Dhamma, and they praise that Buddhism is good for its rationale. What they are impressed the most is the teaching of non-violence. This is the primary teaching that makes the world free from trouble. If everyone in this world watches DMC and understands the Lord Buddha’s Dhamma, his or her heart will be cool and calm. No war will exist, and this is the path to true world peace.
Madam Kumtan Ratanasamai
Collaboration with International Organisations
Realising the importance of collaboration with international organisations and institutions that desire to make world peace, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has also collaborated to produce policies with such organisations as:
The Dhammakaya Foundation was endorsed as a non-governmental organisation-NGO, DPI/NGO-type, by the United Nations in 1986, and presently the foundation has been elevated to be NGO in ECOSOC type. Dhammakaya foundation has been joined with and encouraged policies of the United Nations in various aspects such as peace, youth, education, through international collaboration over the past 20 years.
Dhammakaya foundation has also been a member of The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) and the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY) since 1986. The Dhammakaya foundation has participated in many activities and has taken part in managerial works by sending the foundation’s delegations to operate in several positions of the boards committee. In addition, the foundation is also co-ordinating with Buddhist organisations and educational institutes including other religious organisations in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain, and the USA.
The Award of the Determination of Truly Making World Peace
Regarding successful works of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo in the past many years, recognition has been given by many international organisations. They have bestowed honours and awards upon Luang Phaw Dhammajayo such as:
Honorary Doctorate Degree in Buddhist Studies from Mahachulalongkorn Raja Vidyalaya, Bangkok (under H.M. the King’s patronage), given to Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Venerable Dhammajayo Bhikkhu),
Received December 5th, 1994.
Outstanding Award for excellent social work within the community and a national contribution from the United Foundation Society of Thailand
Received November 25th, 1994
Honourable plaque from the operation centre for defeating drug usage, Klong Luang District
Received June 1st, 2003
The operation centre for defeating drugs usage, Klong Luang District, Pathumthani Province presented an honourable plaque to Phrarajbhavanavisudh for his excellent encouragement to the operation centre. By continuously cultivating morale to people living in Klong Luang District, which is the location of Wat Phra Dhammakaya since it was established in 1970, the local countering of drugs was achieved successfully.
The World No Tobacco Day Awards 2004 from WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) considered the work of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo who has been teaching morality and integrity to people, freeing them from vices for over 30 years. The No-Smoking and No-Drinking campaign gathered Thai people to resist every type of temptation, especially alcohol and cigarettes. This campaign has been continuously held through schools, universities and the Kalyanamitta network, including Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Sikh organisations and has extended around the world.
These activities go beyond the borders of countries and religious boundaries. These activities make people realise the negative consequence of alcohol and cigarettes in terms of physical and spiritual concerns. Therefore, WHO considered presenting to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo the award of “World No Tobacco Day Awards 2004” on 31st May 2004.
Honorary Mahatma Gandhi Award from the Akhil Bharat Rachnatmak Samaj Organisation
Akhil Bharat Rachanatmak Samaj Organisation considers that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has been dedicated to making peace in the world through the peace of Buddhism. Beginning with teaching integrity to people regardless of gender and age for over 40 years, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo conceptualises that real world peace emerges from inner peace coming from meditation practise. Furthermore, the instilling of moral values project for the youth proves his high achievement to the world such as the Path of Progress Dhamma Quiz Contest which was initiated by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo and also gained acceptance from UNESCO. The committees of the organisation all agreed to offer the Mahatma Gandhi medal for peace on 22nd April, 2005.
Honorific Plaque from Senate
Offered on 23rd February 2005
This award offered to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is from the generosity of the Dhammakaya Foundation donating relief materials to Tsunami victims with his deep generosity to the victims who needed help and mental support in the moment of disaster. In addition, the memorial service and mourning to the victims from Tsunami disaster was held at Saphanhin Stadium, Phuket on 5th January 2005 and Takuapa Stadium, Phang nga on 19th January 2005. And it also created harmony and unity among Thai people and foreigners. H. E. Suchon Chaleekrua, the speaker of the Thai senate, is the representative to offer the honorific plaque to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo.
Honourable Plaque from the Prison Department
Offered on October 13th, 2004
Regarding the Prison Department’s appreciation of merit and the contribution of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo towards the Prison Department, Luang Phaw Dhammajayo gave DMC satellites with installations to Thai Prisons across the country. DMC satellites brought Dhamma to refine and cleanse the inmates’ mind, release their suffering, and cultivate morals. When inmates come back into society, they can apply Dhamma to become good people in society and the nation. Therefore, the Prison department presented Luang Phaw Dhammajayo a plaque in order to endorse the kindness of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo to the world.
Honourable Plaque for Nationwide flood relief
was Offered on 3rd December 2006 and 7th January 2007
On 3rd December 2006, the representative group from the 4 provinces suffering from the flood disaster in Ayudhaya, Aongthong, Singburi, and Chainath, all agreed to offer an honourable plaque and Province-symbol souvenir to Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, the President of the Dhammakaya Foundation, who made merit to many of the flood victims in many provinces, donating relief bags and continuously providing the medical mobile unit for several months.
Furthermore, on 7th January 2007, a representative group from The Ministry of Education and representatives from many organisations in the 4 provinces who encountered floods including Pathumthani, Suphanburi, Nonthaburi and Nakorn Pratom all agreed to offer the honourable plaquse and provincial souvenirs totalling 41 awards. The awards consisted of 3 awards from the ministry of education, 18 awards from Pathumthani, 7 awards from Suphanburi, 11 awards from Nakorn Prathom, and 2 awards from Nonthaburi.
Universal Peace Award
World Buddhist Sangha Youth (WBSY) is a world class Buddhist organisation. The organisation has many members who are Buddhists from every Buddhist sect; Theravada, Mahayana and Vajarayana. Buddhist leaders from different countries all agreed that Luang Phaw Dhammajayo is highly dedicated and makes tremendous benefits to Buddhism. The excellent achievement of the Buddhism propagation project has been receiving great acceptance worldwide for 40 years.
WBSY, therefore, offers the great achievement of Universal Peace Award which is a Buddhist Award granted on the occasion of the celebration of Buddhism 2007, at the annual conference in Sri Lanka from the 2nd to 5th of December 2006.
The official award offering was presented by the delegation of Sri Lanka President Mahidhara Ratchapaksa on the Magha Puja Day, 3rd March 2007.
Creating Peace Together in the Era of the Sun of Peace
Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Dhammakaya Foundation, led by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, are currently organising activities that will improve society in a variety of localities, both within and outside the country, with great dedication. All activities are a result of his vision to see everyone live together happily with bright minds from the inner light of the sun of peace. It is waiting to shine out to become true World Peace.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya and the Dhammakaya Foundation, under the leadership of Luang Phaw Dhammajayo, continue their determination to spread World Peace through meditation and a variety of related activities. They are prepared to collaborate with various organisations around the world to create and sustain goodness. They are willing to dedicate all their physical strength, morale, intellect, knowledge and talent so that the world population can experience true peace forever, as Luang Phaw Dhammajayo once said:
“In creating World Peace, a single group, a single team or a single country cannot do it alone. Everyone in the world must be a part of this creation of peace from the beginning. If someone believes what he is doing and can create peace, he should continue. But we must do it together in order for true peace to happen in this world. The Lord Buddha said, “Natthi Santi Param Sukham”. (Pali) There is no greater happiness than stilling the mind. Peace is what everyone wants, but it cannot be created alone. Everyone in the world must help. It has to arise from the thought of every person in this world. Even a single person cannot be left out. Everyone has to think in the same way and work together in a frugal but highly effective manner. There is no need to spend money. Just close your eyes lightly and relax. Then our wish will come true. It begins with stilling the mind at the centre of the body and setting an example inspiring other people to do the same. Then, peace will happen before our eyes and before we close our eyes to leave this world”.
“World Peace will arise when everyone meditates. Since we were born in this time period, we should be a part in creating peace in this world. Before we leave this world, we should feel joyous and proud”.
Message from Founder and Secretary General of WBSY
It was a greatly inspiring occasion for the World Buddhist Sangha Youth of Sri Lanka to organize the Third General Conference of the World Buddhist Sangha Youth during 2nd – 5th December 2006. The international conference was constructively shared the idea under the title ‘Tolerance and Harmony’. In addition to the conference, the 2550 Buddha Jayanti award ceremony is honorary presided by the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa to remarkably reflect the work of the outstanding Venerables who dedicated themselves for Buddhist Propagation.
The Universal Peace Award, the noblest peace prize of the 2550 Buddha Jayanti award was conferred upon most Ven. Phrarajbhavanavisudh, the president of Dhammakaya Foundation and the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya Thailand, to recognize his wonderful success in establishing the true sustainable peace, the inner peace which was developed individually through his diligent dedication to Dhamma propagation. On everyday his enthusiastic Dhamma students covering all range of ages around the world attend the class ‘Dream in Dream’, the biggest class room in the world. His promotional teachings arouse everyone to be aware of one’s own action against the law of kamma, the universal law. The mind development through the simplest meditation technique introduced by Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh practically proved by all, irrespective of races, faith or believes to be an efficient method. The clean, calm and brightly mind which is the base of the individual peace gradually enlarge from one to many, from family to the nation and from nation to the peace in the world.
On behalf of the 2550 Buddha Jayanti Award committee I would like to express my congratulation to Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavisudh for his success of world peace promotional through the inner peace and for the Universal Peace Award, the noblest peace prize and the simplest reflection to his hard work.
I wish and pray, let there be peace in the world and let all living beings be happy.
Sri Lanka ( Ven. Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero )
December 4, 2006 Secretary General,
World Buddhist Sangha Youth
WORLD PEACE BEGINS WITH INNER PEACE
Happiness is what all human beings seek. A philosopher can consider history up to the present and define happiness according to many concepts and theories. But this philosopher cannot answer the question: Who has achieved or discovered true happiness for human beings?
I believe that if we look at each individual person, we will see that we are all made of the same components: our physical body and our mind. We can favour our body by giving it beverages, food, and the finest things. But if our mind is in turmoil, or even if it is amused or pleased by some form of entertainment, can this be called true happiness? If our body is in pain, constrained by illness, do we want to call this true happiness? But when we learn how and act to attain equilibrium between the body and the mind, people can find happiness within themselves.
And they can tell themselves that this is true happiness. The entirety of humanity can discover true happiness and the purpose of our existence. We can conduct our lives in a correct and beautiful manner until all people obtain a lasting inner peace. This is the foundation for peace, the objective to which Luang Phaw Dhammajayo has dedicated himself to building.
By knowing the mind, you are discovering the path to serenity
If someone comes to ask about the fundamentals of business strategy, you can tell people the details of every step for obtaining efficiency and profit. Or someone might ask you about the principals a newly-elected official should use to lead a country. You might be able to explain this as an expert in political science. Or someone might ask for recommendations about where to travel for a vacation. You would be able to elucidate clearly about every inexpensive and interesting location for travel. But how will you answer if someone asks the location of your mind? You will be even more astounded if someone asks “How is your mind?” Will you have an answer for a matter like this so close to your own being?
If you do not know your own mind, how will serenity arise?
The responsibilities of daily life are constantly pulling your mind to attach with external forces to you because you are fixated on your expectations for great successes in your investments. Or you are tense and anxious about changes in political events which might have an impact on the good business in which you are engaged.
And in the end, you still cannot provide a good answer for the questions “Where is your mind?” or “How is your mind?” This is because your emotions are caught up in things external to you. You have not yet looked inside yourself and have not had your feelings turn to show interest in yourself, even though the physical body and the mind are present in people of every nationality and ethnicity, including you. The truth is that if the body does not have the mind, your body is merely a walking corpse.
Finding your mind is not a difficult task
Comfortably lean up against the back of a chair and gently close your eyes. Yes, right. You are feeling all your thoughts passing through your mind one after another, matters about which you are proud and matters which are problems you still have not solved. This is a normal occurrence which almost everyone in the world experiences. We are not alone in this world and we are not the only ones who have responsibilities. So you must admit that you are in the midst of a wave of various thoughts. You must try to calm your mind, to cool your mind, even if this requires great resolve. And even if this calmness lasts only momentarily, try to arrange your mental priorities until you are focusing on only one thought at a time. If you can do this, you are nearing the source of great inner energy. It is a source of pure energy which will make you know your mind.
You can find serenity if you know the way to control your mind
Knowing the mind by trying to focus on only one thought at a time seems like an easy task. But when you attempt to do this, you find that you cannot accomplish this goal immediately. And it is difficult to maintain this mental focus continuously. This is because we are accustomed to what we want to get, what we want to have, what we want to be, until we struggle to pursue all these desires. These desires leave your mind constantly lacking fulfilment.
Sometimes feelings of annoyance and irritation arise. Or a person explodes such that others see the feelings he has kept hidden inside. Or in the opposite manner, sometimes you may feel enjoyment, amusement, and satisfaction with your boundless enchantment or sweet dreams. And in the end, these various things disappear and you return back to the true conditions of your existence. This makes you give up. Sometimes you seem to be happy. Sometimes you seem to be suffering, in pain. And you will probably remain in this cycle. You should try to reduce these feelings to be even with one another, regulating them to be in an appropriate balance. You definitely can do this when you know your mind and the training method for controlling your mind.
Training your mind to be at the centre of the body
At the moment you close your eyes, temporarily forget the various matters that occupy your mind. Make yourself feel as though your mind is empty of thoughts, clear. Then breathe in and out deeply, gently. You will observe that the physical point at which your breath ends in the centre of your body is the point of greatest comfort and clarity. This point is the starting point for you to discover your mind. In truth, this is the centre of the body which all people possess.
Then imagine you have a round, clear, and bright crystal, like a midday sun, a full moon or a night-time star shining its twinkling light, at the centre of your body or around your stomach.
While you are doing this, various thoughts may enter your mind. Remain calm and softly repeat a short mantra, the sound of which will seem to emerge from the bright crystal at the centre of your body. For example, use the short mantra “Samma Arahang” or “Clear and Bright”. Repeat the mantra many times until you feel free of these various thoughts, except for the feeling that you are starting to touch the brightness and inner tranquillity.
Train constantly and you will see changes
This training method appears to be a beginner’s lesson. But we can train this way constantly, at all times and in all positions by imagining a clear, bright crystal ball and quietly repeating the mantra continuously until it becomes second-nature.
And you will find that you are discovering something amazing, that you are seeing changes in your body and your mind, that you are witnessing the gradual start of good physical and mental developments. Even if you do not feel these results in one or two days, continue your efforts.
You must maintain your effort, like a tree you are planting. The seed will sprout and grow from a little sapling into a fully-mature tree. This process is gradual, it requires time. We cannot determine its progress by measuring how many centimetres the tree grows each day.
Inner serenity will spread to become external peace
The many thoughts swirling around dissipate until there is only one thought remaining. And in the end, your feelings become one with the light of the bright crystal ball in the centre of your body.
When this occurs, you will find pure happiness and tranquillity. It will be a happiness that you can find on your own. And it is a happiness which anyone can achieve, regardless of a person’s ethnicity, language, or religion. This is a universal human happiness. It is happiness that a person does not need to seek or pursue from external factors. And it is important that all human beings have a body and a mind. Only one starts to practise, one will start to know one’s mind and how to control the mind so that it exhibits beauty and appropriate qualities. Moreover, you will understand others’ feelings and how to control your desires. And you will be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. And if people in your family, in society, or anywhere in the world practise as explained, all of them will be able to tell themselves that this is true happiness. What is called “inner serenity” will cause “external peace”, a pure peace which does not come from using weapons or victory in war.
Diligence in pursuing the Dhamma of peace will lead to serenity
The first training lesson described already is meditation practise. This is the path for building peace in human society. This is the diligence of Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Venerable Dhammajayo Bhikkhu) who wishes to spread this method of meditation practise so the people of the world can find the marvel in each of them. This knowledge is not a nonsense theory but something which a person can perform. A person can truly see the results and attain true peace.
The human mind has great power but if a person’s mind is still constrained by greed, anger, and delusion, human beings will fight with, compete with, and exploit one another. In the long history of humankind, there are conflicts and wars in every era. What is the real reason for wars and world destruction? It is because the human mind has not achieved serenity, the prerequisite for true world peace. As Luang Phaw says:
“The human mind can be the starting point of both war and peace. If the human mind is in turmoil originating from greed, anger, or delusion, feelings that are the cause of conflict will arise. Wars and fighting which have exploded from the barrels of guns around the world and caused suffering for human beings, all these originate with the fire found in people’s minds.
It is like the small flame from a lit match that spreads to burn down an entire city. At the same time, when the human mind is calm and cool, full of consciousness and wisdom, endless happiness will arise. The result is peace for individuals, for families, for communities, for societies, for nations, and for the world. It is world peace that arises from inner serenity. Therefore, the mind is the important cause of world war or world peace”.
Meditation for World Peace by Luang Phaw Dhammajayo
Start by sitting in a relaxed half-lotus position by placing your right leg on your left leg, your right hand on your left hand. The index finger of your right hand should touch the tip of your left thumb. Place your hands palms up gently on your lap. Sit with your body and head straight. If you cannot sit in this position, you may sit in a chair or on a sofa. Adjust your position so you feel comfortable, until you feel your breath and circulation are flowing freely. Close your eyes gently, just like you are about to fall asleep.
Then take 2-3 deep breaths. Inhale deeply, so you feel the air in your stomach. Exhale slowly. When you are inhaling, let yourself feel as though every cell in your body attains the fullest happiness and joy. When you are exhaling, release every one of your worries and stresses. Take a moment to let go of these various concerns. Then breathe normally. When you have relieved your mind, you can start to relax your body. Relax every muscle in your body, from your head to the tips of your toes. Relax your entire body at all points. No part should be tense, pulled, or stressed. You should feel clear, light, and at ease. Then make your mind cheerful, fresh, clean, pure, and bright. Empty your mind, free it from all thoughts. Make it seem as though you are sitting alone in a clear and wide-open space, a place full of freedom and peace. Imagine that your body is free of internal organs, that it is clear and hollow. You might feel that your body is lighter, that you have become part of the atmosphere around you. Then bring your mind to rest at the centre of the body, in the middle of your stomach, at a level located two finger widths above the navel. It is not necessary to find the exact point at the centre of the body. Simply continuously rest your mind gently and softly in the area at the centre of your body. Do this while releasing the tension from your body and your mind.
When you have relaxed your body and mind, start gently envisioning an internal image, visualizing a clear, perfectly round and unblemished crystal ball. It can be any size but should be bright as the midday sun or lucid as a full moon. Visualize it easily and calmly, without forcing the image to arise, without compelling its appearance. If it is not clear, do not be concerned. Whatever appears simply let it occur. And keep your mind continuously calm, at rest and still. If your mind wanders, support yourself with a mantra. Let the sound of the mantra slowly emerge from the middle of the clear crystal ball at the centre of your body. The mantra is “Samma Arahang”, which means to make the mind pure and detached from all forms of suffering. Or you can use the words “Clear and Bright”, Recite the mantra continuously while observing the crystal ball calmly until your mind becomes still. Then you will stop reciting or naturally forget to recite the mantra. All that will remain is the image of the crystal ball appearing clearly in the centre of your body. Calmly and serenely maintain your concentration to sustain the image, with a mind that is still and soft at all times.
If you have an internal experience that differs from what you normally experience, do not become agitated or happy. Keep your mind unperturbed, just observe dispassionately. Do not be pleased or displeased with what you see. In the end, your mind will become more refined and settle at the centre of your body. Your mind will enter the centre of your body, the point of purity, brightness, true happiness, and awareness. This awareness is profound internal wisdom, which grows deeper with continued meditation. You will reach the purity that is within all of us naturally from our origins. This purity is something universal to people across the world.
When your mind is still, there is happiness in your meditation. Before stopping your meditation, perform loving-kindness meditation, send good wishes to others, and share your happiness with the rest of the world. Start by unifying your mind so that it is still and at the centre of your body. Feel that you love and send good wishes to everyone in the world. Let your mind coalesce into a clear, bright crystal ball that embodies the power of love and good wishes for all living beings.
Let this crystal ball expand beyond your body in every direction: right, left, front, back, above, below. Let it spread out in every direction. Let it be a mind that wishes all beings free of suffering and able to attain ever greater happiness. Wish that all beings will discover the greatest thing: to attain the utmost happiness which arises from meditation, meditation which takes you to the original purity that resides in all of us. You can bring this purity into your daily lives. It will make your lives wholesome, fulfilling, and replete with goodness. It will benefit you and others.
Let the crystal ball of your mind expand beyond your body until it surrounds you and others who are both near to and far from you. Let it expand to encompass your present location. Let it grow ever larger until it reaches the sky. Do this until you feel that your mind is boundless and has love and good wishes for your fellow human beings on every continent and in every corner of the world.
Let your mind connect with all beings. Let them only have happiness. Let all countries in the world prosper and be full of good people who work for true happiness and peace for all persons. Let the power from the purity of your still mind at the centre of your body spread to those people who are suffering because of war. Let their suffering turn into happiness. And let this happiness be lasting. Let it be the case that the peoples of the world stop exploiting and harming one another. Let people’s minds change from darkness to become rich in love and compassion.
The energy of purity that comes from meditation is a pure power. This power spreads quietly into the atmosphere. It dispels flaws and darkness in our human minds so they will return to brightness. Let us conduct our lives correctly in happiness with good minds, and change the world to achieve true world peace.