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Ajahn Maha Bua

By Devik Balami at
Ajahn Maha Bua

Ajahn Maha Bua was a Thai Buddhist monk who was formally known as Phra Dharma Visuddhi Mangala or in Thai, Luang Ta Maha Bua and was born on August 12th, 1913. His childhood name was Bua Lohitdee. He was well-known Monk of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and was regarded as an Arahant. He learned under Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, esteemed master of Thai Forest Tradition. He was considered to be Ajahn Yai or Head of the Thai Forest Tradition lineage after the death of Ajahn Thate in 1994.

Life History of Ajahn Maha Bua

Early years

Bua Lohitdee was born in Ban Taad village in the northeastern province of Udon Thani. His family was rich and does the rice farming. At the age of 21, his parents asked him to enter the monkhood for a season as per Thai tradition. Therefore, he entered Yothanimit Monastery and was ordained on May 12, 1934, with Venerable Chao Khun Dhammachedi as his teacher. Ven. Chao, in the monastery, gave him the Pali name, Nanasampanno which means one endowed with wisdom.

During his monkhood, he learned the incarnation of the Buddha and his Arahant Disciples. Therefore, he was so impressed that he wished to seek the same enlightenment as the Buddha's disciple had. He also studied Pali language as well as the Vinaya, monastic rules of correct conduct. After he passed the higher level in his Buddhist studies, he concentrated entirely on the practice of Dhamma. During that time, he wished to learn from Ajahn Mun since he was one of the most renowned meditation masters of his time.

Learning with Venerable Ajahn Mun

Nanasampanno set off to search for Ven. Ajahn Mun with the objective to learn with him. After meeting him, he found that Ajahn Mun already knew his desires, intentions, and doubts. Ajahn also helped Nanasampanno to clarify the question and confusions that he got in his mind and finally he also showed him the path that leads to Nivarana.

Under Ajahn Mun, Nanasampanno learned the meditation methods based on the principles of Buddhism and the code of Buddhist discipline. He continued these methods in his own teaching as well. He viewed Ajahn Mun as a father figure so he steps ahead and writes a biography of Mun. His objective was not only regarding appreciation of Ajahn Mun but also to disseminate his methods of practice and document his character for coming generations. Another important work is wisdom develops samadhi and Patipada, and transcribed talks dedication to lay people and monks.

Establishment of Monastery

After the death of Mun, in 1950, Nanasampannosought for a secluded place in 1950. He went to Huey Sai village in Mukdahan province. It was found that he was very strict and serious in teaching the monks and novices. There, he mainly teaches austere dhutanga practices and meditation to his students. He continued till these taught principles became established amongst his followers.

Later he learned that his mother was ill. He then returned his home to look after her. Since his mother was very old, the relatives and villagers requested him to settle instead of wandering in the forest. Nanasampanno analyzed the situation and made a conclusion that it was appropriate to settle in the village. Then with the collected donation of 64 acres of land, he builds the monastery in 1955 CE. After the completion of the monastery, he named it as Wat Pa Baan Taad.

Regarding the monastery, Ajahn Mua Bua stresses that the monastery has always been a place for meditation and it will always be. The sole purpose of its establishment was to foster the developing the mind of fellow monks.

Even in present context, the monastery has been focusing on the way Ajahn Bua had started and believes to preserve the practices inside the monastery in its original condition. This has helped fellow monks, novices, and lay people to use the monastery's tranquility for the practice of the Dhamma as taught by the Lord Buddha.

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