พระเทพญาณมหามุนี (ไชยบูลย์ ธมฺมชโย)
The great master Luang Por Dhammajayo
The President of the Dhammakaya Foundation
Researched by- อาจารย์ มิตร จอย
(Myoma Myint Kywe)
the president of the Dhammakaya Foundation.
Venerable Dhammajayo Bhikkhu Phrathepyanmahamuni was born Mr.Chaiyaboon 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 at the bank of the Chao Praya River in the sub-district of Paeng, in the district Promburi, and Province of Singhburi. His father, Janyong Suthipol, worked as an engineer at the Industry Factory Department for the Ministry of Industry, and his mother was Juree Suthipol. 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 Chaiyaboon was an auspicious event for harmony, like rain falling on dry and cracked ground, restoring it back to a smooth surface.
Since his father was a government employee who had to regularly relocate to different provinces, Chaiyaboon was raised by his mother and cousins. Moreover, he had to move on a regular basis. Later, his father, concerned about Chaiyaboon’s education and future, registered his son in the first grade at Talapat Suksa School, a boarding school at Sao-Shingsha.
This was good fortune for young Chaiyaboon. The chairman of the boarding school that he was attending, who was of royal blood, had no children of his own. He loved Chaiyaboon very much and asked Chaiyaboon’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 chairman 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 associate with and gain merit from the monks there. This was the start of Chaiyaboon's interest in Dhamma.
In 1950, his father received an order to relocate to Petchburi. Chaiyaboon had to be separated from the chairman since he was transferring to Aroon Pradit School for the fourth grade. After living with his father for a little over a year, he moved to Sarasithipithayalai where a famous school stood in Banpaeng District, Rajburi 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. He differed from other boys who grew up in wealthy families.
According to an economical finance in his family, he has to save his daily spending to afford only diets and nutrition. He seldom bought any toys or playing equipment like any other teenagers could. Someday, he could only has a plain rice to be his lunch at school. He had to use his skill that he could tell joking stories to his friends in order to exchange courses earned with rice. His childhood experiences prepared him for his important future tasks, and after long hard work he finally reached his dream.
As he was a bookworm but he could not afford to buy any books. He had to read a book that he liked at one book shop until he was chased by the owners. He had to move to the nest shop to read the same book; again and again until finished the book at the last shop. Then one day, he came across a book titled, “Dhammakaya” in Vipassana Bantuengsarn (Meditation Magazine). This book was written in the format of a sermon by Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) Luang Pu Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. There was one particular quote: “If one wants to follow in the right path of Buddhism, one has to practice until one gains complete comprehension and understanding.” At the end of this book, it showed a confirmation that Wat Paknam Temple was able to teach until attaining complete comprehension and understanding. This statement delighted him because he knew he had found the right path. This propelled Chaiyaboon to want to learn meditation at the temple. From that point on, he planned to go to Wat Paknam Temple to study the Dhammakaya Meditation Technique.
In 1963, at the age of nineteen, he was preparing to take the entrance examination for university-level studies. The young man, Chaiyaboon, made a decision to go to Paknam Bhasicharoen Temple to find a master to study the Dhammakaya Meditation Technique. When he arrived at the temple, he asked different people for a meditation master that referred in the magazine, Mother Acariya Chandra, but no one knew. But they knew 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, freshman Chaiyaboon was very focused in his studies. Later, at the end of the first semester, his thoughts of Mother Acariya Chandra resurfaced. So, he decided to go back to Paknam Bhasicharoen Temple again in October 1963. After practicing meditation for a period of time, he discovered that Mother Acariya Chandra was Teacher Chandra. So, he was taken to meet Teacher Chandra, 58. Finally, they both had the opportunity to meet one another. Later, he learnt meditation only with Teacher Chandra at Paknam Temple. He and Teacher Chandra were like a grandson to a kind old lady, he finally called his teacher “Khun Yay” (a pronoun to call old lady with respect).
Years had passed, he meditated deeply and attained inner peace, Chaiyaboon’s confidence in the knowledge found in Buddhism continued to increase. He saw that the fruits of meditation could release humans from their suffering, and had indisputably answered the many unresolved questions he had in his mind. Later, young Chaiyaboon came to a clear realization 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. Chaiyaboon then decided to ask Khun Yay for permission to become ordained as a monk. On Khun Yay’s birthday in 1968, 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, Chaiyaboon wanted to present a gift to her by making a vow of truthfulness and to remain celibate for the remainder of his life.
In April of 1969, Chaiyaboon graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, with a major in Economics and Administration and a minor in Farming. After receiving his degree, he immediately informed his father of his desire to ordain for life in the Buddhist monkhood. August 27th, 1969, a full moon day on the ninth month of the lunar calendar, was an auspicious day as Mr. Chaiyaboon Suthipol donned the saffron robe and became a monk, as he had wished, at the chapel of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. Phrathepwarawaetee (currently, Somdejphramaharatchamangkalajahn, abbot of the Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Thailand), was his preceptor, Phrakrupipatdhammakanee was his senior examining monk (Kamavacacariya) at the ordination, and Phravicheankawee was his junior examining monk (Anusavanacariya).
He received the monastic title "Dhammajayo", which means "The victor through Dhamma".
After his ordination, he gave a speech of his thoughts about the principles of ordaining as a monk: "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 the full fruition from the merit accrued from ordaining one must be able to be a refuge for Buddhism, not just taking refuge in Buddhism."
Wat Phra Dhammakaya rapidly grew, along with the heart and mind of its supporters which has grown in great numbers throughout the years. So much so, that the original 80 areas 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 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 Por. Even when it rained, people would sit outside to listen to Luang Por, 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 ‘Great 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 a main staging area for all religious ceremonies since 1996. Having seen numbers of supporters increase regularly, Luang Por Dhammajayo decided to build the next phase, which consisted of the ‘ Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya,’ (Golden Pagoda) and Meditation Amphitheatre both designed to last for 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 practice Dhamma 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 will see will sink into their heart and they will strive to find the answer for themselves.
Besides, 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. Both are used as a gathering place for meditation and for all people to come and pay homage.
คุณยายอาจารย์มหารัตนอุ The Great Teacher Khun Yay
(Teacher Chandra Khonnokyoong (20 January 1909 - 10 September 2000) was a famous Thai Theravada Buddhist Dhammakaya nun who founded the Wat Phra Dhammakaya organization. Her full title, as called by her own disciples (not an official title), was คุณยายอาจารย์มหารัตนอุ Khun Yay Mahā Ratana Upāsikā Chandra Khonnokyoong. She is also known within the Dhammakaya movement as "Kuhn Yay Acariya," a title meaning "respected lady master of advancing years." 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 our Khun Yay, the famous teacher who provided Luang Por with the wisdom and illumination in Dhamma, and the support and encouragement to perform meritorious deeds until her very last breath. The great teacher Khun Yay’s tremendous significance is immeasurable.
คำสอนคุณยายจันทร์ ขนนกยูง ชุดที่ 1-2
Therefore, it was only fitting that Luang Por 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 Por Dhammajayo has for Khun Yay, he requested all the monks, novice monks, and upasaka and upasika of the Wat Phra Dhammakaya, along with the 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 February 3rd, 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, ever congregated, when they attended the cremation ceremony for Khun Yay. As a way to demonstrate their kindness, monks from many other countries traveled 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.
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 Por Dhammajayo. For this reason, he was bestowed a High Royal Order of the monastic ‘Raj level’ by His Majesty the King of Thailand to be recognized as a leading monk in meditation with the title “Phrarajbhavanavisudh,” on December 5th, 1996 (2539 B.E.).
The Dhammakaya Foundation was founded in 1916 in Thailand by Phramongkolthepmuni, the famous abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. Following the death of Phra Monkolthepmuni, the Foundation's work was continued by his disciple, Khun Yay Maha Ratana Upasikā Chandra Khonnokyoong, a Buddhist mae chi. In 1970, a temple, called Wat Phra Dhammakaya, was constructed as a home for the movement. Located in Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani Province, the temple was intended to become an international center for the study of meditation.