The Bodhi Mirror Presents
In 1973, Bhikkhu Piyavanno, at the age of 24, took the Bhikkhu ordination at Wat Chai Hah, which is a small meditation temple located in a southern Thailand province. The teacher there, named Achaan Dhammadero, gave great emphasis to formal meditation practice using a particular meditation technique which he had devised during his own time of training. The sincerity of those practicing around Bhikkhu Piyavanno was inspiring, especially for a beginner in meditation, but this particular method of practice didn't work so well for him. Eventually he decided to find a quiet forest monastery.
This brought him to Wat Nong Ba Pon in the Northeast province of Ubon, where he practiced under Achaan Chaa, whose style of practice is both simple and direct. "Achaan Chaa stresses the importance of discipline in his monasteries and it was here that I learned the significance of the monk's way of life. The style of practice here at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is similar to forest monastic life in Thailand." said Bhikkhu Piyavanno, during his visit to the City in March, 1981.
The third teacher whom Bhikkhu Piyavanno studied with is Achaan Buddhadasa. It was this teacher who influenced him to integrate meditation with the study of the Theravadan Tripitaka.
After spending seven years in the Far East, he returned to the United States where he's been principally staying at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Says Bhikkhu Piyavanno,
"It is most wonderful to see the growing interest in and enthusiasm for the Dharma which has taken place in some of the western countries over the last decade. These days a significant percentage of people are truly thirsting for something of value and ultimate benefit in life. I remember an elderly woman once saying to me, 'You have come from afar, but you know what is of value.' For many people such as myself, the longing for Dharma or Truth is a natural order of events. The Dharma expresses itself and is made available when the need for its manifestation are present. If the Truth is universal and unchanging, then today more than ever, we are in need of realizing its ultimate significance.
"So much time is spent by some people dividing, comparing, and arguing about the relative aspects of spiritual practices. This kind of futile 'spiritual combat' takes place between many gurus, sects, and religious traditions. If the Dharma as it is transmitted to the West, is going to mean very much to us, then it has to be a process of unification, not division. To be truly unified with others necessitates having the right view about our life and the direction which our spiritual endeavors are taking. If we are honest and sincere in our cultivation of awareness and wisdom, then quite naturally love and compassion wi11 be the forces which wi11 bring peace and harmony to everything and everyone around us.
May we a11 find true happiness and Freedom in Dharma."
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