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Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives : หอจดหมายเหตุพุทธทาส อินทปัญโญ

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Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives: An Invaluable Source of Wisdom

Nida Tunsuttiwong

Story and picture by: http://www.thailandoutlook.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1033578

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The late Venerable Buddhadasa Indapanno (1906-1993), also known as Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, is one of Thailand’s most respected and highly revered Buddhist monks, who dedicated most of his life to spreading the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

During his life, the venerable monk kept numerous journals and notebooks regarding Theravada Buddhism, so a group of his loyal followers teamed up with government agencies and private companies in a project aimed at storing his life’s works in a single location.

The ‘New Suan Mokkh’

On August 1, the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, occupying a corner of Suan Rod Fai Park in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district, were officially opened.

The facility has already been labeled Suan Mok Mai (‘the new Suan Mok’), with reference to the temple of Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram in the southern province of Surat Thani. This is the temple where the venerable monk taught lay followers about ‘pure Dhamma’, while clarifying areas of misunderstanding.

The building that hosts the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives has been designed with a very ‘clean’ look, with no reference to the rather intricate designs that are typical of many Thai temples. Since the venerable monk was renowned for his Zen teachings, the archives feature clean and simple lines, featuring gray (unpolished) and black polished concrete. This means that most of the building is gray, while most of the decorative features, such as lamps, are black.

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At Wat Suan Mokkhaphalaram, Buddhadasa Indapanno often used to teach through the use of numerous paintings and sculptures, depicting peoples from various cultures, including paintings from Bhutan and Egypt. The new archives include many of these paintings and sculptures within an area called Larn Hin Kong, which is a form of crescent-shaped, stone-built courtyard.

Remarkable Views

In an outdoor area by the courtyard, I saw lots of visitors taking a rest on some manufactured, rock-like structures, while enjoying an impressive view across the park. Some other visitors seemed to be meditating in this serene and peaceful setting.

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Reading Matter

A bookstore called Dhamma Books & Media stocks a range of books filled with Dhamma teachings and publications focused on personal self-improvement. Many of the publications were penned by the venerable monk, while others were written by other venerable monks. Dhamma CDs and posters are also available at this outlet.

On the building’s second floor, I stumbled upon two meditation rooms, featuring large windows that provide a stunning view over the park. Along a balcony, right outside the meditation rooms, is a collection of photographs, accompanied by quotes attributed to Buddhadasa Indapanno.

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An upcoming exhibition (starts October 3) called Taste of Nibbana, which will be held in a room within the new building, refers to the Theravada Buddhist idea of Nibbana.

Another notable attraction on the building’s second floor is a Zen-influenced, rock garden called Paticcamuppada, which refers to the Buddhist concept of 'a cycle of dependent origination'.

A Comprehensive Collection

The building’s third floor plays host to offices and the comprehensive collection of the venerable monks note and journals. In total, it is estimated that the archives include 20,000 items classified as books, journals, letters and notes, along with 50,000 drawings and 1,900 Gigabytes of voice recordings.

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The Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives’ Foundation will be tasked with converting all the documents into digital formats and storing them on a database that will be made available to members of the general public via websites, or other popular forms of electronic media.

Events are being organized on a weekly basis at the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, including sermons given by revered monks, discussion sessions organized by the Bhuddhadasa Book Club, along with meditation, Tai Chi and yoga activities, which visitors to the center are able to participate in based upon the weekly schedule.

For further information, visit the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives’ official website at http://www.bia.or.th.

About Buddhadasa Indapanno (Buddhadasa Bhikkhu)

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (1906-1993) is a highly revered Thai monk, famous for his innovative interpretations of Buddhist doctrine.

Born in Surat Thani, he ordained at the age of 20 and changed his name from Nguam Panitch to Indapanno ('One with the wisdom of the God Indra').

He later went to Bangkok for further religious instruction and training, but later felt that this path was not right for him and that many of the Lord Buddha's teachings had been misinterpreted.

He returned to his hometown and established the temple that became better known as Suan Mokkh in 1932. Possessing a strong will to spread Buddhism and correct misunderstandings regarding the Lord Buddha's teachings, he changed his name to Buddhadasa, which means ‘Servant to Buddhism’, or 'Servant of the Lord Buddha'.

Transport Connections:

Train: Take the BTS skytrain to Mo Chit station. On arrival at the station, you can take a motorcycle taxi to Suan Rod Fai Park. The Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives are located near the park’s entrance number 2 (Thai: Pratu Song). Tap or signify to the motorcycle taxi rider in some other way that you wish to get off as soon as you see an entrance to the park. This will be entrance 2 since you have to pass entrance 2 before reaching the park's main entrance.

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Edited by Sasie
added more info

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