The Dhammakaya tradition in our era started in 1916 when the Great Abbot of Wat Paknam (Phra Monkolthepmuni) strove with a determination to the degree he was prepared to devote his entire life, to rediscovering through meditation the knowledge known to the Buddhas. Meditation, previously considered nothing more than a mental exercise or spiritual austerity, became popular through this master’s dedication to teaching and research in the Dhammakaya tradition he has discovered. The Great Abbot’s most gifted disciple was a nun Khun Yay Ubasika Chandra Khonnokyoong.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya was founded by Khun Yay in 1970 after the Great Abbot’s death when her own dwelling at Wat Paknam in Bangkok became too small to accommodate all those coming to study meditation there. Khun Yay and her students led by Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu and Ven. Dattajivo Bhikkhu wanted to see the continual growth of the Dhammakaya Tradition and established the temple with vision of a sanctuary for peaceful spiritual practice a refuge in the midst of a turbulent world. The temple was to be a centre for international meditation study.
The temple was established on Magha Puja Day, 20 February 1970, on an eighty-acre plot of land donated by lady Prayat Phaetayapongsa – Visudhathibodi.
The site sixteen kilometres north of Bangkok International Airport was originally called‘Soon Buddacakk-Patipatthamm’ From acidic paddy fields, a woodland was created: a parkland for meditators. Buildings were kept to a minimum and emphasized simplicity, easy maintenance, cleanliness and durability.
The foundation stone for the main chapel laid by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on behalf of H.M. the King in December 1977 marked by the official foundation of the center as a temple – Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
The Main Chapel was completed in 1982 and the ceremony for the allocation of the chapel boundary (sima) was held three years later.
While the temple was under construction, the Dhammadayada ordination scheme program gave training to hundreds of university students, a steadily increasing number of whom swelled the number of residents in the temple community to 1,470 monks and 443 novices, 161 laymen and 650 laywomen at the present. At the same time congregations on Sundays and major religious festivals have been known to reach 100,000 necessitating the construction of the Sapha Dhammakaya Hall, planned as the centre for ceremonies.
Although recoginizing the importance of constructing buildings, the temple has always placed special emphasis upon training devotes. Thus, in the more than twenty years since the foundation of the temple, activities at Wat Phra Dhammakaya have attracted devotees not just from Bangkok, but from all over Thailand and countries abroad. There are seventeen Dhammakaya Centres with sixty domestic groups and eleven Centres abroad.
The use of modern technology presents traditional teachings in a way that responds to the needs of those in contemporary society. Since the outset of the Dhammakaya tradition, the inner peace of mediation has reflected an aspiration to cultivate peace in the world at large. It has been obvious that the work involved requires more than just a temple organized by monks. For this reason, the temple has grown together with its supporting organization, the Dhammakaya Foundation to facilitate a broader base of activities for the public and participation by lay members of the congregation. Activities are organized at Wat Phra Dhammakaya by the Dhammakaya Foundation. Activities in the present time include mediation teaching and retreats, scriptural education and research, youth training, school orientations, social services, and environmental conservation. Activities for devotees always emphasize working upon oneself through the practices of charity, self discipline and meditation.
With the expansion of the temple to one thousand acres in 1985, Wat Phra Dhammakaya stands on the threshold of the development of the World Dhammakaya Center as a resource to serve the needs of the international community.
PHRA RAJBHAVANAVISUDH (LUANG PHAW DHAMMAJAYO)[1944 - PRESENT] THE PRESIDENT OF THE DHAMMAKAYA FOUNDATION“Dear all deities and those dwelling here, Black Cliff. I am a Buddhist monk wearing a saffron robe which represents the flag of victory to an arahanthood. I aim with my willing power to set bloodless troops for fighting evils (Mara) here and now.As long as all living creatures are still suffering from dhukka- birth, aging, sickness and death- and being an evil’s slave.I will remain and dub the dhamma drums in the battle of samsara. I will complete Nirvana after all being’s completion.Wish all beings have peace and happiness.” Dhammajayo Bhikkhu
Phrabhavanaviriyakhun (LUANG PHAW DATTAJEEVO)
[1941 - PRESENT]THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE DHAMMAKAYA FOUNDATION
Phrabhavanaviriyakhun (also known as Phadet Datta- jeevo) is a Thai Buddhist monk. Born in 1941 in Kan- chanaburi, Thailand, he followed secular education to post-graduate level.
When Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Pathum Thani Province was founded in 1970, he was the enthusiastic leader who was not only in charge of the pioneering construction work but also for developing the friendly relationships with many householders living in the neigh- bourhood of the temple. He was ordained in 1971, at the age of thirty-two at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Bangkok and studied in the Dhammakaya meditation tradition of Phra Monkolthepmuni (Luang Pu Wat Paknam) under his teachers Kuhn Yay Maha Ratana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong (1909–2000) and Phrarajbhavanavisudh (Chaiyaboon Dhammajayo) (b. 1944). He also had the opportunity to study in the academic curriculum of Dhamma Studies until reaching Grade I.
Within a few years, he had become a well-known Dhamma lecturer. A set of Dhamma Sermon cassettes on the ‘Thirty-Eight Blessings (Mangala Sutta)’ was his earliest masterpiece. These lectures became very popular with Thais both in Thailand and abroad. He was made vice-president of the Dhamma Missionary Outreach Sector 8 and is the president of the Dhammakaya International Society of California. Most
notably he is vice-president of the Dhammakaya Foundation, an organization dedicated to the outreach of meditation and Buddhism for world peace throughout the world. He was also acting abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya from 2000-2006. His work in Buddhist teaching were recognized by the Royal Palace of Thailand and he was consequently elevated to the Royal Order (Ordinary Level) with the title ‘Phrabhavanaviriyakhun’ in 1992. He has also received the Dhammacakra Sema-Pillar award from H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 1993.
Better known to his congregation as ‘Luang Phaw Datta- jeevo’, it is now thirty years he has spent teaching the Dhamma. He has spoken regularly before international audiences and as a panelist at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session “World Summit for Social Development” on 30 June 2000 in Geneva, he highlighted the importance of spirituality in addressing social development and overcoming poverty.
An active author, he has written more than sixty Dhamma books published in the Thai language, ten of which have been translated into foreign languages. At the age of sixty-eight years, he is still working as hard as thirty years ago. As vice-president of the Dhammakaya Foundation, he has to run the organization as Phrarajbhavanavisudh’s right-hand man.
Khun Yay Archaraya Chandra Khonnokyoong
Khun Yay Acharaya Chandra Khonnokyoong was born on a Wednesday that was 5 days ahead of the full moon of the second lunar month in 1909. Khun Yay was the fifth of nine children in the family. Her father, Ploy, and mother, Pan, were well-to-do farmers in Nakhonchaisri, Nakhon Pathom Province.
Since early childhood, Khun Yay was extremely diligent and hard-working that was hard to find anyone to compare. At her teenage year, she failed to witness her father’s sudden decease, thus, could not beg for forgiveness before his departure. Hence, she was very determined to meet him somewhere afterlife.
In 1937 Khun Yay heard of Luang Pu Wat Paknam Bhaseecharoen who was teaching disciples to visit hells and heavens by the power of meditation. She then decided for renunciation, leaving home for Wat Paknam to learn meditation. Her plan was step by step, starting from being a servant of the house that the mistress was an important supporter to the Wat. This was a chance to learn meditation with the meditation teacher from the Wat. Finally in her meditation she attained “Dhamma- kaya.” Dhammakaya is the (inner) body of Enlighten- ment. With the power of Dhammakaya, she could help her father in the realm of hell. Later, she could live at Wat Paknam and enter nunhood ever since. With her
nature of determination, her meditation went up to intermediate and so advanced that she studied ‘Vijja Dhammakaya’ (the high level of Dhammakaya Medita- tion) in person with Luang Pu Wat Paknam (Phramong- kolthepmuni). She won the reputation for her meditation progress. It was one day that the Great Abbot Luang Pu Wat Paknam praised Khun Yay that her meditation was as profound as “Second To None.”
Khun Yay, as one of the students of Luang Pu Wat Paknam, was in the forefront in meditation learning. Luang Pu was the founder of Dhammakaya Meditation while Khun Yay was the one who passed on Vijja Dhammakaya (or the Knowledge from attaining the Dhammakaya) from the Great Abbot to Luang Phor Dhammajayo (Ven. Dhammajayo Bhikkhu). Luang Phor himself is determined to propagate the teachings of Buddhism together with Dhammakaya Meditation to all mankind.
That is to say, Khun Yay Archaraya Chandra Khonnok- yoong is the founder of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
Khun Yay is the key and is the whole factors of progress of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.