Ajahn Dhiravamsa, Aggapandita, Graduate in Buddhist Studies, Comparative Religions and Modern Issues, Professor of Educational Psychology at Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University and International Buddhist Master specialized in Vipassana Meditation (Mindfulness & Insight)
Ajahn Dhiravamsa came to the West from Thailand in 1964. For 57 years he taught and practiced the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha as a Samatha and Vipassana Meditation Master in many countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. On July 28, 2021, he enters the parinibbana.
He created what he calls PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL SYNTHESIS, a synthesis between East and West. Approaching all the teachings of Buddha with language and concepts of Western psychology.
Ajahn Dhiravamsa was born in a remote village in northwestern Thailand on November 5, 1934. He grew up in a rather primitive world, helping his parents with the chores of rice cultivation and animal husbandry.
At the age of thirteen he joined the Buddhist Monastic Order, where he remained for twenty-three years, becoming a well-educated and qualified monk, both in the Traditional monastic schools for Dharma and Pali studies, and in the Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya Buddhist University. Immediately after obtaining a BA in Buddhist Studies, Comparative Religions and Modern Issues, he was appointed Professor of Educational Psychology and English Language at Mahachulalongkorn University. Also here, in his beloved educational institution, he gave specials for two years, in the founding, administration and teaching of the first Buddhist Sunday School for Thai children and youth. He held the position of Principal at a private school in Prachinburi province, raising the level of education at the school to the point of receiving recognition from the Provincial Education Authority of the Ministry of Education.
In 1964 he accompanied his main Vipassana Master (the late Most Venerable Phra Dhammadhiraraj Mahamuni of Wat Mahadhatu, Bangkok) to Great Britain, becoming Abbot of the Thai Temple (Wat Buddhapadípa) in London, Great Britain, being appointed Head of the Thai Buddhist Mission in the West (the wise and beautiful in the Dharma).
He began his psycho-spiritual work as a Teacher/Assistant in Great Britain in 1965. He gradually gained international recognition, particularly in Europe and North America, where he provided most of his services to those seeking psycho-spiritual advice and assistance, and teaching the practice of meditation. Ajahn Dhiravamsa is also a Vipassana Master. In England, he founded Chapter House the spiritual/therapeutic community and retreat center under his direct supervision and assistance. Dhiravamsa has taught courses and lectures on Vipassana Meditation extensively in the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Australia over the next 56 years.
His achievements in the Buddhist monastic tradition include attaining the position of Preceptor (Upajjháya), furthermore, at just 32 years of age (in 1966), he achieved appointment to the rank of Chao Khun, with the Real Name of Phra Sobhana Dhammasudhi, a highly respected position in the Thai Monastic System.
Regarding literary works, he has written and published numerous articles and books on the subject of Vipassana and self-growth, and some of them have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Greek.
In addition to teaching meditation courses and related activities, he spends his time writing and living a married life. He travels extensively to carry out his work in all the western world continents, including the continent of Australia; he loves to do so with all his heart and mind. Mythologically speaking, he has honored both Apollo (god of light, order, and structure) and Dionysus (god of ecstasy, experience, and play). It was wonderful for him to be able to access the transpersonal realm of spiritual experience and yet remain grounded and firmly connected to the earthly realm. In other words, he balances heaven and earth within himself. Symbolically speaking we would say that on the physical plane he become a king, and inside a wise man. All these symbolic notions indicate the union of opposites at the energetic level within human consciousness.
He first visited the United States in January 1969, to lead a meditation workshop at the Oberlin Institute and to give lectures at various other colleges and universities. Since then he has returned regularly to Canada and the United States for periods of two to five months, as a guest of many universities and colleges including Swarthmore, Haverford, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Colgate, Amherst, Earlham, Carlton, Middlebury, State of Florida and Chicago Presbyterian Seminary.
In October 1971, after twenty-three years, Dhiravamsa renounced the ropes as a Buddhist monk. Since then he has led a simple life, meditating on the world and on the Dharma, continuing his work teaching Vipassana Meditation and other related activities such as Dream Work, Active Imagination and Holistic Healing.
He created another Center for Vipassana Meditation in the United States on San Juan Island, Washington State, to use as a base for his psycho-spiritual work and home for the next 10 years.
It was on the island of San Juan (USA) where he began to extensively use the Enneagram Personality System to help him be more successful in his work with those who came to study and practice Holistic Vipassana Meditation with him, to which he incorporated the Compatible Western Psychology (eg Jungian, Gestalt, and Humanistic Psychologies), and certain therapeutic techniques.
On July 28, 2021, at the age of 86 and after a life dedicated to the dharma and all sentient beings, Dhiravamsa took his last breath with full consciousness and in his own words he was "quiet, calm and clear" ready to let go all aggregates. Dhiravamsa left this plane of existence giving a great example of love and wisdom.
With boundless love and Mettâ he was accompanied by hundreds of his students, disciples, friends and family from all over the earth in meditation and in his hearts.
May his teachings, understandings and his love continue to flow in all our hearts to walk along the wonderful path that the Buddha discovered and that Dhiravamsa has shown us, analyzed and that he himself has lived every second of his life including in his death, and thus honor his legacy and achieve liberation all.
Jutima Janine Harms
August 8, 2021 Santa Cruz de La Palma