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Bhante Sujato

Monday 9 November 2009

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All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Bhante Sujato
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Bhante Sujato

The main influences in Bhante Sujato’s spiritual development have been threefold.

This congruence is regarded as the single most important historical clue to the Buddha’s original message, and Bhante Sujato has taken the lead in introducing cross-tradition text studies to the Buddhist community.

The third major spiritual influence comes from his two main meditation teachers.

From the little-known Thai monk Ajahn Maha Chatchai he learnt the practice of loving-kindness that still forms the backbone of his own meditation and teaching.

From Ajahn Brahm he learnt especially how to understand this practice within the overall context of the Buddha’s path.
In recent years Bhante Sujato has taught Dhamma and meditation to a varied audience in his local area and internationally, and has spoken at several major international Buddhist conferences and events.

His writings explore the earliest Buddhist scriptures, using a comparative and historical approach to illuminate the process of formation of Buddhist ideology and identity; books include A Swift Pair of Messengers, A History of Mindfulness, Beginnings, and Sects & Sectarianism.

A special field of interest is the role of women in Buddhism, and particularly in the revival of the bhikkhuni order within the Theravada tradition. Bhante Sujato brings his text-critical faculties to bear on this urgent modern dilemma, in addition to his work in actually establishing a bhikkhuni community at Santi.

He has acted and spoken fearlessly on supporting the bhikkhuni ordination. He had explicitly expressed his genuine wish (see Dark Matter ) in the statement, "My vocation is to work with the international Sangha for the establishment of the four-fold community worldwide. I think we need to accept that this is where the future lies."

Source : Santi Forest Monastery

P.S.

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Bhante Sujato

Biography of Bhante Sujato

Bhante Sujato (Anthony Best) was born in Perth, Western Australia on 4/11/1966. He was brought up in a liberal Catholic family and attended a Christian Brothers’ school. Impressed by the profound visions of the world opened up through science, and especially the Theories of Relativity, he rejected his Catholic beliefs while in his teens.

He read philosophy and literature at the University of Western Australia for two years, but left to play rock n’ roll guitar. Together with the singer Peggy van Zalm, he formed Martha’s Vineyard, a successful indie band in the late eighties, which however broke up before realizing its potential.

After a number of years drifting around the alternative music scene, he became disillusioned and, needing a drastic change, went to Thailand in 1992. There, despite having no previous experience of Buddhism, he fell into an intensive retreat at a monastery in Chieng Mai. Afterwards he began to seek ways to embody and deepen the insights offered by this experience. Within a year he had arrived at Wat Pa Nanachat, the International Forest Monastery run for and by English-speaking monks in the tradition of Ajahn Chah. He asked for and was granted novice ordination, and in the following year took full ordination as a bhikkhu on 5/5/1994.

He spent three vassa studying under Ajahn Brahm at Bodhinayana Monastery, and several years in remote hermitages and caves in Thailand and Malaysia. In early 2003 Bhante Sujato returned to Australia, arriving at the property then known as the Citta Bhavana Hermitage. The decision was made to develop the hermitage into a training monastery, and the name was changed to Santi Forest Monastery. Since that time the monastery has grown rapidly and has accomplished a number of milestones, including the first samaneri ordination on 9th Mar 2008 and many bhikkhu upasampatha, not to mentioned the various completed or on going building projects and many more future projects pertaining to the financial situation.

The vision for the monastery has always included a role for nuns, and Bhante Sujato has become well known for his articulate and passionate support for the fully ordained bhikkhuni lineage, the most pressing controversy within contemporary Theravada Buddhism.

The main influences in Bhante Sujato’s spiritual development have been threefold. Most obvious is the lifestyle of the forest tradition in which he was immersed. This demanded a strict application of the Buddhist monk’s code of discipline (Vinaya) and the repeated reminder that one’s entire life must be dedicated to the practice.

The second great influence was the Buddha’s early teachings. Having spent nearly ten years studying the canonical Pali scriptures, he became increasingly aware of the outstanding and little-known fact of the existence of thousands of parallel passages in Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan texts. This congruence is regarded as the single most important historical clue to the Buddha’s original message, and Bhante Sujato has taken the lead in introducing cross-tradition text studies to the Buddhist community.

The third major spiritual influence comes from his two main meditation teachers. From the little-known Thai monk Ajahn Maha Chatchai he learnt the practice of loving-kindness that still forms the backbone of his own meditation and teaching. From Ajahn Brahm he learnt especially how to understand this practice within the overall context of the Buddha’s path. In recent years Bhante Sujato has taught Dhamma and meditation to a varied audience in his local area and internationally, and has spoken at several major international Buddhist conferences and events.

His writings explore the earliest Buddhist scriptures, using a comparative and historical approach to illuminate the process of formation of Buddhist ideology and identity; books include A Swift Pair of Messengers, A History of Mindfulness, Beginnings, and Sects & Sectarianism.

A special field of interest is the role of women in Buddhism, and particularly in the revival of the bhikkhuni order within the Theravada tradition. Bhante Sujato brings his text-critical faculties to bear on this urgent modern dilemma, in addition to his work in actually establishing a bhikkhuni community at Santi.

He has acted and spoken fearlessly on supporting the bhikkhuni ordination. He had explicitly expressed his genuine wish (see Dark Matter) in the statement, "My vocation is to work with the international Sangha for the establishment of the four-fold community worldwide. I think we need to accept that this is where the future lies."

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