True happiness lies at the center of our body, at the seventh base of the Dhammakaya. From here flows all our happiness because this is the source. Anyone who wishes to attain bliss in this life, needs to cultivate stillness of mind every day. Practicing consistently, our concentration will improve little by little, until eventually we’ll touch upon the bliss inside, making all our efforts worthwhile.
Phrathepyanmahamuni (Venerable Dhammajayo Bhikkhu) was born Chaiyaboon Suthipol on Saturday, the 22nd of April 1944, the first night of the waxing moon in the 6th month of the Lunar Calendar at 6 p.m
Chaiyaboon grew up in a small house located at the bank of the Chao Praya River in the province of Singhburi. His loving father and mother were Janyong and Juree Suthipol. The day Chaiyaboon was born, all of his relatives, who had never visited each other for a long time out of anger, were restored to family harmony by the birth of their first nephew.
Most of Chaiyaboon’s childhood was spent in various boarding schools, because his father was a government employee who had to regularly relocate to different provinces. Since he was on his own most of the time, he learned how to economize and save. This experience trained him to be vigorous, confident, and responsible. He differed from other boys who grew up in wealthy families. His childhood experiences prepared him for his important tasks in the future.
Chaiyaboon could always been seen wearing a t-shirt with his favorite shorts, reading books from various bookstands. He was determined to find the answers to his questions about life. His search brought him to a book titled, “Dhammakaya.” This book was written in the format of a sermon by Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) Luang Pu Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. There was one particular quote: “If one wants to follow in the right path of Buddhism, one has to practice until one gains complete comprehension and understanding.” He knew he wanted to learn meditation at Wat Paknam. Later, his interest was propelled when he learned Khun Mae Acariya Chandra, an expert in the Dhammakaya Meditation technique, was currently teaching at Wat Paknam.
Meeting Khun Mae Acariya Chandra also known as, Khun Yay, cleared away all his doubts and questions. Khun Yay was able to answer everything that was on Chaiyaboon’s mind, above and beyond expectation. This encouraged him to want to spread Buddhism and bring peace and harmony to the whole world.
On the first day of meditation practice with Khun Yay, the first question the new student asked was: “Khun Yay, does heaven and hell exist?” Khun Yay simply answered, “Yes, they both exist. Heaven and hell are real. I’ve been there when I went to help my father. My father went to hell because he drank alcohol daily and would get drunk. I requested the help of the Dhammakaya to help bring my father to heaven. Would you like to go there? I will teach you and we can go there together.” It was a clear and direct answer that was completely different from any of the answers he had heard before. After meditating with Khun Yay for only a short amount of time, young student Chaiyaboon discovered the answers to the questions he had sought for so long: “Why were we born, and what is the true goal of life?” The results from meditation provided the answers that, “we were born to pursue perfections, and Nibbana is the highest goal of everyone’s life.”
Every session of meditation should add to our happiness, encouraging us to meditate further next time round.
Meditation became the most important task for Chaiyaboon. His daily life revolved completely around meditation. Everyday at 6 a.m., he would make his daily trek from Kasetsart University to Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, which required him to take three different buses. Whether he sat or stood in the bus, he would always close his eyes and meditate until he reached Wat Paknam Temple at around 8 a.m. He would then go straight to Khun Yay in order to continue the next lesson on meditation practice, until 8 p.m. He returned to Kasetsart University at around 10 p.m. Even during the late hours of the night, at 3 a.m. when most of his friends slept, Chaiyaboon would wake up to meditate because it was quiet, and his body had just enough rest. Once he meditated deeply and attained inner peace, Chaiyaboon’s confidence in the knowledge found in Buddhism continued to increase. He saw that the fruits of meditation could release humans from their suffering, and had indisputably answered the many unresolved questions he had in his mind.
Chaiyaboon with the clear realization that the knowledge of the world could not truly save humankind from suffering. Only the wisdom obtained from meditation could help. After graduating, Chaiyaboon ordained as a Buddhist monk. He received the monastic title “Dhammajayo”, which means “The victor through Dhamma”. After his ordination, he gave a speech of his thoughts about the principles of ordaining as a monk: “Ordaining as a Buddhist monk is not an easy task, just simply donning a saffron robe is not enough. One must train oneself to take 227 precepts as well as the daily routine of a monk’s life, in accordance with monastic disciplines. If one wishes to attain the full fruition from the merit accrued from ordaining one must be able to be a refuge for Buddhism, not just taking refuge in Buddhism.”
In his new life as a monk, Luang Por Dhammajayo, presently Phrathepyanmahamuni, was very disciplined in the monastic codes of conduct and studied very hard the Lord Buddha’s Teachings. During all of this, he also gave sermons to laypeople at ‘Ban Dhammaprasit’ (Meditation Centre in Wat Paknam) instead of Khun Yay on a regular basis. Until ‘Ban Dhammaprasit’ became so overcrowded that people had to sit in the street to be able to listen to his sermons, it was now time for the community to relocate to a bigger area. It was up to Luang Phor Dhammajayo’s team which consisted of special young men and women who had comprehensive knowledge of the world and the perseverance to complete any tasks given. On the Magha Buja Day of 23rd February 1970 (2513 B.E.) was the ground breaking day of the construction of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. The construction budget was only 3,200 baht along with 80 acres of land which was donated by Khun Ying Prayad Phaetayapongsa-Visudhadhibodi. The team helped each other to build the temple giving all their effort, working hard to their utmost capability, willing to devote their life for the benefit of Buddhism.
Never despair when the going gets tough nor give in to boredom on the path of pursuing perfection. If you are weary, then rest. Once recovered, continue from where you left off. Nonetheless, don’t let physical tasks rob you of your subtlety of mind. Keep up regular meditation. In this way, Pursuit of Perfection can go hand-in-hand with our meditation progress.