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Luang Por Dattajivo

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Religion  Buddhism
Dharma names  Dattajeevo
Title  Most Venerable
Based in  Wat Phra Dhammakaya
Name  Luang Dattajivo
School  Theravada, Maha Nikaya
Nationality  Thai
Teacher  Chandra Khonnokyoong

Born  21 December 1941 (age 73) Kanchanaburi, Thailand (1941-12-21)
Books  Man's Personal Transformation, The Ordination

Luang Por Dattajivo (Thai: ทตฺตชีโว, rtgsThattachiwo; Pali: Dattajīvo; born 21 December 1940), also known by his layname Phadet Phongsawat (Thai: เผด็จ ผ่องสวัสดิ์) and former ecclesiastical title Phrarajbhavanajahn (Thai: พระราชภาวนาจารย์, rtgsPhra Rat Phawanachan), is a Thai Buddhist monk. He is the former deputy-abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and the vice-president of the Dhammakaya Foundation, and has been the caretaker abbot of the temple from 1999 until 2006, and again from 2011 until 2016. Mae chi (nun) Chandra Khonnokyoong and Luang Por Dhammajayo have been his teachers throughout his life.


Early life

Luang Por Dattajivo wwwdhammakayanetuploadsblogiconseni604jpg

He was born with the lay name Phadet Phongsawat in 1940 in Kanchanaburi, to Vietnamese-Thai parents. He graduated in agricultural science from Kasetsart University and studied abroad at post-graduate level.

Phadet was a very curious young man, and as part of his wide curiosity he became involved in black magic (Thai: ไสยศาสตร์) since he was seventeen years old. In his student years at Kasetsart University, he would often hold organized public demonstrations of black magic to his fellow students. In Wat Phra Dhammakaya's biographies it is told,that every time a junior student Chaiyabun joined to watch one of Phadet's demonstrations, the magic would not work. Phadet therefore become curious about Chaiyabun's mental powers, and decided to test Chaiyabun by bringing him to his black magic teacher. But even the teacher could not use his powers in Chaiyabun's presence. Phadet therefore wanted to learn more about Chaiyabun and the meditation he practiced. He felt inspired by Chaiyabun's sincerity in meditation and his adherence to the Buddhist five precepts. This was a turning point in his life, and from that moment on he has always been Chaiyabun's student and assistant. He gave up the practice of black magic and through Chaiyabun met Mae chi Chandra. He trained in meditation with Mae chi Chandra for years. In 1971, he ordained and became known as Luang Por Dattajivo, which means "He who offers his life to Buddhism". By that time, Chaiyabun had already ordained as Luang Por Dhammajayo. In the 1960s and 1970s, a university degree in Thailand was a guarantee someone would get a good position in society, which made their decision to ordain instead stand out.

Life as a deputy abbot

When Wat Phra Dhammakaya was built up in 1970s and 1980s, Luang Por Dattajivo was in charge of the construction work. Furthermore, he helped develop the friendly relationships with the people living in the neighborhood of the temple, and was responsible for receiving guests at the temple. Within a few years after his ordination, he had become a well-known Dhamma teacher. A set of cassettes called the Thirty-Eight Blessings, based on the Mangala Sutta, was his first widely known work. These teachings became very popular in Thailand. Luang por Dattajivo has spoken regularly before international audiences. For example, as a panelist at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session "World Summit for Social Development" in 2000 in Geneva, he highlighted the importance of spirituality in addressing social development and overcoming poverty. A prolific author, he has written many books published in Thai language, many of which have been translated into other languages than Thai. His books are often about contemporary problems.

In Wat Phra Dhammakaya, he is the second most important person of the temple, and complements Luang Por Dhammajayo in many ways. Mae chi Chandra once stated that without Luang Por Dhammajayo and Luang Por Dattajivo, the founding of Wat Phra Dhammakaya would not have been possible. Luang Por Dattjivo is responsible for the day-to-day management of many of the temple's affairs and he is known for his informal character. He is also responsible for the management of international centers of Wat Phra Dhammakaya. He was made vice-president of the Dhamma Missionary Outreach Sector 8 and is the president of the Dhammakaya International Society of California. He was also caretaker abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya from 2000 to 2006, and again from 2011 to 2016. In December 2016, however, Phravitetbhavanacharn was appointed as caretaker instead.

In 2016, under the military junta, Luang Por Dhammajayo was charged with conspiring in money-laundering and receiving ill-gotten gains from the chairman of a credit union. Wat Phra Dhammakaya denied the charges and stated they were politically motivated. When Luang Por Dhammajayo did not go and acknowledge the charges, the temple was sealed off in a lockdown. As the authorities were unable to find Luang Por Dhammajayo, they asked Luang Por Dattajivo to hand over Luang Por Dhammajayo. However, the temple released a press statement that they did not trust the authorities, and Luang Por Dattajivo did not show up for any negotiations. He was then charged for obstructing the authorities.


Luang Por Dattajivo's work in Buddhist teaching was recognized when he received the ecclesiastical title "Phrabhavanaviriyakhun" in 1992, and later in 2013 "Phrarajbhavanajahn" from King Rama IX. However, in March 2017, King Rama X removed his title after he failed to acknowledge charges filed against him by the Thai police. Luang Por Dattajivo received the Dhammacakra Sema-Pillar award from Princess Sirindhorn in 1993. Furthermore, he received an honorary degree from the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in 1994. In the 2010s, a stupa was built by Luang Por Dhammajayo honoring him, called the Phra Maha Cetiya Dattajivo.

Publications in English

  • Buddhist Ways to Overcome Obstacles (1992), translated by Pensri Kiengsiri. Khumson Books: Bangkok, ISBN 978-616-7200-00-2
  • Blueprint for a Global Being (Buddhism in Plain English Series 1) (2000). Dhammakaya Foundation: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-87618-2-4
  • The Buddha's First Teaching (Buddhism in Plain English Series 3) (2002). Dhammakaya Foundation: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-90587-3-2
  • Reforming Society means Reforming Human Nature (Buddhism in Plain English Series 1) (2003). Dhammakaya Foundation: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-90996-1-2
  • The Fruits of True Monkhood (Buddhism in Plain English Series 4) (2003). Dhammakaya Foundation: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-90587-1-8
  • Vanijja Sutta: Cause of Over-target Benefit (2003). Thinkers and Writers for World Peace: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-90952-1-8
  • The Ordination (2004). Thinkers and Writers for World Peace: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-92293-3-0
  • Man's Personal Transformation (2005). Dhammakaya Foundation: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-8277-70-7
  • How to Raise the Children to be Good People for the Nation (2005), compiled by Phra Treetep Chinungkuro. Thinkers and Writers for World Peace: Bangkok ISBN 974-93607-8-8
  • Dhamma Talk by Phrabhavanaviriyakhun (2007). Rung Silp Printing: Bangkok
  • Pages to Happiness (2007), compiled by S. Phongsawasdi. Thinkers and Writers for World Peace: Bangkok ISBN 978-974-09-3800-2
  • Buddhist Economics (Buddhism in Plain English Series 2) (2010). Dhammakaya Foundation: Patumthani ISBN 978-616-7200-11-8
  • Training the Trainers, part 1 (2012). Rung Silp Printing: Bangkok
  • References

    Luang Por Dattajivo Wikipedia

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