On August 27, 1969, Chaiyaboon Suddhipol was ordained at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen, Bangkok and was given the monastic name “Dhammajayo”, which means “The Victor through Dharma”. He had a strong determination to dedicate his life to Buddhism and guide the world to find true happiness that comes from Dhamma within. This intention was reaffirmed later in the statement he made at Pa Dum, Chiang Mai:
‘O angels of Pa Dum! Be my witness.
I, wearer of these saffron robes, the banner of the enlightened Arahants, the banner of the Supreme Dhamma that is free from cruelty, plant this banner of purity here in my heart. Upon these mountain tops of splendor, dwelling place of great lords, I declare to all:
I shall dedicate my life as sacrifice to Buddhism, to ripen my perfections to full fruition, to release all people and beings from the shackles of suffering. For as long as the worlds’ beings have not yet all entered Nirvana, I shall remain here, to beat the Drum of Dhamma, to wander and teach the world’s beings, and I shall enter Nirvana as the last.
May all living beings live in peace and harmony.’
Luangpor Dhammajayo, whose original name was Chaiyaboon Suddhipol, has been interested in reading all kinds of books and Dhamma practice since childhood. One day, he read a book called “Dhammakaya” containing writings based on sermons given by Phra Mongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen and was struck by the remark, “To follow in the right path of Buddhism, one must practice until one gains complete comprehension and understanding. At Wat Paknam, one can learn to comprehend and understand.” After reading the book, he had a strong desire to seek out and study Dharma with Luangpu Sodh. He later came across an article in “Vipassana Banteungsarn”, a meditation magazine, telling the story of Khun Yai Chand, a nun who was an outstanding student of Luangpu Sodh. Knowing this, he was determined to find Khun Yai Chand and eventually was able to study and practice Dhamma with her at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen since he was in secondary school.
A few years later, as a young university student who saw benefits of meditation for himself as well as for the others, Chaiyaboon was strongly determined to learn and practice meditation on a continuous basis and invited his friends at the university to join, forming a network of students who loved to practice meditation. As the lives of many group members had changed for the better, he became more confident in the path he was taking.
The tireless effort Chaiyaboon gave to practicing meditation resulted in great progress. His expertise in meditation was then recognized by those who had practiced meditation with Khun Yai Chand, and he was later assigned to be a mentor to help guide the meditation practice to the group.
The happiness he obtained from meditation helped him realize the value of meditation and clearly understand that only meditation can help one be relieved from suffering and find true happiness. Moreover, the happiness from profound meditation is the answer he had been searching for all along to the true goal of being born as a human being, and such happiness can truly create peace for the world.
Dhammachai Day, the Beginning of Lifetime Dedication in Monkhood
Chaiyaboon himself had the intention of becoming a monk since his university days as he believed this path could lead him to save people from suffering and find true happiness. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1969, he decided to steadfastly follow the path of Lord Buddha in leaving the worldly life behind. He was ordained as a monk in the same year on August 27, the full-moon day of the 9th lunar month at Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen and given the monastic name “Dhammajayo”, meaning “The victor through Dhamma”.
Besides observing all precepts strictly, Luangpor Dhammajayo began to follow his aspiration by focusing on the study of Dhamma in theory and bringing it into practice as well as teaching Dhamma and meditation to the congregants who came to Dhammaprasit House located on the premises of Wat Paknam. As the place became too small to accommodate the growing community, there came an idea to find a larger place. Later, a plot of land in Pathum Thani province was donated by Lady Prayad Pattayapongsavisuttatibodi. The place was initially named “Buddhajak Meditation Center” and later changed to Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
From Past to Present, Achieving the Dream
To bring Dhamma to the hearts of people, Luangpor Dhammajayo began to lay out a plan for the new development based on three main concepts: “building a true temple, training monks to be true monks, and training people to be virtuous.”
Building a true temple
On February 20, 1970, which coincides with Magha Puja Day that year, Wat Phra Dhammakaya was established on a 77-acre plot of land with the aim of using this place to support people who come to learn Dhamma and practice meditation. To make the place suitable for such purpose, several rules have been laid out, including the cleanliness of the temple in order to instill good habits for those who come to practice the Dhamma as well.
With collective work of Luangpor Dhammajayo, Khun Yai Chand, monks, and devotees, an arid rice field had been turned to a lush green land, suitable for learning Dhamma and practicing meditation. As the number of monks and devotees kept increasing, an additional 800-acre plot of land was acquired. Buildings and facilities were gradually constructed along with the implementation of systematic administration to accommodate large congregations.
Training monks to be true monks
Luangpor Dhammajayo initiated various projects in order to raise awareness of the four Buddhist communities to work together to restore morality. They include training activities for monks to be good role models for laypeople in order to build faith for those who do not yet have faith in Buddhism. In addition, monks have been educated and trained to be capable of teaching morality and meditation to the general public both domestically and abroad. The teaching monks have been a key component to creating virtuous people.
Training people to be virtuous
The first step in training people to be virtuous is to create Right Understanding (sammā-diṭṭhi), in particular, correct understanding of the law of karma. Hundreds of projects have been organized with the focus to create Right Understanding in order to instill morals among youth and the general public. In addition to creating Right Understanding, the essence of training people to be virtuous is to allow them to experience inner happiness for themselves, which can only happen through regular and correct practice of meditation. When people are able to meditate until they find inner happiness, such happiness can be extended to others, starting from ones around them and later to millions of people around the world. Meditation is the key to creating inner peace which can expand to others, leading to true world peace. Luangpor Dhammajayo often stated that world peace can arise from inner peace (inner happiness) of everyone, i.e., “World Peace through Inner Peace”.
“All wars can be stopped if everyone stills the mind to attain inner peace and happiness which will extend outside, resulting in true world peace”
Luangpor Dhammajayo (January 28, 2006)
From the very first day in his monkhood, Luangpor Dhammajayo has been determined to follow his ideology, that is, to meditate in order to develop more virtues for himself and invite people to learn meditation for happiness in the present life and the greatest happiness in attaining Nibbana.
With the heart of a giver and love for his fellow human beings, Luangpor Dhammajayo has been devoting himself to teaching Dhamma tirelessly. With love for all as if they were his own children, all can feel the kindness that a father has for his children. Many have been inspired to follow the footsteps of Luangpor Dhammajayo in performing good deeds. He is therefore a spiritual leader for us in cultivating good deeds and accumulating merits with endless effort.
Therefore, on August 27 of every year, to express gratitude to the grace of Luangpor Dhammajayo, who has been devoting his life in guiding us to find true happiness, laypeople of Wat Phra Dhammakaya as well as branch meditation centers around the world are united to make merits by chanting, meditation, spreading loving kindness, and praying for mental development. In addition, practicing the Buddha’s teachings via these activities is a way to pay respect to the Lord Buddha.
Activities on Dhammachai Day
On Dhammachai Day (August 27, 2022), Wat Phra Dhammakaya has invited more than ten thousand domestic and international monks to chant the Buddhist Paritta, meditate, spread loving kindness, and pray for world peace through “Zoom” application and invited all peace lovers around the world to come together to spread the wave of goodness to the entire world by lighting lanterns and meditating. During the ceremony, pictures of all attendants will be shown on big screens in front of Phra Maha Dhammakaya Cetiya (Home for one-million Buddha images) at Wat Phra Dhammakaya as if all of us came to light lanterns and meditate together. When we purify our mind and spread loving kindness from our hearts wishing all beings to have good will towards one another, the stream of purity will expand to our loved ones, relatives, friends, and all sentient beings, bringing peace and tranquility to the world.
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Schedule of Events (UTC+7)
9:30 Paying homage to the Triple Gem
10:35 Guinness World Records “Most…in the World” certificate presentation
11:00 End of the morning session
13:35 Robe procession
14:15 Afternoon meditation
14:40 Robe offering ceremony
15:20 Dhamma talk from the presiding monk
16:00 End of the afternoon session
19:00 Presiding monk lights the main lantern
Declaration of the words for the lantern lighting
19:30 Buddhist Paritta chanting by the Sangha Community
21:00 End of ceremony
Celebratory ceremony for 4,654,545,454 rounds of Dhammacakka completed