In memory: Ajahn Maha Boowa a.k.a Luang Tu Maha Bua (1913 - 2011)

The Buddhist Channel, Jan 31, 2011

Bangkok, Thailand -- The Venerable Ajahn Maha Boowa, sometimes spelled Maha Bua, was the abbot of the Way Pa Bahn Tahd, a monastery in the forest of North-East Thailand. He passed away around 3.15 am (local time), on January 29, 2011. He was 98.

<< Ajahn Maha Boowa (1913 - 2011)

He was a respected figure in Thailand and the locals refer to him as Luang Tu Maha Bua. He was especially known for his solitary meditation practices in the jungles, forests, and mountains of Thailand, something he learned from his master the Venerable Ajahn Mun.

According to his biographer, "Ven. Ajahn Maha Boowa was well known for the fluency and skill of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic approach. They obviously reflect his own attitude and the way he personally practised Dhamma.

This is best exemplified in the Dhamma talks he gives to those who go to meditate at Wat Pa Bahn Tahd. Such talks usually take place in the cool of the evening, with lamps lit and the only sound being the insects and cicadas in the surrounding jungle.

He often begins the Dhamma talk with a few moments of stillness - that was the most preparation that he needed - and then quietly begins the Dhamma exposition. As the theme naturally develops, the pace quickens and those listening increasingly feel its strength and depth.

Born in 1913 in Udorn-thani, North-East Thailand, Ajahn Maha Boowa attended his local monastery to become a novice monk and began to study the Pali language and texts.

Soon after, he began his meditation practice even though he did not have a teacher. One day, he saw the Venerable Ajahn Mun and took this opportunity to train with a great master.

Ajahn Maha Boowa completed the Grade Three Pail studies, which ended his time at the monastery. He decided to follow the Venerable Ajahn Mun to the forest of North-East Thailand. Ajahn Mun's first instruction was to tell Ajahn Boowa to forget about his academic knowledge and clear his mind so that he concentrate on meditation.

Ajahn Boowa started to go on solitary retreats in the jungles and mountains, returning periodically to seek advice from his master. He studied with the Venerable Ajahn Mun for seven years until his master passed away.

Ajahn Boowa continued the meditation habits of his master and soon other started to follow him. This gave him the opportunity to establish the Way Pa Bahn Tahd, a monastery in a forest near his birthplace. His mother even moved to the monastery to live as a nun.
He was the abbot of the monastery up till the day of his passing.

He became such a popular figure that the King and Queen of Thailand have visited him at the monastery.

Maha Boowa also had a presence in England, thanks to traveling to London many times to give lectures. He also founded the Help Thai Nation Project, a charitable project to help Thailand's economic problems.

In Thailand, Buddhist monks are considered above criticism and in September of 2005, that was severely tested. An anti-Thai Prime Minister newspaper printed a lecture from Ajahn Maha Boowa that criticized the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister sued the newspaper, but could do nothing to Maha Boowa. Still, the Prime Minister faced heavy criticism over the incident for essentially trying to mute the press.

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