THE VENERABLE Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, who passed away at the age of eighty-seven on July 8, 1993, was perhaps the best-known and most controversial Thai monk in the contemporary Theravada tradition.
Although adhering strictly to the conservative Vinaya rules established by the historical Buddha, he claimed that to practice religion seriously one must be both conservative and radical. Hence on his eighty-fourth birthday a volume was published to honor him, with the title ofRadical Conservatism: Buddhism in the Contemporary World. Contributors included His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Bhikku Sumedho, David W Chappell, Lewis R. Lancaster, Donald K. Swearer, and others.
Traditionalists attacked Buddhadhasa because he regarded Mahayana as being as important as Theravada. He even questioned some remarks made by the most famous Theravada commentator, Buddhagosa. Besides, he praised authentic teaching in the Bible and the Quran.
He said his aims in life were three:
1. Those who claim to follow any religious tradition should understand and practice according to the essential teaching.
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