Acharavadee Wongsakon

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Acharavadee Wongsakon
Head and shoulders photo of Tan Ajan
Born
Acharavadee Wongsakon

(1965-09-28) September 28, 1965 (age 54)
ResidenceThailand
NationalityThai
Known forFounding Knowing Buddha Organization, Techo Vipassana Meditation
Notable work
Top Ideas in Buddhism, Awaken from the Madness
Spouse(s)Married
Children3
Websitewww.knowingbuddha.org

Acharavadee Wongsakon is a Thai lay Buddhist teacher and former entrepreneur who teaches a form of Vipassana meditation called Techo Vipassana Meditation. She teaches this method to laypersons and ordained buddhist monks at various Techo Vipassana centers throughout Thailand. She is the founder of the Knowing Buddha Organization, which campaigns against disrespectful uses of Buddha imagery and the general decline of morality in society.[1] Acharvadee and the Knowing Buddha Foundation have been endorsed by the National Office of Buddhism.

Biography[edit]

Acharavadee Wongsakon was born in Bangkok Thailand September 28, 1965. She is a Thai Buddhist Vipassana Meditation Master best known for her efforts in protecting Buddhism and raising awareness about the declining Buddhist morality in Thailand and globally.[2] Acharavdee believes that raising globalmorality, can lead to the cessation of many of the world's most difficult problems. Acharavadee is an award-winning business woman and Thai socialite. Acharavadee Wongsakon, established herself and company as a premier player in the Asian diamond jewelry design business, developing and basing her brand Saint Tropez Diamond out of Bangkok Thailand. Ms. Acharavadee took up mediation practice to help cope with the stresses of business life and celebrity. Vipassana Meditation practice lead Acharavadee to reevaluate her life and priorities and eventually withdrew herself from the social stage and business world.[3]

Acharavadee sold her company, using the money to open the School of Life, a school for children, where she became a Dhamma teacher, teaching children for free. Master Acharavadee established the Knowing Buddha Organization, a non-profit organization. Acharavadee Wongsakon, through the Knowing Buddha Organization, works on protecting the use of Buddha's image worldwide. “Respect is Common Sense” is the slogan of the organization, which views Buddha as the father of the Buddhist religion.[4] Ms. Acharavadee, during 2006 visit to Buddha bar in Paris, witnessed the disrespect of the Image of Buddha in a popular night club, which prompted her to establish The Knowing Buddha Organization (KBO) to raise global awareness that Buddha is the father of the Buddhist religion and Buddha's image should not be treated as decoration or used to promote the sale of alcohol.[5] Some of the companies Knowing Buddha has cooperated with to stop the misuse of Buddha images as decoration are; Louis Vuitton and Disney Pictures.[6] Other campaigns promoted by Acharavadee and the Knowing Buddha Organization is to bring awareness to the problem of accelerated climate change, resulting from the overuse of cloud storage globally, fueled by selfie photos and exponential increase in cloud data storage on platforms such an Instagram and Facebook. Estimates are that by 2025 to use 1/5th world electrical consumption from cloud storage will reach 20% of total consumption.[7][8] Acharavadee is known in the Kingdom of Thailand as voice on Buddhist morality in society. "Tan Ajahn", as she is referred to by her students, represents a Buddhist matriarchal voice for morality in Thai Society and encourages people to pay their fair share of taxes to give back to the country that supports peoples’ lives and maintain a high code of conduct. Acharavadee is a bestselling author in Thailand and publishing both in Thai and English language books on Buddhism and Buddhist Morality. Most notable works, “Awaken from the Madness” and “Top Ideas in Buddhism”.[9]

Acharavadee's KBO Earth Climate campaign is aimed at reducing the global storage of unnecessary digital data generated daily, by the billions of Instagram and Facebook users resulting in internet induced climate change at term coined by Acharvadee to describe the global phenomena.[10]

Early life[edit]

Acharavadee Wongsakon was born to Mr. Chaiyong and Mrs. Somjit Wongsakon, on September 28, 1965 in Bangkok Noi District, Bangkok. Acharavadee enjoyed a simple upbringing Thai Family style in the Kingdom of Thailand near the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Educated in public schools She attended Suwannaramwittayakom School and Sripatum University.

Career[edit]

In 2005 Acharavadee Wongsakon became an award-winning jewelry designer and business personality, establishing the Saint Tropez Diamond Company in Bangkok, and selling collection of high fashion jewelry inspired by the luxury and unique style of Saint Tropez, France. Acharavadee Wongskon's collections caused a sensation in Asia, catapulting her and her company to overnight success and thrust Acharavadee into the social limelight. Ms. Acharavadee was Listed by Thailand Thatler Magazine for 5 years consecutively as one of 500 leading business persons of the year from 2003 -2007.

Due to the demands and stresses of her business and new found celebrity, Acharavadee practiced Vipassana Mediation under the principle of meditation Master S.N. Goenka for six years.

Meditation and Buddhism[edit]

Acharavadee credits Vipassana Meditation with awakening her from the madness and realize there was more to life than of her business and social status. In 2008 Acharavadee decided to sell her business and quietly withdraw from social life to devote her life to teaching Buddhism, morality and practicing meditation. Acharavadee renounced her social status by selling her designer clothing and jewelry, vowing to live a simple layperson life without the trappings addiction to wealth or status. Acharavadee continued her rigorous meditation practice and dedicated herself to promoting Buddhism and contributing to society. With proceeds from the sale of her business, Acharavadee purchased land in central Bangkok and established the School of Life Foundation, teaching Dhamma to children and teenagers without any charge. She taught children the importance of morality and to always rely their own experiences in life, instead of memorizing from words in textbooks.[11] Acharavadee guided her students with the correct way of living and with right view towards the world. Acharavadee's teachings at School of Life captured the interest of many in Thai Society, eventually leading her to open Mediation centers throughout Thailand aimed at teaching adult students these same values.[12]

In 2011 Acharavadee Wongsakon began to teach the Techo Vipassana technique to students. After nine years rigorous Vipassana meditation practice, Acharavadee established Techo Vipassana Dhamma Path. Acharavadee sold the rest of her worldly possessions and purchased land at the foothills of Phra Phutthabat Noi in Kaeng Koi District, Saraburi Province, Thailand where she established her first Techo Vipassana retreat. Techo Vipassana is meditation practice that follows the Four Foundations of Mindfulness practice, using the technique of igniting the fire element in the body to burn down Kilesa ( mental impurities). Acharavadee credits the late Somdej Phra Puttajarn Toh Phrommarangsi (SomdejToh) for teaching her this technique during one of her mediations. Phra Somdej Toh is a highly revered Thai monk, known among Thais for his kindness, wisdom and supernatural powers. This technique uses focused meditation using mindfulness and the body's fire element burn away mental impurities (Kilesa) Acharavadee teaches this method as a direct shortcut that leads to the end of cycle of rebirth Nirvana Acharavadee Wongsakon dedicated the Techo Vipassana retreat to Triple Gem of Buddhism. Tan Ajan teaches Techo Vipassana Meditation and Dhamma to domestic and foreign students for free providing them food and accommodation also free of charge. The first Techo Vipassana course was held on January 25, 2011 and continues to held regularly.

By 2018 Master Acharavadee had taught over 134 courses over 7 years to over 7,000 mediation practitioners. Thais and foreigners, ascetics, and laypersons, have attended and completed Acharavadee's courses.

In 2014 Acharavadee established the 5000s Magazine, with the idea that there should be a magazine for modern Buddhist demonstration that Dhamma and a modern lifestyle can be complementary to each other. The magazine presents images examples and teachings for modern Buddhism in today's society. The magazine is meant to inspire readers to live their lives appropriately and with Buddhist values in order maximize the quality of their lives at every level.

2018 Acharavadee established another meditation center “Sang Dhamma Bodhi Jhana” in Hat Yai District, Songkhla Province. Dr. Prai Pattano, after one of her students donated the land with a large wooden building to be used as a meditation retreat. Anapanasati and Techo Vipassana meditation courses are provided for people in the southern part of Thailand, as a means to spread Dhamma southern part of Thailand known for its religious conflict. The first meditation course held in October 2018.

Published books[edit]

Meditation Master Acharavadee Wongsakon is best selling Thai and International author. Her books include Thai and English titles publishing since 2005

Thai Language Titiles[edit]

  • Tired Out But Not Fall down, Date: 5/2005, 224 Pages, Thai, ISBN 974-93056-8-X
  • The last Dhamma Boat, Date: 5/2005, 144 Pages, Thai, ISBN 974-93531-7-X (paperback)|
  • Observing moral precepts before it is too late, Date: 3/2008, 185 Pages, Thai, ISBN 9789749898864 (paper back)|
  • Techo Vipassana Meditation, a gate opening to Nirvana, 2010, 228 Pages, Thai, ISBN 9786169110187 (paperback)
  • Vipassana Meditation to kill impurities, Date: 3/2011, 104 Pages, Thai, ISBN 9789744968760 (paperback)
  • Know It And Fight, Date: 5/2012, 216 Pages, Thai, ISBN 9786169110101 (paperback)
  • Enlightened Layperson (Breaking The Code), 3/2016, 340 pages, Thai, ISBN 9786169110170 (paperback)
  • Enlightened Layperson II , Date: 7/2017, 426 pages, Thai, ISBN 9786168125007 (paperback)

English Language Titiles[edit]

Other Works[edit]

5000s Magazine is a Bilingual (Thai / English) High quality Magazine, developed for Thai and English speaking Buddhist and others to show Buddhists a representations of a modern Lifestyle which combines Buddhist moral values and Dhamma. The magazine through photos, interviews and stories gives readers an illustrations for living their life with morality and Buddhist faith, in a fast-paced modern thai society.

Organizations[edit]

School of Life Foundation - Founded by Acharavadee Wongsakon in 2006

Knowing Buddha Organization (KBO) - Founded by Acharavadee Wongsakon in 2010

Techo Vipassana Retreats Founded by Acharavadee Wongsakon in 2011

Controversy[edit]

Acharavadee Wongsakon's strong voice of Buddhist morality has made her a controversial figure in Thailand. Acharavadee, publicly criticized some of Thai Buddhist clergy for not adhering to the strict Buddhist practices and conduct. This led to Acharavadee being disparaged by the media and by some of the male dominated Buddhist establishment. Thai culture prohibits women from criticizing monks, even if the criticism if well founded. The Thai Media have accused Acharavadee of acting superior towards monks and alleged that Acharavadee's monk students have bowed to their female teacher. The act of a Thai monk bowing to any female is considered taboo.[13]

Acharavadee's Techo Vipassana Meditation technique has also been criticised by the media. Acharavadee's detractors argue that Acharvadee's Techo Vipassana meditation is not mentioned by name in any Buddhist historical accounts and they argue that this should disqualify the Techo technique and discredit her, from teaching this method. Some have labeled Acharvadee's Techo Vipassana mediation centers as a cult.

Acharavadee's critics were silenced, when the National Office of Buddhism investigated and later endorsed Acharvadee Wongsakon and her foundation, the Knowing Buddha Organization.[14] A top official of Mahamakut Buddhist University foundation subsequently practiced Techo Vipassana Mediation under Acharavadee Wongsakon, confirming this method as a correct path to Enlightenment.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Nik (2013-11-20). "Campaign calls on tourists to boycott Buddha souvenirs". DW TV.
  2. ^ "Nirvanaless: Asian Buddhism's growing fundamentalist streak". The Washington Post. 2014-05-01.
  3. ^ "From Diamond Goddess to Dhamma". MGR Online News. 2016-02-11.
  4. ^ "The Buddha is no retail agent". The Nation. 2012-06-30.
  5. ^ "Thai protesters say Buddha's image should not be used for commercial purposes". Reuters News. 2012-07-01.
  6. ^ "Thailand tourists, Disney asked to show Buddha some respect". CNN. 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ "Tsunami of data' could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025". The Guardian. 2017-12-11.
  8. ^ "Why Energy Is A Big And Rapidly Growing Problem For Data Centers". Forbes. 2017-12-15.
  9. ^ "Knowing Buddha Organization founder Awakening the World". The Bali Times Newspaper. 2018-12-06.
  10. ^ "Meditation Master Sees Future Sounds Alarm Bells". The Bali Times Newspaper. 19 Apr 2019.
  11. ^ "I'm not sure what to do". Komchadluek News Thailand. 2010-03-05.
  12. ^ "School of Life President Book Launch". THE Chaipattana Foundation. 2008-05-23.
  13. ^ Jerryson, Michael. If You Meet the Buddha on the Road: Buddhism, Politics, and Violence. Oxford University Press. p. 164. ISBN 9780190683566.
  14. ^ "Protect Buddhism". Thai Rath Newspaper. 2018-04-28.
  15. ^ "Clergy's Monopoly over Buddha's Teaching" (2018-02–03). Bangkok Post.

External links[edit]