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Chaiya is the district in what is now Surat Thani Province in the South of Thailand where Ajahn Buddhadasa was born, grew up, and founded Suan Mokkh. Chaiya is also has ruins from the ancient kingdom of Sri Vijaya thrived in peninsular Southeast Asia around 1200 years ago. These ruins show a mix of Theravada, Mahayana, and Hindu influences. Chaiya is also famous for its Chaiya Salty Eggs.
Nekkhamma, renunciation, simplicity, is a core piece of Early Buddhism. Modern Buddhists appear intent on pretending it away, perhaps because a narrow monastic understanding has focused it primarily on renouncing sex. Properly, nekhamma is much broader and focuses on simplifying ones life for better ease of practice. What needs simplifying and how to do so is a matter of personal discernment more than lifestyle stereotyping. For example, nekhamma regarding food involves giving up unhealthy foods and relaxing pleasure seeking through food. Without appropriate simplifying, it is much more difficult to settle the mind in the concentration needed for insight and serious letting go. In fact, nekhamma, like dana, is a preliminary level of letting go.
Upasika (masc. Upasaka), 'one who is intimate with the teaching,' dedicated follower of the Buddha who follows the noble eightfold path while a householder and cultivates realization of the fourfold ennobling truths. The currently widespread meaning of the term as 'lay devotee' whose primary role is to supply monastics with their physical needs is a corruption caused by the slothfulness of many 'lay Buddhists' and the avarice of monastics. (Cf. bhikkhu.)
Bhikkhu, (fem. Bhikkhuni), renunciate alms-mendicant who undertakes the higher training under the Buddha's dispensation. The original bhikkhus were more friars than monks. Later developments favored settled monastic life. Ajahn Buddhadasa went forth as a bhikkhu at the age of 20 and remained within the training for the rest of his life.
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