108 years ago was born a southern Thai boy who grew up to become Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. As a monk he celebrated his birthday by fasting and in later years giving special talks to students who came to Suan Mokkh to pay respects. Rather than “Age Extending,” a common cultural idea in his youth, he advocated “Age Teasing” or “Age Mocking.”
For more on his life, please visit these articles.
Buddhadasa Never Dies
Buddhadasa shall live, there’s no dying.
Even when the body dies, it will not listen.
Whether it is or goes is of no consequence,
it is only something passing through time.
Buddhadasa carries on, there’s no dying.
However good or bad the times,
always one with the true teaching.
Having offered body and mind in ceaseless service
Under Lord Buddha’s command.
Buddhadasa lives on, there’s no dying.
In service to all humanity forever
through the Dhamma Proclamations left behind —
O, Friends, can’t you see! What dies?
Even when I die and the body ceases
my voice still echoes in comrades’ ears
clear and bright, as loud as ever.
Just as if I never died the Dhamma-body lives on.
Treat me as if I never died,
as though I am with you all as before.
Speak up whatever is on your minds
as if I sit with you helping point out the facts.
Treat me as if I never died, then
many streams of benefits will accrue.
Don’t forget the days we set aside for Dhamma discussion;
Realize the Absolute and stop dying!
(on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, 27 May 1987)
Please note that he does not say he will continue living in some special realm or other condition. This poem is about, partly, non-attachment to death, which includes non-attachment to life, birth, being, & becoming. His emphasis was always on Dhamma, not himself, and wanted his students to practice the same way. Buddhadasa isn’t so much a person as a way of life.