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Leading Thai Buddhist monk and reformer named after a former king of Sri Lanka (r. 362–409). Ordained at the age of 20, Buddhadāsa subsequently founded a centre for meditation in southern Thailand in 1932. His general approach, in contrast to the standard Burmese practice of insight meditation (vipaśyanā) was to teach insight through the attainment of trance (dhyāna). In his extensive writings he has offered revisionist interpretations of traditional teachings in an effort to make them consistent with scientific discoveries and more applicable to the problems of the modern world. He emphasized ethical conduct over metaphysical beliefs, and even cast doubt on the belief in rebirth. His views have provoked controversy, as has the manner of his death. After suffering several strokes he went into a coma and against his previously expressed wishes was admitted to Siriraj hospital in May 1993 for treatment. This incident caused a national debate about living wills, euthanasia, and medical intervention at the end of life.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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