Foreword by Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro

Buddhadhamma is the crowning achievement of Phra Brahmagunabhorn (P. A. Payutto), widely acknowledged as the most brilliant Thai scholar of Buddhism in living memory. The venerable author’s masterpiece, it is by some distance the most important Buddhist academic work to have been published in Thailand during the twentieth century.

Buddhadhamma consists of a rich and comprehensive presentation of the teachings of Theravada Buddhism. As a book dedicated to revealing the Middle Path of the Buddha in all its profundity, it is fitting that the text steers a skilful course between an unquestioning acceptance of ancient commentarial interpretations and a too wide-ranging rejection of their value. On controversial issues, such as Dependent Origination for example, the author fairly summarises the various positions on the debate and leaves it to the reader to decide amongst them. The arrangement of the material in the book is a departure from the norm, but it is a well-considered departure, one that provides the author with a satisfying frame on which to beautifully mount the many jewels of the Buddha’s teachings.

The venerable author’s use of language in this book has earned him wide renown in Thailand. It can, however, offer considerable challenges to a translator. Although the book is free of the elliptical phrases found in the works of many forest monks, the style is dense and given to unusual combinations of words that are stimulating in the original but occasionally overpowering in a literal translation. The translator of this book, Robin Moore, an old friend of mine and ex-fellow monk, has done a fine job in making the English version as accessible as possible, while maintaining an admirable fidelity to the text. It has been a labour of love on his part, and I salute him on behalf of all grateful readers.

Buddhadhamma has been my constant companion for over thirty years and is the book I would choose to have with me on a desert island. I would like to express my appreciation that finally an English translation will make this excellent book available to many more people.

Ajahn Jayasaro
Janamara Hermitage
June 2016